BACK TO PART ONE
AND ANSWERS BETWIXT THE
MASTER AND SCHOLLER, CONCERNING THE STAFFE
You have given me direction for two sorts of guards, which doe you commend best that I may repose myself upon?
I commend the low guard best, for that it serveth with the Quarter-staffe of seven or eight foot, or for the Long-staffe of twelve foote, and for the Pike of eighteene foote, for I have made trial with men of good experience which have lain in other guards according to their practice, as some at Quarte-staffe will lay their point upon the ground overthwart their bodie, holding the butte-end of their Staffe so low as their girdle-stead: he that thus lieth the best waie to hit him is to proffer, or faine a thrust at his face, and presently put it hime below, for he will carrie his Staffe up to save his face, but cannot put him down againe before you have hit him underneath as beforesaid, but with quickness you may hit him in the face or breast, and never falsifie your thrust but put it in suddenly, turning the heele of your hinder hand upward withall: and if your enemie lie at Halfe-staffe, holding him in the middest, his hands that so lieth, are in danger of every blow that cometh, but the best way to hit him that so lieth wihtout danger to thy selfe, is with a false thrust, and that is to proffer it in the one side of his staffe, and to pt it home on the other, according to the direction of the false play that followeth: but first let me make an end of that which I have begunne, and so wee will proceed, some will lie with the Long-staffe, or Pike with the point on the ground, and the butte end so high as his head or higher; indeed this hath beene and is common fight with the Pike amongst the souldiers, and the defence of this guard either for blow or thrust, is the swerve the upper-hand, this way, or that way, according as he seeth the danger of the oppressors assault, and then presently launch out the Staffe or Pike by lifting them up, upon the out-side of their foote or else by gathering him up on their left arme, and so launch him out as aforesaid: he that useth this guard, must be strong, and very active, and nimble, but whatsoever hee be, high or low, weake or strong, the low guard is best.The Scholler.
If the low guard be so strong for my defence what need have I to learne any other?
It is true, a man can be but sure if he practice all the daies of his life, but it is not amisse for thee to know more than ever thou shalt have occasion to use, for having the prefect use of the low and high guard, you may close with any Staffe man, if you think you can make your parrie good with him when you have closed.
I pray you direct me the best manner of closing.
When you encounter with any man that hath a Staffe, a Welch-hooke or a Halbert, and yourself being armed with any one of these weapons, present a thrust to the face of your enemie , and withall, follow it in with your hind-most foote also; and as you incroach in, clap up your staff into the high guard, and you shall carrie your enemies point over your head by that meanes, but you must not be slack in following of it in, for hee will beare the point of his weapon so high to defend his face, that he cannot recover his Staffe by no meane to endanger you,and when you have made your close, you may turne the Butte-end of your Staffe in his face if you lift, or you may trip up his heeles, if you are cunning in wrestling: but if hee have any short weapons about him, then I wish you to take him about the middle and un-arm him of it, or else to hold him fast that hee hurt you not, but if you bee armed with a Bill or a Hooke, then in your halfe-close you may fall away turning the edge or your Bill or Hooke towards his legge, and so by a drawing blow rake him over the shins, and keeping up the But-end of the Staffe for the defence of your owne head, and so you may fall out of his distance, and recover your guard before he can any way endanger you.
If your enemie close with you after this manner, and doe offer the But-end of his Staffe unto your face or breast, then fall backe with your fore foote, and make a quicke change, and you shall have him at great advantage, both for defence and likewise to turne in the But-end of your Staffe unto is face or breast, and if you lift this is a sure defence for such an assault, believe it, for I know it, he that is perfect in the low guard, may with a Staffe encounter against the Welch-hooke, Holbert, Partizan, or Gleave, and I hold that a Staffe with a Pike to have oddes against any such long weapon, being equally matched in length, for oddes in length with any weapon is verie much advantage, where I wish if any doe appoint the field with any of these aforesaid weapons, it is not amisse for the one of them to condition to bring a hatched or some other edged toole into the field to cut the longest staffe, except you match them before hand.The Scholler.
I pray you let me hear your reason, so many think that the hooke or any edged weapon hath great odds against the Staffe.
Indeed without cunning and skill, the Welch-hooke, and these other weapons are more fearfull unto the ignorant, but hee that is cunning in the false play and slippes, belonging unto the Staffe may with a false thrust or with slipping his blow endanger any other, being weaponed with any other of these weapons aforesaid. For it you falsifie your thrust according to my direction in the false play, that is, to proffer your thrust on one side, and then to put home the second determined thrust unto the other side of his weapon, and then if your enemy have a Hooke, Halbert, or Bill in defending the false, the head of his weapon will so over-carrie him by reason of the weight, that hee cannot command him nimbly backe againe, whereby to defend the false, if your enemy bee armed with a Hooke, Holbert or Partizan or Gleave, if he charge you with a blow, then slippe his blowe, either by plucking in of your Staffe, keeping of the point upright until his blow b past, and then you may answer him againe, either with blow or thrust, for by slipping a blow, the weight of the head of any of these aforesaid weapons will goe with such a swing that it will turne his body in such a manner round, I meane beyond the compasse of defence,
Againe if you thinke that your face is out of his reach, he which chargeth you with a blow with anie if these aforesAid weapons, you may let fall the point of your staffe, so that his blow may passe clear over your staffe, and so choppe home a thrust withall under your enemies weapons, and then recover the point of your Staffe up hastily againe.
What if I be armed with any of these weapons aforesaid, what guard will your direct mee to frame myself unto?
I still commend the low guard for any long weapon, whether it be Staffe, Pike, Hooke, Halbert, Partizan or Gleave, my reason is the point being so high as your head, and the But-end so low as your thigh, then is your weapon more readier to defend either blow or thrust, if you bee charged never so suddenly, whereas if your point hand downe-wards towards the ground, you can never lift him up quick againe to defend your thrust, but a blow may be defended easily, for that blow commeth more leasurably, for why is it fetched with a greater compasse, and thrust goeth with farre more celerity than a blow, being put in cunningly, but of these weapons shall follow more at large in the seconde booke.
Now if thy enemie have oddes in length in his Staffe, then let thy enemie make his first assault, and upon defence of his assault steppe forth with they hindermost foote, and so thou shalt gaine sixe foote at the least in reach, but if your staves bee both of one length, then upon a charge of answere, increase in onely with thy fore foote, and stand fast with thy hinder foote, and stand fast with thy hinder foote, only to plucke backe thy bodie againe, and if thou make the first assault, and thy enemie defend it, and so hee make a sudden answere, then it will be hard to recover up thy staffe into his place, to defend it according to the low guard: but for a sudden shift the best defence is bearing your upper-hand over your body, and letting your point fall to the ground, according to the olde common order of the fight with the Pike, at single hand, I meane, hand to hand, or I may say, man to man.
I pray you how would you direct mee to frame my guard with my staffe, if I were to encounter with my enemy, being armed with Sword and Dagger, or Rapier and Dagger?
I hold the low guard best, charging thy point directly to the enemies breast, and alwaies have a special regard, that thou proffer not a blow, for so hee may defend it double upon the Back-Sword and Dagger, and runne in under the Staffe, likewise if thou proffer a thrust, let not thy Staffe loose out of thy fore-hand, but hold him fast, that thereby thou maist bee the more readie to charge him againe, and againe if hee encroach in upon thee, for if you let goe one hand, then may thy enemie very well defend the thrust of the staffe, according as I have directed in the description of the Rapier and Dagger, concerning the Staffe, for with that one defence, being experienced in it, thou maist endanger any Staffe-man, that is not wary, and withall, well experienced in both these weapons, so that thou take thy opportunity upon his assault, I mean in answering him quick, so soone as you have defended his assault, whether it be blow or thrust.
Now if thy enemie doe strike at the point of thy Staffe, thinking to cut him off, then, as you see his blow coming, let fall the point of your Staffe, and presently chop home a thrust, for in so doing his blow will flie over your Staffe, as by your practice you may perfect in this slippe, for so wee call it. I have known a man with a Sword and Dagger hath cut off the end of a Pike-Staffe, but I hold him an ignorant and unskillful man, that hath held the Staffe, for though I hold, that a man skillful at the Sword and Dagger may encounter against a reasonable Staffe-man, the same opinion I hold still, and my reasons thou shalt heare; if extreme need require, and upon a necessity, then the best meanes is to be used wherefore to be furnished with the best means before hand at the time of neede, it may greatly stead thee, for every common man hath not the knowledge of the best rule, except he hath not knowledge of the best rule, except hee have learned it and practiced it by those which could show it, for it commeth not be nature to none, yet every ignorant dunce, when he is persuaded to go learne skill, will say, when I am put to my shift, I will do the best I can: so a man may, and yet without skill bee killed, although hee doe his best, my opinion further of this followeth.
Now the best guard with a Sword and Dagger, or Rapier and Dagger, against a Staffe, is this, put your Dagger on the in-side of your Rapier or Sword, and join them both together, making your cross with them within a foote or thereabouts of the hilt of your Rapier or Sword, and looking cleere with both your eyes under them, or betwixt both your weapons, and then if your enemy charge you with a blow at your head with his Staffe, beare them both double against the blow, and having defended it, turne your point and turne your knuckles inward of your right-hand, and so to goe in amaine upon him.
But is he charge your with a thrust, then presently let fall the point of your Rapier down-ward, and force him downe the more stronger, and more quicker with your Dagger, for to that end I doe appoint you to put your Dagger in the in-side of your Rapier or Sword. Loe in this manner you may defend either blow or thrust of the Staffe, yet I must needes confesse, there is great oddes in the Staffe, if the Staffe-man bee verie skillful, but otherwise the Rapier and Dagger hath the oddes being furnished with skill.
False play to be used at the Staffe.
If you both lie in the low guard, according unto my former direction, then proffer or faine a thrust under your enemies face to the fairest side of the staffe, which to your seeming lieth most open or unguarded but then presently in the same motion let fall the point of your staffe so low as his girdle-sted, so that you may passe cleare under the But end of his staffe; for if with any part of his staffe he touch or entangle your staffe, then can not put in your false so directly as you should, or as you may, if you passe cleare with your first offer, then may you bring up your point on the other side of his staffe, and thrusting it home, you may hit him on the shoulder or face, as you will your selfe, yea although he be verie skillful or cunning, so that you have the true stroke of it : as to make it plainer, then in offering your false, doe but fall the point of your staffe, striking it as were a blowe, but let it fall two foote wide of that side, which lieth open, and then bring it up againe on the other side, and put it in with a thrust, for hee will carrie his staffe to defend your false, and so by that meanes open the side which lieth well guarded, and alwaies marke which part of your enemies lieth most open or most discovered unto you, there proffer you your fained thrust, first to the fairest, but hit him with your second or determined thrust to the contrarie side, and if you faine your thrust to the right side, then thrust it home to the left, and if you faine your thrust to the left side, then put it home to the right, and you may hit him in the breast, shoulder, or face, whether you lift your selfe, so that you proffer your faine thrust three foote wide of his bodie, for if in offering your fained thrust, he hit your staffe, it will so entangle your point, that you cannot recover him to hit him with your determined thrust, for before you can cleare your point, he will be in his guard of defence againe.The defence of this false thrust.
This thrust is to be defended two waies, the first is to beare him against your enemies proffer, but have a care that you do not over-beare him, so that if he mock you with his fained thrust on the one side, you must quickly bring your staffe backe againe into his place, to meet him when he commeth on the other side of his staffe, and so to defend it, keeping your point upright: now the second defence is to beare your staffe over your bodie against his proffer, as you doe against everie ordinarie thrust; for you must suppose that every thrust will come home, for the defender doth not know if his enemy doe proffer a thrust, whether it will come home or not: therefore (as I said) you must beare your staffe against every thrust, but you should beare your staffe but a foote out of his place, whether it be against blow or thrust: for if you over carrie him, you can not recover him to defend neither blowe or thrust, if it be falsified upon you. Now if your enemie doe falsifie upon his first proffer, carrie your staffe over your bodie, keeping the point upright against his first proffer: now upon your offer of defence, at the first you see that you make no seisure upon his staffe, then presently you may perceive he doth but dallie with you, onlie to deceive you with false play, but then your proffer if defence, both fore the true and false play, must be all done with one motion; for if you see that with the first proffer above he shorten his thrust, without putting it home, then turne downe the point of your staffe towards the ground, and meete him below, and so strike it away, but be sure that you defend alwaies before hand, for to strike it backward is no sure defence.
Yet to make this fore-hand defence plainer, why then is s thus meant, if your right hand be placed formost in holding your staffe, then you must defend both the true play, and the false towards your left hand, but you must not defend the first proffer forwards, and next, which may be the false thrust, backward, but both must be defended towards your left side: and so likewise, if your left hand be formost, then frame your defence towards your right side, as before said.
Now if you cannot change hands, as (it may be) your enemie can, then keepe your guard upon that hand you can best use, and you shall finde that hee hath very little oddes after you have practiced it a while; for you may offer to defend anie false play so well as if you crosse handed one to the other.
A false blow.
Now if you would hit your enemie on the head with a blow, you must proffer a false blow at the head, as if you would strike him owne at the first, but when it is come halfe way, stay your hand, or checke your blow before it meet with his staffe, for he will beare his staffe against your blow, thinking to defend it strongly, before it come to endanger him: but the checking of the first blow will be an occasion, that he will over-carry his staffe beyond the compasse of true defence, so that you may presently come with a second blow, and strike it home over the point of his staffe, so by this determined blow, you may hit him in the head or face.
A Slippe at a Staffe
If your enemie charge you with a blow, you lying in your guard according to the Picture, even as you see the blow comming, plucke in your staffe, and withall, withdraw your head and bodie alittle backe, bearing your staffe, during the time while the blowe hath his passage, close upright by that side of your face which your enemie chargeth you at, to defend that side, if the blow doe not reach home, but if it doe passe short, and goe cleare of your without touching your staffe, then will his staffe flie away with the greatest swing, so that it will passe beyond compasse if true defence, but if it be a Welch-hooke, or anie other head weapon, then will the slipping of his blow be a more occasion of the over-carrying of his blow, by carrying of his blow round, so that his blow being past, you may presently charge him with a blow at the head, or thrust him in the backe, so that it be done quicke before your enemie doe recover his weapons into the place of defence.
You may profer a downe-right blow at your enemies head, fetching him with a great compasse, so that it may seeme to your enemie,that you meane to strike him downe, but as your blow is coming, draw back your hand and change your blow to a thrust, and chopping home to his breast or any other part of his body, that you will your selfe, for he will beare his Staffe to defend the blow, I meane if hee be not very skillful and cunning, the which if he doe, hee can but defend himselfe, the which to doe he must be very wary when he beareth his staffe to defend then the blow, so that he doe not over-carrie his staffe, and yet to beare him a little and then to checke his Staffe, and be readie to turne downe the point to defend the thrust, but he that is skillful will, or should chop out a thrust if his enemie doe proffer a blow, and the thrust should be put out with one hand, and to loose the other, I meane with that hand which holdeth the But-end of the Staffe, for so thou shalt keepe him out at the point of thy Staffe; for then the blow cannot endanger thee, except there be great oddes in the length of your staves, for commonly he that striketh, holdeth both his hands upon his Staffe when he delivereth his blow, whereby there is three foote oddes in reach betwixt the striker and he which thrustethAnother very deceiving false thrust
Thy enemie lying in guard, proffer a fained thrust towards his foote, and then presently raise thy point againe, and thrust it home to his face or breast, for if he turne down the point of his Staffe to save the false thrust below, then if he were never so cunning,or never so strong, yet he can not put up his Staffe time enough to defend his upper part; and therefore not to turne downe the point, if thy enemie doe proffer a thrust below is the more sureth, but if a thrust bee made below or above the knee, plucke up thy legge, and either thrust with him, or keepe up thy Staffe to defend thy upper part, which are the killing places, rather than to turne him downe to defend thy legge or foote, wherein is not so great danger of death as the body being hit, but at the Staffe all parts may be defended with skill.
|The guard for the Sword and Dagger, the which
for surenesse wee will call the
I might heare in this place describe many wardes or guards, at the Sword and Dagger, as the Looke-ward, the Iron-ward, the Hanging-ward, the Crosse-ward, three high guards, the Low-guard, the Broad-ward. I will a little touch them all, or the most part of them with words, although not with pictures, but in the next Impression more at large, both with words and with pictures.
But now chiefly at this time I will proceed only with this Castle-guard, or the Back-sword guard according to the picture, for with the skil of this one guard thou maist safely encounter against any man, which useth any of the foresaid guards, for this one guard being perfectly learned thou maist defend thy selfe with great advantage,
Now for the manner of the framing thy selfe into this guard, thou maist beare out the hilt of thy sword a foote from thy body, so low as the pocket of thy hose, and right out from thy thigh, and thy Dagger out right at the armes end, and the Dagger hilt even with thy left cheeke, but barely looking over the upper part of thy Dagger hilt, and the points of both thy Sword and Dagger a little bowing each to the other, and close above, but open thy hilts so broad below as thou maist see cleerly thy enemie betwixt them both, as a Rapier and Dagger before is discribed, for both at Rapier and Dagger, the guards are both verie neere alike, but onely for the carriage of thy Rapier hand and foote, a little neere thy body than at Sword and Dagger, the reasons are, and shall be made plaine unto thee, as in reading thou shalt finde it, for both at Rapier and Dagger and at Sword and Dagger, a man should bee prepared as well at the one, as the other to defend a thrust in fight so well as a blow, except the Rapier point be borne something high, he is not ready to defend a blow, as by this guard this being placed, as aforesaid, thy Sword onely being borne out against the blow, will defend all thy right-side, both thy head, and downe to thy knee, without mooning him, but if thy enemie do charge thee with a blow at thy left-side, whether he strike to thy head or side, then beare both thy Sword and thy dagger over thy body, to-wards thy left-side, and withall I doe advise thee to have a care to carry both the hilt and point levell, even as thou liest in thy guard, for if thou carry thy hilt of they Sword over thy body towards thy left side, and turne thy point Back-ward, then both at Sword and Dagger, and at rapier and dagger, thy head is endangered, for then thou hast but a single ward for thy head, I meane thy dagger onely, and that is no sure defence for the head, if thy practice were never so much, but both being borne together, according unto the Backe-sword rule, thou shalt defend both thy head and body downe to thy knee very strongly, and thy legge must save himselfe by a quick pulling up of thy foote.
Likewise at Sword and dagger, you may set your feete distance one right before the other, the other which I doe not allow at rapier and Dagger, also you must keepe the point of your Sword on the in-side of your dagger, and halfe a foote higher then your Dagger point, especially if you play at the blunt, but in fight as in rapier and Dagger, then you must so exercise your foote, that you may pluck him up nimbly against every blow that commeth, other-wise if you doe keepe them so neare as my direction is at rapier and Dagger, then is your foote sure without plucking of him up; beare your head upright, bowing rather to the right-shoulder, then to the left, but not forward at any weapon, but your body bowing forward, and keepe your points close together,
[Thy weapons thus placed thou shalt find thy body garded like a prisoner betwixt to keepers, thy sword to guard thy right-side, and thy dagger the left.] and your Sword point on the inside of your Dagger point (as before-said) and the hilt of your Dagger from your left cheeke, right at the armes end, without bowing of your elbow ioynt, and your Dagger point sloping, or bowing towards our right side, looking with both your eies betwixt your weapons, looke not over your weapons with neither of your eies at anie hand; your weapons placed, and your bodie setled (as aforesaide) then shall you finde no part of your bodie discovered or unguarded, but on-lie you left side from the Dagner arme downewards, and that you must have a care unto, and defend it in this manner.
If your enemie charge you with a blow, defend your selfe, by bearing the edge of your Sword against it, and a little beare your Dagger against the blow also, onely to give allowance for the yeelding of your Dagger, if the blow should chaunce to light at your head, for your guard simply of himselfe doth defend but a weake blow; if you stand stocke still at your gard as a wrist blow a droppe or a mite, which commeth with small force, though they come with more speed then any other blow, your guard will defend without mooving your weapons. Now other blowes which shall come with greater force, consume more time, and doe fetch a greater compasse, insomuch as their force is greater, you shal preceive them the plainer, to which side the blow will come, and if to the right side, then swarve both weapons against the blow, and if to the left side, dolikewise (keeping up the point of your sword, for that will defend from the head downe to the knee, and knee and leg which you stand formost upon, you must defend by plucking them up, and your sword will defend the hindmost legge, if the blow should chance to reach so farre, by taking it neere the hilt, upon the edge of your backe-sword, as aforesaid, for if you downe the point of your sword to save your legge, then you leave your head and your face unguarded, for when you see our enemie charge you with a blow, there is no rule to be shewen to know where the blow will light, untill it doe light: but this assure your selfe, the blow must have a lighting place; for when the sword is up, where he will fall there is no rule to be shewen, for when the blow is chargeth, it commeth so swift and lighteth where the striker thinketh good, wherefore arme your selfe to defend everie place, whether it commeth above or below; for if you turne down the point of your sword before-hand, thinking the blow will light at your legge, for so you must doe if you will defend him with you sword, otherwise you cannot be downe quicke enough, for the blow will passe more speedier than the turning of a hand; wherefore i wish you to save your legge by plucking of him up, and open not your head, in hope to save your legge, and so save neither of them, for the head is the principall place that enemie will strike at; therefore keepe your points always upright, and in their place, according to my directions following the first Picture; and like-wise as heere I have described it, for it is not enough to know the place of your weapons, but alwaies to continue them in their place, except it be at the verie instant time of your defence, and offence: but if you make play to offend your enemie, recover your weapons into your guard speedily againe whether you hit or miss: Now in striking thy blow, let not thy Sword swing under thine arme by over-striking thy blowe, but winde him up presently into his place a-gaine; alwaies keepe the points close, and defend the blow double: for so doing the point of your sword will be a great strengthening unto your Dagger, for he that doth trust to defend a blow with the Dagger onely, may be deceived, if his cunning were never so good; for if the blow should light nere the point of your Dagger, by reason of the sharpenesse and weakenesse of the Dagger, it may glide over, and hit him that is skilfull, if his cunning were never so good: likewise, the blow may hit him under the Dagger-arme, which trusteth to the Dagger, except hee use the defence of his backe-sword, for which both together a weake man, yea, a boy may defend a strong man with both, for no man is able to charge a blow with one hand, if his force were never so great, but one that is verie weake and skilful of the Back-sword, may defend himselfe double (as aforesaid) for he that chargeth with one hand, a verie wretch is able to defend with both, having skill and practice in all fashions, for when one cannot hit thee yet another whose fashion thou art unacquainted with may hit thee, but being experienced in many weapons, and in many guards, and practicing with many men, then if thou have an occasion to answer any one which thou never saweth before, thou wilt presently call to minde, that hee can but strike and thrust; therefore being prepared before hand, then so soone as thou seeth his gard and charge, thou knowest thy defence.Now (as I have said before) you must be carefull in your defence, as so soone as you come within the reach of your enemie, prepare your selfe into your guard, to defend everie part both from blowe and thrust, defending the blow with Backe-sword so low as your knee, and the point helping to strenghten the point of your Dagger; then if your enemie charge you with a blowe, you must not prepare to strike with him, for so you may e hurt, and then say afterward, I thought hee would have strucke at mine head, and so never reckon upon your side nor your legge, or if you should think he would have strucke at your legge, and so never regard your head: But I say you must not deale upon thought, but upon sure guard, and it is not sufficient, to know your guard of defence, but you must keepe him, for if your enemie have once but hit you for want of keeping your guard, it will be too late for you to remember your defence afterwards, therefore looke to it afore the blow doth light; or if you fight at Rapier and Dagger, you must looke for both blow and thrust, for your enemie may strike with his Rapier, and hit you if you do not looke for a blow, and when you are hit, it is too late to say, I thought he would not have strucke with his Rapier. Againe, at Sword and Dagger, it may be your enemie will thrust, and you must not say, I thought he would not thrust, for every one will, in a quarrell, do what his affection leadeth him best unto, except he alter his affection by practice.
Heere followeth the chiefest blows at Sword and
Dagger, and the maner how to
Now for the best advantage, in as plaine maner, as by words I can expresse them, amongst many other blowes, wee will heere observe these three: the first, a wrist blow, a halfe blow, and a quarter blow; everie one of these must bee used in their time and place (as this) sometimes with a wrist blow, thou maiest speed thine enemie when thou canst no hit him with a halfe blow, nor with the a quarter blow, because there is in the delivering of either of the two last blowes, more time spent, for everie blow exceedeth each other, in force, and in quickenesse; this wrist blow will hit thine enemie either head or face, if his points lie anie thing open, or on either side of his head, if he doe looke over either of his weapons: for although he doe see it comming never so plaine, yet he cannot prevent it, if hee had Argus eies, if his weapons be but an inch too lowe, but if your enemie doe lie more open then you may charge him with a halfe blow, or a full quarter blow but the quarterblow serveth best for the legge. If thine enemie doe incroach or gather in upon thee, then strike downe to his legge and beare up thy Dagger over thy head, with the point something sloping towards thy right shoulder, for so thy dagger will save thy head, and the point of thy Sword will hit him on the legge in his owne comming, and the upper part of thy Sword will defend thine owne legge, if he charge thee in thine owne assault; but so soone as thou hast stricken thy blow, recover thy guard hastily againe: the quarter blowe doth fetch a compassse about the head, that although hee come strong, it is not so quick as many other: now there is a washing lowe, which the unskilfull do use much, and with that blow, thou maist hist thy enemie under the Dagger arme, if he be not skilfull, with his Back-sword, for there is no other defence for it, but the Backe-sword onelie.
Then there is a whirling blow, & that is after thou hast weft thy Sword, or flourished him over thine head twice or thrice, thou mayest deliver thy blowe, either to the head or legge, or to what place thou seest most for thine advantage, for it is such an uncertaine blow, that he must be a good player that defendeth it.
Also there is a backe blow which is to be made two waies, the one is a plaine Dunstable way, that is, to fetch thy sword from of thy left shoulder, & so to strike it to the right side of thy enemies head, or to the outside of his right leg, but the cunningest way is to bow thy Sword -elbow ioynt, and with thy knuckles upward, and thy Sword hilt so high as your eare, and then by turning of your sword hand wrist, bend, or proffer the point of thy Sword with a blow towards our enemies dagger eare, by presently turning your wrist, bring the middest of your Sword close over the crowne of thy head, and with a compasse blow, striking it home to his Sword eare, or to the outside of his legge: I cannot with wordes make this blowe so plaine as I would, for I would gladly the ignorant should understand it, for of all the blowes of true play, this is the best, for you may likewise faine it unto the out-side of your enemies head, and strike it home to the other, or unto his side.
Here followeth the
false play at Sword and Dagger.
If your enemie be in this guard, as I have heere described by false play, you may cause him to open his guard, but if he lie upon any other guard, then you neede not to falsifie, for you may hit him with true play.
If you would hit your enemie on the right side of the head, then strike a blowe to his foot, but strike it somewhat short, then presently bring it with a back blow to his right eare, the which wil be unguarded, by reason of the carrying his Sword to save his left side, if hee be not the better grounded with experience.
And if you would hit him on the side of his head, the thrust a full thrust at his bellie, turning your knuckles inward, and hee will put downe his dagger to defend it, but then, so soone as you have offered your thrust, presently bring up your Sword close up by the out-side of his dagger elbow, and with a wrist blow strike him on the eare of head, keeping your knuckles inward, till the blow be delivered: with this blow you may hit a good Player, but indeed it is not a very strong blow. Now to hit thy enemie in the foote, is to thrust two or three thrusts short at his face, and then fall it downe to the legge or foote with a blow, for the feare of the daungering of his face with a thrust will make him forget his legge.
Another way is to strike a backe blow strongly to his Sword eare, and presently fall it downe to his foote, for hee seeing it come to his head, not one in twentie, but will wincke, and before he open his eies againe, you may hit him upon his foote or legge.
But the chiefest blow of all for the legge, is to lift up the heele of your Sword hand higher then your head, and tip in the point over your enemies Sword, as though you would hit him in the right eie, but presently bring downe your Sword with a full blowe to the in-side of his legge, for this blow in offering aloft, will sure make him winke and deceive a skilfull man, and in the lifting up of your Sword, you say, Beware your foote, it will serve to him, that you go about to hit him on the head, so hee will lift up his weapons to save the head, but this blow being cunningly delivered commeth downe to the legge, with such celeritie and violence, that hee cannot prevent it, except hee hath beene used to it with much practice, but i seldome misseth if it be cunningly delivered.
Yet there is another deceitful blow for the legge or foote, that is, to strike a backe blow to the sword ware (as before-said) stepping out your foote with you blow alittle, and see that your blow reach but to his Sword, it is enough, but hastily plucke backe your foote, and your Sword in their place, and provide to charge him with a blow to the foote, as hee commeth in to answer your first blow: now in striking at his legge, be a little before hand; for as he maketh a motion of lifting up his Sword to charge you, step in with the same motion, and in falling your point to his legge, you save your owne legge, if he do strike at your legge, then the Dagger must at such a time, defend your head single, which you may well doe, if you beare him alittle the higher, but withall, turne the Dagger point downe towardes the right shoulder.
Also, you may deceive some,. with casting your eies downe, and looking to his foote, and presently strike it home to his head, for with your eie you may deceive him which is not perfect in the deceit.
Certaine reasons why
thou maist not strike with
thy weapon in fight.
The first danger is described following the first picture in this booke, and in this manner, the defendor is to take the blow double, or on the Back-sword onely, and then presently to charge him againe with the point, with the which the defender may hit the striker in the face, brest or thigh, as he will himselfe, the like may be done with a staffe, first, defend the blow, and answere quicke with a thrust.
The next danger, if it be with a sword, is this, thou maist breake or bow him, or he may slip out of the hilts, any of these dangers may happen at the very first blow that thou strikest, and if it be a staffe it may likewise be broken, or the pike may flie out, and then thou art not assured whether thy enemy upon such an occasion will take the advantage upon thee, if such a chance doe fall out, therefore beware of striking.
An other hazard by striking is unto the striker, if his enemie the defender doe but slippe his blow by a little with-drawing of his body backe,even as hee seeth the blow come, and so I say by a little withdrawing the body,and also by plucking in his weapon, he that striketh the blow will over-sway his body beyond the compasse of true defence, and so the blow being past, charge him presently with a thrust, for he that striketh his blow will carrie his body in a manner round, so that the blow be not defended, but let slippe, as aforesaid, and then you may hit him in the backe, either with a blow or thrust, if you take your opportunity in making a quicke answere, as more at large of this flight I have shewen in the false play at each weapon, also divers reasons heere and there in this booke, concerning the disadvantage of a blow.
The Author's opinion
concerning the oddes
betwixt a left-handed man,
and a right-handed man.
A Left-handed man being skilfull hath oddes against a right handed man being skilfull likewise, one reason is a left-handed man is alwaies used unto a right-handed man, but a right-handed man doth seldome meete with a left-handed man, for in Schooles or such places, where play is, a man may play with forty men, and note meete with too left-handed men, except it be a great chance, another reason is, when a right-handed man doth offer or make play, first unto the left -handed man, then doth he endanger the right-side of his head, although hee doe beare his Dagger to the right-side, yet it doth not defend so strong, nor so sure, as it doth the left, yet unto one that is well instructed with the true skill of the Back-sword, and other rules which belongeth for the best advantage against a left-handed, it wilbe the lesse dangerous or troublesome unto such a one, for he wil presently cal himselfe to minde, when he seeth that he is to encounter against a left-handed man, he will frame himselfe presently to the best guard of defence for that purpose which is the Back-sword, for that is the chiefest weapon to be grounded in, not onely a left-hand, but many other weapons have the true stroke of that weapon, and are guided onely by the rules of the back-sword, even as the helme guids the ship, now if thou offer play, first to the left handed man, thou must be carefull and heedy to recover up thy Back sword againe, presently into his place so quicke as thou canst, or else turne over your Dagger to the right-eare, these very rules likewise must a left-handed man observe to encounter against a right-handed man, yet furthermore I have knowne some right-handed men, that were very skilfull, and verie ready if it had beene to encounter against a right-handed man, but by no meanes would not deale with a left-handed man, and this for want of a good teacher: for the teacher should instruct every one which they doe teach by playing with his left-hand with them, for it is an easie matter to have the oddes of both th hands a like with little practice, and then a man may use which he will, as if a right-handed man were to encounter against a left, and can use both hands alike, then if he play with his left hand against one that is left-handed by nature, it will seeme more crosse, and more dangerous unto him then a left-handed man unto a right, the reason is that two left-handed men seldome meete together, now to end with this one speech according to the vulgar sort, that is an ignorant and a simple man of skill by great and often toyling and moyling of his body, in practicing naturall play, I meane onely that which commeth into his head, and being right-handed meeteth with another right-handed man that is very skilfull, and hath very artificiall play, and yet the unskilfull hath plied so fast and let his blowes fall so thicke, that the skilfull man had enough a doe to defend himselfe, so that the unskilfull hath made such good shift, and defended himselfe contrary unto any mans expectation, that was so experience and saw it, but there is not one of the common streete plaiers in a hundred that can doe the like as I have said before, but not one in five hundred of them, that can upon the point of a weapon hurt or wrong one that is skilfull or cunning, for many of these streete play-ers are so used to bangs, that they care not for a blow with a blunt cudgell, but most of them are fearefull to deale against a sharp weapon, but now to conclude this, with that which toucheth this Chapter, concerning these streete players, which have so well shifted with a cunning player right-handed, the same I say meeting with a left-handed man was not able to defend in a manner one blow in twenty, except it were b falling backe from him, and the cunningest man that his, cannot hit the unskilfullest man that is, if the unskilfull man do continually keepe him out of his reach or distance, for which hath courage without skill, although well prepared, yet wants his armes to fight, but of this it is sufficiently spoken of in the Treatise, in the former part of the Booke.
A briefe of my
principall points which I would
have thee keepe in continuall
Now to summe up all the chiefest lessons into one summe, and for order sake wee will foure devisions of them.
The first is to remember to frame thy selfe into thy guard, for thou come within thy enemies distance, and so to approach in guarded.
Secondly, remember if thy enemy charge thee with a blow, at what weapon soever, yet answere him with a thrust presently, after you have bourne the blow double, according to my direction, following the first picture, but if thy enemy charge thee with a thrust, then answere him with a thrust at the nearest place, which lieth unguarded, whether it be his knee or in his making play, your answere may be to his right arme, shoulder or face, all which you shall finde unguarded in time of his profer, now if he have a close hilted dagger, yet with a false thrust thou maist hit him in the Dagger-arme if he fight not very warily, or else in the Dagger -hand if hee have not a close hilted dagger.
[Be constant and steady in a good guard bee slow to make play except thy enemy doe encrease upon thee,]
Thirdly, let not fury over-come thy wits, for in a made fury skill is forgotten, for he which is in drinke or over hasty, such a one in his anger doth neither thinke upon the end of killing, nor feare to bee killed.
Now the fourth and last which should have beene the first, is to remember to keepe a true distance, and if thy enemie do gather and incroach in upon them charge him with a thrust, although thou put it not home, for a thrust will feare him, and he which is in right wits will be loath to come within the reach, or danger of thy weapon, but if thou suffer thy enemy to come within distance, then if thou haddest all the guards in the world, and yet stand still without making play, hee will hit thee in spight of thy teeth, wherefore be doing with him betimes; and he will retreate and fall away from they for his owne ease, Loe, this I wrote, because I would not have the in an error when thou shouldest have occasion to use thy weapon, as the best defence, for a shot is to stand out of the reach if him, even so the best defence of thy bodie from hurts and skars is to b e proceeded before hand with skill and cunning, and to remember it when thou hast occasion to use it , but if thou want skill, hen keepe out of thy enemies reach; now if thou canst not remember these foure chiefe points before said, yet beare in minde these two, the first is to defend the blow double, keeping both the points upward, and secondly, remember that if thy enemy doe gather in upon thee, thrust to his knee, or whether hee doe gather in or no, yet thrust to his knee or thigh, but at any hand steps not so farre forth with your thrust whereby to endanger your face, but if you doe steppe so farre forth as you can, alwaies have a care to defend with your dagger, but if your enemy do set foorth one foote above halfe a foote distance, then may you hit him in the thigh or knee, and hee cannot reach you so that you doe not adventure further with your thrust, then where his knee did stand when you doe offer, for it may be hee will plucke him away, thereby to save him, but that is no defence for a thrust if it be put in quicke: a man may defend the legge from a blow, by drawing him back, but not from a thrust, but to keepe thy feete in the right place according to my direction following the first picture, and then you are defended, and ready to offend also.
The Authors opinion
concerning the Short
Sword and Dagger.
In describing of this weapon I shall account the time ill spent, yet because Short swords are in use and worne of many that would leave them off if that they knew what an idle weapon it were, I meane to encounter against a long Sword and Dagger, or a long Rapier and Dagger, so small is their Iudgement, but onely this, many of them will say it is a better weapon then any of the two foresaid weapons are, but in my monde they may aswell say that chalke is cheese because they are both white, for I have had much triall and great practice with the short sword, yet could never find, nor never wilbe perswaded but that a Rapier foure foote long or longer, hath such great oddes, that I never meane to arme my selfe with a short sword against it; for in my minde and by experience I speake it, there is small skill to be learned with the short sword to encounter as aforesaid, but onely resolution and courage.
He that is valiant and venturous, runneth in, breaking distance, if hee escape both in his going in, and in his comming out unhurt; for a man skilful, in my minde it is as a man would say chance-medly, for if I have the Rapier and Dagger, I will hazard both games, and against any man that holdeth the short sword to be a better weapon, although that George Giller hath most highly commended that short sword & dagger, yet one Swallow maketh not a Summer, nor two Woodcocks a Winter, if a thousand more were of his opinion, yet without all doubt there is a great deale more danger then at Rapier and Dagger; or he that fighteth with a short sword must adventure in pell mell without feare or wit, but have seldome heard or seene any fight with short sword and dagger, although they be each weaponed alike, but one or both commeth most grievous wounded: my reason is the distance is so narrow that a man can hardly observe it, except thy have been both practioners a long time before hand, for if a man practice continually long sword or long Rapier, yet upon such a Challenge goeth into the field with a short sword, then the daunger is greatest of all: aske Augustin Badger, who speaketh highly in praise and commendation of the short sword, for hee hath tried that weapon in the field so often, and made as many tall fraies as any man that ever I heard of or knew since my time, yet hee will say that he never fought in all his life: but was sore and dangerously hurt.
I have knowen some besides my selfe, that have fought with Rapier and Dagger twenty times, and never had one droppe of bloud drawne, and yet were accounted men of sufficient vallour and resolution, those which weare short swords, depend onely upon the taking of the enemies point, which is not to bee done if they meete with with one that is skilfull: I have heard many say in talking familiarly concerning this weapon, if I take the point of your long Rapier, then you are gone, but that is not to be done if thou meete with one that is skilfull except thou canst take thy enemies point in thy teeth, otherwise thou canst never make seasure upon his point, if hee bee skilfull as aforesaid, but indeed it is an easie matter for a man skilfull to take the point of one that is altogether unskilfull; but rather not answer thy enemy untill thou be better weaponed, there are all these excuses to bee framed as in the tenth Chapter of the treatise, there you may find excuses fit for such as weare short Swords, if thou like them not I refer to thy owne wit to frame an excuse; for some shift he must have that weareth such an idle weapon, for in a word a short sword and dagger against a skilfull man with rapier and dagger, I hold it a little better ten a tobacco-pipe, or a foxe-tayle, but yet a short sword is good to encounter against a short sword.
Also a short sword is good to encounter against a naked man, I mean a man unweaponed, and it is good to serve in the wars on horse-backe or on foote, yet a Rapier will doe as good service in the wars as a short sword, if a skilfull man have him in hand: we have divers examples of those which come out of the field sore wounded, and they will say it was because their enemy had a handfull or a foot ods in length of weapon upon them; wherefore I say one inch is great ods and enough to kill a man, if they both have skill alike, and doe observe a true distance: yet now you that are as it were married unto short swords, because some will not give their bable for the Tower of London, although another doe not esteeme it worth two-pence, yet a man shall as well drive a dog from a peece of bread, as wrest many from that foolish kind of weapon; againe a sword whether he be long or short, is more wearisome and more troublesome then a rapier, for a sword will weare out your hose and three paire of hangers, before a rapier doe weare out one paire; but some doe weare their short swords about their neckes in a string, so that they should have occasion to use him, he cannot so readily draw out his sword upon a suddaine, as he which weareth him upon his thigh, but of this fashion of wearing their swords I wil not speake much, because I see it is almost left off, for a man may buy a girdle and hangers for ten groats, which will serve for thy Rapier two or three yeere, and a scarfe will cost ten shillings, and yet be worne out in a fortnight; but I will say no more because many give it over for their owne ease, I holde a short sword for to encounter against a rapier very little better then a tobacco pipe as aforesaid, and so as I began I conclude, yet behold a little helpe for him that weareth it.
A guard for the
short sword and dagger to encounter
Keepe your sword hilt so high as your head or higher at the point, hanging slope-wayes down-wards a little wide of your left side, looking under your sword arme with both your eyes, and withall all put out your sword hand as far from your body as you can, I meane towards your enemy, and your dagger downe by your side, as if you meant not to use him at all, according to this picture.
Lying in this guard your body will seeme to your enemy to be very open, inso-much that he will make no reckoning but to hit you sure with a thrust; the which you must defend by breaking it towards your right side, and with the same motion step in with your left leg, which I will call hour hinmost leg, for so he should be untill you have made seisure of your enemies weapon: but so soone as seisure is made consume no time in giving of him leisure to fall backe againe, whereby to recover his point againe, but forthwith answer him as aforesaid, for having brought his long rapier or sword point to passe cleere on the right side of your body, I meane under your right arme, then step in close with your left foot as aforesaid, and make a crosse with your dagger upon his weapon by clapping in with your dagger upon the middest of thy enemies long rapier or Sword, keepe your Dagger point upright when you goe in, and so soone as you have discharged the assize of your sword, you may presently turne up the point of your short sword and thrust, or else you may give a stroke with him whether you will, and to what part of his body you list, and then fall away hastily againe into your guard and distance; knowing this. that by stepping in with your hindmost foote, doth gaine more advantage in ground then you want in length of weapon.
But at any hand suffer your enemy to make the first assault, because hee hath the advantage in length of weapon, and if thy enemy do charge thee with a blow you may defend it upon this hanging guard, but to turne up the point of your sword according to backe-sword rules, & if your enemy charge you with a thrust, you may after seizure made upon his weapon with your sword as before directed; you may presently so soone as you are in with the hindmost foot turne up your sword point and thrust, this offence you may performe without the helpe of your dagger, but yet have a care to prepare your dagger in a readinesse, left in your going in, your enemy doe also come in with you, and although you have his ling weapon at your command without any danger, yet he may stab you with his dagger, except your dagger be in a readinesse to defend; for a thrust of a dagger is as easie to be defended with a dagger, as any thrust is of any other weapon, but if the defender bee overcome with fury, and so thrust both together, then they both are endangered, but to defend is better to offend, and to be offended againe upright according to the rule of the backe-sword, if your defence be upon the hanging guard, then clapping up your dagger and ioyne with him as it were in commission with your sword, and so defend the blow upon both together, now if your enemy will not charge nor make any assault upon you, then I advise you not to gather nor encroach upon him, except you were equally matched in weapon, for you must observe the distance which belongeth to your enemies long weapon for this guard or any other. For this guard is but for a suddaine shift for those that weare short swords, for keeping a large distance a man with small skill may defend himselfe from a longer weapon, so he seek not hastily by gathering in to offend the other; for the best defence of a shot is to stand out of his watch; so the best defence for a short sword man is to observe distance as before said, for he shall fin himselfe work enough to defend himselfe, for not one in twenty which fighteth with the short sword once will desire to go into the field with such a weapon againe.
Now those that do encounter together with short sword, t short sword, I wish them to frame their guard according to my former direction at the long sword and dagger.
If thou frame thy guard according to my former direction as it is here picture, then if your enemy doth falsifie a thrust, and you making account to defend it with your Sword, as before, and in turning in your left side hee double a thrust, he may endanger you greatly; wherefore it behooveth thee not to overcarrie thy Sword upon the first offer, but that you may recover him backe into the place againe; so that if you have a care if you misse the striking by of his Sword on the one side because of his falsifie, you shal meete with him on the other, and so defend your self although you cannot answer whereby to offend him by reason of his falsifie, for upon a false if you make answer, it will be very dangerous to both.
Master. Now my loving scholler I have alreadie described the rules of sixe weapons, which I promised to instruct thee in, but yet I have stumbled by chance upon another weapon, which is as necessarie as anie of the rest; nay more, for without thou be perfect in the skill of this weapon, all the rest will rather bee hurtfull unto thee then do thee good.
Scholler. I praie you, what weapon is that?
Master. Marrie it is faire tongue.
Scholler. Why doe you call the tongue a weapon?
Master. Because at manie times, and for manie purposes, it is the fittest weapon, and the most surest for a mans owne defence, for the tongue at sometimes runneth so at randome, that for want of a bridle like a yong colt overthroweth the rider, although it be but a little thing and seldome seene, yet it is often heard to the utter confusion of manie a man, for the tongue is such a weapon without it bee governed, it will cut worse the anie sword; a nettle is a bad weed in a garden, but the tongue will sting worse then a nettle, and pricke deeper then a thorne, likewise manie men are taken by the tongues as birds are taken by the feete, therefore a faire tongue or a tongue governed well, will better keep and defend thy bodie from prison, if thou at anie tine be committed by the Magistrates when thy Sword will hinder thee if thou trust unto thy manhood.
Scholler. If I fight with no other weapon, but with a faire tongue, the world will condemne mee, and terme me for a coward.
Maister. A faire tongue is more necessarie for a
valorous man, then a good weapon for a coward, for thou shalt heare: for with a faire
tongue thou maiest passe through watch and ward, if thou do chance to travell in the night
by occasion, and thou bee late from thy lodging, at such a time this is a principall
weapon, and shall more prevaile then thy Sword, or any other weapon whatsoever.
Againe, a faire tongue is an excellent weapon, if thou hap in drunken company, and there fall to quarrelling; in such a case, if thou draw thy weapon, if it were as if a man should quench a great fire with a bundle of flaxe, for at such a time, and in such a company, if a man draw his weapon, he may soone be killed as kill, for drunkards and madde men are all alike during time of the drinke.
Also a faire tongue is a principall weapon to carry with thee, if thou chance to travell into anie strange countrey: for if an iniurie be offered in a place where thou are not acquainted or unknowne, thou maiest be oppressed with more then one, for birds of a feather will holde together; and many will hold on the bigger side, for where the hedge is lowest, the beast will soonest get over, but in such a case be well armed with patience for thy Buckler. and a faire tongue for thy Sword, and thy hand readie on thy hatte to doe reverence to everie vassall, although thou be a Gentleman, for the richest man that is, and the strongest man that ever was, did, and must pocket up an injurie in his owne Countrey, much more it is lesse disgrace to thee to put up an iniurie in a strange place, if an occasion be offered, the rather bestirre thy selfe with a faire tongue, then with thy sword; for in such a case thy sword will availe thee nothing at all.
Scholer. All this while with this weapon you have not taught me how I should defend my point.
Maister. Now I will tell thee, with a faire tongue, thou mayest save thy money many times, by promising much, and performing little, especially where little is deserved, for those which deserve little. a faire promise will passe, in a manner, as currant as thy money: I have known many Musitions many times paid with faire words: and now that it commeth into my minde I will tell thee a tale (as I have heard it reported:) How King Dyonisius rewarded a crew of Musitions which came to him with excellent Musicke, and after the Musicke was ended, come againe to me to morrow said the King, and I will give you a thousand talents; the which promise founded to a sweete and pleasant tune in the Musitions eares: But in the morning they came, expecting the Kings reward, according to his promise: But the King looked strangely upon them, and asked them what they would have, And it like your Highnesse, said one of the chiefest of them, we are come for your gracious reward which you promised us. What was that, said the King? A thousand talents said the Fidler. Why said the king, Is not that out of thy head yet? thy Musicke is quite out of mine, thou pleasedst my eares with thy musick for the present,& I likewise filled thy eares with a pleasant sound of so much money: to our matter againe.
A faire tongue, and kinde behavior winneth favor, both with God and men, whereas those which can not governe their tongues are seldome at quiet; but always punished or vexed with the Law, and troubles in the Lawe consume much money, which with discretion might be kept by governement of the tongue.
Now by the hieway, if a carelesse roister in his own name require thee to stand, and by vertue of his owne warrant doth require thy purse; in such a danger, and in such a case betake thy selfe to thy weapon, rather then trust to thy tongue: for to speake faire unto some in such a case will availe thee nothing at all, but yet for all that, a faire tongue is a precious balme to beare about thee although it bee not sufficient to heale wounds, yet it may be a preservative to keepe thee without hurts: all the comfort thou canst have of thy dearest friends is but little else then bodily sustenance, nay of thy kind and loving wife which is or should be thy greatest comfort in life under God, if she I say do all that ever shee can to pleasure thee, yet thou maist hap to find in this booke, if thou reade it over, one lesson or other which may stead thee, or do thee more pleasure then all thy other friends: for here are many things written by me, that peradventure thou maist seeke after a greate while, and yet not fine them else-where, and so farewell.
Scholler. Yet stay I pray you, resolve me in two questions more afore you goe.
Master. What are they?
Scholler. First I would know what oddes a tall man of stature hath against a little mans stature, and the oddes that a strong man hath against a weake man.
Master. Indeed these are questions which I did meane to write of in my next booke, and therefore will but little touch them at this time, but for my beginning or proofe of this matter the better to encourage little men to take heart of grace, and not to dismaied by the high lookes of a tall man, nor feared by their great bragges, that is an old saying, goeth I never saw, saith the proverb, a little man borrow a stoole to breake a tall mans head, and this proverb runneth throughout the world, as the corrant through the Gulfe which our Marrinors doe speake of in the way to the Indies.
Againe, it is not common to see a tall man valorous and skilfull withall, but generally, little men are valorous although not skilfull, now if the tall man be skilfull, the little man must for his advantage, suffer the tall man to proffer him play first, but then upon the little mans defence presently, with the same motion steppe forth with the foote and hand, and so by a quicke answere endanger the tall man: now if the tall man be not skilfull, whereby to steppe forth with his hand and foote together, when hee maketh play to the little man, then the little man skilfull herein, getteth three foote at the least by answering every assault that the tall man maketh by stepping forth with the foote and hand as beforesaid; but this must be thy helpe and this must be thy care, though a little man alwaies suffer the tall man to make play first, especially if he be skilfull, and then be nimble with the answere, stepping it home with thy foote and hand together, according to the first picture, for what thou wantest in reach, is gotten by thy comming.
There is another old saying going thus, a tall man is so faire a marke, that a little man skilfull cannot misse him, and a short man is so little and so nimble, that if he have but a little skill, a tall man cannot hit him for with his weapons, and a good guard in a manner hee will cover all his whole body with his weapons. Lo this is my opinion, I doe not say all other are of my minde, for there is an saying goeth thus, so many men, so many mindes, what other mens opinion is, I have not to doe withall, but this I can say of my owne knowledge, that I have not knowen one tall man among twenty, that hath goo skill, nor sufficient valor answerable unto their statures, for tall men are more fearfull then men of a meane stature, for I have seene the triall both in warres and in single combat; yet take me not up before I bee downe, for doe not here condemne all tall men of personage, for so I should greatly over-shoote my selfe, and greatly wrong many tall men of stature and vallour, and also of good resolution, but yet all of then are not so, wherefore what I have said, it is to encourage little men of meane stature, having skill not to feare any man upon good occasion, those that spend their daies without practicing skil in weapons, so that when they are wronged they fall to wishing: oh I would to God I had skill in my weapon, for then would I answere the wrong that such a man, and such a man hath done mee, but not to maintaine any quarrell, left they loose their lives for want of experience, as many of them have done.
Scholler. Now as you have promised me, I pray you let me heare your opinion concerning the oddes between a string man of stature, and a little or a weake man of stature and strength.
Master. Then this briefly is my opinion, a strong man hath greate oddes at the gripe, or in a close at any blunt weapon, but upon the point of a sharpe weapon, in a fight a strong man hath small or no oddes at all of the little or weake man, wherefore I would not have a little man bee afraide of a tall or over growne man, no although he were farre bigger then a man, for in performance of any things to be done with weapons, there is no more to be found in the best of them of great stature upon triall, then is in the ordinary men, or then is in a little or weake man, nay many times the little or weake man doth as good or better service in the face of the enemy upon the point of the weapon then the taller man doth, for although his stature is small, yet commonly a little mans heart is bigge.
Let thy Rapier or Sword be foure foote at the least and thy Dagger two foote, for it is better have the Dagger too long then too short, and rather hard than soft, for a short dagger may deceive a skilfull man his defence, either of blow or thrust: I have often knowen a soft dagger cut in twaine with a Rapier.
Let thy Staffe of practice be seaven or eight foote, and better, button both thy foiles and thy staves before the practice with them, for otherwise the unskilfull may thrust out one anothers eyes, yea although there was no harme meant, yet an eye may be lost except the occasion be prevented.
To make your buttons take wooll or flocks, and wrappe it round in leather so bigge as a Tennis-ball, then make a notch within a halfe an inch of your woodden foile or staffe, but if it be an Iron foile, then there be an Iron button rivetted on the point, so broad as two pence, and take your button being made as beforesaid, and set in on the end of your Staffe or foile likewise, and then take leather and draw hard upon it, and binde it with Shoomakers-ends of parch-thread in the notch, and another leather upon that againe, for one leather may be worne out with a little practice.
Now if thou have a quarrell and willing to answer, and not being furnished with a Rapier, then take a cudgell of what length thou wilt thy selfe, and make a shoulder within a handfull of the ende of it by cutting him halfe way through, and there binde the haft of thy knife, and so the shoulder will keepe him from slipping backe, and this is as sure and as fearefull, and as good as a Rapier to encounter against a Rapier and Dagger, or a Sword and Dagger, so that you have close hilted Dagger: likewise you may tie a point at the But-end of the Cudgell, to put in thy finger that thy Cudgell slippe not out of thy hand: this weapon I have made good proofe of, but it was in another Country, where I could get no other weapon to my minde.
This Chapter sheweth the severall kinde
of weapons which are to be
Now one thing more unto the vulgar sort concerning the severall sorts of weapons, because unto many it seemeth so strange, that if a Master of Defence should tell them that he can teach thee skill at Fence at twelve severall sorts of weapons, they will straight-way say, that there are not so many, now for their further satisfaction, they shall heare the division of more then twenty sorts of weapons, which Masters of this Noble art of Defence, are, or, else ought to be expert therein, like unto a skilfull Cooke which can of sort of meate make diverse dishes, or like the cunning Physition, who can with a hearbe being diversely compounded, make it serve to divers purposes and uses: to which effect my meaning is. that an expert Master of Defence can of one kinde of weapon make many, as by this sequell following shall appeare, all these weapons have been plaied as in Challenges, here in England at severall times.
Of the Sword are derived these seaven.
|The two hand Sword.||Gantlet|
|The Back-sword||The Bastard Sword, the|
|Sword and Dagger||which Sword is some-|
|Short Sword and Dagger||thing shorter then a|
|The short Sword and||long Sword, and yet|
|longer then a Short-sword|
Now with the Rapier seaven more.
|The first Rapier and Dagger||The Halfe-pike|
|The single Rapier||The Long-Pike.|
|The case of Rapiers.||The Long-staffe.|
|The Rapier and Cloake.||The Quarter-Staffe|
|The Rapier and Target.||The Welch-hooke or Bill.|
|The Rapier and Gantlet.||The Haulbert|
|The rapier and Pike||The Rapier and Dagger|
|against the Short-sword|
|Likewise Rapier and|
|The Dutch Fauchin||Dagger, or Sword|
|The Poll-axe||and Dagger against|
|The Battel-axe||a Staffe or Haul-|
|The two Daggers.||bert.|
|Also the Staffe against a|
|The single Dagger.||Flaile.|
|Back-sword against sword||Single Rapier against|
|and dagger||Rapier and Dagger.|
Now my seconde booke which is already in hand shall shew my judgement , and chiefest rules according unto my practice at all these severall weapons, it death doe not prevent me before I have accomplish my pretence, yet for doubt thereof, the defence of the Staffe with a Rapier and Dagger, or the Sword and Dagger I will give thee a little direction, which being practiced it may stead thee as much as thy life is worth, I doe this the rather, and for because that the Staffe is a weapon which many men doe carry, and with skill it hath great oddes against either of the two aforesaid weapons, but yet because everie man which carrieth a weapon, hath the prefect skill in that weapon which hee carrieth, but admit that he hath good skill, yet in knowing the best Defence, it may prevent thee from a danger.
Now thou must remember if thou bee charged upon with a Staffe, suddenly summon up thy wits in that which before hand thou hath learned for thy Defence, and thinke this with thy selfe; I am now to encounter against a Staffe: why then thus frame thy guarde, put thy Dagger across on the in-side of thy Rapier or Sword, and let the crosse bee made within halfe a foote of thy Rapier or Sword-hilt, bearing up both thy hilts even so high as thy cheeke, looking with both thy eyes betwixt both thy weapons.
Thus being guarded, it may bee, that thine enemie will charge thee with a thrust, forbecause thy breast will seeme most open to him, the which and if hee doe, then turne downe the point of thy Rapier and Sword, and with thy Dagger force him downe which will bee a stronger Defence then with one alone: and thus by turning downe both thy points together, strike thine enemies thrust of thy Staffe towards thy right side: Loe, thus doe me with both thy weapons; then will thine enemies thrust passe cleare under thy right arme, but neyther with the Sword not yet with the Dagger alone; the thrust of a staffe is not to be defended without greater danger then with both of them, as before that beene rehearsed.
Now and if thine enemie doe chaunce to charge thee with a blow, thereby thinking to drive both thy Rapier and Dagger, or Sword and Dagger unto thy head: For I have knowne many to be of that opinion with me. But a blowe of a Staffe, strucke at the head, may be defended with the single Sword or Rapier according unto the Backe-sword rule: but to beare thy Dagger with thy Rapier or Sword, that is the most sure way, keeping both thy points upright, and so to beare them towards the right side, or to thy left side, according as thou shalt perceive thine enemie charge thee.
Thus will I heere conclude and make an end with this short direction concerning this one weapon, because I have spoken something already touching and concerning this purpose, although it not so ample as now it is, and yet heereafter (by Almightie God good helpe) I will speake more and large here of, this onely serveth but to rowze up your spirites, that you may the better prepare your selfe for the next. The horse starteth at the Spurre, so (in love) I pricke you forward in this commendable Art: and so, I hope, that this Whetstone will make your blunt Wittes somewhat sharper: Golde is not put in the fire to be consumed, but to bee purified; even so I hope, the travell which I have taken heerein will not make you prove worse, but rather somewhat the better in all goodnes.