Hope's New Method of Fencing
Use of this work is freely granted subject to the conditions of this Creative Commons Licence.Contents | Dedication | Advertisement | Poem | Introduction | CHAP. I. | CHAP. II. | CHAP. III. | CHAP. IV. | CHAP. V. | CHAP. VI. | CHAP. VII. | Postscript
Of the pursuit, as well blows as thrusts, wherewith a man is to attack his adversary from this Hanging-Guard.
As the improvement of this hanging guard gave me a great deal of satisfaction, when I first fell upon it, because I thought it might prove a mean to advance the practice of general defence, whereby many a good and brave man's life may be saved; and that I have all along with a great deal of pleasure described its chief advantages; as also the true and universal defence it gives against all weapons, as well edged as pointed; so it is with a kind of regrate and reluctancy, that I now engage myself to discover that part of it, which in place of preserving, is wholly intended for the ruin and destruction of our adversaries.
Certainly, the true design at first of this useful art, was to teach us chiefly, how we might defend ourselves from the barbarous and inhumane assaults of ill-natured and quarrelsome neighbours; for so the true meaning of the word or term fencing, as I have formerly said, imports; so that the offensive part is in a manner forced in upon the art. Would to GOD, the generalpravity of human nature did not give so much occasion for it; for to that degree of bad nature and wickedness is mankind long ago arrived, that they in a manner lay it down as a general maxim, that no man can well protect and defend himself, if at the same time, he attempt not with all his might, to offend and destroy his adversary, altho' never so dear to him, before the happening of the, perhaps but pitiful and trifling, quarrel: And which is yet more surprising, and most of all to be regreted, this spirit of persecution and revenge, stops not at the resentment by private quarrels, wherein satisfaction is given betwixt man and man, but even extends itself to the engaging of whole communities.
For we daily see, that arbitrary and ambitious princes, thorow I may say, an ambitious but perverse mistake, endeavour to perswade their subjects, that it is not possible for them, to preserve and defend their own dominions, if at the samw time, they make not inrodes and incursions upon their neighbouring territories, whereby they are necessitate, not only to engage most of their own people, who otherwose might live most peaceably and plentifully at home; the two greatest of Earthly blessings; but also a considerable number of their allies (who are perhaps, very little further concerned in the pretended, and many times groundless quarrel, than only out of complaisance, to humour or gratify their ambition, and covetous itch of conquest) in a perpetual scene of blood. For,
With no less Eager Zeal is Honour fought;
Honour! that guilded Idol of the Great;
For which, how do th' Ambitious toil and sweat,
And think't, with any Peril cheaply bought?
Hurry'd with strong Desire, brook no Delay,
By what e'er Obstacles withstood;
But with impetuous Fury force their Way,
And to the Gaudy Trifle wade thro' Seas of Blood.
And that they may the more easliy prevail with, and engage indifferent, tho well meaning and valorous persons, to assist them in their unneighbourly, and many times unchristian wars; they bait their hooks with money, and guild them over with the promise, and vain expectation of gaining honour; which altho for the most part false and counterfeit, ad commonly acquired and pretended to, and at bottom but a chimera, and empty sound which quickly vanishes; or as onw very well expresses it, a glittering star of folly, to influence and captivate vain minds, and to make the ignorant gaze, as it were upon a blazong and fiery comet; yet has such an alluring and prevailing quality over most persons, as that few can resist, being enchanted and caught by it: But true magnanimity, and real, and generous honour, consists not in the opressing and conquering of our neighbours, nor in the defending of mean and pitiful drunken quarrels, for the most part not to be owned by men of sense without blushing; far less worth the while of resenting by men of true honour: But in defending our religion, liberty and lives, when encroacht upon, and unjustly attack'd, and wherein all brave men, and good patriots are concerned, and obliged both by the laws of GOD and nature, as well as of man, to engage for their relief; and when it exceeds these limits, it is so far from being true magnanimity and vertue, or deserving the noble, heroick, and just character of honour, that whoever are abetters of it, except out of meer necessity and pinch, deserve truly rather the epithete of men-killers, as of men of valour, and true heroick honour. For, let the ambitious assert what they will, it is not power and opression, nay nor victories and conquest obtained by the greatest conduct and valour, but real vertue that is the only source, and true foundation of solid and permanent honour.
So matters being thus managed by the ambitious, this being indeed the true, but deplorable state of affairs at present, betwixt most princes in Europe; it cannot be expected but the contagion, hath in a manner overspread the entire body, but that the particular members msut be very much tainted and infected with it; and this perverse and malicious temper being nourished, as well by the pravity of our corrupt nature, as by publick example, prompts and encourages private persons, still more and more to imitate, this cruel as well as unchristian spirit of revenge.
This vitious and bloody temper then, being, I am afraid, rather to be regrated than rectified; and that it is to be feared, people will, notwithstanding of the strongest arguments can be offered against it, still persist in the gratifying, of this revengeful and offending disposition: I shall, altho I must say, very far contrary to my inclinations, discover to them, those methods of offending, which most naturally flow from this hanging-guard; declaring alwise, that I do it not to encourage them in the least to make use of it, meerly for the ruin and destruction of their adversaries; but only as a suppliment, and addition to the former defensive part, for their more general and certain defence; for as true men of honour, as well as good christians, we ought by all means possible, to endeavour to preserve, not to destroy our fellow subjects; and this being my design, as I hope it shall be also the resolution of my generous reader, (and sure I am it will, if he be a man of true magnanimity and honour) I frankly proceed to it as follows.
As all guards, or postures of defence, are generally pursued by either smart and swift plain thrusts, feints, beating, binding or crossing the adversary's sword with a spring from the wrest, passing, enclosing and commanding; so may this guard be also attacked by all those different methods, altho much more naturallly by some of them, than by others: Therefore, that I may burthen my reader's memory as little as possible, I shall only pick out those lessons, which will, in my opinion, have the greatest success against this hanging guard, and explian them to him as distinctly and briefly as possible: For as to the pursuit from this hanging guard, against any of the other guards, that a man's adversary may take himself to, in opposition to it; seing as I have already shown, in the defensive part, the method a man is to take to oppose them with this hanging guard; and for which, he may consult the plate, fig.3. and 6. for his better conception of it. So,
For the general pursuit of them all, as well as of this, I shall only give him this general rule, that he shall make a thrust or blow as he shall judge it most proper, wherever his adversary gives him an open; and when his adversary does not give him one, then he must make one to himself, either by a feint, or a springing cross or beat; remembering alwise, after the discharging of his thrust or blow, to return to the posture of this crossing guard again for his defence; for if he should recover himself to any other posture, he would then quite go from this guard, and so lose the benefit of its secure and general defence, for which I so much recommend it.
Let this suffice in short for the general pursuit (from this guard) of other postures of defence, or guards; seing it will be a sufficient instruction to any intelligent reader, after I have once fully explained the pursuits most naturally flowing from this guard, against any adversary who shall oppose it with the same posture: For, were I to go thorow all the other guards, in the same manner as I intend to go thorow this, it would swell this small essay to a considerable volume, ehich is not at all my design; and the rather, because, if the reader be curious to know more of the pursuits from, and against the ordinary guards, he may consult either the Scots Fencing Master, (where he will meet with full satisfaction, if variety can please him) or Monsieur De Liancour's book in French, intitled Le Maitre d'Armes, or the fencing master; one of the best books I know in its kind, for the ordinary method of practice, as commonly taught in the schools, altho there are a great many things in it, which ought to be rectified, and which I have also attempted to do in some measure, all along in explaining the terms of art, which indeed chiefly belong to the common method; this new one, as I have frequently said, standing in need but of a very few.
Now, to begin with the offensive part, which relates more especially to this hanging guard; you are to know, that when your adversary presents his sword from it, and that you oppose it with yours; there are chiefly four different positions, in which your sword may be placed with respect to his, either at first presenting, or in the time of your engagement; and that is, either beneath or above it, towards his left side; or beneath or above it, towards his right: But because the most ordinary position of your sword at first presenting, will be without and beneath your adversary's sword, the point inclining a little towards the left side (at least you are to endeavour to make it so if possible, for your greater security at first engaging) the other positions, proceeding rather from the method of parieing when engaged, than from the ordinary posture of the guard: Therefore, I shall draw the lessons, as well blows as thrusts, which I intend to explain, from this position of the sword; for when once the lesssons, that may be played from this position of your sword, are exactly understood, the lessons from any of the other three positions, will be very easily discovered, by your own reflection and judgement, if you but apply what I am to say upon this position, of your sword being without and beneath your adversary's, to any of the other three. See Fig. 1: & 2.
The adversary's sword then, being kept upont this guard in a sloping position, the point enclining towards the ground, (and yours without and beneath it, the point a little to his left side, for your greater security, as I said, at first engaging) makes, that there are only two parts, whereat most naturally and with greatest ease you may attack him, to wit, without and beneath the sword, and without and above it; it also gives but rarely an opportunity of either beating or binding; so that the most proper pursuits against this guard, are, a smart plain thrust; a single or double feint; half passes, enclosing or commanding: All of which in order as I explain the following lessons.
If your adversaty therefore take himself to this guard, and you upon the same guard, present your sword without and a little beneath it, then (supposing alwise that you are within measure and reach of him, for if you are without distance, you must either first approach before you begin your lesson, or otherwise approach with the first motion of your lesson, when it will admit of it, and that you can thereby reach your adversary, which by a little practice you will quickly discover) I say, when you have thus presented your sword, you may pursue your adversary, upon these two parts I before mentioned, with six different lessons or thrusts, and consequently with as many half-passes and enclosings, because against all guards, a man may for the most part, when he pleases, finish and terminate any thrust with and enclosing, and his enclosing with an attempt to commmand the sword; but against this guard especially, nothing can be more easy; and these six lessons, are, two plain thrusts; two single feints; and two double feints.
The first lesson is, a plain thrust in seconde, upon the same side you are lying with your sword, or without disengaging, carrying sometimes your sword-hand low, and sometimes in tierce for the better eviting of your adversary's parade, and the point towards the upper part of his belly only, for I am altogether (as I before said in the article anent thrusting, error 2. p. 89.) against planting or thrusting too high, the common direction in schools, where a man must of necessity pierce either bones, or very hard cartilages, before he can dangerously wound his adversary; whereas when a man thrusts about the belly, he is not only with more difficulty paried, but also his sword penetrates with a great deal more ease, and with less force and constraint to his own body: You may also if you please, very safely convert this thrust into a half-pass, either for enclosing or commanding; or you may, if you can catch the opportunity, and that your adversary's sword comes to be beneath yours, and but a little towards your left side, form a kind of flacanade thrust upon him, by directing the point towards the left side of his belly, your sword-hand in quarte, opposing at the same time his sword with your left hand, to prevent a contre-temps or exchanged thrust, as you are giving home the thrust; and if in place of a thrust, you intend a blow, then you may make a jerk or stroak, upwards at the wrest, or lower part of your adversary's sword-hand, taking alwise care to edge your blow right, if it be with a sheering sword, that is, that you do not strike with the flat side of your sword: A direction to be observed with the delivering of every other blow, as well as this, altho this kind of upward jerking blow, be indeed more difficult to edge than any other.
But I must here advertise you once for all, that all jerking stroaks upwards from this guard, such as this I have been describing, altho they may sometimes happen to disable, yet they are for the most part very weak, and do but little predjudice; therefore, I much rather recommend to you those blows, which are perform'd by bringing down the sword-hand or blow, as by either carrying of it up, or side-wise: and therefore in place of this jerking stroak upwards, you may make a very good blow downwards, either towards his head, or out-side of his wrest, or advanced thigh, leg, or foot, or even upon the inside, if you time it right, and with a slope motion from right to left beneath his sword: For such a down right blow, if perfomed seasonably, and with vigour, will not only many times disable, but may come to take away the life, when directed towards the head and neck; whereas the blow upwards with a jerk, being weak, is a great deal more proper for making an open, and therefore may be made use of very conveniently, as well with a small-sword as with a sheering, in place of a feint; for you are sure of one of two by it, that if you hit, you may disable by it, and if you do not hit, yet it will certainly oblige your adversary to discover an open to you without and above the sword, (for let some nice sword-men fancy what they will, and notwithstanding all their direct injunctions to the contrary, it is scarecely possible for any man, to refrain altogether from answering a brisk and lively made motion of feint, let him put on the strongest resolutions imaginable to the contrary) whereby you will have an excellent and full down-right stroak at his head or shoulders; the only stroak indeed that I value, and would advose every man to aim at, who really designs to to good execution against his adversary with blows; because the most part of other kinds of blows, are, as I said, rather for discovering and gaining an open, though sometimes they may also come to disable; whereas this kind of downright blow is for real execution, yea even to take away the life, if vigorously delivered by you, and fully received by your adversary.
Altho after all, when there is real design against the life, there is nothing comparable to the thrust, because of its being, when right planted, so much more dangerous, and frequently more mortal than the blow; therefore in this case, I would never attempt, either a real or feigned blow, unless it were to obtain a better open to thrust at, or when I could not possibly thrust, which can but very rarely fall out. These three last directions, of making as much use of the down right or sloping blow downwards as possible, and edging it right, when a man does strike in good earnest; and of alwise making most use of the point, especially, when there is real and bloody execution intended, even to the taking away of the life, are of auch consequence, in an earnest and revengeful engagement with sharps, that I cannot but advise the reader to mark them.
The second lesson, is a plain thrust without and above your adversary's sword, by disengaging; and planting it as low, your sword-hand in tierce or quarte, which you please, as you can conveniently force it upon his sword; for in this thrust I find it alwise convenient, to take a little more of the adverary's body, by pressing of his sword, than is necesary upon most other thrusts, by reason of the parade of this thrust being so very easy to him: This is what I call forcing of his sword; and indeed without it, or having an exceedingly swift method of thrusting, a man shall scarcely wound his adversary with this plain thrust without and above the sword, if he has anything of a quick parade, unless he first cause him to discover an open, by making a feint without and below his sword, which is the next lesson I am going to describe.
This plain thrust without and above the sword, may be also turn'd if you please, into a half-pass, and enclosing or commanding, and is in my opinion a far safer one, than that in the preceeding lesson, without and below your adversary's sword; because in this your sword hand, if you fail in your commanding, is more disengaged, and at liberty to make sure your defence, when you have thus put yourself out of order, than it is in the former, and you can also more readily command and catch hold of your adversary's sword with your left hand, than you can possibly do in the preceeding lesson, unless you can in it have the conveniency of enclosing and commanding quite beneath his sword, which resembles much the lesson called in the schools under-counter; altho either of the oppotunities in both lessons are very good, as a man shall in practice accustom himself to them. These two terms of art, or rather lessons, flacanade and under counter, where not forgot, but purposely omitted my me in discoursing of the terms of art, becuase a man connot play them exactly against this guard, but only form two thrusts, which resemble them a little; and therefore they belon chiefly to the common method, and even in it, the opportunity very rarely to be got of playing them, especially at sharps, I did not think it worth my while to discourse of them, altho I now thought it convenient just but to name them, that the reader may know there are two such lessons taught in the schools.
As for a blow, the converting of this thrust without and below to it, is the most natural thing that can be formed against this guard, because here, a man has a plain and full down-right blow at the head and shoulders of his adversary, either head or shoulders, although the head should alwise be the most aimed at; and albeit this blow be indeed easie enof to defend by the adversary, yet if he fail in it, he may come to be not only disabled, but even to lose his life by it; especially if delivered by a good back-sword or sabre, rightly edged, and by a strong and vigorous man.
This is one of those down-right stroaks I so much recommended the practice of in the preceeding lesson; and if a single one take not effect, then it is to be redoubled, not once, but several times, according to the strength of the pursuer; but still with this caution, to take care to defend himself well form his adversary's riposte thrust or blows. And this is the oly true method of engaging for the preservation of one's life, either in a single engagement, or amongst a crowd in a battel; for it is nothing, but such re-iterated down-right blows accompanied sometimes with a smart plain thrust, that in such junctures a man is either to expect and fear himself, or to make his adversary apprehensive of, the other subtile, nice and diverting play with feints, crossings, binding, beating and enclosing, altho useful in single combat, being but of very little use to a man, either in a battel when he comes to closs fight, or when he happens to be accidently engaged in any rabble, where he is environed with a crowd. Therefore I recommend much the practice, both of the quick delivery, and defence of this kind of down-right or sloping blow downwards, to all who are concerned in the army, or who intend to be truly masters, of an useful battel with blows, whether offensive or defensive.
The third lesson, as I said, is a single feint without and below the sword, and becuase it is made upon the same site as the sword is presented, the motion of the feint is therefore made without disengaging by only making a lively motion with the sword hand, as if you intended to give home a plain thrust upon the same side, and immediately afterwards disengaging, and giving the thrust without and above the sword, by a little pressing upon, and forcing your adversary's sword, if needful, as in the second lesson, to make your thrust the more effectual.
For the blow, this thrust may be yet more conveniently and with greater ease and force, converted into a down-right stroak, than that in the preceeding lesson, because the motion of the feint upon the same side your sword is presented, adds more life and vigour to it, than if the blow were to be delivered simply without it; for here, I may say, the blow, as water does in a strong current, gathers strength in its motion, vim acquirit eundo; the motion of the feint sets the blow first a going, whereby it is discharged with more violence and force, than if it were delivered simply without any antecendent motion, such as that of the lively feint, made without and beneath the sword before disengaging.
So that I look upon this lesson from a single feint without and below the sword, to be absolutely the best a man can make use of upon this hanging guard; whichever of the two offences he designs, either blow ir thrust; only he is to take special care, that in the time he is making his feint, hsi adversary take not time upon him, by thrusting or striking at the same time he is a forming of his feint, which is the greatest hazard a man is expos'd to, not only in this lesson, but in all others which are preceeded by a feint: Therefore let this caution serve once and for all, where any kind of feints are designed.
And seeing I am upon feints, there is also another very good kind of blow, which may be performed thus: Make a slow feigned blow from right to left beneath your adversary's sword, towards his legs; this slow motion of a blow, will readily draw out and encourage your adversary to strike out upon that time; (and if he do it not the first time, give him a second and even third opportunity) which so soon as ever you percieve he takes, you are instantly to parie with the cross parade above your sword, as in Fig. 16 and give him a riposted blow either upon the out, or in-side of his thigh, leg or foot, which you please: This is a most useful kind of stroak for disabling the advanced leg, and very often takes, if cunningly gone about; as for the half-pass, enclosing, and commanding upon this lesson, they are to be perfomed as in the second lesson.
The fourth lesson is a single feint without and above the sword by disengaging, and then giving the thrust below the sword at the upper part of the belly, the sword hand in seconde, and sometimes also with the point low and the hilt high, the better to resist your adversary's parade: This thrust may also be converted into a half-pass, and enclosing or a commanding, as in the first lessson.
As for the blow wrom this lesson, the feint being made above the sword, the blow must be delivered towards the right thigh, leg or foot, upon the out-side, being performed after the same manner as in the first lesson, or as that immediately descirbed in the last paragraph of the third.
The fifth lesson is, a double feint, the first motion being made without and beneath the sword, or upon the same side your sword is presented; the secons without and above the sword, at the head or breast; and the third, which is the thrust, must be delivered without and below the sword, as in lesson first; and so are also the half-pass, enclosing and commanding, if a man shall resolve to make use of any of them from this lesson; to be performed as in the first.
For the blow, this lesson being a double feint, and the first motion being below the sword, makes that the blow also falls to be given beneath, as the thrust was, or at least upon the outside of the sword, whereby it will be but very weak; and therefore, I do not so much value it from this lesson as from the next: and by the way you are to remember, that the thrusts or blows of all double feints, terminate alwise upon the same side of the sword, upon which the first motion of the feint was made; whereas, the blows or thrusts of all single feints, terminate upon the opposite side to that whereupon the first motion of the feint was made, unless you finish your thrust or blow upon the same side you made your single feint, which altho not an ordinary lesson taught in the schools, yet is very surprising, and many times takes effect beyond expectation. This I judged fit to advertise you of, that thereby you may dispose of, and manage your feints to your greater advantage, when you resolve to follow that method of pursuit.
The sixth and last lesson I shall at present trouble you with, is another double feint, the first motion being made without and above the sword; the second, without and below the sword; and the thrust which is the third motion, given in, above, and without the sword, by forcing or pressing a little upon the adversary's sword, as in the second and third lessons, that it may take the more upon his body. This double feint is by far the best of the two double feints from this guard; and therefore, when a man designs a double feint, he should make much more frequently use of this than the preceeding, whose thrust terminates beneath the sword. The half-pass, enclosing and commanding may most safely be perfomed from this lesson, and are to be executed exactly as in the second or third lessons, to which, that I may prevent repetitions, I remit the reader.
As for the blow, there may be a very good and smart one drawn from it above the sword, and the upper parts of the body; and altho' it be not quite as strong as those from the secons or third lessons, because it proceeds from a double feint, yet if smartly and vigorously delivered, it will not only disable, but may, if rightly edged, and well planted or directed, especially to the head or neck, and also redoubled if need be, prove mortal.
Thus I have finished the few lessons I consider most proper for the pursuit, against any person who might take himself to this guard for his defence, wherein I have endeavoured for the reader's greater ease, to be as short as possible; and if he understands these six lessons or thrusts, together with the blows, half passes, enclosings and commandings, that are most readily drawn from them exactly in execution, upon this postition of his sword, from whence I have descirived them, to wit, when his sword is presented without and beneath his adversary's, and a little towards the adversary's left side; I say, if he be absolutely master of them from this position of the sword, he will by a little reflection easily apply them to any of the other three positions I before named, viz. When his sword is either above the sword towards his adversary's left side, of above and beneath it towards his adversary's right; those positions of his sword being drawn, as I have said, rather from the different ways he forms his parade when engaged, than from the natural posture of this guard upon first presenting his sword.
But altho a man may, by frequent practice, come to play the above mentioned lessons very exactly, either upon a master's breastplate, or upon a comrade; yet if he be not accustomed to assault, where he will meet with opposition and consequently have occasion to make use of his judgement, as well as of the practical part of his lessons, he may find himself difficulted, by reason of his not being instructed in the fundamentals, and chief circumstances which may occurr to him, not only in assaulting for his diversion, but expecially when engaged in an occasion for his life; therefore it will not be amiss, before I put a close to this chapter, to inform him a little as to this matter; and seing the engaging in good earnest with sharps, is the chief circumstance wherein a man can be concerned, and that if he knows how to acquit himself dextrously in it, he will easily do it for his diversion with blunts; therfore I shall tye myself only to this circumstance of being engaged with sharps for the life, and shall give no directions, but what I judge absolutely necessary for it; because in such a case, multiplicity of rules, as well as of lessons, do for the most part, in place of giving relief and assistance to one's judgement, rather embarass and confound it.
When a man comes to engage for his life, it must be either in a crowd, where he is surrounded with two, three or more, or in a single combate. If it be in a crowd, or closs fight in a battel, wither a-foot or on horeback; then he is to defend himself with the cross parade, as in Fig. 16. returning alwise from the riposte for his offence, wither smart blows, or plain thrusts, and going still after every thrust or stroak to the parade, if they continue to attack him; and these he is to redouble, and continue at, so long as his strength will allow him, until he either make way for himself, or get relief from those of his party who are to secind him: Any other lessons belonging to the sword, and which might be of great use in a single combat, such as feints, beating, securing of the sword, half-passes, enclosing and commanding, being of littlw or no use at all in such closs engagements amongst a crowd; because, when a vigorous and brisk officer, hath perhaps disabled, or run one enemy thorow, and is actually commanding of another; there steps in a third, who endeavours to knock him on the head, or cleave him down; for, Ne Hercules quidem contra multos. Therefore, in such an unequal engagement, there is no other course to be taken by a brave man, who is resolved to stand to it to the very last, but to discharge incessantly plain thrusts or blows as smartly and quickly as he can, taking care at the same time, to recieve or defend his adversary's stroaks, as much as he possibly can, upon the blade of his sword, with the abovementioned cross parade.
And seeing, armour is now a-days much out of fashion, amongst officers as well as soldiers; it were in this case most reasonable, as well as it would be advantageous and convenient, that officers at least, should be alwise provided with good long gauntlets, sword proof for their left hands, which would not in the least embarass or incommode them when engaged; but upon the contrary, prove a great relief and assistance to them, for their better defence; for with a good sheerign sword, or sabre with a closs hilt, in one hand, and a long gauntlet sword-proof upon the other, which will reach near to the elbow; and agile, and sharp or quick fighted vigorous man, may come to defend two or three blows, at one and the very same time; that it, at least one upon his gauntlet or armed left hand or arm, by throwing it up to recieve the blow; and another with the sword, if not two, viz. one upon its blade, and the other upon its closs or shell hilt; (the only proper hilts for swords of battel) and which defence will be, as I said, a very great advantage to any man as well soldier as officer, when he shall be in a closs engagement, where the frequently come to sharp and bloody stroaks. Therefore I cannot but recommend it, and wish, that this providing of officers and soldiers, both horse and foot, with good long gauntlets sword-proof, for their left hands, (and which except in time of action, ought to be hung at their sword belts, for the less incommoding them when marching) may be taken into consideration, by such of the government as are more nearly concerned, not only in the providing of the army, with what is needful for offending, but also with what is necessary, as well for the defence and preservation of their lives, as for the support and subsistence of their persons: For indeed, the dextrous use of the left hand is of such use, not only in a crowd, but even in a single combat, notwithstanding of the gross and unaccountable neglect of it of late, amongst the generality of the professors of the art of defence, that I cannot enof recommend it. So much in short, for the behaviour of any man upon this hanging guard in seconde, when he shall come to be engaged, either in a closs fight in a field battel in time of war, or amongst a crowd in a town rabble, in time of peace.
But if a man shall be so misfortunate, as to be engaged in a single combat a-foot (because for his behaviour a horse-back, I referr him to what I have said upon that head, in article 19 page 127.) then, it must be with either an artist or an ignorant; but with which of them soever he be to engage, he will find their constitution or temper, in the time of their first engagement, to prove one of the four following.
FIRST, they will either advance, and come on precipitantly, with an irregular, violent, and furious pursuit. Or,
SECONDLY, keep themselves almost fixt in one place, without either much advancing or retiring. Or,
THIRDLY, constantly retire, and give much back. Or,
FOURTHLY, have a mixture of all three, that is, sometimes stand fixt, and at other times advance and retire. And this last and mixt method of play or temper, is what I have added myself; the three first being indeed mentioned by Monsieur de Liancour in his French book of fencing, page 36. but this last by no author that I know of, altho to my own knowledge, it be a humour, which a man will more frequently meet with in a earnest engagement, than with any of the other three; and therefore, I cannot comprehend why so great a master shouls have quite omitted it; for it is certain, he could not be ignorant of it: However, whatever might have been his reasons for omitting it, he conceals them, because he speaks not one syllable of it in his entire book; altho it be as I said, a temper whereof there are a great many more persons to be found, than of any of the other three. I shall therefore give a very few, but good instructions, for a mans better behaving of himself, against each of these four different tempers; that so my reader may not be too much difficulted, when he shall be so unhappy, as to be engaged in earnest against any of them.
When a man then, shall be engaged against any of these four different tempers I have named, he must certainly become one of two; that is, either the defender or the pursuer.
If he become the defender, then I need only remit him to the preceeding chapter, where I have fully discoursed, not only of the different methods of opposing the adversary's sword at first engaging, but also of the defences belonging to this guard, when it shall be attacked, either from the same posture, or from any of the common guards in quarte or tierce; because all that I could here further add, would prove in a manner but a repetition, of what I have distinctly and fully set down there.
However, by a man's taking himself to the defnsive part, and becoming wholly the defender, I do not here mean, that he should wholly, or altogether tye himself up to it; for that were a ready way to encourage his adversary to pursue him the more furiously: and therefore, what I am to advise him, and which is indeed the only true play at sharps, is a middle play betwixt the two extremes, that is, betwixt the tying or binding up of himself only to the parade and thrusts from the riposte; and the wholly abandoning himself to looseness of a violent and inconsiderate pursuit, without in the lease offering any defence at all: This last, being only to be made use of by hardy andforward ignorants, who being destitiute of art, are in a manner necessiatate to it, because they can do no better; and the former not to be ventur'd upon, but by the greatest, most expert, and dextrous sword-men.And this middle kind of play is the lively counterfieting of a true pursuit, by making brisk and lively offensive motions upon his adversary, as if he really intended to thrust at and wound him, and then either converting this half-pursuit, into a true one, by really giving home the thrusts or blows, and otherwise attacking him according to the particular offensive lessons before set down; or otherwise, when he finds that his adversary will force home a pursuit against him, actually to endeavour to parie him, assisting his parade at the same time with the help of the left hand, and a moderate breaking of measure, until the flash of his adversary's pursuit be over, and then take him from the riposte; whereby he will himself become the pursuer off the back of his own defence, which will discover him to be a great master of the art; this being indeed the only true play sword-in-hand, for any man who hath come such a length in the art, as that he can with a good deal of assurance make use of it. This is all that is needful for any man to observe, when he shall take himself mostly to the defensive part against any adversary whatsoever; but especially against those of the first, or rambling temper; for which, to prevent repetitions, it shall at present serve, (together with what I have said in page 72. and 73.) for sufficient instruction or direction against them. Therefore, the reader is intreated to mark it, there being indeed contained here, a great deal of art and judgement, in what we call sure and wary fencing, in a very few lines.
And I cannot but in this place take notice, how inconsistent the above mentioned Monsieur de Liancour is with himself, when he is giving directions anent a man's behaviour against this rash, and precipitantly forward temper, which alwise advances. For there, page 41. of the Amsterdam edition, anno 1692, he advises a man to thrust for the most part, alwise out at a venture, upon such an adversary's pursuit, without so much as ever offering first to go to the sword, or to parie; which is a very strange advice for so great a master, and much the same as if he should have said,
Whenever any man pursues you violently and irregularly, abandon quite your art, and relying meerly upon chance, thrust smartly out upon him;which is a ventorious, and I may say, so foolhardy a practice, that notwithstanding of its sometimes succeeding, I altogether condemn in any artist, unless, as I have said elsewhere, page 113. and 114. to which I refer the reader, he be driven beyond the bounds and limits of all art, so that it can be no more serviceable to him, which is what can scarecely fall out: And if Monsieur de Liancour and confined this direction of alwise thrusting out, only to this difficult juncture I have named, then I shoud willingly have agreed with him. But seeing he makes this thrusting out (and which is indeed a kind of thrusting upon time) his chief, and I may say only, contrary to this forward and rambling temper, I cannot but dissent from him by disapproving of it; and the rather because. in the very same book, Chap. 6. when he is discoursing of time, and the method of seasonably taking it, he wholly disapproves of the practice of it, especially at sharps, and advises in place of it, a good firm parade, accompanied with a dry beat, or batement sec as he calls it, which is indeed spoke like a true sword man and a judicious master; and wherein I heartily go along and concur with him; but not at all in this ventorious thrusting out at random, which is not only contrary to all true art, but even against all sound reason.
I could not well forbear making this observation, lest this imperfect or by-direction, if I may so term it, of Mr. De Liancour, should have greater influence upon some young persons, who may peruse his book, that really it ought: for that I may endeavour to reconcile a little these two so opposite directions, he n my opinion, certainly gives his won true sentiment on the matter, in the above cited sixth chapter, where he discourses of time; and his only omission and escape lyes, in the not applying this direction of thrusting out at random against this forward temper, to the true circumstance wherein it ought only to be ventured upon, which is when a man's adversary is only advancing, but not re-doubling of his thrusts at the very same time he is advancing, or as I said, when a man is reduced to the last extremity, and can do no better, and is therefore resolved to hazard all upon a fortuitous thrust; because it is not probable that so great a master, and so judicious in many other points, could commit such a blunder, as generally to advise a ventorious thrusting out at random, which is so contrary to the fundamentals of all true and solid art, uless it had been with respect to the extraordinary circumstance I have named, and expecially when he so much condemns it in the middle of his book, where he seriously discoursed of the dangerous nature and method of taking time: Besides that there is a very great difference, betwixt a man's thrusting out upon one who is advancing briskly upon him, without thrusting at the samw time; and upon another, who in the time of his brisk advancing is alwise redoubling of thrusts: A good sword man may sometimes venture upon the first, because it is a good time, (which is all Mr. De Liancour certainly meant.) But this last is not to be ventured upon, but as I said, in the very last extremity; and even then it ought to be accompanied as wellas the former with the help of the left hand. May this serve then at present for Mr. De Liancour's vindication, and to remove that seeming contradiction or inconsistency, which at first view he appears to be guilty of in his above mentioned book, which for instructing a man in the common method of fencing, is indeed a very good one.
And seeing I have been giving directions against this forst or forward humour, wherein the use of the left hand is of singular use, as well as breaking of measure; I find myself in a manner obliged to obviate an objection, which is of so much the greater consequence, as it is levelled against the whole art. And it is this:
Of what avail or use is your glorious and noble art of defence, say some, when we see by your own confession, that all art with the sword alone, without the assistance of your left hand, is not capable to defend you; so that remove but that, and we shall very quickly make you sensible, that in a sudden and earnest attack, a vigorous ignorant of this first constitution, with his violent and furious pursuit, will render your art so insignificant and ineffectual, that any bystander shall have difficulty to determine, which of the two, art or ignorance, have the advantage, and are most in such a juncture to be valued and esteemed.To which I briefly answer, in vindication of the true art of defence, that if a good and dextrous sword-man have no other design but the defence of his own person, and not the destruction of his adversary's also, that then his sword alone, assisted by a judicious breaking of measure, is (I will not say infallibly, because there is no such thing to be found in any practice amongst us poor mortals, but so far only as human nature is capable of) sufficient to defend him: but again, if he desire to offend as well as defend, then there is an absolute necessity to make use of his left hand for his assistance; otherwise his adversary, continually redoubling his thrusts irregularly and with vigour upon him, he shall almost never have the opportunity of thrusting, his sword being in a manner wholly taken up with the parade, by endeavouring to make good his defence; for it very rarely falls out, except when humour'd by a master, in taking a school lesson, that a sword can both parie and thrust at one and the same time, altho it may sometimes, tho then mostly also by chance.
So that it is plain, and obvious to every considering person, that it is not so much for an absolute necessary assistance to the sword in a man's own defence, that the use of the left hand is so much recommended by me, as to put a check and stop to the furious pursuit of the ignorant, who is very sensible that so long as he redoubles swiftly, it is not almost in the power of his adversary to thrust safely; nay not even from the riposte, without running the hazard of receiving either a contre-temps thrust, or perhaps one, before he can recover from his riposted thrust. And it is upon this account, that the breaking of measure against such rude and irregular ramblers, has alwise been esteemed, when the left hand was not to be used, a most reasonable, as well as most artificial, and judicious contrary, and which is still more & more strengthened by a dextrous use of the left hand, expecially in all engagements, wherein a man's life is at stake: of which breaking of measure see what I have said, under its proper article, page 12.
Let this serve at present as a sufficent anser to this seemingly great, but indeed very common and trifling objection against the art of defence, its being unsufficient with the sword alone, to furnish a compleat sword man with a reasonably perfect defence against the the furiously quick and irregular pursuits, of the most head-strong and desperate ramblers; I say, when the sword-man desires only his own defence, and not the death of his adversary; for here lyes the distinction and strength of my answer.
And indeed were I not fully convinced, that in this case, the art is aboundantly sufficient to furnish a man with a certain defence for his person, with the sword alone; that is, such certainty as we frail creatures are capable of: I should be much in the wrong, not only to have spent so much time, I may say, in vain and idly writing of it; but to recommend the practice of so useless and exercise, with so much zeal and earnestness to my fellow countrymen, as I have all along done; and therefore I hope, and expect that this will encourage them; that as I doubt it not in the lease myself, so I dare promise, that if I punctually follow the directions I have given them in this new method, they shall by their experience confirm my sentiment, if ever they shall have to do in good earnest with any of this forward, or rather furious and desperate temper.
Neither will it be amiss, that I take notice by the way, and here acquaint my reader, if an artist, that as ignorants rack their invention to make objections against the art, whereby they may, if possible, render it contemptible to such who being as ignorant as themselves, can therefore know nothing of the matter; so the most part of artists, and even very good sword-men, start difficulties to themselves, when they come to engage against such ignorants, and fancy that they can do far greater feats against them by their rambling, than really they can, which is the chief reason of their often succeeding so ill against them; whereas if they look'd upon them as really such, that is, as wholly ignorants in the art, and with a little more disdain and contempt than commonly they do, and did not also expect something more of a judicious opposition, and pursuit from them, than it is possible for such mal-adroits to put into execution; they would find their art answer better than their expectation; ignorants oftener and more frequently baffled by them; and consequently the true art of defence had in that esteem by all honourable and judicious persons, as it most justly ought, and even to a very kind of demonstration deserves. But if this advice be neglected, or no better observed, than I am afraid a great many other very good ones, I have given all along in this treatise, shall be; then it is to be feared, neither will be any great wonder, if many sword-men have not only the like bad success, against such rude and forward ignorant ramblers as formerly; but also that they be disregarded, and had in no esteem by the generality of people as to their skill; and in the art itself likewise, as much undervalued and condemned as ever.
But if a man be necessitate to become the pursuer, then he will certainly find his adversary, of one of the other three remaining constitutions or tempers I before named. If of the second, fixt or slothful temper; then he will have little else to do, but in a manner to divert himself, and by making his adverary feel some of his gentlest thrusts, as described in the foregoing lessons, make him sensible of how much he is master of him; taking alwise care however, as he is giving home of his thrusts, to prevent the being catcht upon time, or receiving a thrust from the riposte, or an exchanged one before the recovery of his own body; against all which the dextrous use of the left hand will not be a small preventitive.
Again, if it be against the third, or timorous temper which for the most part retires, and gives back; than as his adversary retires, he is still to advance upon him with the single step, until within distance, and then to make use of any of the preceeding lessons, as he shall judge fit; not neglecting to redouble them by gathering up his left foot, if his adversary shall break his measure a little as his is thrusting: and if his adversary still give more ground, and confusedly, then he is to renew his advancing again upon him, until within distance for thrusting, and thus to continue it, so long as he judges it convenient and safe for him to prosecute his pursuit. But then the former direction to prevent either being surprised upon time, an exchanged thrust, or one from the riposte, is no less ot be observed against the retireing or cowardly temper, than against the immovable one.
But lastly, if it shall be against a person of the fourth humour or temper, that you shall be engaged, that is, who makes use of a mixt play, by sometimes advancing, or taking the pursuit, and immediately again, wither keeping himself firm in one place, or aotheriwse giving a little way by a moderate breaking of measure, then it is very probable, that such an adversary is no ignorant, but understands a little by art, what he is going about; wupon which account you are to look upon him as such, and be a little more circumspect than against any of the other three; because here you are to expect more cunning than from any of the other and that he will answer you according to the rules of art: Therefore you are to play upon him, what of the foregoing offensive lessons you shall judge will take most effect; performing them alwise calmly and with judgement: And indeed, this humour I look upon to be the most dangerous, tho not the most troublesome or rambling of the four, because it is commonly accompanied by art, whereasthe other three are not; and therefore I will give two or three very good general directions against it.
The first respects a man's adversary, and it is this, that, if possible, before engaging, you look him boldly and steadfastly in the face, to observe what knid of frame he is in at that time: A man who is little accustomed to it, will draw indifferent sure observations from his adversary's countenance and deportment, when he is first going to engage, as whether his pursuit will be violent or slack; for as one very well says, profecto in oculis animus habitat; the eyes are certainly the mirrors or looking-glasses of the mind, and a great deal of a man's inward disposition, may by a judicious observation be drawn from them, to a sword-man's great advantage, not only before, but when a man can do no better, even at first engaging, as well as in the very time of it.
The second respects a man's self, which is, that in every engagement, whether he resolve to be pursuer or defender, particularly the pursuer, he not only put on a boldness or briskness in his looks, whereby he may in some measure quell or temper his adversary's forwardness; but also whatever lesson or pursuit he is once resolved to make use of, he go cleverly thorow with it, without the least hankering or hesitation, whereby it will commonly be accompanied with a greater success, than if he should perform it with a kind of lashness and faintly. For, according to the proverb, as faint heart never gained a fair lady; so a faint hearted sword-man will never make a good one. Besides, that it is frequently observable, that there is a kind of success or good luck, which attends magnanimity and a courageous boldness.
So that in this case, a stout sword-man who is resolved upon the pursuit, should act as a good general who is to give battel, who before he engages, endeavours to forsee all difficulties and dangers, but in fighting oversees them; that by his good and brave example, he may the more encourage and embolden his soldiers to do the like, even so a judicious and skilful sword-man ought to endeavour before he begin his pursuit, to forsee what contraries his adversary may probably use against it; but when once he is engaged in it, he should oversee them, that is, not in the least heseitite or be discouraged by them, but go boldly thorow with it, as if there were no such difficulties or hazards in his way to oppose him. These two general directions being of such great use to sword men when in an occasion, especially when engaged against others, who are as great artists as themselves, I could not well pass them over; I shall therefore conclude them with my Three Great Fundamentals, whereupon I erected the Sword-Man's Vade Mecum, which are CALMNESS, VIGOUR, and JUDGEMENT; and shall give you in a few lines the abstract of it, which as a precious and useful preservative against a sudden attack with sharps, you are alwise to carry about with you in your memory, tht so it may constantly be in a readiness to assist you upon a pinch, when perhaps your honour of life is at stake. Therefore,
With Calmness, Vigour and Judgement,
- The guard in Seconde with a sloping point.
- A good crossing parade assisted with the left hand.
- A brisk half-pursuit, until you make a true and full one.
- Plain & easie offensive lessons, briskly perfomed; and alwise opposing the left hand, to prevent a contre-temps, an exchanged thrust; or one from the riposte.
- A moderate and judicious breaking of measure, until the violence and fury of your adversary's pursuit be over; when you find that he will force a pursuit upon you.
- Being decoy'd or decieved by feints, as much as possible.
- Being catcht upon time, when advancing to thrust.
- Being without distance when thrusting.
- Resting upon a thrust, after it is delivered.
- A contre-temps, exchanged thrust, or one from the riposte, by making seasonably use of the left hand, as either you yourself, or your adversary shall thrust.
These few lines I do confidently affirm, contain the very marrow and substance of the whole art of the sword; and are the ABSTRACT of a little book I formerly writ, intitled The Sword-Man's Vade Mecum; a very just and apposite title indeed! For it is such an excellent Vade-mecum, that no man who pretends to be anything of a true sword-man, but ought to have its abstract so fixt in his memory, and so ready upon the drawing of his sword; that the practice of the few excellent directions contained in it, should flow from him not only readily and with the least difficulty and constraint, but also, with that unaffected (or rather if I may so word it) A la Negligence Grace, and ease, as if they were wholly natural to him.
May therefore the reader fix it well in his memory, and let him depend upon my word for it, that the closser he keep to it upon an occasion, the more it will conduce to his preservation and safety; and the oftener he practices it, the more & more he will discover of itsworth and excellency, and be sensible and acknowledge, that all I have said, in its behalf and commendation, with respect to its usefulness and security, falls very short of what it really deserves.
And thy Just Precepts practise with these Three*;
Needs no Man's Point, or Edged Sabre fear;
Since by Thee, from all Danger he's secure.
Weigh well this Chapter then, who wou'd have Art;
It, and Preceeding, ought to get by Heart.
For in them Two, is compendized All
A Sword-Man needs to know, of Broad or Small.
*(Calmness, Vigour and Judgement)
However, that I may somewhat gratify my young curious reader, and remove a little of that itch, which is commonly excited by a kind of curiosity, that attends almost all young people, when they incline to improve themselves in the art of the sword; and who are many times surprisingly taken, with the seeming great names given frequently by masters to some of the lessons in the ordinary method, whereby they imagine, that there is somewhat of a secret mystery in the art, more than really there is; I shall here, although it be althogether beyond what I at first intended, make a kind of abstract of the common lessons of the ordinary method, that young gentlemen may not be hereafter imposed upon, or amused by outlandish and apparently great names, to make them imagine that there is something more mysterious in the lessons of the art than really there is; and which I am hopeful, will render this essay so much the more compleat, that it contains not only my new method of fencing, but in a manner, the substance of what I writ of the common method, in the other three pieces I formerly published upon the same subject; to wit, The Scots Fencing Master, The Sword-Man's Vade Mecum and The Fencing Master's Advice to his Scholar; so that without being at the trouble, of enquiring after any of these, to be informed in the ordinary method; he needs only peruse this, where in the foregoing explications of the terms of art, Chap. 4. and particularly in this and the preceeding chapter, he will find all that is material in them, or needful for him to know, with relation to both this new method and the old.
When a young country gentleman comes to town, and steps into a fencing school, and hears a master desire his scholar to play feint a la teste, botte coupe, flacanade, under counter; or to dequarte and volt; he is amazed these terms, and is perswaded that there is a kind of conjuring magick in the art; and that the understanding but only to play these lessons upon the master's breast-plate, is enof in all conscience to make him a good sword-man, and by a kind of enchantment, cause him to overcome and master, all persons he shall thereafter engage with; when at the same time the lessons to which such specious and hard seeming names are given, are nothing else but the directing of the feint or thrust, to such and such a particular part of the body. For example,
A thrust or feint en dedans, is nothing but a plain thrust or feint within the sword; as en dehors is without the sword.
Feint a la teste, is only when the feint is made at the head, and when it is made more directly to the eyes, it is called aux yeux; but when made towards the lower parts of the body, is termed by the French, feinte basse; and so are all other feints denominate, according to the parts of the body towards which they are directed; as to the shoulders, sides, thighs, legs, feet, &c.
For, all feints must be made, wither upon the length or breadth of the body' ; and as I before said, p.99, a man may form as many different kinds of them, as there are particular members in the body; but because that would make but confusion, therefore masters have thought fit, and with a great deal of reason, to reduce them to a competent number, which may answer the chief parts of the body, either from head to foot upon its length, or from right to left upon its breadth,a list of which I have set down in Chap. 4. Article 13.
Botte coupe, is a feint again upon the breadth of the body towards the left side, as the former are upon the length of it; see the abovementioned article. This much for feints, which are performed, without in the least offering to engage, or secure the adversary's sword, before making them.
Again there are other feints, which are preceeded by a kind of securing of the sword, such as that from batterie, see page 117, and from binding, see page ibid. which is the most secure of any.
Next to feints, there are lessons in which a man engages, and in some measure, secures his adversary's sword, before performing them, such as flacanade, wherein, aftercrossing or overlapping the adversary's sword, the thrust is directed towards his right flank, from whence it hath its name; and under counter, which is also an overlapping and raising of the adversary's sword, the hand mean time tuning to seconde, until you make an open beneath the sword, whereat you may give in the thrust at the slott of his breast, or a little below it, whence it is called under counter; and likewise, altho all the other thrusts preceeded by a dry beat, or binding, or the adversary's sword with a kind of springing cross; and which is indeed, as I have often said, the only play at sharps for a man's life. See Chap. 4. Article 17.
Again there are lessons, which are chiefly for diversion in school play, and to show a man's address and agility of body, such as taking of time, dequarting, or dequarting and volting immediately after other, see page 104, and 110.
Lastly, there are passes for school play, half passes, enclosings and commandings, which are not only useful for diversion, but also at sharps; expecially from this new guard in seconde: for all which, to avoid repetitions, see Chap. 4. under their respective articles. This much for the lessons offensive.
Again, for the defensive part; there are the parades in tierce, quarte and seconde, which are nothing else but the position of the sword hand in one of the four quarters of circle when it is parieing, see page 55. and signifies not a farthing for the rendering of a man's parade more certain; that consisting wholly, in the good cross he makes upon his adversary's sword, (whatever position his sword hand is in) and not in the particular positons of tierce, quarte or seconde; altho I do not deny, but in some singular cases, a certain position of the hand in tierce, may be more proper than if it were in quarte or seconde; as at another time that of a quarte may be more proper than those of the other two; which by a little practice, a man will quickly discover of himself: And likewise, the contre caveating parade is so denominate by me, because it is the only true contrary to caveating, slipping or disengaging; and consequently admirable against all kind of feints whatsoever.
This is a short abbreviate of those lesson in the common method, which appear so mysterious to young gentlemen when they first set about fencing; and which I have in a manner but just named; that when other novices shall hereafter hear them mentioned, they may not be likewise amused or surprised with them, as if there were no such lessons in this new method like unto these, becuse I only name and denominate them according to the part of the body upon which they ought to be played, and not according to the nice or outlandish terms, whether French or Italian, whose sound alone, is enof to make them pass with some people for something mysterious, and even so charming and magical, as not to be refuted or defended, when they come in good earnest to make use of them.
For in two words, and without derogating the foregoing excellent abstract; the whole useful art of the sword, without making any mystery of it, or giving particular names to parades, lessons or thrusts, consists in this.
FIRST, to make or form alwise a good cross upon your adversry's sword for your defence, whether he be either thrusting or striking. And
SECONDLY, never to thrust, or strike yourself, but when you are within distance of your adversary, and when you have a view, sight or open for it; and when you have none, then you are either to procure one yourself, by feints, or compel and force him to make one, by beating, binding, or pressing his sword so out of the line of the secured part, as that you have the opportunity by a good open, wither to thrust or strike at him as you please.
When you can perform these, that is PARIE and THRUST dextrously and judiciously, and with a kind of assurance our courage; for this is the life and soul of fencing; then you will really deserve the name of a true and compleat sword-man, altho you should not know the proper name of any one parade or lesson, contained in the whole common school method.
Thus I have put a close to this chapter, which with the first and fifth, contain the whole of this new method of fencing, and also a great deal of the practice from the common; so that if a man fix them well in his memory, and understand my directions, that is, not only with his judgement, but also by frequently praticing them; I dare venture to promise him, a more than ordinary success in his defence, against all single weapons whatsoever, however way he may be engaged, whether in a single combat, or in a closs engaged battel; so that for both the needful theory and practice of the whole art, he needs not, except out of meer curiosity, trouble himself with any other book upon this subject; but only endeavour to put its directions exactly in execution, when he shall be necessitate to use them. I shall now proceed to those principles relating to the art, which I at first promised, and wereupon, in my opinion, all true art with respect to secure fencing, ougt to be founded.