The compleat fencing-master in which is fully described the whole guards, parades & lessons belonging to the small-sword : as also the best rules for playing against either artists or ignorants with blunts or sharps : together with directions how to behave in a single combat on horse-back : illustrated with figures representing the most necessary postures
Hope, William, Sir.
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CHAP. VI. General Rules to be observed, when a Man is playing either with Blunts or Sharps, against those who understand this Art, or against those who are altogether Ignorant of it.


I shall, and I must advertise you, that all that I have shewn you will signifie but just nothing, if you do not exactlie both remember, and put in practice the Rules which I am going to shew you, for as I told you in the Epistle to the Reader, that what I was to shew you in this Treatise was the Quintessence of this art, so I assure you that what I am now going to shew you is in effect the Quintessence not only of this Treatise, but Page  [unnumbered]Page  [unnumbered]

Plat ii

For pag i36
Fig i

One keeping the quart guard wt a sloping point see pag: i08
Fig 2

One keeping the fifth kind of guard which hath no proper name see pag: iii
Page  137of what can be practised by the Small-sword, therefore you would do well to take good notice, and resolve never either to present Flurret, or Sword, without having all thir Rules in your memory at once, and if you do it, you will both reap the advantage your self, and deserve the name of an un∣derstanding sword Man, of whom (to my great regrate) there are but few in this King∣dom, but I hope as wee improve in other things, so wee will improve in this Noble Art.


Sir I shall to the outmost of my power en∣deavour to observe them all, seing you say they are of so great importance.


I earnestlie entreat you for your own good that you would do so, they are those which follow.

In the First place then,* whither you be to play with Blunts, or Sharps, endeavour as much as you can to play Calmly, and without pasion, or anger, for besides that it appears to bystanders very unhandsome, it also disordereth your self, and for my part I would scarcely desire a greater advan∣tage of a man, then when I am playing with him that he should be passionat, for it putteth him quit from using any kind of Art; but you must not mistake Vigorous and BriskPage  138playing for Passionate playing, I assure you there is a vast difference betwixt them for a Passionate man can hardlie ever be a good Sword-Man, and upon the contrary, a Man can hardlie ever be a good Sword-Man, with∣out playing Vigorously, and Briskly, this is a great property in a Sword-Man, the other a great imperfection, and therefore I shall end this Rule with that saying of Seneca when he speaketh of anger, and it is a very true one, I shall therefore here give you it verbatim, The Hunts man is not angry with the wilde Boar, when he either pursues, or receives him; a good sword Man watches his opportunity, and keeps himself upon his Guard, whereas Passion layes a Man open: nay, (sayeth he) it is one of the prime Lessons in a Fencing School to learn not to be angry. And certainly without any manner of doubt, it is one of the dis∣advantagiousest faults that a Sword-Man can be guiltie of: Therefore you would do well to guard against it, as much as pos∣sible.

Secondly,* Remember alwayes to keep your sword fast and firm in your hand, after you have presented it, but not so as to weary it. Thirdly, What ever Guard you stand to, keep as thin a body as possible, * & the nearer you can (without constraining your self) sink Page  139to the ground, so much the better.

Fourthly,* Always when you give in a thrust within the sword, give it with your nails in Quart, and when without the sword, then with your nails in Terce, except when you play the Double Feint at the Head, and Flancanade, for in the first you must give your thrust with∣out the sword, with your nails in Quart, and in the other you must give it with your nails looking side-wayes, see Plate 6, Fig. 2: the Quarting of your Head, and holding your hand in Quart, when you thrust within the sword, and the holding your hand in Terce, and your head from your Adversaries sword, when you thrust without the sword, preserveth you from your Adversaries Con∣tre-temps thrusts.

Fifthly,* When you give in a thrust either without the sword, or within, thrust al∣ways closs by the Feible of your Adversaries sword, this is most proper when you give in a plain thrust, or make an Ordinar single or double Feint; and when you thrust by any means keep a closs left Foot, and a stretched hough, which will hinder you to fall a∣mongst your Adversaries feet, and also help you to recover your self the quicklyer; which you must not neglect to do instantly after every thrust, by first drawing back of Page  140your right foot a little when you are at your full Elonge, and going to your Adversaries sword both at one time, and either Beat, or Bind it, which will preserve you from his thrust upon the Respost or back of his Parade; For not observing of this fifth Rule many a Man getteth a thrust, which otherwise he would have shuned, therefore mind it well.

Sixthly,* The first thing you are ordinarly to do after you have presented your Sword, is to Secure your Adversaries by Binding of it, which if it be neatly done as it should, will infallibly cross all his designes, and hinder the violentness of his pursuit.

Seventhly,* Never let your Adversarie secure your sword, if you can by any means hinder him, which is done by alwayes Slipping of him, and Dis-engaging with his sword.

Eighthly,* Never answer a Feint unless you do it upon some designe.

Ninthly,* Play with Hand and Foot together, when you are either Falsifying, Binding, or Stricking your Adversaries Sword, especial∣ly when you are playing with Ignorants, for the Motion you make with your Foot in a manner surpriseth them, and maketh them answer your Feints the better, which nevertheless they should by no means doe, Page  141for when a Man answereth Feints, it is a great token of his ignorance.

Tenthly, * Parie most frequently with the Con∣tre-caveating Parade, for by so doing you will cross all your Adversaries designs.

Eleventhly,* when you are playing, look always to your Adversaries Hilt, and never to his Eye, for by looking to his Hilt you may perceive where he intends to give his thrust, which you cannot so easily doe, when you look to his Eye.

Twelfthly,* Before you play home any Lesson on your Adversary, endeavour first to sift and find him out, by trying him with Feints, or any other Lesson you think fit, but offer not to play them home upon him, untill by sifting of him, you find out whither or not they will have effect; and have a spe∣cial care that when you are trying him with these Lessons he take not time upon you.

Thirteenthly, When you are playing, * you re to judge both your own, and your Ad∣versaries measure exactly, this is a chief Rule to be observed by any Sword Man, for the breaking of Measure Parieth more thrusts then the Parade doth, and sheweth more of Art.

Fourtheenthly,* When you intend to make any kind of Pass, go quite by, or closs Page  142to your Adversarie, according as your de∣sign is, and do not as some who stopp in the very middle of their Passe, because they did not take exactlie the Right time upon their Adversarie, for by so doing, they put themselves in a great deal of more hazard, then if they went quite forward with it.

Fifthteenthly,* Never offer to give home a Thrust unless you find a fit opportunitie for I assure you, the plainest Thrust you ca give, in some manner disordereth you body, and therefore you should not thru in vain, but wait untill your Adversari give you that opportunity.

Sixthteenthly.* If your Adversarie Break you Measure, then Redouble upon him, this R∣doubling is most to be practised with Blunts although you may sometimes of necessity be forced to make use of it with Sharps,* bu I am for as little making use of it then a possible, because a man disordereth him∣self in doing of it too often.

When you have occasion t make use of Sharps, observe all the for going Rules, in so far as they are no contradictorie to these I am going to she you, but where you find them not agree thu observe those which follow, I say Page  143you are to make use of Sharps.

First,* When you play with Sharps make not your Elonge too long, for fear of your feet slipping, which may put your life in hazard:

Secondly,* In playing with Sharps play not too difficult Lessons, for they dis∣order your body, and serve most to shew 〈◊〉 Mans art when he is playing with Blunts, but they are not proper to be made use of when Men are playing with Sharps; There∣fore make most ordinary use of a single Thrust, and Binding, together with the Con∣re-caveating-Parade, or if you have the Pa∣ade exactlie, you may take your self to the Defensive part, and Pursue upon the Res∣post, which is also a most secure kind of playing, if a Man be exactlie master of the Parade, but not otherwise; Now this play, and no other kind of play but this, can be cal∣led the secure play of the Smal sword, therefore mark it well.

Thirdly, In playing with sharps,* keep as streight a point towards your Adversarie as possible, with a stretched arm, but be sure to keep your point dis-engaged and al∣wayes moving, that so you may hinder his securing of it; if you observe this Rule well, you will find a great advantage by it.

Page  144

Fourthly,* In playing with Sharps, have alwayes your left hand in readinesss to put by your Adversaries scattering, or Contre-temps Thrusts; if you make use of your left hand with Judgement, you will also find a great advantage in it, but trust not all to it, for it is only to be used as a help to your sword.

Fifthly,* When you are playing with sharpes, be not too desirous of giving many Thrusts upon the back one of another, without recovering of your body, and Jumping out of your Adversaries Measure, but rather be satisfied with the giving of one wound, although it should be neve so slight, and immediatly jump out of your Adversaries Measure, which will preserve you mightily from his Thrusts upon the Respost.

Sixthly,* In playing with Sharps, if your Adversarie chance to Command your sword, delay not the delivering of it, unless you think you may graple with him without being in hazard of your life, but rather yeild it to him and come in his Mercy, for you can expect no good but rather evil by the delaying of it, as many one to their sad experience have found, for there is no stoutness, but rather rashneis Page  145and folly, in struggling for your sword, when you know your Adversary is ma∣ster of it, and so consequentlie of you. Therefore I advice you as a Friend, to fol∣low my advice, seing it is no disparage∣ment to any man, to deliver his sword, after his Adversarie hath commanded it. For there is no man invincible, and al∣though we must, and doe use the means, yet it is Providence that ruleth all. Now the reason why I give you this Advice, is because there is almost no Sword-Man, that will after he hath Commanded your Sword, stand and de∣bate the matter with you anent the delivering of it, but he will instantly after the Commanding of it, if you quite not with it, give you a Thrust, and the reason of it is, because by his delaying, he may loose his advantage, and you may, if you be very quick, and nimble, graple and come in equal terms with him, therefore people ordinarly, for fear of runing that hazard, after they have got the advantage immediatly after their securing of the sword if it be not instantly delivered to them, they give the Thrust, and therefore, that you may not run this risk if it should happen that your sword should be Commanded, I have given you this foregoing Advice, which Page  146seemeth to me not altogether impertinent although to others it may.

But if you are to play against Ignorants, then you must know, that there are only Two Humours of them, the First is a foreward Humour,* and that you will easily find out, at your very first ingaging with him, for he will immediately run full upon you, alwayes Thrusting irregularly, and not caring whither you hitt him or not, provid∣ing that he can but give you thrust for thrust Contre-temps wayes, this first Humour in Ignorants is most crossing; The second is of an Humour not so foreward, and therefore not so troublesome, for his design will be to let you pursue him, and when you give in a thrust, he will receive it, when he can do no better, and endeavour in the mean time to give you a Contre-temps. You see both their Humours have one and the same design, but to put their designes in execution, they use two dif∣ferent Methods, for the first humour to effectu∣ate his design becometh the pursuer, al∣though he knoweth not in the least how to defend himself upon his pursuit, the second again to have his design, he taketh himself to the Defensive part, although he knoweth as little, yea perhaps less to defend himself Page  147then the former, and it is a very great token when an Ignorant taketh himself to the De∣fensive part against an Artist, that he under∣standeth not in the least what is any wayes for his advantage, * for I must in this place (although it belongeth not to our dis∣course, and is as it were a Rule for Ignorants against Artists) give such Ignorants an ad∣vice, and that is, that for an Ignorant to offer to take himself to the Defensive part against an Artist is most ridicoulous, therefore all that they can do, must be to pursue as vio∣lently as possible, to see if they can any wayes put the Artist in a confusion, so that he knoweth not what Contrary to use against them, and so force him to take his hazard of receiving one Thrust, and giving another, but if he be a compleat Artist that such an Ignorant hath to deal with, this will not do the busines, although it be all that an Ig∣norant can possibly doe to win at one who understandeth this Art, yet I say that will not doe against a Compleat Sword-Man; there∣fore, I would wish that such Ignorants would rather apply themselves a little to the un∣derstanding of what I have been teaching you, that so they might by Art both endea∣vour to Defend themselves, and master their Adversarys, that if it should be their fate Page  148to do it, they may be said to overcome by Art, and not by Ignorance: this only com∣ing in be the by I shall leave it, and fall on to shew you what I promised; the First of these Two humours which I told you of, it being by farr the most troublesome and worst to cross, I will therefore shew you first how to behave against it.

Seventhly,* when you see your Adversarie Pursuing violently, and without any kinde of Art, First, either inclose upon him with Half a pass, if you think you are strong enough to struggle with him, or if you think you are too weak for him, * then Secondly keep a streight point towards his face with a stretch∣ed arme, and make use of your Left hand with it fo a Parade, by drawing back of your right foot to your left, and standing as it were upon your Tip-toes as in page 51. Where I spoke of the Contraries to Feints. Or Thirdly, you may play Off the streight line upon him, which is excellent against Igno∣rants of the First humour; But if all that take not away the violentness of his Pursuit; Then Fourthly, you must Break his Measure untill you see an opportunitie of Thrusting or Inclosing: If you make use of thir Contraries as you should, I doubt not in the least but you will Master him; But some I know Page  149will think this Last Advice I give you of Breaking his Measure (or giving ground as they call it) looketh too like a Coward; If they be rationall Men who have that opini∣of Breaking of Measure, which sheweth a Mans Art as much as any thing that is practised with the Small Sword, I think I may easi∣ly convince them of their errour, but if they be such as will not be convinced by reason, but will be obstinate in their opinion, in GOD'S Name let them enjoy it, which it is like they may repent, if they ever happen to receive a thrust, which they would have shuned, had they broken their Adversaries measure. But to the purpose, I say when a Man is engaged for his life, * he should use all the Art imaginable to pre∣serve it, now if he doe that, he must of neces∣sity allow the Breaking of Measure, because it is of as great use as the Parade, for why doth a Man make use of the Parade, is it not to save himself from being Killed? I say if that be his design, which I believe no Man will deny, then say I, they must al∣low the Breaking of Measure, for that Defend∣eth them yet better: but say they, when a Man retireth it looketh as if he were affraid that his Adversary should Kill him if he did it not, I deny not in the least that, and Page  150I pray for what end doth a Man endeavour to Parie his Adversaries thrust, is it not also for fear he should hitt him? I am sure no Man will deny that; therefore if they allow the Parade, they must of necessity allow the Breaking of measure, otherwise they must allow a Man no Defenee at all; because according to their Argument, it looketh as if a Man were affraid of being hitt, which is altogether ridiculous. But besides this there would also two inconveniences follow upon the not allowing the Breaking of measure to Artists. The first is, that all Art with the Sword hand alone would almost signifie no∣thing against a foreward Ignorant, for here I also suppose that a Man is not to make use of his left hand for a Parade, because allow∣ing the left hand to be made use of by an Artist, then certainly the Ignorant let him take himself to what Pursuit he pleaseth would have the disadvantage, because of his not understanding how to make use of his left hand as well as the Artist, but I say allow∣ing the Artist only the use of the sword-hand against a Forward Ignorant, his Art then will signifie to him but little, the Breaking of Measure not being allowed him, this is the First Inconveniency, and the Second is, that all Weak Men let them have never so much Page  151Art, would almost alwayes have the worst, if they were to ingage against stronger then themselves, if the use of the left hand, and Breaking of Measure, be not allowed to them, which two Inconveniences I prove as follow∣eth, First that all Art with the Sword-Hand alone would signifie but little, is most e∣vident thus, let the ablest Fencing Master in Christendom be engaged against a Foreward Ignorant, and the Fencing Master neither al∣lowed to Parie the Ignorants thrusts with his Left hand, nor to Breake his Measure, then in an instant they either Contre-temps upon o∣ther, or Inclose, and if they do either, then the Ignorant may be said to have as much the Advantage as the other, for if they Contre-tempts, there is no reason why the Ignorants thrust should not be as mortal as the Fenc∣ing Masters: And if they Inclose then still the strongest must carry it, which proveth the Second Inconveniency, in not allowing the use of the left hand, and the Breaking of Mea∣sure to Weak men against Strong, for they have nothing to Defend themselves with, a∣gainst those who are Stronger then them but their Art, which can signifie almost no∣thing to them if the Breaking of Measure, and the use of their left hand be not allowed, and so it is ten to one, but the Strongest Man Page  152carry it, unless by chance the Weak Man Contre-Temps the Strong in a more dangerous part of the Body then he doth the Weak, for if they inclose, undoubtedly the Strongest must carry it, and if they Contre-temps, then whose soever thrust is severest he must carry it, which cannot be said to be by Art, but meer Fortune; I know some will object that an expert Fencing-Master will not suffer an Ignorant to Contre-temps upon him, because he will first Parie the Ignorants thrust, and then give him a Thrust upon the Respost. I answer, that if the Breaking of Measure, and the use of the left-hand be not allowed, no Fencing Master can hinder an Ignorant either to Contre-temps, or Inclose, for if he be a Foreward Ignorant, (as I suppos∣ed) then if the Fencing-Master should offer to Parie his thrust with his Sword, before ever that he could well get him Paried, the Ignorant would run in and Inclose with him, because that he would just run to Inclose in the very time that he thrusteth, so that the Fencing-Master must of necessity, either ha∣zard a Contre-temps, or an Inclosing, any of which maketh the Ignorant in equall terms with him, which, had the Fencing-Master been allowed the Breaking of Measure, or the use of his left-hand, he could have easily Page  153prevented, but to the best of my knowledge hardly any other way. But here I am af∣fraid some persons may be so farr mistak∣en, as to think that what I have here said re∣flecteth somewhat upon the usefulness of this Art, because that I am in a manner letting them see, that a Man having no Art may be almost as safe when he is attacqued, either by an Ignorant or Artist, as one who under∣standeth this Art exactly can be when he is attacqued by either, and that by reason of the Ignorants Contre-temping, or Inclosing; but let not such persons be deceived, for if they but reflect a little upon what I have been say∣ing, they will find that to make the Igno∣rant in equall terms with the Artist, I have supposed two of the chiefest Defences in the Art of the Smal-Sword, not to be allowed the Artist, which almost no rationall Man will but allow him, and those are the Break∣ing of Measure, and the use of the left-hand for a Parade, now although I know that many will yet stickle at the allowing the breaking of measure, notwithstanding of all that I have said, both to shew the reasonable∣ness of allowing it, and the ridiculousnes of crying out against it, yet there is no Man I am sure so unreasonable, as not to allow the other, which is the Parieing with the left∣hand,Page  154for if he allow not that, he may as well allow no defence at all, and if he al∣low it, then Art will still be serviceable to any Man, against Ignorants of what ever Humour they be, because those who have Art will by it know how to make use of their left-hand, which the others being Igno∣rant cannot, and so consequently let an Artist be engaged against an Ignorant in ne∣ver so little bounds, where perhaps he can∣not Break measure although he would, yet still by his art he hath an advantage of the Ignorant, because by it he knoweth both to Defend himself with his Sword, and left-hand, a great deal better then the Ignorant can be supposed to doe, never having been taught it. I thought fit to set down thir few lines, to hinder such persons from thinking that by what I was saying before, in favours of the Ignorant against the Artist, I intended to prove the uselessness of this Art, you see both my opinion, and design are farr Con∣trary to it, and therefore I again desire both you and them, not to mistake me. But that I may return to my former discourse, although there can no Man be a greater friend to the Breaking of Measure then I am, both because I know the advantages Artists have in making right use of it, and the Page  155disadvantages which would of necessity (as I have been demonstrating to you) happen to Artists in not allowing it; yet notwith∣standing of all I have been saying in com∣mendation of it, and for as much as I ap∣prove of it, I allow not a mans still going back, and loosing of his ground, no, not at all, be∣cause there is a great difference betwixt yield∣ing of much ground, and the breaking of mea∣sure. For a Man may break Measure very handsomly without loosing much ground, as I before told you in page 96, where I taught you how to break measure; besides when a Mans Adversary pursueth hotly, if he get not immediately his Design, he groweth soon out of Breath, and then the other may do with him what he pleaseth: Therefore I maintain that a Man when he is engaged for his Life against one who is of a Forward, Hasty, or Passionate Humour, should yield a little Ground to him, for a Peo∣ple ordinarly say, he will find the first Brunt of the Battle to be the worst, and when that is once over, he will have time enough to consider what to do with him next. This which I have been saying puteth me in mind of a very good Story I heard of a Famous Fencing Master, and a Gentleman of this Coun∣trey, whose name at present I forbear to Page  156mention; it is as followeth, and in my opi∣nion cometh in very fitly in this place; It seemeth the Gentleman came to the Fencing Masters School, upon whom the Feneing Ma∣ster passed the ordinar Complement of all Fencing Schools, viz. That he would play a Thrust, the Gentleman at the first refused, be∣cause said he, I know nothing of your Art; the Fencing Master then desired that he would take the Flurret and play his Natural Play, as he would do if he were to play with Sharps, which at last the Gentleman conde∣scended to do, so when they fell a playing the Gentleman pursued furiously and ignorantly, and by all probability as he would have done had he been making use of Sharps, in the mean time the Fencing Master took him∣self to the Parade, and broke the Gentlemans measure; so after they had played a while, the Gentlemans Arm wearied with his too vi∣olent pursuing, which the Fencing Master per∣ceiving, said to him, Now Sir have at you, the Gentleman cryed out, O you now take me at a disadvantage, because you see I am out of Breath; Saith the Fencing Master to him, now Sir is my only time of pursuing you when you are so, and then its like he gave him a Thrust or two. I think you may easily apply this Story to what I was before Page  157saying, That a Man may break his Adversaries Measure, and that as often as he thinketh it con∣vnient for his own safety, without being any wayes accounted a Coward. I know very well that those who understand this Art will be of my opinion, because they know that the Judging of Distance exactly is one of the hard∣est things to be acquired in all the Art of the smal-Sword; and when once it is ac∣quired it is one of the usefulest things, and sheweth a Mans Art as much as any Lesson in it; but I am for no Mans Retiring too much, unless upon a very good Design, and that hardly any Ignorant of this Art can have, because what he doth (as the common Pro∣verb is) he doth by rule of Thumb, and not by Art.

Eighthly,* But if it be your Fortune to have to doe with an Ignorant of the second humour I before told you of, which is not so forward, for he will let you be the Pursuer,* you may then assure your self, that the only preju∣dice he can do you, is to endeavour to give you a Contre-temps, for he will never offer to Parie a Thrust, and good reason why, because he cannot; Now to win at this Igno∣rant, you must be sure alwayes to make use of Binding, and your left hand to preserve you from his Contre∣temps Page  158thrusts, and Thrust some times at his Face, if any thing make him endeavour to Parie as he can, that will: This is all I have to say, of this Humour of Ignorants, so that I think I have now omitted no Rule, which may be any wayes necessary to you in playing either with Blunts, or Sharps, against either Ignorants, or those who un∣derstand this Art, except this one which followeth, 'tis true it is against the Broad∣sword, but however, that you may be ignorant of nothing which belongeth to Master of the small-sword; I therefore think fit that you should know it, and if I be not deceived you will think it very well worth your pains to understand it; It is this.

Of a Mans Defending himself with a small-sword, against a Broad.

Ninthly,* If you are ingaged with a Small∣sword against a Man with a Broad,* or Shearing-Sword, you would be as Circum∣spect as possible, for you would first con∣sider the fashion of his Sword, as whether it be a Broad-Sword only for Striking, or a Shear∣ing Sword, so that he may either Strike, or Thrust as he pleaseth, for according to the Page  159Fashion of your Adversaries Sword, so are you to take your Measure, First then if your Adversary hath a Shearing-Sword, then you would be altogether as warry as if he had a Smal, because you are not sure but he may Thrust at you, as well as Strike, and therefore the Judging of Distance in such a case is most necessary, especially if your Adversary understand any thing of the Smal-sword, for that will yet make it the harder for you, but there is nothing for him as I told you, but to expect the worst, and be as careful as you can that he Contre∣temps not upon you: But secondly, if it be a Broad sword that your Adversarie hath against you, so that you fear not so much his Thrusts as his Blows, then I would ad∣vise you if you intend to take the Defen∣sive part, to stand to this posture, viz. Stand not to an Ordinary Guard,* for then he would Disable your sword Arm, there∣fore I would have you hold your sword quite Cross before your body, and your hand in Terce, see Plat: 12. Fig. 2. So that if he offer to strike at your Feet; you must first slipp his stroak, and immediatly Pass with a Thrust upon him before he can recover a second Stroak; and if he should of∣fer to strike at your Head or Hand, then you Page  [unnumbered]

Plat i2

For pag i58
Fig i

Fig 2

The posture which a Man is to stand to with the smal sword against a Broad see pag: i59
Page  159〈1 page duplicate〉Page  160may either only Parie his Stroak, which yo may easily do holding your Sword in th Posture I just now desired you; or otherwifirst Parie, and then Pass immediatly afte but never offer to Thrust, for if you should he may easily Disable your Sword Ha when you are at your Elonge; therefore m best Advice to you is this, that when you a to play against a Broad sword you would im∣mediatly after you have presented, Pursu and Pass with an Inclosing upon him; so tha although he should hit you when you aInclosing, yet you are sure to give him a thrus which as I have before told you will certain∣ly be much severer to him then his Stroa can be to you, because you will be closs upo him before you receive the stroak and conse∣quently the Force of his Stroak will be spen And as I told you, you must never offer t give home a thrust for fear of his disabling your Sword-Hand, which is not easily de∣fended because you have not a Basket-hi upon it as he hath upon his, but you may sometimes thrust at his Sword Hand to disabl it if you can, or make half thrusts at him to cause him strike, that so you may slip his stroak, and Inclose before he can fetch an∣other; so I will end with this Direction once over again to you, which is, That if Page  161your Adversary hath a Sheering sword against you, that then you would be extraordinary careful of your self, as if he had a Small; And if he have a Broad against you, that then at your first pre∣senting you should inclose upon him, but never give in a Thrust but half Thrusts to bring him to a Stroak, and then be sure to break his Measure, or slip his Stroak, and immediatly Pass upon him. But in my Opinion it is absolutely the best to become the Pursuer, and instant∣ly Inclose when ever you have Presented, for by so doing, you will surprize him extraor∣dinarly. Thir Directions which I have here given you, I think altogether sufficient for the Smal-Sword against the Broad; there∣fore I shall not trouble you with any more, leaving that wholly to your own Discretion.

Now Sir, There is one thing which I would never have you want, and that is a well mounted sword by your side, that is to say, * which is light before the Hand, you may easily try if it be so, by only laying it cross your foremost Finger about three inches from the Shell, and then if the Hilt contre∣poise the Blade, it is well mounted, otherwise not; and also let it be of an indifferent good length which is about three quarters of an eln long in the Blade, this is a midle betwixt the two extreams, for it is neither too long,Page  162which would be unhandsome; nor too short, which is very inconvenient: For I can as∣sure you that if a Mans Arm be longer then his Adversaries, he hath by it some Ad∣vantage, although their Swords be of equal length, so seing there is Advantage in a long Arm, certainly there is more in a long Sword against a short. I will now give you my last Advice which I know many People will treat en ridicule; But I assure you, let People think or talk what they please, it is of greater importance then they imagine, and were it not out of Kindness to you, perhaps I would not so expose my self to their Censure; But seing I know it will be for your Advantage, I will proceed in giv∣ing it you, and undervalue what People may talk of me for it, * especially seing you nor no Man is forced to observe more of what I have been saying to you, then what you think is for your Advantage. Now my Advice is this, That you would never go to the Field in drink; but rather if you can by any means (without puting a tash upon your Honour) delay it until you be sober; For to Drunk and Pas∣sionate Men this Art signifieth but little or nothing, because neither of them have their Judgement a∣bout them to know how they should make use of it; And so I end.

Page  163

Sir It is a very good one, and I thank you most heartily for it; But have you no more to shew me of this Art, but what you have already ex∣plained to me?


No Sir, and I am sure if what I have explained to you be exactly understood, and put in practice, whoever is able to do it, I say without vanity, that he will deserve the name of Master.


There is no doubt of that; But now Sir seing we are at a close with our discourse, I think it my duty to give you heartie thanks for the great Pains and Trouble you have taken t instruct me; And that you may not think your labour lost, I promise to you that I shall endeavour to put in Pra∣ctice according to my power, what you have taught me; neither shall I ever be wanting to do you all the Service lyeth in my Power, either in recommending of Scholars to you, or making your Ability in this Art more publick; So Sir, wishing You all Health and Happiness, I bid You farewell.


Farewell, Dear Sir, and may you never have Occasion (but with Blunts) to Practice what I have taught you.

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