Finding Swetnam’s True Guard – Fabris Plate 59

The next plate that resembles Swetnam’s True Guard is plate 59:

Plate 59 - " angled third..."

Plate 59 - " angled third..."

Unlike plate 57, there’s not much in the text uniting this stance with Swetnam’s. Fabris does suggest using the dagger to parry with the dagger and riposte below it in third – something that Swetnam also mentions.

However, Fabris spends most of his time talking about how difficult it can be to parry an attack coming in at this angle – something that I do not recall Swetnam ever touching upon.

If this plate had any influence on Swetnam, it would have been as a plate – not an idea. The actual stance is fairly reminiscint of Swetnam’s, with a straightened sword arm and fully extended dagger. Fabris keeps his traditional right foot forward, but also with the left shoulder squared toward the opponent – not standard in Italian fencing (See Capo Fero 4 years later).

I have always imagined Swetnam’s stance as more verticle – something that Eric Meyers also commented (on my post about Fabris plate 57). Swetnam instructs one to “holloweth thy bodie,” while Fabris’ stances feel more like leaning than hollowing to me.

Swetnam’s true guard again for reference:

Keepe thy rapier hand so low as the pocket of thy hose at the armes end, without bowing the elbow joint, and keepe the hilt of thy dagger right with thy left cheeke, and the point something stooping towards the right shoulder, and beare him out stiff at the armes end, without bowing thine elbow joint likewise, and the point of thy Rapier two inches within the point of thy dagger, neither higher, not lower; but if the point of thy rapier be two or three inches short of touching thy dagger, it is not matter, but if they join it is good; likewise, keepe both your points so high as you may see your enemie clearly with both your eyes, betwixt your rapier and dagger, and bowing your head something toward the right shoulder, and your body bowing forwards, and both thy shoulders, the one so near thine enemie as the other, and the thombe of thy rapier hand, not upon thy rapier, according unto the usual fashion of the vulgar sort, but upon the naile of thy fore-finger, which will locke thine hand the stronger about the handle of thy rapier, and the heele of thy right foote should ioyne close to the middle ioynt of the great toe of thy left foote, according to this Picture, yet regard chiefly the words rather than the Picture.

Carrie the edge of thy rapier upward, and downward, for then thou shalt defend a blow upon the edge of thy rapier, by bearing thy rapier after the rule of the Backe-sword, for this is the strongest and surest carriage of him.


Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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