How to Hold it

Swetnam says you can hold the rapier in three ways:

These are three waies for the holding of a Rapier, the one with the thumb forward or upon the Rapier blade, and that I call the naturall fashion, there is another way, and that is with the whole hand within the pummell of thy Rapier, and the thumbe locking in of the fore-finger, or else they must both ioyne at the least: this is a good holding at single Rapier.

Then the third is but to have onlie the fore-finger and thy thumbe within the pummell of thy Rapier, and thy other three fingers about thy pummell, and beare the button of thy pommel against the in-side of thy little finger; this is called the Stokata fashion, and these two last are the surest and strongest waies: after a little practice, thou maiest use all three in thy practice, and then repose thy selfe upon that which thou findest best…

The Bluffer’s Guide says:

  • The thumb forward on the rapier blade, this is the “natural” fashion.
  • The whole hand on the grip, with the thumb locking down on the forefinger, or at least touching it. This is a good grip for single rapier.
  • [Swetnam doesn’t say what to do with the fingers and crossguard. Steve Hand suggests that in the first grip the finger is hooked over it, and same with the second grip, with the thumb on the finger rather than on the blade.]

  • The third is to have only fore forefinger and thumb on the grip, the other fingers around the pommel, with the very end of the pommel on the inside of your little finger. THis is called “Stoccata fashion”.

These last two are the strongest, but you should try all three, and use the one that works best for you. But practice them all because they are all useful in a fight depending on the circumstances.

Apparently Stephen Hand thinks that the first 2 grips are with the forefinger over the quillions. I’m not sure I buy that on the first or “naturall” fashion with the thumb on the blade is likely to have a finger over the crosspiece.

The second sounds more plausible. While someone did mention the possibility that none of these grips finger the crosspiece, I’m not certain why Swetnam would talk of “ the thumbe locking in of the fore-finger” if these fingers were not locked over the quillions. Still, I don’t think that figering the crosspiece is necessary to fulfil Swetnam’s grip instructions.

The third grip sounds like “posting” as frequently done in modern epee.

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Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 1:07 am  Comments (1)  
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  1. […] index finger over the quillion.  As the man behind https://josephswetnam.wordpress.com, Bradley, notes nothing says he doesn’t either, but he also doesnt “think that figering the crosspiece […]


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