Swetnam’s True Guard

Swetnam's True Guard

Swetnam's True Guard

From Swetnam:

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 April 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Revised Image List

I’m presenting at Thesis Day tomorrow (i.e. this thing is due!) and I am frantically working to get it all done. I thought I’d take a moment to post the revised list of positions I’m illustrating from Swetnam’s manual (all for rapier).

Swetnam’s True Guard

Stokata Guard

Fore Hand Guard

Crosse Guard

The Lunge

A Passage

A Slippe at Single Rapier (Slippe with cheek cover)

Another Slippe (Disengage to Imbrokata)

A Parry with Both Weapons

Halfsword Parry

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Poster, Again

I’ve uploaded the symposium poster to Scribd, and I’m going to see if I can embed it here. Check it out after the jump.


Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A Weapon for the Duel

Following is some evidence that Swetnam viewed the rapier mainly as a weapon for the duel, in keeping with the idea of the rapier for honor, and the backsword for duty (who said that? I cannot recall).

Swetnam PDF p 20 [On rapier length]:
“Let thy rapier be of a reasonable length, rather too long then too short, foure foote at the least, except thine enemie do give or send thee the length of his weapon; then it is a point of manhoode to match him as neare as thou canst:”

And, again, he wants you to preserve your honor:

Swetnam PDF p 32 [On putting forth a token fight for honor’s sake]:
“…even so I wish all men, if the perceive themselves to be hardly matched, the wiser of them to yeelde upon composition, after reasonable triall made each one of the other, before any great hurt be done;”

Swetnam also advises that you use a quarterstaff if you carry a lot of money, and advises blunting your weapons for practice:

Swetnam PDF p 20 [On blunting tips]:
“Also in playing with sticks, without buttons, many (for want of skill) may loose an eie, as many have done heeretofore.”


Published in: on April 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Symposium Poster

This is a copy of the poster as presented at the UR Symposium at my Uni.

Symposium Poster

It’s roughly 2ft by 3ft, PDF.

Below is the handout that went along with the poster. It includes several quotes from the original publication, so you can see where I was pulling the illustrations from.

Swetnam handout

Edit: A few people have commented that they cannot open the files. You should be able to see the poster here.