Lunge Infographic

Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Paul Wagner has posted some excellent video on Silver’s swordplay. It should be very useful when considering the context of Swetnam’s work and even, I suspect, Swetnam’s play at the “backe sword,” though I have done little research there, myself.

Also, over on SFI, Martin Janicina has posted a great video of some of Fabris’ rapier plays. The video provides great contrast with Swetnam’s teachings – he would have disapproved of the close measure in which Fabris fights. Swetnam also does not cavazione or disengage in the Italian fashion – instead he uses motions like Silver (try 0:24 into the Silver vid).

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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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Quote: Swetnam Gives Us Advice

Againe, and againe I say, strike not one blow in a fight, at what weapon soever thou fightest withall, except it be a wrist blowe, and that you may aswell doe with a rapier as with a sword, for a wrist blow consumeth but alittle time, yet better use no blowe at all, but continually, thrust after thrust: for (in my minde) hee is a man ignorant and very unskilfull that will bee hurt with a blow, and if thou make an assault upon thy enemy doe not tarry by it, to maintaine it, for in making the assault distance is broken, wherefore recover backe into your guard and distance againe so soone as you can, and always let your ees be on your enemies face, and not altogether on the point, then you may be deceived, by the swift motion of the hand, for the motion of the hand is swifter then the eye or foot, many will set their eyes upon their enemies point, or upo his hand for the avoiding of this error, the best remedy is daily exercise and practise with another, and to play with more then one, otherwise thou wilt never come unto true defece for it is good to be acquainted with every mans fashion, for that tricke which will hit one will not hit another, and therefore be well experienced not onely in the true play but in the false; I meane for the defence and offence of both, that if thou canst not prevaile with one then use the other: yet take heed of hasty adventuring in…

Published in: on March 10, 2009 at 7:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Swetnam – Does He Lunge?

On page 82 of The English Master of Arms (generally an excellent overview) J. D. Aylward says

Although the Italian masters had been feeling their way towards the lunge, or botta lungha, for at least half a century, and Capo Ferro had developed the movement completely by 1610, Swetnam is not yet aware that the problem of reaching the enemy at a greater distance has been solved.

I was fairly certain Mr. Aylward was mistaken, so I ctrl-F’ed a transcription of Schoole of Defence for the word “lunge.” Nothing. Is Aylward correct, then? It is certainly true that Swetnam never mentions the lunge explicitly. He does, however, say this:

To observe distance, by which is meant that thou shouldest stand so far of from thine enemy, as thou canst, but reach him when thou dost step forth with thy blow or thrust, and thy foremost foote and hand must goe together, and which distance may be twelve foot with a rapier, or with a sword four foote ling, and yet thy best foote which should be the hindermost foot of a right handed ma, should bee mored fast and keepe his standing without moving an inch…

He says that the correct distance is as far from your opponent as you can stand, but still reach him when you thrust or cut while stepping forward with your foremost foot – but make sure that you keep you back foot planted, and don’t drag it!

Add to this the fact that Swetnam expects you to make this sort of attack from 12 feet away, and I think the conclusion is clear. Does it sound like a lunge to you? It sounds like a lunge to me.

Shame on you Mr. Aylward – it appears you just read the titles of Swetnam’s chapters, but never the content.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm  Comments (6)  
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