Lunge Infographic

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Published in: on March 14, 2010 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Swetnam’s Lunge – pt 2

Some time back, I wrote about Aylward’s incorrect assertion that Swetnam did not know of the lunge.

Recently, I happened across an article about Swetnam by William E. Wilson, pitched as a short introduction to Swetnam’s fencing. Mr. Wilson’s collection of online resources were a huge help to me when I began learning about HES, and I own his book on rapier fencing.

Despite Wilson’s contributions to my own education, I have to call him out on this article – he makes the same mistake as Aylward did in 1956! In only the second paragraph of the article, he writes¬† “Unfortunately for Swetnam, it appears he did not know of the lunge which was being taught at the time by some Italian Masters (Capo Ferro for one).”

Because Aylward’s book is listed as a reference, I assume that Wilson found the false information in this otherwise trustworthy source, but I am still confused. In the rest of the article Wilson goes on to outline Swetnam’s teachings in-depth. He certainly could not have gotten this information without actually reading the treatise – so how did he miss the lunge?

Last time, I provided a quote that made it clear that Swetnam advocates the lunge. I will go ahead and provide a second one this time:

The best way to bring thy feete to a sure standing, both for defence and offence, is when thou dost practice with thy friend or companion; at first get thy backe to the wall, and let him that playeth with thee stand about twelve foote distance, and set thy left heele close to the wall, and thy right foote heele to the great ioynt of the left foote great toe, and when thou intendest to offend thy enemy, either with blow or thrust, then steppe forth with thy right foote, and hand together, but keepe thy left foote fast moored like an anchor, to plucke home thy body and thy right foote into his place and distance againe; use this fashion but three of foure times, and it will bring thee to a true standing with thy foote, and it will be as easie to thee as any other way; whereas if thou practice in a large roome without any stoppe to set thy foot against, then will thy foote be alwaies creeping away, so that although thou wouldest refraine the setting abroad of thy feet, yet thou canst not, especially if thou hast bee used to set them abroad heretofore. [emphasis added]

Here,¬† Swetnam not only advocates the lunge, here, but he also gives a drill to improve your lunge. I also find it amusing that he sees the same problems with his students’ lunges as we find throughout the world of fencing today.


Published in: on October 2, 2009 at 6:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Lunge

The Lunge

The Lunge

From Swetnam:

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 man, should bee mored fast and keepe his standing without moving an inch.

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Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 10:59 am  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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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.

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Direction and Format

I’ve had a meeting with my thesis director, and I now have a better feel for my goal and the format of my thesis.

The working argument is “Joseph Swetnam imitated the Italians, but he applied their style to an English context, and emerged with a fundamentally English system of Defence.”

I am going to illustrate 12 positions that Swetnam describes, starting with guards:

-Swetnam’s True Guard
-Lazie Guard
-Fore-hand Guard
-Crosse Guard
-Stokata Guard
-Broadwarde

Then parries:

-Parry with sword across the body
-Parry with dagger across the body
-Parry with dagger point down
-Parry with both weapons

And, finally, offensive motions:

-The lunge
-The Passage

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 2:15 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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