George Silver. Brief Instructions to my Paradoxes of Defence. London.

Notes presumably by Cyril G. R. Mathey:

  1. "put in his foot," i.e. advance
  2. "His coming in." It must be remembered that in Silver's time the lunge was unknown, at least to English fencers & the only movements of the feet were "passes" and "traverses" which with "slips" constituted a great part of the defence as well as of the attack. "Passes" were either forwards or backwards and the "traverses" were steps in a lateral direction. "Slips" were little short steps either lateral or backwards. These movements were also much used in feints of attack.
  3. "To win or gain the place;" i.e. to come within striking distance.
  4. "Space" is the distance which the sword blade has to traverse in changing from one position to another: thus from "medium" to "quarte" or "tierce" would be a "narrow space" while from "tierce" to "septime" or from "seconde" to "quarte" would be a very "wide space"
  5. A time hit or thrust
  6. Parry and reposte. Silver is very careful to emphasize the necessity of "flying back," i.e. getting away immediately after an attack, whether it be successful or otherwise.
  7. Time hits & thrusts
  8. The "grip" is the seizing of the sword hilt with the left hand - for this purpose a "quanto da presa" or gripping gauntlet with the palm protected with fine mail, was sometimes used.
  9. To "indirect" is to either maneuver or force him from the true line or direction
  10. a demi-volte
  11. The "Guardia alta" of Marozzo & "Terza guardia" of Viggiani
  12. A "hanging" guard.
  13. "True guardant" is high prime.
  14. "Bastard guardant" is a kind of high seconde, but more central.
  15. "Forehand ward" is a medium guard.
  16.  The Italian terms were imperfectly understood in England at the end of the XVI century, & Silver has misconstrued them.
  17. "Qunita guardia" of Capo Ferro.
  18. "Prima guardia" of Capo Ferro, "Guardia alta" of Alferi, & "Guardia di becca possa" of Marozzo.
  19. "Quarta guardia: of Alferi.
  20. The "short single sword fight" was a fight with a one-hand sword, and without the assistance of a defensive weapon in the left hand. The "sword double" is any kind of single-hand sword assisted by a defensive weapon in the other.
  21. A high prime
  22. A direct "riposte."
  23. "Fly out" suggests a lateral movement of the feet, but also might mean a backward one.
  24. A familiar guard is favored among modern Austrian saber players.
  25. A time thrust in "quarte" at the sword hand.
  26. A "quarte" parry, followed by "reposte" or "grip"
  27. A time hit with "opposition"
  28. "Number will be too great,"i.e. will have to make too many steps or passes.
  29. A variety of guard to be used to prevent fatigue.
  30. In "Sword and Buckler" or "Sword and Dagger" fighting, strike with the defensive weapon instead of gripping, and trip up his heels. Lonergan 1771
  31. The "patient agent" is the man who stands upon the defensive, the "agent" being the one who attacks.
  32. "The number of his feet will be too great" --- i.e. he will have to make too many slips or "passes"
  33. This is exactly the traverse recommended by Roworth
  34. Parries of "tierce" and of "quarte."
  35. From this it appears that in Silver's time the knees were very little bent.
  36. A time hit or thrust at the arm or upper part.
  37. Forcible pressure in "tierce" at "half-sword."
  38. Recommended also by Lonergan, 1771
  39. Beating the sword away with the gantleted left hand.
  40. An alternative
  41. Again the alternative of "gripping" and beating the sword off.
  42. When he closes, "grip" him.
  43. "Parrying" and "Reposting"
  44. A parry of "high tierce" with its ripostes.
  45. A parry of "prime" with its ripostes.
  46. A thrust parried with the "seconde," and its repostes.
  47. To "double" = to "remise." To "false" = to "feint."
  48. A parry of "tierce" with its repostes.
  49. A parry of "quarte."
  50. How to engage with a man who uses his point.
  51. A "demi-volte" after a parry of "tierce"
  52. A "demi-volte" after a parry of "quarte."


Notes presumably by Steve Hick:

  1. Cross block with the sword in "quinte" and the dagger in "quarte"?
  2. Cross block with the sword in"quarte" and the dagger in "sixte."
  3. Parry "octave" and reposte with cut to the thigh or body thrust.
  4. Parry "septime"and reposte.
  5. The "french" grip.
  6. A "hammer" grip.
  7. A reference in "Paradoxes of Defence" meaning to "run away."
  8. "the Chapter on the Morris pike is unique, as no other work speaks of parries with that weapon."- W. London
  9. Backsword is alternate term for the single short sword.

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Released: November 13, 1998 / Last modified: December 12, 2008