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

(13) Of the Fight of the Forest Bill against the like Weapon (Cap. 13)

Of the fight of the forest bill against the like weapon & against the staff.

  1. The forest bill has the fight of the staff but it has 4 wards more with the head of the bill, that is one to bear it upwards, another to beat it downwards so that the carriage of your bill head is with the edge neither up nor down but sideways.
  2. If you cast his staff so far out that your bill slides not up to his hands, then you may safely run in sliding your hands within one yard of the head of your bill, & so with your bill in one hand take him by the leg with the blade of your bill & pluck him to you & with your other hand defend yourself from his gripping if he offers to grapple with you.
  3. If you fight bill to bill do the like in all respects as with the staff in your fight, for your bill fight & staff fight is all one, but only for the defence & offense with the head of the bill, & where the staff man upon the close if he uses the stab with the butt end of his staff, the bill man at that time is to use the catch at the leg with the edge of his bill in the second ground above is said.
  4. Remember ever in all your fights with this weapon to make your space narrow whether it is against the staff or bill so that whatsoever he shall do against you, you shall still make your ward before he is in his full force to offend you.
  5. Also if you can reach within the head of his bill with the head of your bill then suddenly with the head of your bill snatch his bill head strongly towards you, & therewithal indirect his bill head & forcibly run up your bill head to his hands, so have you the like advantage as above said, whereas I spoke of running up towards his hands.
  6. If he lies low with this bill head then if you can put your bill head in over the head of his bill, & strongly put down his bill staff with your bill head, bearing it flat, then you may presently run up your bill head single handed to his hands & fly out therewith, so shall you hurt him in the hands & go free yourself.
  7. The like may you do with your bill against the short staff if you can press it down in the like sort, but if he has a long staff then run up double handed with both hands upon your bill, which thing you may safely do because you are in your strength & have taken him in the weak part of his staff.
  8. If he lies high with his bill head then put up your bill head under his & cast out his bill to the side that you shall find most fit, so have you the advantage to thrust or hook at him & fly out.  Or if you cast out his bill far out of the right line then run in & take him by the leg with the edge of your bill, as is said in the 2nd ground of this chapter.
  9. If you ward his blow with the bill staff within your bill head then answer him as with the short staff.

Note: That as the bill man's advantage is to take the staff with the head of the bill so that the staff man by reason that the head of the bill is a fair mark has the advantage of him in the casting aside of the head of the bill with his staff or beating it aside, the which if the bill man looks not very well into the staff man thereupon will take all manner of advantages of the staff fight against him.

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