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

(4) Of the short single sword fight(20) against the like weapon (Cap. 4)

  1. If your enemy lie aloft(21), either in the open or true guardant fight, & then strike at the left side of your head or body your best ward to defend yourself, is to bear it with true guardant ward, & if he strike & come in to the close, or to take the grip of you, you may then safely take the grip of him as it appears in the chapter on the grip
  2. But if he does strike & not come in, then instantly upon your ward, uncross & strike him(22) either on the right or left side of the head, & fly out(23) instantly.

  3.   If you bear this with forehand ward, be sure to ward his blow, or keep your distance, otherwise he shall deceive you with every false, still endangering your head, face, hand, arms, body, & bending knee, with blow or thrust. Therefore keep well your distance, because you can very hardly discern (being within distance), by which side of your sword he will strike, nor at which of those parts aforesaid, because of the swift motion of the hand deceives the eye.
  4. If he lies aloft(24) & strike as aforesaid at your head, you may endanger him if you thrust at his hand, or arm, turning your knuckles downward(25), but fly backward withal in the instant you thrust.
  5. If he lies aloft as aforesaid, & strike aloft at the left side of your head, if you will ward his blow with forehand ward, then be sure to keep your distance, except he come so certain that you sure to ward his blow, at which time if he comes in withal, you may endanger him from that ward, either by blow thrust or grip(26).
  6. If he lies aloft & you lie low with your sword in the variable fight, then if you offer to ward his blow made at your head, with true guardant ward your time will be too long due in time to make a sure ward, so that it is better to bear it with the forehand ward, but be sure to keep your distance, to make him come in with his feet, whereby his time will be too long to do what he intended.
  7. If 2 men fight both upon open fight, he that first breaks his distance, if he attempts to strike the other's head, shall be surely struck on the head himself, if the patient agent strike there at his coming in(27), & slip a little back withal, for that sliding back makes an indirection, whereby your blow crosses his head, & makes a true ward for your own, this will that be, because the length of time in his coming in.
  8. Also if 2 fight upon open fight, it is better for the patient to strike home strongly at the agent's head, when the said agent shall press upon him to win the place than to thrust, because the blow of the patient is not only hurtful to the agent, but also makes a true cross to defend his own head.
  9. If he charge you aloft, out of the open or true guardant fight, if you answer him with the imperfect guardant fight, with your body leaning forward, your space will be too wide on both sides to make a true ward in due time, & your arm and body will be too near unto him, so that with the bending of the body with the time of hand & foot, he may take the grip of you.
  10. If he will still press forcibly aloft upon you, charging you out of the open fight or the true guardant fight, intending to hurt you in the face or head, or to take the grip of you, against such a one, you must use both guardant & open fight, whereby upon every blow or thrust that he shall make at you, you may from your wards, strike or thrust him on the face, head, or body as it appears more art large in the 5th chapter of these my instructions.
  11. If you fight with one standing only upon his guardant fight(29) or if he seeks to come in to you by the same fight, then do you strike & thrust continually at all manner of open places that shall come nearest unto you, still remembering your governors, so shall he continually be in danger, & often wounded, & wearied in that kind of fight, & you shall be safe, the reason is, he is a certain mark to you, & you are an uncertain mark to him.
  1. But if all this will not serve & although he has received many wounds, will continually run to come in, & forcibly break your distance, then may you safely take the grip of him, & hurt him at your pleasure with your sword, as appears in the chapter of the grip, & he can neither hurt nor take the grip of you, because the number of his feet are too many, to bring his hand in place in due time, for such a one ever gives you the place, therefore be sure to take your time therein.
  1. If 2 fight & both lie upon the true guardant fight & that one of them will need seek to win the half sword by pressing in, that may you safely do, for upon that fight the half sword may safely be won, but he that first comes in must first go out, & that presently, otherwise his guard will be too wide above to defend his head, or if fit for that defence, then will it be too wide underneath to defend that thrust from his body which things the patient agent(31) may do, & fly out safe, & that agent cannot avoid it, because the moving of his feet makes his ward unequal to defend both parts in due time, but the one or the other will be deceived & in danger, for he being agent upon his first entrance his time (by reason of the number of his feet) will be too long, so that the patient agent may first enter into his action, & the agent must be of force an after doer, & therefore cannot avoid this offense aforesaid.
  2. If he come in to encounter the close & grip upon the bastard guardant ward, then you may cross his blade with yours upon the like guardant ward also, & as he comes in with his feet & have gained you the place, you may presently uncross & strike him a blow on the head, & fly out instantly, wherein he cannot offend you by reason of his lost time, nor defend himself upon the uncrossing, because his space is too wide whereby his time will be too long in due time to prevent your blow, this may you do safely.
  3. If he comes in upon the bastard guardant ward, bearing his hilt lower than his head, or but breast high or lower, then strike him soundly on the head which thing you may easily do, because his space is too wide in due time to ward the same.
  4. If your enemy charge you upon his Stocata fight, you may lie variable with large distance & uncertainty with your sword & body at your pleasure, yet so you may strike, thrust or ward, & go forth & back as occasion is, to take the advantage of this coming in, whether he does it out of the Stocata, or Passata, which advantage you shall be sure to have, if you observe this rule & be not too rash in your actions, by reason that the number of his feet will be great(32), & also because when those 2 fights are met together, it is hard to make a true cross, therefore without large distance be kept of them, commonly they are both hurt or slain, because in narrow distance their hands have free course & are not tied to the time of the foot, by which swift motion of the hand the eye is deceived, as you may read more at large in the --- chapter of my paradoxes of defence.
  1. If the agent says that then he will stand fast upon sure guard and sometimes moving & traversing his ground, & keep large distance as the patient does, to which I answer, that when 2 men shall meet that have both the perfection of their weapons, against the best no hurt can be done, otherwise if by any device one should be able to hurt the other, then were there no perfection in the use of weapons, this perfection of fight being observed, prevents both close fight, & all manner of closes, grips & wrestling & all manner of such devices whatsoever.
  2. Also if he charges you upon his Stocata, or any other lying after that fashion, with his point low & large paced, then lie you aloft with your hand & hilt above your head, either true guardant, or upon the open fight, then he cannot reach you if you keep your distance without putting in his foot or feet, but you may reach him with the time of your hand, or with the time of your hand & body, or of the hand, body & foot, because he has already put in his body within your reach & has gained you the place,& you are at liberty & without his reach, 'til he puts in his foot or feet, which time is too wide in that place to make a ward in due time to defend his head, arms & hand, one of which will be always within your reach.  Note still in this that your weapons be both short and of equal & convenient length of the short sword.
  1. If out of this variable fight he strikes at the right or left side of the head or body, then your best ward is to bear with the forehand ward(34), otherwise your space will be too wide & too far to make your ward in due time.
  2. If he lies variable after the manner of the Passata then if you lie aloft as is above said, you have the advantage, because he that lies variable cannot reach home, at head, hand or arm, without putting in his foot or feet, & therefore it cannot be denied, but that he that plays aloft, has still the time of the hand to the time of the foot, which fight being truly handled is invincible advantage.
  3. If he lies variable upon the Imbrocata, then make a narrow space with your point upward, & suddenly if you can cross his point with your blade, put aside his point strongly with your sword & strike or thrust at him, & fly out instantly, ever remembering your governors that he deceive you not in taking his point.
  4. If he strike or thrust at your leg or lower part out of any fight, he shall not be able to reach the same unless you stand large paced with bending knee(35), or unless he comes in with his foot or feet, the which if he shall so do, then you may strike or thrust at his arm or upper part for then he puts them into the place gaining you the place whereby you make strike home upon him & he cannot reach you(36).  But if he stands large paced with bending knee, then win the place & strike home freely at his knee, & fly back therewith.
  1. If he comes to the close fight with you & that you are both crossed aloft at the half sword with both your points upward, then if he comes in withal in his crossing bear strongly your hand & hilt over his wrist(37), close by his hilt, putting in over at the backside of his hand & hilt pressing down his hand & hilt strongly, in your entering in, & so thrust your hilt in his face, or strike him upon the head with your sword, & strike up his heels, & fly out(38).
  2. If you are both so crossed at the bastard guardant ward, & if he then presses in, then take the grip of him as is shown in the chapter of the grip. Or with your left hand or arm, strike his sword blade strongly & suddenly toward your left side by which means you are uncrossed(39), & he is discovered, then may you thrust him in the body with your sword & fly out instantly, which thing he cannot avoid, neither can he offend you.  Or being so crossed, you may suddenly uncross & strike him upon the head & fly out instantly which thing you may safely do & go out free(40).
  3. If you be both crossed at the half sword with his point up & your point down in the true guardant ward, then if he presses to come in, then either take the grip of him, as in the chapter of the grip, or with your left hand or arm, strike out his sword blade towards your left side as aforesaid, & so you may thrust him in the body with your sword & fly out instantly(41).
  4. Do you never attempt to close or come to grip at these weapons unless it be upon the slow motion or disorder of your enemy,  But if he will close with you, then you may take the grip of him safely at his coming in(42), for he that first by strong pressing in adventures the close looses it, & is in great danger, by reason that the number of his feet are too great, whereby his time will be too long, in due time to answer the hand of the patient agent, as in the chapter of the grip does plainly appear.
  5. Always remembering if you fight upon the variable fight that you ward upon forehand ward, otherwise your space will be too wide in due time to make a true guardant ward, to defend yourself.
  6. If you fight upon open fight, or true guardant fight, never ward upon forehand ward for then your space will be too wide also, in due time to make a sure ward.
  7. If he lies aloft with his point towards you, after the manner of the Imbrocata, then make your space narrow with your point, & strike or thrust as aforesaid but be sure herein to keep your distance, that he deceive you not in taking of his point.

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