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

(8) Of the short sword & dagger fight against the long sword & dagger  (Cap. 8)

Of the short sword & dagger fight against the long sword & dagger or long rapier & poniard.

  1. If you have the short sword & dagger, defend with your sword & not with your dagger, except you have a gauntlet or hilt upon your dagger hand, then you may ward upon forehand ward, upon the double with the point of your sword towards his face.
  2. Lie not aloft with your short sword if he lies low variable upon the Stocata or Passata, etc., for then your space will be too wide to make a true cross in due time, or too far in his course to make your space narrow, which space take heed to make very narrow, yes, so that if it touches his blade, it is better.
  3. I say make your space narrow until you can cross his sword blade strongly & suddenly, so shall you put by his point out of the right line, & instantly strike or thrust, & slip back according to your governors.   But take heed unless you can surely & safely cross go not in, but although you can so cross, & thereupon you enter in, stay no by it but fly out according to your governors.
  4. If with his long sword or rapier he charges you aloft out of his open or true guardant fight, striking at the right side of your head, if you have a gauntlet or closed hilt upon your dagger hand, then ward it double with forehand ward, bearing your sword hilt to ward your right shoulder, with your knuckles upward & your sword point to ward the right side of his breast or shoulder, crossing your dagger on your sword blade(53), resting it there upon the higher side of your sword bearing both your hilts close together with your dagger hilt a little behind your sword bearing both your hands right out together spent or very near spent when you ward his blow, meeting him so upon your ward that his blow may light at your half sword or within, so that his blade may slide from your sword & rest with your dagger, at which instant time thrust forth your point at his breast & fly out instantly, so shall you continually endanger him & go safe yourself.
  5. If he strikes a loft at the left side of your head, ward as aforesaid, bearing your sword hilt towards your left shoulder with your knuckles downward(54), & your sword point towards the left side of his breast or shoulder, bowing your body & head a little towards him, & remember to bear your ward to both sides that he strike you not upon the head, then upon his blow meet his sword as aforesaid with your dagger crossed over your sword blade as before, when his sword by reason of his blow upon your sword shall slide down & rest upon your dagger, then suddenly cast his sword blade out toward your left side with your dagger, to indirect his point, & therewith thrust at his breast from your ward & fly out instantly, the like may you do if his sword glance out from yours, upon his blow.  All this may safely be done with the short sword & closed hilted dagger or gauntlet.
  6. Stay not within distance of the long sword or rapier with your short sword, nor suffer him to win the place of you, but either cross his sword, or make your space very narrow to cross it before his blow or thrust be in force, yet keeping your distance whereby he shall strike or thrust at nothing, & so shall be subject to the time of your hand against the time of his feet.
  7. Keep distance & lie as you think best for your ease & safety, yet so that you any strike, thrust or ward, & when you find his point certain, then make your space narrow & cross his sword, so shall you be the first mover, & enter first into your action, & he being an after doer, is not able to avoid your cross, not narrow space, nor any such offense as shall be put into execution against him.
  8. Having crossed his long sword or rapier with your short sword blade, & put his point out of the straight line by force then strike or thrust at him with your sword & fly out instantly according to your governors.
  9. Stand not upon guardant fight only, for so he will greatly endanger you out of his other fights because you have made yourself a certain mark to him, for in continuing in that fight only you shall not only weary yourself, but do also exclude yourself from the benefit of the open, variable, & closed fights, & so shall he have four fights to your one, as you may see in the chapter of the short single sword fight in the 15th ground thereof.
  10. Understand that the whole sum of the long rapier fight is either upon the Stocata, Passata, Imbrocata, or Montanta, all these, and all the rest of their devices you may safely prevent by keeping your distance, because thereby you shall still drive him to use the time of his feet, whereby you shall still prevent him of the true place, & therefore he cannot in due time make any of these fights offensive upon you by reason that the number of his feet will still be too great, so that he shall still use the slow time of his feet to the swift time of your hand. Now you can plainly see how to prevent all these, but for the better example note this, whereas I say by keeping of distance some may object that then the rapier man will come in by degrees with such ward as shall best like him, & drive back the sword man continually, to whom I answer, the he can not do, by reason that the sword man's traverses are made circularly, so that the rapier man in his coming in has no place to carry the point of his rapier, in due time to make home his fight, but that still his rapier will lie within the compass of the time of the sword man's hand, to make a true cross  upon him, the which cross being made with force he may safely uncross, & hurt the rapier man in the arm, head, face or body, with blow or thrust, & fly out safe before he shall have tie to direct his point again to make his thrust upon the sword man,
  11. If the rapier man lies upon the Stocata, first make your space narrow with your short sword, & take heed that he strikes not down your sword point with his dagger & so jump in & hurt you with the thrust of his long rapier, which thing he may do because he has commanded your sword, & so you are left open & discovered & left only unto the uncertain ward of your dagger, which ward is to single for a man to venture his life on, which if you miss to perform never so little you are hurt or slain.
  12. To prevent this danger you must remember your governors, & presently upon his least motion be sure of your distance, & your narrow space, then do as follows.
  13. If he lies upon his Stocata, with his rapier point within or behind his dagger hand out straight, then lie upon variable in measure with your right foot before & your sword point out directly with your space very narrow as near his rapier point as you may, between his rapier point & his dagger hand, from which you may suddenly with a wrist blow, lift up your point & strike him on the outside or inside of his dagger hand, & fly out withal, then make your space narrow as before, then if he thrust home at you, you are already prepared for his thrust, or you may thrust at his dagger hand, doing which you may think best, but your blow must be only by moving your wrist, for if you lift up your hand & arm to fetch a large blow then your time will be too long, & your space to wide in due time to make a true ward to defend yourself from his thrust, so shall you hurt him although he has a gauntlet thereon, for your thrust will run up between his fingers, & your blow will cut off the fingers of his gauntlet, for he cannot defend himself from one blow or thrust of 20, by reason that you have the place to reach home at his hand, & for that cause he cannot prevent it, neither can he reach home to you without putting in his foot or feet, because the distance is too large, but upon every blow or thrust that you make at his hand slip back a little, so you shall still upon every blow or thrust that you make at him, be out of his reach.
  14. If he thrust at your higher parts with his point a little mounted, then make narrow your space with your point upon his, if you cross his blade on the inside between his rapier & his dagger, if he presses in then from your cross beat or bear back his point strongly towards his right side, & having indirected his point, strike him on the inside of the rapier or dagger hand or arm, or on the head, face, or body, & fly out instantly.  Or you may upon his pressing in with his thrust slip your point down as he comes in, & put up your hilt & ward it guardant, & therewith from that ward cast out his point, & suddenly strike him in one of the places aforesaid, & fly out instantly remembering your governors.
  15. If he lies fast & does not come in, then strike & thrust at his dagger hand, with your wrist blow & slip back therewith every time.
  16. But if he lies fast & beats down your point with his dagger, & then thrusts at you from his Stocata then turn up your hilt with your knuckles upward & your nails downward, taking his blade upon the backside of yours towards your left side & bear it guardant towards that side, & so may you offend him as before is said upon that ward.
  17. The like may you do upon him if he lays out his point, when you have crossed the same with yours, & then strike it to either side, & so indirect his point, and then strike or thrust & fly out.
  18. The like you must do, if he lies with his point direct towards your belly.
  19. But if you cross his point so mounted or directed as above said, upon the outside of your sword with his point a little higher than your hilt, so that you may cross his blade, then if he thrust over your blade single uncrossing the same, then you may break it with your forehand ward out towards your right side, & if he comes in therewith, then strike him on the outside of his rapier hand or arm, or on the head or face, & fly out therewith.
  20. But if he thrusts in over your sword as above said & presses in his blade strongly double with the help of his dagger, then put down your point & turn up your hilt guardant, so shall you safely defend it bearing it guardant out towards your left side & from that strike him in between his rapier and dagger in one of the aforesaid places & fly out.
  21. If he lies after the Stocata with his point down towards your foot, then cross his blade on the outside, & if he turns his point over your blade to make his thrust upon you, bear it out towards your left side, & from that ward offend him as aforesaid.
  22. Also in this fight take heed that he thrusts you not in the sword hand or arm, therefore ever respect to draw it back in due time, remembering therein your twofold governor, in your coming in, to make your cross or narrow space.
  23. If at sword & dagger or buckler he strikes in at the outside of your right leg ward it with the back of your sword, carrying your point down, bearing you knuckles downward & your nails upward(55), bearing your sword out strongly towards your right side, upon which ward, you may strike him on the outside of the left leg, or thrust him in the thigh or belly.
  24. The like may you do if he strike at your other side, if you ward his blow with the edge of your sword your hand and knuckles as aforesaid(56), casting out his sword blade towards your left side, this may be used at short or long sword fight.
  25. You must never use any fight against the long rapier & dagger with your short sword but the variable fight, because your space will be too wide & your time too long, to defend or offend in due time.
  26. Also you must use very large distance ever, because out of that fight you can hardly make a true cross because being within distance, the eye is deceived to it in due time.
  27. Remember in putting forth your sword point to make your space narrow, when he lies upon his Stocata, or any thrust, you must hold the handle thereof as it were along your hand, resting the pommel thereof in the hollow part of the middle of the heel of your hand towards the wrist, & the former part of the handle must be held between the forefinger & thumb, without the middle joint of the forefinger towards the top thereof, holding that finger somewhat straight out gripping round your handle with your other 3 fingers(57), & laying your thumb straight towards his, the better to be able to perform this action perfectly, for if you grip your handle close out- thwart(?) in your hand, then you cannot lay your point straight upon his to make your space narrow, but that your point will still lie too wide to do the same in due time, & this is the best way to hold your sword in all kinds of variable fight.

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