How I envisage the blog working.

The idea is to publish the English translation along with the Spanish text. You can get the complete original document here. I hope that readers will be able to compare and suggest changes and improvements.

I will also add some notes as to my interpretation. Again – I hope that people will engage and comment – so that together we can come to an understanding of what this means.

I would then like to add images to show the different movements, positions and techniques – but that may have to wait a while.

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Chapter 24: On practising

Comment/Interpretation:

De Brea ends his work by explaining how to practise and how to behave. Hits should be indicated without the need to land them. Fencing should be conducted in silence as much as possible and one should always get the best fencing masters possible.

Translation:

On practising

There are three types of activities: simple, compound and linked.

Simple Practise Exercise

Before starting this exercise, the fencers need to choose their measure of distance. Each fencer then assumes the second stance and faces each other along the line of the diameter. Once fencer will be offering enough of a target area, whether on an inside or outside line. The attacking fencer will have his blade in light opposition to the defending fencer’s blade. The attacking fencer should then disengage and pass the point of his foil under his opponent’s hilt. This will free the sword and the fencer should then thrust at whichever target area is most conveniently exposed. As the thrusts, he should stretch out with his right arm and also with his left leg. He should lower his left hand so that it touches his left-hand side. This can be seen in figure seven of plate eighteen.

Fig 7 Plate 18

The defending fencer should only move his left foot backwards when he is attacked so that it is easier to parry. This movement should be as small as possible and just enough to allow the defending fencer to practice the defensive techniques that have been taught. If the defending fencer has managed to parry, then the attacking fencer should let his foil move to whichever side it has been pushed by the parry. He should hold the foil lightly but make sure that it does not fall. The defending fencer should end the exercise in the position shown in figure six of plate eighteen.

Fig 6 Plate 18

Compound Practise Exercise

This is a tougher and more explosive exercise as it allows the attacking fencer to take advantage of the first, second or third type of feints. When the defending fencer parries, the attacking fencer should recover and then attack again immediately, only pausing enough to position himself correctly for the next attack. The defending fencer should wait and defend himself without riposting. This will give the attacking fencer the opportunity to improve through practice.

Linked Practise Exercise – also called the bell exercise.

This exercise allows the defending fencer to riposte. The riposte, however should wait until the attacking fencer has recovered and can defend himself.

This is a completely voluntary exercise, as are all the others, and we do these to help the fencer acquire strength and speed when attacking and defending.

To perform this exercise, both fencers will to stand upright with left and right feet touching. They will hold their foil as if they were about to carry out a diagonal backhand attack. The movements should be carried out at the same time and have the aim of helping each . At the end, the fencers will each take a reverse step and perform a salute as described in Chapter XVIII and shown in image 4 of plate eighteen.

Fig 4 Plate 18

If the fencer who has just defended wishes now to attack, he can do so following the same approach. As both fencers are facing each other along the line of diameter and stay within measure, I call this way of practising, the exercise of the wall.

A Cautionary Note

Every person needs to show his own ability without rushing into an action that would injure someone, which should be avoided. If, whilst practising, one of the fencers should be in a position to land a hit on the opposing fencer, then he should indicate the hit but not actually make contact. Whilst weapons are being used, silence should be kept as much as possible.

If a fencer should feel it necessary to ask for assistance with one or another move, then he should only use the best possible teachers. He should not resort to vainglorious and inferior teachers. There is no glory in defeating opponents such as these and, if they are occasionally victorious, it is an insult to both the skill of arms and the fencer.

I have tried to limit myself as much as possible in the images and plates to show only the easiest and most practical moves and techniques. It is not possible to illustrate all the techniques and positions that are needed to master the Art and which are described in this manual. It is important, however to read the explanation given for each one and follow the instructions carefully.

Fencing is a science of two parts as can be clearly seen in this document. The first part is conceptual and the second part is practical. The conceptual part concerns the power of the mind and soul. The practical part is concerned with the physical operation of the body. Any person, who wishes to be successful will need to have knowledge, disposition and be willing to practice. These three powerful elements will help him achieve mastery and be in a position to use this in the service of God, his king and country.

Original Text:

CAPITULO XXIV.
Exercicio de muralla.
Este tiene tres especies simple, compuesto y ligado. Trímero simple. Antes de dar principio á este exercicio, se ha de elegir su medio de proporción, y puestos los dos exercitantes en su segunda planta, ocupando la línea del diámetro, el uno esperando y ofreciendo un suficiente punto, sea por su parte adentro ó de afuera, y el que haya de acometer con la general flaqueza baxo de la total fuerza contraria, este pasará la punta de su florete por baxo de laguarnición del de su contrario, y la librará y encaminará á que execúte en el punto, que le ofrezca su opuesto descubierto, procurando á la execucion levantar la mano, y estirar la pierna izquierda y brazo derecho,y en el tiempo, basar la mano y brazo izquierdo, uniéndole á su costado, como lo manifiesta la figura señalada con el núm. 7 de la precedente estampa. Quando su contrario le haya expelido. el arma con el quite, permanecerá un poquito volviendo la mano, y dexando ir el florete al lado que se le haya desviado, sin que se le desprenda ni cayga, y el que espera disminuirá solo con el izquierdo en el tiempo que le acometen para hacer el desvio con mas libertad; pero que sea muy poca cantidad, aplicando las defensas que se tienen advertidas en las reglas de esperar según mejor le venga, y permaneciendo según la figura señalada con el núm. 6. los dos combatientes ocupando la línea del diámetro firmes, y sin excederse de su medio de proporción. Ha. de procurar cada uno demostrar su habilidad sin propasarse á ninguna acción, que pueda resultar en perjuicio de alguno; antes bien se han de evitar. Y si en virtud del rigor de la batalla se proporcionase alguna execucion, se ha de procurjir marcarla, pero no executarla; guardando todo el silencio posible ínterin estén demostrando con las armas en la mano. , Igualmente se previene, que en caso de solicitar ó admitir la definición de alguna proposición, que $ea con los mas excelentes profesores, np COA los inferiores presumidos, que con estos no se saca gloria de vencerlos; y sí acaso ellos vencen, afrentan á la habilidad y ,al sugeto. Me he ceñido lo posible e|i las láminas,^ poniendo las demostraciones, mas pfacticabl,«s y fáciles, por. ser imposible representar t^das» las prop$>Sr^¿o»eí .19 posturas¡qi^e pide el arte, relácionadafi en este pi;«ntu0EÍo: atiéndase4lá explicación de cada una de ^Üas pasa, su execucion. Bien claramíií!«ie se manifiesta en este escrito ser esta una ciencia qije copsta <ip d.o$ paites,, la una especulativa, y la otra piieficAí la espe<;u]at¡va toca án la^ potencia» del alma, y la práctica á las operaciones del cuerpo. El
qi^ la haya de conseguir aecesiía tener entsndimimiento,
dispojsiciw y aplicacipn: con estas tyes prendas tan poderos^
s^ duda se conseguirá el fin, par» empkarle en el^
servicio de Pjos, de su ^ey y de su Pauia.

Chapter 23: On handing over a sword and saluting

Comment/Interpretation:

Chapter 23 concerns the etiquette of fencing. As De Brea points out, a gentleman should always remove his hat, smallsword and cape before fencing.

Translation:

Chapter XXIII

On handing over a sword and saluting

If two gentlemen wish to use this Noble Art to exercise or enjoy themselves, then one of the fencers should take the foils in his right hand. He should cross the blades ensure that the hilts are together. He should then go to wherever his friend or competitor is waiting. He should stand upright in fourth position and extend the hilts of the sword to his friend so that he may take whichever he prefers and leave the fencer with the remaining one. At the same time, they should both remove their hats and move their right feet so that they both assume the third stance. This can be seen in figures one and two of plate eighteen.

Fig 1 and 2 Plate 18

After this, they should retire to remove their own smallswords or capes, if they are wearing one. They should also put on some gloves to avoid any wounds.

To begin the process of saluting, the two fencers should come forward onto the line of the diameter with their hats in their hand. This can be seen in figure three. Each fencer should stand upright with his feet together in third position and with his arm and sword, each fencer should describe a partial, circular movement in the air. This circular movement should end with the sword in first diagonal as if the fencer were about to perform a cut. This can be seen in figure four.

Fig 4 Plate 18

Each fencer should then return to second stance and at the same time perform a vertical cut along the line of the diameter. He should end in the same position as can be seen in figure three.

Fig 3 Plate 18

The fencer should stamp slightly as he places his right foot down and then immediately adopt third position with his feet and stand upright and he should hold his foil with the point pointing straight up as well as can be seen in figure five.

Fig 5 Plate 18

 

Once this has been done, the fencer will have performed a three-part salute, although it is made up of various movements.

Original Text:

CAPITULO XXIII.
Modo de alargar el arma, y de saludar 6 hacerla cortesía. Si dos caballeros tratasen de exercitarse ó divertirsef ü este tan noble arte, tomará el uno de ellos los dos floretes
en la mano derecha, cruzando las dos hojas, y unidas las guarniciones ITÍ donde se halle su amigo ó competidor, y puesto de quadrado en su qxiarta posición de pies, se los alargará para que tome el que le parezca, quedándose con el uno, y al mismo tiempo con la mano izquierda se quitarán el sombrero, sacando el pie derecho á su tercera posición, como lo manifiestan las figuran señaladas con el nüm. i y 2 de la estampa núm. 17; después se retirarán á quitarse el espadín ó capa si la tienen, y se pondrán sus guantes, que no les harán daño. Para dar principio á la cortesía, se presentarán los dos
combatientes con el sombrero en la mano, ocupando la línea del diámetro, cómalo manifiesta la figura señalada con el núm. 3 , y levantáadose á su plano superior forniaián en el ayre con ai brazo y florete una porción de círculo, ccwno si fuesen á formar un revés, quedándose en su primera diagonal y tercera posición de pies, según lo demuestra la figura señalada con el nüm. 4 . Y volviéndose á su segnoda pknta formando un tajo vertical, quedarán en la línea del diámetro, y en los términos que lo manifiesta la misma figura señalada con. el núm. 3 , dando en el tientpo un gaipeci^o eti el suelo al sentar el pie dereclio» é inmediatamente se volverán á levantar’ ái sa plano superior y tercera posición de pies, levantando en el tiempo la punta del florete á modo de rectitud, como lo manifiesta la figura señalada coa el númu J.. Hecho todo en los términos referidos se habrá executado la cortesía compuesta de tres partes, aunque de varios movimientos.

 

Chapter 22: On defending oneself against the dagger

Comment/Interpretation:

This Chapter is where De Brea discusses how to deal with ruffians armed with daggers. He points out that a gentleman, if confronted by a dagger wielding ruffian, should never flee as such behaviour would be unseemly.

The approach he takes is similar to the way he describes the testing feint. The fencer offers his chest as a target to provoke an attack and then respond. He then uses his body and hand/arm movements to unbalance and disarm the offending ruffian. As in all the other chapters, De Brea describes very precise hand placements to control his opponent’s weapon. He points out that all movements need to be carried out quickly and with precision.

Translation:

Chapter XXII

On defending oneself against the dagger

It is quite common for a fencer and gentleman to find himself without a sword. If this happens and the fencer should encounter one of the many ruffians that abound and they are armed with a knife or dagger, then the fencer should not flee, as this would be inappropriate. What he should do is adopt the second position with his right arm raised up with his hand above his head. This exposes the whole area of the chest and can be seen in figure one of plate sixteen.

Fig 1 Plate 16

When the ruffian tries to stab him, the fencer should use a downwards parrying movement and aim to hit his opponent’s wrist and ideally, he will be able to grab his opponent’s wrist from below. In any case, he should not disengage his hand from his opponent’s wrist. At the same time, he should move his right foot backwards. This will curve the top of his body forwards and withdraw the legs and stomach. This can be seen in figure two of plate sixteen.

Fig 2 Plate 16

He should then move his left foot past his right foot and reach around and grab his opponent around the nape of his neck with his left hand. The fencer will be able to defend himself, if he carries out these movements quickly and without hesitation. If at this point, the ruffian realises that his attack has failed and he withdraws his arm to try to stab again, then the fencer should twist his opponent’s wrist so that the weapon is now pointing back at the ruffian. The fencer should then add his push to the existing backwards momentum of the ruffian’s arm and force the ruffian onto the point of the weapon. This can be seen in figure three in plate sixteen.

Fig 3 Plate 16

Alternative Strategies for Dealing with Daggers.

Let us imagine that the two fencers are facing each other at perfect measure. The ruffian is waiting with his hat in his left hand and a dagger in his right hand and the fencer is attacking using a variety of cuts and thrusts. The ruffian is defending himself but at a given moment, he steps forward with his left foot and tries to stab the fencer in his left-hand side or shoulder. The fencer should defend himself by using his left hand with the nails turned out to grab the ruffian’s attacking arm by grabbing the wrist – or getting as close as possible – as the attacking dagger passes to the outside of the fencer’s left hand. If the fencer has managed to grab the ruffian’s wrist, then he should move his right foot backwards into the third stance and at the same time, he can withdraw his blade and then hit his opponent under his right arm or in the armpit. All movements should be carried out as quickly as possible and this will ensure the fencer remains safe and is able to punish any type of attack with forbidden weapons as shown in plate seventeen.

Plate 17

Original Text:

CAPITULO   XXII.

Difmsas d,J pu fial.

Si en  alguna ocasion se  encontrase  el  diestro  sin  es­pada , como suele suceder , y se le presentase  uno  de los nmchos hombres que hay  de mab  intencion  con  un  pu­ fial 6 cuchillo en la mano, en este  c:1so  no  ha  de  huir, pues le esta ra ma!; lo que dcbc h 1cer cs csperarle en m segunda planta con  el  br:izo  Jen:cho levantac.o , de ma­ nera que la mano este aun mas alta que la cabeza , des­ cubriendo todo el peeho , como lo manihesta la figura se­ fialada  con  el n C1m. 1 de  la  siguiente  e5tampa  num. I 6; y quando  el contrario  le  tire  la  pu nalada , se  defendera  el .diestro con el  movimiento  natural , dandole  con la ma­ no un golpe en la muiieca , y si puede  scr ·agarrandosela por debaxo ; y si no , no desunirse , y al mismo tiempo disminuir con el pie derecho para formar con el cuerpo concavidad , segun la figura seiialada con el num. 2 , y levantando el izquierdo  para  sentarle  detras  del  derecho de su contrario , haciendo  centro.  en  el  derecho,  le echara ·la JmtDO i:z:q11ierda· al cogote , parte inferior de la cabcza , procurando hacer todos, ks movimientos  sin  te­ mor , y muy prontos ‘ y  se lograra  la ddema. y si h.illan­ cose  cl contrar io en  esta diposicion por. haberle salido fa.:.llida  SU   1esolt1cion , se focse  a rctirar  ra: a nlVer a acome­ter , el d iestro  en  aquel mismo tiemro le ayudara  ;1 levan­tar ‘ cmpu jand ole rara que   u  rnim-;o  instrumen to  le sea en su  perjuicio , coma  se rnanificsta  por las figuras n(tm. 3.

.                                                                 .

St.-gtmda proposif ion de/ punal.

 Sup6ngase :i fos dos· combatientes en el medio pro• porciul , cLiave11-ario esperando .con el sombrero en r}a niano . izquieida,, y en la dere,ha  un  pufial , y  el· d iestro acometiendole con su espadi, unas veces de cone , y otr:ide pun.ta.    u  contrario  :con  el  sombret0 se  va defendien J:o ; y en uno de aquellos tiempos se aproxima metiendo el pie izquierdo , y con la mano derecha le tira una pu­ iialada con animo de executar  herida en la coracteral   iz­quierda  u hombro:  el diestro;  para  defenderse , le saldra a recibir   con  la  mano  izquierda  vuelta  ufias  afuera ,  el brazo un poco curvo, para que el punal quede entre la coracteral y braz:o , procurando agarrarle por  la muiieca, 6 muy poco distante de ella ,  y  se  lograra  sostenerle; y sacando e} pie derecho atraS a SU tercera planta , reducira la punta del arma  a que  execute  la herida baxo  del brazo derecho del contrario. Se ha de procurar executar to dos los movimientos con la presteza que sea posible ; y se lograra. la defensa , y castigar semejante modo de acome­ ter con armas prohibidas , como lo manifiestan las figuras de la estampa num. 17.

No  se trata  mas sobre este punto , porque  como ya seJixo en otro capfrulo , no era el intento hacer grueso vo­ lumen ;solo se han puesto estas dos demostraciones por ser las mas  f.iciles y practicables.

Chapter 21: On attacking off the test feint

Comment/Interpretation:

This chapter is about using a test feint to learn what an opponent is going to do. As usual, De Brea stresses safety and the need to avoid double hits. The chapter also distinguishes itself by De Brea’s excursion into popular poetry.

De Brea’s test feint consists of offering a target to the opponent in order to provoke an attack. The fencer should change position of weapon and body – looking for ways to offer a clear target. He should observe his opponent intently to understand what he is trying to do.

The idea is to provoke a thrust or cut and then react and riposte De Brea then provides a series of how to go about this and this is what most of the chapter consists of. In every case, the principles are: close observation, movement backwards, forwards, up, down and around and precise placement of feet, blade and hand. De Brea gives a personal example. His opponent, a fencing master, thrust very hard and quickly and overextended himself so far that had to balance himself by placing his left hand on the ground. Realising this, De Brea would quick circular step to the left to take his body offline and riposte.

Translation:

Chapter XXI

On attacking off the test feint

The test feint helps the fencer learn what his opponent wishes to do. This will help the fencer hit his opponent either by anticipating or by a planned reaction to his movements. It will also help to avoid double hits, which are being seen all the time in actual combat due to a lack of knowledge by the combatants. A double hit usually happens when you have two brave and light footed opponents, each one single minded focused on hitting his adversary and due to their speed and intent, they both launch their attacks simultaneously. The effect is similar to two matched rams that batter each other with such force that they either die or are completely destroyed. If the fencer wishes to avoid a similar fate, he would do well to remember the following popular verse:

 

El guerrero prudente y recatado

Jamas de pronto embiste a su enemigo

Le observe, avanza en la apariencia, y cede

Hasta que le da el punto en que es vencido

 

The wise and careful fighter

Never rushes at his opponent

He watches him rather and advances and retreats

Until an opening appears which permits him to win

 

In order to be able to implement such an important piece of learning, the fencer should wait in the second stance and offer his opponent a clear, exposed target in order to provoke an attack. If his opponent does not attack, then the fencer should change position several times, moving feet and body and changing the position of his blade. Sometimes he should give the impression that he is going to attack. Sometimes he should take one or more of the angled positions. All movements should be carefully controlled and in proportion. He should not take his eyes off his opponent so that he is not taken by surprise and can riposte when his opponent attacks. Likewise, if the fencer attacks or receives an attack by moving one of his feet backwards or counters an attack by a straight right-angled defensive movement or indeed any other defensive measure, he will also need to be alert.

If the fencer observes that his opponent does not respond to the feints and invitations made and does not commit to an attack, but does leave a possible target area unguarded, then the fencer should take advantage of his opponent’s carelessness to attack. As a precaution, the fencer should make sure that he moves around to the same side that he has attacked, and his arm and weapon attack the open target. This will avoid either a double hit or a stop hit. It will be hard enough for the opponent to defend himself and especially if is not paying attention. If the opponent tries to close distance quickly and come in close, the fencer should resist this by either moving backwards or defend by raising his blade into a defensive position and coming into opposition with the opponent’s blade. This should stop the move or force him to change direction.

Despite what I have said, I think it would be helpful to add some more advice. The reason is so that the fencer can defend himself easily, is not confused by and does not exaggerate any of the general principles no matter what position or guard is chosen.

First: Let us imagine that the fencer is waiting in a perfect quarte guard with his arm bent, his hand with nails turn up and his weapon held at an angle across his body but with the point slightly lowered. This means that he is offering his opponent a target to aim at. This could be the chest above the blade or the back side of the sword arm. This can be seen in figure one of plate thirteen.

Fig 1 Plate 13

If his opponent attacks whilst he is in this position, then the fencer should defend himself by extending his arm and blade and this should be enough to deflect the attacking weapon. At the same time, he should move his right foot back by about half a foot. This will mean that the fencer’s body will adopt a concave posture. As soon as the backwards move has been completed and the opposing blade deflected off target, then the fencer should attack by thrusting at the lower part of the chest. To do this, he needs to pass weapon under his opponent’s arm and take care not to touch it. The movements need to be executed quickly so that the opponent does not have a chance to react and also so that the attack can take advantage of the forward momentum already generated.

Second: The fencer can also change measure when his opponent attacks above the weapon and use the extra time to control his opponent’s blade by increasing the degrees of pressure. As soon as the opposing sword has been forced offline, the fencer should attack the side of the chest immediately taking advantage of the fact he has moved his body away from the line of the diameter as soon as he was attacked.

Third: If the fencer is attacked above the arm whilst waiting in the position that has just been described, he can counter attack in one of two ways. The first way is that he can move his left foot back and move into the third stance, disengaging his blade and raising his hand so that his hilt deflects the attacking weapon. He can then attack with a very fast thrust to the chest. As with all such measures, care needs to be taken that the actions are within time and that there is no gap between them. If this is done, then the fencer will have defended himself and riposted successfully.

Fourth: The second way to counter attack involves preparing the hand by turning the wrist into quarte so that the nails are pointing upwards. When the opponent attacks above the arm as previously described, the fencer will raise his left foot and bring together with his right foot. He will then be able to use the upper quillion to control the opposing blade. As he controlled the blade, the fencer will have been forced to raise the point of his sword. He should now lower the point and hit his opponent in the face or in the upper part of the arm. If the fencer does not wish to land such a major blow, which this undoubtedly is, then he will simply need to move his left foot slightly forward and his right foot backwards so that they are joined together and extend his arm and weapon in the first universal position as can be seen in figure one of plate eleven.

Fig 1 Plate 11

Either using one or the other approach, the actions should be carried out at the same time and, in this way, the fencer will achieve his aim of defending himself and of hitting his opponent.

Fifth: When he is attacked above the arm as described above, the fencer can use some of the positions to help. As he is attacked, the fencer should join his blade to the attacking blade and deflect into the eighth diagonal line. Whilst keeping in opposition, the fencer can cut, if he wishes. He should remember to recover using the same horizontal line he has used to prepare the cut and making sure his opponent’s blade stays underneath his own, also pushing his left arm between the two weapons to stop his opponent from withdrawing his blade. This needs to be done before the opponent has had a chance to recover. If the fencer prefers to thrust, he can. To do this, he needs to place his weight on his left leg and bring his sword arm back and preparing to thrust at the right-hand side of the chest. He then hits his opponent where arm and body meet by thrusting as he shifts his weight forwards again. This riposte can also be carried out over the top of the opponent’s weapon and as the riposte is made, the fencer will control his opponent’s sword as part of the move.

Sixth: If, when he is attacked above the weapon, the fencer wishes to counter extremely quickly, he can do so without risk by raising his hand to the level of his face and turning the nails out, keeping the point low and parrying with the lower edge of the sword. As he does this he will push his left hand between the blades to keep his opponent’s blade below the level of the arm and off target. There will be occasions when the fencer can conclude the move by passing his weapon under his opponent’s and taking care not to touch it at all, he can then direct a riposte to the face or the upper part of the chest. To do this he will need place his body and feet in a triangular position centred on the toes and bending his body to his inside line. He will have created a mixed angle and executed a hard thrust. This can be seen in figure B of plate twelve.

Fig B Plate 12

All movements need to be carried out simultaneously as if they are not, the move will not work.

Seventh: As his opponent attacks, the fencer should free his weapon and place it over the opponent’s blade and control it by placing his third degree of force opposed to the opponent’s first degree. From this position, if he so wishes, the fencer can thrust forward by running his blade along his opponent’s and hit him along the right-hand side of the body. If he so wishes, he can also hit the face or the upper arm without disengaging from his opponent’s blade. The fencer will need to be careful and if his opponent tries to parry, then the fencer will need to change his attack from a thrust to a cut and creating the opportunity by shifting his position. If the fencer does not wish to hit, he does not have to. He can keep his opponent’s blade under control and this will force his opponent to move to free himself. He will have to free himself either by disengaging or by moving and the fencer will be able to take advantage of the time needed to do this to hit the nearest, available target area.

As has been very clearly explained, these seven strategies all arise from a thrust that the opponent has launched. His thrust is delivered above the sword and is trying to hit the right-hand side of the fencer’s chest. As was explained in the first strategy, the fencer is waiting with his sword point in a slightly lowered position. This implies that if the fencer does not care of his defence, he risks being hit. I can speak about this from my experience in fighting with a certain, very vain Maestro. He thrust with such force and closed distance so far and quickly that the only way to avoid being hit by both his weapon and head was to take a very quick circular step to the left with the left foot. This was enough for me to get my body off the line of the diameter. I observed that his attack was so over-extended that he needed to put his left hand on the ground to stop himself from falling over as he had become so unbalanced. You can see how stubborn and capricious some men can be as he told me that he always attacks whenever an opponent offers a lowered point. He said that it is sometimes successful because his opponent has not being paying attention or has not known how to defend or the opponent can only manage a very weak response. He explained that he always tries to attack as hard and fast as possible and as this sometimes works, when he saw my lowered point, he did not think that this would be any different, which is why he attacked.

I do not want to waste time by going on for too long and distracting us. Neither do I wish to deliver an overlong list of strategies. This would confuse people rather than teach. Despite the disdain that a true fencer should feel at this Maestro’s manner of acting and speaking, his words and behaviour prompted me to reflect that if a simple side step was enough for me to not only defend myself but to make him fall over then we should also cover some defensive strategies so that everyone understands these.

First: If the opponent thrusts under the weapon, then the fencer should lower the point of his blade so that it is in the position of a low sword arm position. He should direct his weapon along the seventh diagonal. This means that the middle of his blade will oppose this opponent’s foible and control it, forcing it offline. The fencer will then be able to riposte with a fast thrust to the lower armpit. As he does this, he should also move his left foot backwards and end up in the third stance. If the fencer does not move his left foot, then he should, at least, move his right foot back so that his feet are together. By doing this, he will be better placed to defend himself and he will be able to riposte with no danger to himself.

Second: As the opponent thrusts below the blade, the fencer turn his nails down and use the lower edge to parry and deflect the attacking blade offline. At the same time, he should take a pace backwards with his right foot. He should however not touch the ground with his right heel. This will have the effect of curving his chest, shoulders and head forwards. From this lower sword position, he can withdraw his weapon and prepare a cut. The cut can be aimed at the face, the upper part of the arm or anywhere that the fencer chooses. To make the cut, the fencer will need to swivel his body by taking a pace forward with his left foot and his right foot backwards so that he is forming a reversed third stance. These movements need to be carried out as quickly as possible and in this way, he will be able to defend himself and attack his opponent. These movements can be seen in the figures in plate fourteen.

PLate 14

Third: If the fencer does not wish to attack in this way, then he needs to enter into opposition with his opponent’s sword and control this. At the same time, he needs to move his right foot forward and close distance. This will remove the force of his opponent’s attack. The fencer will then be able to hit his opponent in the chest area as long as he carries out the movement very quickly and does not give his adversary a chance to react as if he does, then the move will not be successful. This should be enough information about this defence so we can move on to look at some other defensive strategies. These strategies begin with the fencer waiting in the second stance position. His arm is held slightly back and across his body with his fingernails halfway between turned up and outwards and weapon pointing to the outside line and held in a high arm position – corresponding to a high quarte – and just off the line of the diameter. He is offering his opponent a target area on the right-hand side of the chest or face – as can be seen in figure two of plate thirteen.

Fig 2 Plate 13

First: Whenever the opponent attacks these exposed target areas, the fencer will parry hard with a downwards movement using the lower edge and then attack any area of his opponent that offers itself.

Second: He can also hit his opponent at the same time as he attacks by moving out of measure to defend himself.

Third: When the opponent attacks either in a high or low line, the fencer can move his left foot around the circle by a about a foot distance and then use his right foot to re-centre his position. This will move him two degrees around his opponent’s profile. The fencer will need be aware that if his opponent is aiming for his face, then the fencer will need to parry with his lower edge and make sure that forte is placed to foible. If his opponent is thrusting low, then the fencer can use his hilt and guard to parry.

Fourth: When attacked as described, the fencer can simply raise his arm and weapon into the first defensive position. This is the simplest way to avoid any problems. It can be done in two ways. The fencer can parry his opponent’s blade either upwards or downwards using the back of the blade and then hit his opponent in the face or upper part of the chest. This can be seen in figure one of plate eleven and defending against an attack in the low line can be seen in the lower figure in plate fifteen.

loweer plate 15

Fifth: If the fencer wishes to move into measure with a downwards bind, then he should move his feet forwards but without unbalancing himself. This will cramp his opponent and as he tries to recover, then the fencer can take advantage of the opportunity to hit. If the opponent does not wish to free his arm, then the fencer should stretch out with his left arm to grab the opposing hilt. At the same time, he should withdraw his own sword to get it out of the way and he can then wound his opponent in the chest or face. If the opponent does try to defend himself, then the fencer can turn his attack into a backhand cut, which can be implemented as he withdraws back out of measure.

Sixth: The fencer can use a circular movement of the sword to parry his opponent’s weapon and then riposte as was described in an earlier chapter. Despite this, I will repeat that as soon as the fencer has deflected his opponent’s sword, then he should feint a thrust at the upper arm or face and then when his opponent tries to parry and defend himself, the fencer should lower the point of his sword and thrust to the right-hand side of the body, passing the sword under his opponent’s arm in the process. If the opponent defends himself by raising both arm and weapon, then the fencer should hit along the centre line of the body or in the arm pit as this will be quicker.

Seventh: The same circular movement of the sword will also enable the fencer to hit his opponent across the centre of the chest. As his opponent attacks, or immediately afterwards, the fencer can riposte. Moving around the circle in the same direction that the riposte is made will also enable him to defend himself better.

Eighth: The same circular movement will also enable the fencer to use the upper quillion of his guard to control his opponent’s sword as he makes an attack. The fencer should then immediately riposte keeping his blade in opposition with his opponent’s. He should aim at the face or whichever part of the body is most convenient.

Ninth: If the fencer’s foil does not have quillions, then he should use a beat to knock his opponent’s sword offline. Once this has been done, the fencer can bring his own sword into play from this lower line position. He should do this by either disengaging, moving or simply using his wrist to raise the point. In any case, he should, without any pause, bind his opponent’s blade to keep him from bring it back on target and then hit his opponent as quickly as possible on whatever target area is most accessible. If the fencer is quick enough and follows this advice, then then opponent will not be able to retreat out of measure and the move may be successful and allow the fencer to wound his opponent.

Tenth: Let is suppose that his opponent has tried to attack the fencer’s right hand side, thrusting through the cross where the weapon’s meet as described previously. The fencer can use a semi-circular movement to defend himself. He should pass his sword under his opponent’s until it is in the first diagonal position. From this position, he will turn his wrist to point his nails outwards, lower the point and riposte to the right-hand side of the body below the arm (riposte in seconde). If the fencer sees that his opponent is trying to defend himself very quickly, then he should aim at the centre line of the chest as this will give him a better angle. To do this, he should feint and give the impression that he is going to thrust in seconde and then as his opponent parries, he should turn his nails up and thrust over the top of his opponent’s blade. This is called a feint in seconde followed by a thrust in quarte.

These ten strategies all spring from the supposition that the opponent has tried to thrust and hit the fencer on the inside line and tried to wound in the face to on the right-hand side of the body. As we have now given enough advice about how to defend against this, we will now look at the following situation. The fencer is waiting in second stance with his arm slightly curved back and in a high sword position and with this weapon slightly pointing up and across his body with nails pointing down. The fencer is freely offering a target area above the arm or on the right-hand side of his body or face. This can be seen in figure three of plate thirteen.

Fig 3 Plate 13

First: If the fencer is waiting in this position and his opponent tries to hit the exposed target area, then the fencer can counter by moving his sword down and using the lower edge to parry. He can also either retreat or reduce measure and then bind his opponent’s sword and then hit his opponent on the right-hand side of the chest. Alternatively, he can wait until his opponent’s attack is over and then riposte with a thrust.

Second: The fencer can use one of the feints to induce an error and get his opponent to expose a target area. This point can then be attacked. As described in the previous strategies on feints, sufficient care will need to be taken if the fencer is to be able to successfully defend himself and wound his opponent.

Third: The fencer can hit at the same time as he is being attacked. This will be safer, if he can also remove himself from danger by increasing measure.

Fourth: Let us imagine that the fencer is waiting in the described position. As his opponent attacks, he can use his upper quillion to control the attacking blade. As soon as he does this, the fencer should glide his blade along his opponent’s and thrust to the face or upper part of the arm. If his opponent tries to defend himself by raising his hand and weapon to cover the target area, then the attack will need to be under the arm and should be made in quarte, with the nails turned up. This will ensure a successful defence and attack, whether the sword has quillions or not.

Fifth: The fencer should start by turning his hand so that the nails are pointing up. As soon as his opponent attacks, the fencer will use a circular movement of the sword to parry or to use the lower quillion to control the opposing weapon. He should then attack immediately by thrusting to his opponent’s right-hand side below the arm. If the fencer finds that his opponent manages to avoid his sword being controlled by the fencer’s circular movement and tries to hit him above the arm, then the fencer should control the line of the diameter before his opponent does and then thrust forwards.

Sixth: As he is being attacked, the fencer can defend himself by moving his left foot back or by adopting the first stance. Whichever of these approaches is chosen, he should ensure that his arm and weapon are making circular movements to defend himself successfully. He can then thrust quickly either aiming at below his opponent’s arm or the right-hand side of the chest.

Seventh and last: If, whilst the fencer is using circular movements of his sword, he wishes to close distance and bind his opponent’s blade, he can do this by moving both feet forwards. If the opponent remains where he is and does not move backwards, then the fencer should reach forward with his left hand and grab his opponent’s hilt. At the same time, he should move his sword arm backwards and align his point along the line of the diameter and he will be able to hit his opponent along the centre line of the chest and if successful, then we call this a thrust that comes out of controlling the hand and weapon. If, on the other hand, the opponent manages to free his sword by increasing measure or with a backhand movement of the sword, then the fencer will oppose this by thrusting forwards to whichever target area is most conveniently available. At all times, the fencer should remember to maintain a balanced position to make sure that he can defend himself successfully.

These are the three positions that I feel are most appropriate for the fencer to use when he is waiting for his opponent to attack. At the same time, the fencer should not forget the diagonal or oblique positions as these can and should be used to aid the fencer’s defence. I am not going to spend time going over them all, even though I could. It is enough to know how each one exposes weaknesses in the opponent and they can then be combined with the strategies that I have just described in whichever way best suits the fencer and the situation. Plate thirteen shows the three positions.

Plate 13

Original Text:

CAPITULO  XXI.

D, /4 jinta       prueba  rsp,rando !a,ometz’endo.

De laJinta de prUtba  se ha ‘3e va1er  el diestro para conocer lo que su contrario intenta 6 quierc hacer , a fiDde acometerle sea en tiempo 6 despues de i!l ; y tambien se hace para evitar los encuentros , que pot falta de conocimiento en batalla se estan haciendo a cada paso , pot .lo regular quando los dos combatientes son intrepidos y li­ geros , que los dos, .y cada uno de por s1 frxa la vista en el punto que ve descubierto ; y en virtud de su prontitud quieren executar la herida ; y como los dos llevan un fin, Y  se  arrojan  a un  tiempo,  con  efecto  suelen experimntar lo que dos carneros quando ,e acometen con igual 1mpe­ tu ,que se pegan tal golpe que cada uno cae por su lado, Y quando no muertos completamente , estropeados. Para que al .diestro no le suceda , ni cayga en tal error , tenga presente lo que manifies(a la. siguiente coplilla :

El guerrero prudente y recatado

Jamas de p,.oHto embistt ti $U e”emigo,

Le obser’Va , a”Vanza ,n la aparinuia , 1 eedt Hasta IJ.Ue le da el punto-. en 4.iu ts ‘Oenddo.

Para lograr este tan importante conocimiento esperara el diestro a su contrario en su segunda planta , ofreciendole un punto voluntario y claro , para que sin reiolo le acometa, Y si no lo quisiese hacer , se le ira mudando unas v·eces in cluyendole el arma , otras moviendo los pies y el cuerpo, como si le fuese a acometer , otras llamandose a algunas de las posturas diagonales , procur:mdo hacer los movimientos en una medida muy propordonada , y sin apartar la vista d.e su contrario , para acudir al reparo si le acomete en el t1empo de algunas de las llarnadas , 6 si no acometerle 6 recibirle sacando el pie atras, 6 detenerle con el angulo recto , primer   medio de la  defensa :pues con  qualquier cosa de las dichas  se lograra el fin de su defensa.

Pero si el diestro observase que su contrario  en vez de acorneter en el tiempo en que se le hacen los fingidos acometimientos 6 llamadas se descompone , y le ofrece un punto suficiente para poderle acometer, aprovechara aquel corto instante de descuido , con la precaucion  de desigua­ larse por el misrno lado de la execudon , e ir bien coloca­ do para ocupar  con el brazo y arma el hueco   descubierto, y de este modo no tiene que rezelar encuentros , ni que le cojan en el tiempo;  bastante  hara  su contrario en acudic a su defensa , que aun le sera dificil si le coge distraido. Y si el adversario quebraotase los rnedios de proporcion , y qui­ siese estrechar aproximandose , el diestro no lo debe con­ sentir : le sera mas conveniente disminuir , 6 levantarse a su medio de defensa con su arma unida a la c:ontraria, pa­ra impedirlc u obligarle a tomar otro rumbo.

No obstante lo dicho hasta aqu1 me parece muy con.. veniente  aiiadir  algunas mas  proposiciones,  para  que en qualesquiera poscura 6 guardia que el diestro se quiera afirmar a esperar a su contrario , no le sea confosa ni di..fici1 su defensa , y pueda executar las proposiciones de las reglas generates.

Primera proposidon :Sup611gase al diestro esperando en su perfecta planta con el brazo un poco encogido , la rnano baxa , y panicipando las ufias arriba , el arma trans­ versal a su parte de adentro , la  punta  un  poquito  baxa, ofreciendo pun to suficiente en el pecho por encima , y aun por baxo del brazo y arma , corno lo manifiesta la figura senalada con el num. 1 de la esrampa num. I 3. Si estan• do en esta disposicion , su contrario le acomete por end­ ma , el diestro se defendera con solo estirar el  brazo.  Le

sera suficiente para divertir 6 desviar el anna contraria , y al mismo tiempo disminuir con el pie derecho como me­ dia pie , para que el cuerpo forme concavidad ; y luego que se la haya apartado , y echado fuera del parale16gra­ mo , le podra dar la respuesta  con la precaucion  de pasar

la punta de su arma sin que toque  por baxo del brazo  , y

executar herida en la coracteral derecha ayudado del mo­ vimiento accidental , y procurando que todos 1os movi­ intos sean muy  prontos  para  que al contrario  le sea di­

fic1l la defensa.

Segunda ; Podra el diestro desigua1arse en el tiempo que su contrario le acomete por encima del arma para ganarle los gradoi de\ perfil , librando la suya para execu­ tar la herida en la diametral del pecho sin recargo, por  aber quitado el cuerpo de la l1nea del diametro en el t1empo que el contrario le acometi6.

Tercera :EsperanJo el diestro en su  planta  y guar­ dia , Como se ha  dicho , se  podra  va\er  de  recihir  a SU

contrario en el tiempo que le acomete  por encirna del  ar­

ma , lo que podra hacer de uno de dos modos, sacando el pie izquierdo atras a su tercera planta , lihrando la su­

ya , y levantando la mano para desviar con su guarnicion la contraria , executando la herida en la vertical derecha, con el nombre de sagita , con el cuidado de que todas  cs­

tas acciones, asi de acometer el contrario , como de reci­ birle  el  diestro y executar  la herida , sean a un tiempo,

sin  que  haya  ninguna  intermision , y se \ograra el fin de

la defensa y ofensa, y teodra executado el primer modo. Quarta : Se prepara la mano poniendola uiias arriba,

Y  en  el tiempo que el contrario  va  a executar  herida  por

encima  del  arma, como  en las  anteriores , levantara el

 

 

 

 

Biblioteca Nacional de Espana I

 

[ 5 2 ]

dicstro el pie izquierdo , y le uni ra al derecho, y con el gavilan superior apresara el rma contraria , y baxando la ptmta de 1a suya , que por precision , para apresar , la ten· dra leva ntada , executa ra la her id.1 en el movedor del bra•l-O  o rostro  de  su contrario. Pero si  no se  le quisiese  dar tan gran golpc , quc sin d uda 1o es , podra el diestro asi como aumento con el pie izquierdo, ten erle firme , y levantar el dcrecho, y unirle  al  izquierdo valicndose de] primer med io uni versal , estampa  IJ , figuraI;pero  que  sea  de  uno  uotro modo , tolhS bs aceion es sean  hechas :i un  tiempo, y 5e logrnra la ofensa it su contrario , y en el tiempo qucdar defendido ; y habta executado el segundo modo indicado  en la anterior proposicion.        ·

Quinta : Se podra valer el diestro de alguna de }a5 formacrones en el tiempo que su contrario le acomete por encima dcl arma cotno en la anterior , y en el tiempo di­ nrtirle con la octava diagonal ; y sin desunir la suya le formara  tajo’ el que podra  exccutar  si  le  conviene ‘ pro­ cura.ndo al sacor-·el arma , que vud va por el mismo ca­ mino -y linea horizontal , 5in mas diforencia que dexar Ia contraria  debaxo,  y  al  mismo  ticmpo   se   debe   meter  por entre las dos armas el brazo izquierdo, para impedir la reduccion  de  la contraria , procurando  quc   la  execucion ea antes que se recupere su contrario. Y si el diestro le quisiese executar de pun ta lo podra conseguir , equilibran­do  el   cuerpo   sobre  le  colu mna  izquieH a ,  rcduciendo su arma a que execute  la herida  en  la coractcra l derecha por la misma union de la contraria , y volvicndo  a equilibrar  el cuerpo hwcia adelante , lograra el fin. Esta rnisma for­ rnacion se  pucde · exccutar sobre el arma contr:uia , y  se lograra destruide la fuerza , y qucdarlc sujetando.

 

Sexta :Si el diestro quisiese cntrar al extrcmo pro­ pmquo  en  el tiempo  que   u  contrario le a..:omete  por en­ cima del arma como en las anteriores , lo podril hacer in riesgo , levantan<lo la mano a nivcl del rostro , volvicndo las t1nas afuera , la punta del  arma baxa , y d<.:sviar  con  cl filo inferior , e inmediatamente metcra la mano izquierda ptir entre las dos , de manera que el arma contraria quede debaxo del brazo ;y aun habr[1 ocasiones en que le podra Condu ir , y de pronto Jibrar.i la suya , pasandola por de­ baxo del brazo contrario , y sin que toque en partc alguna;

la  encaminara   a que  execute  la  herida  en  la  diametral  del pecho 6 rostro , formando con el cuerpo y pies triangulo, haciendo centro sobre las puntas , borneando  el cuerpo a SU parte adentro, y habra formado  angulo  mixto , Y exe ,utado estocada de pufio; de modo que todos los movi­ micntos Sean hechos a un ti.!mpo , f antes <]UC SU contrario se recupere o disminuya , pucs de lo contrario no tendra efecto : lo manifiesta  la figura letra B , estampa num. I 2.

Septima : En el tiempo que el contrario acomete, E brara el diestro su arrna • y la pondra encima de la con­ trrfa , sujetandose 1a con el  tcrcer  tercio sobre el primero. si  estando  en   csta  disposicion  quisicse  el diestro execu­tar herida en la vertical derccha , lo podra hacer corrien­ d? SU arma por la contraria , ayudado del movimiento ac• cidenrat; y si quisiese que la execucion sea en el rostro 6 tnovcdor del braro, lo podr.i conseguir sin desagregarse deI contraria’, con la precaucion de que si e\ contrario acu diese a desviar para aefcnderse , le engendrara revcs , el  que podra  executar. 9aliendose  a sus  medios  de defensa. Pro  si no quisie,e el dienro  executar , y solo si  quedarse· SUJetando,  lo podra  hacer , y obligara al contrario a salir de la opresion en  que  le  tiene  puesto,  que de precision Io tendra que hacer de uno de dos modos , que smi o li­ brando o formando , y en el tiempo le podra el diestro acometer , y executar la herida en el punto mas cercano descubierto.

Bien claramente estan manifestando estas siete pro­ pos:ciones , que son procedidas de la estocada que el con­ trario ha tirado por encima del arrna con animo de exe­ cutar herida en la diametral del pecho de su opuesto ; y tambien que el diestro esta ofreciendo punto baxo , como se advirtio en la primera proposicion , no habiendo duda de que podra  ser herido , si no se prepara  la defensa. Por­ q11e  aunque es peligroso semejante moJo de ofender , contodo t<::ngo presente , <]Ue batallando con cierto Maestro (muy  preciado  de   su   habilidad ) , me  acometio  con   tal foerza , y se  me  apro:x:im6  tanto,  que a no  haber  dado un compas trepidante con el pie izquierdo, y al mismo  lado, el que foe suficiente para quitar el cuerpo de la linea del diametro para que no lograra su intento ; no tan solo me hubiera estropeado con el arma , sino tambien con su ca­ beza. Mas observe que ruvo que poner 1a mano izquierda en tierra para sostenerse , por haberle faltado el apoyo adonde llevaba el objeto 6 inclinacion de executar. Y para que sc vea hasta adonde llega el capricho de algunos hom­ bres , no obstante haber visto el poco efecto que tuvo se­ mejante resolucion , replico diciendo :siempre que mi con­ trario me ha  ofrecido  un  suficiente  punto  por  baxo  del brazo 6 del arma ,no he tenido reparo en acometer , y al­ gunas veces he logrado el fin , o bicn por hallar a mi coo­ trario distraido, o por no saber acudir a su defensa , 6 en ca.so  de acudir  hacerlo  con  muy  poca fuerza , y por  eso yo  procuro   a 1a  execucion  esforzarme  quanto   pueJo , y cotno ya he dicho , que alglmas veccs me habia salido hien , ahora me habia parecido seria lo mismo, por lo que no tuve reparo  en acometer.

A semejantc modo de hablar y executar muchisimo se me ofrecia que decir : mi intento no es dilatarme , ni arnontonar variedad de proposiciones, que suelen servir mas de confusion que de instruccion , por lo que me parece, t}Ue no obstante lo manifcstado , y el dt:sprecio que el diestro hace de semejante modo de operar , pues con solo dar un simple cornpas le fuc suficiente para defendcrse, y aun para que diese el contrario con la cabeza  en  tierra, con todo es muy del caso aplicar algunas demostraciones, Nra que con realidad se nos facilite la defcnsa , y no nos quede duda en este  punto. Primera proposicion : Acometiendo el adversario por deba:xo dd arma, se le opondra el diestro bax::mdo fa ta de la suya a que participe de la rectitud baxa , como si formase la septima diagonal , de modo que con el segun­ d() tercio ha de desviar la contraria , y executar la herida n la vertical  derecha  baxo del brazo·, a la  que  damos  el nonibre  de  sagita ; y  para  mas seguridad  y firmeza  sacara l pie izquierdo atras , formando su tercera planta , y si no levantara  el   derecho , y  le uni ra  al  izquierdo , y  lograra el   diestro,   haciendolo    todo  en   tiempo,  quedar  defendido,

Y ofender  a su  contrario  sin  ningun riesgo. Segunda :En el tiempo que el contrario acomete por baxo del arrna , se defendera el  diestro  corta ndo  la  ea , volviendo la mano ufias abaxo, desviando  la contra­ na  con  el  filo  inferior , y disminuyendo con el  pie  dcre­ cho la cantidad  de un  pie poco  mas 6 menos ; con  la advertencia de que quede el talon levantado para quc forme el cuerpo concaviJad , y volviendo a sacar su arma por elrnismo pia no inferior , fonnara un tajo , el que podra  exe­ cutar  en  cl  rostro , o movedor  del  brazo  contrario , o adon­de mas  le  convenga.  Y  para  lograrle  con  toda convenicn­cia , se dcsigualara  con  el  pie  izquierJo , y a su  mismo  l;1·do , formanJo en el suelo un medio drculo , y siguiendole el derecho poniendole detras , form ,mdo la tercera planta hecha al reves , esto es , por estar el pie  izquierdo dclan­ tc , y el derecho detras, lograndose por este medio  la   de­fcnsa  y ofensa  en  su  contrario ,  como  la demostracion  lo manifiesta , procurando hacer todos los rnovimientos con la mayor presteza posi.ble , segun las figuras de la estampa  num.  14.

Tercera : Si el diestro no quisiese executar la dicha form:1.cion , la dexara caer sabre el arma contraria , aumen­ tando ell el tiempo con el pie derecho , y lograra por este medi-0 destruir la fuerza de su contrario , y concluirle , 6 executar herida en la diametral del pecho,  procurando  ha­ cer  todos   los  movimientos  con  suma  prontitud  , para  no lar  lugar  al contrario  a su  recuperacion , pues de lo contcario no lograra  el fin.  Me  parece  suficiente   noticia  para cooocimiento de   ta  guardia. Ahora proseguiremos de­ darando algunas otras proposiciones,  y estas seran   esperan­do el <l.iestro a su contrario en su segunda planta , con el brazo un poquito  encogido, la mano participio  de unas ar­riba , la punta del arma remisa a su parte de afuera , par­ ticipando de la rectitud aha , y muy poco apartada de la Hnea del diametro, ofreciendo punto en la coracteral dere­ cha 6 rostro , como lo demuestra la figura sefialada con el num. 2 de la estampa DWll. I 3,

Primera proposicion : Siempre que el contrario acornetad punto dicho , se defendera el diestro expeliendole el anna con el movimiento natural y filo inferior ,y al desvio executara  la herida en el punto  que le haya   descubierto.

Segunda :Tambien puede acometerle en el tiempo desigualandose  para su  mayor defensa.

Tercera : En el tiempo que el contrario acomete po­dra el diestro recibirle , 6 superior 6 inferior , para lo que necesitara sacar el pie izquierdo haciendole caminar cur­ vo por la circunferencia la cantidad de un pie , formando centro con el derecho , para que le sea un equivalente de la desigualdad , y le ganara los grados del perfil ; con la advertencia , que si la execucion 6 direccion de su punta fuese al rostro, ha de ir por union del arma contraria para des\’iarla con el filo inferior , y tercer tercio ; pero si la cxecudon fuese inferior , el desvio de la contraria ha  de ser con la guarnicion y gavilanes de la del  diestro.

Quarta :Acometiendo el contrario, segun en las an­ teriores, se levantara el diestro al plano superior y primer Jncdio de defensa con el quite de complicacion , el qual podra hacer de dos maneras , por union del arm:i , 6 supeMrior 6 inferior d.esviando la contraria , c introduciendo lasuya a que execute la herida en el romo 6 coracteral > co­ It!.o en la figura n um. I de la estampa 11, yIiinferior de· ba:ico del bruo,·como en la figura num. 1 , estampa J 5 .

Quinta : Si  el ·diestro quisiese  entrar  a los  medios  delatajo con el moviniiento naturnl , aument:mi con los dos pies, sin  excederse  de  su  perfecta  planta , logrando  por e te medio ei.trechar  :i su contrario; y si saliese de la opre•SJon•que se 1e t1·ene  pues·ta , en  el t1·empo executara’ h.  en·da;Y  &l    no  quisiese  el  adversario  sacar  el  arma  a libertad,debera el diestro a1argar la mano izquierda para agarrarle laguarnicion , y en el tiempo red ucir la suya para que exe• cute  hcrida en  1a d iametral dd pecho o rostro; y si el  ad­versario acud iese a su defensa , le engendrara reves, el que podta  eJ diestro executar saliendose a SUS meJios de defensa.

Sexta : El diestro podri valerse del movimiento cir­ cular para desviar el  arma  contraria , y despues  acometer de s-..!gunda intencion en los terminos que se advirtio en el capitulo   que   se   trat6   de   sus  espccies.  Mas ,no  obstante vue!vo  a Jecir , que  inmcdiatamcnte  que  el  diestro  haya conseguido desviar cl arma contraria , encami.nara la- suya, fingiendo que va a acometcr en el movedor del brazo o ros­ tro  Je su  opuesto;  y quando  le  vara  a desviar , que  le se­ra preciso para defenderse , baxara la pimta de la suya , la  pasara  por  debaxo del  br;Jzo contra,rio a que necute la hcrida en la coractcral derecha ; pero si en el ·tiempo dd fingiJo acometi miento su contrario levanta el braio y ar­ ma , en ese caso Ja execucion sera en. la  verti,al 6 debaxo Jel brno , y tend r.i menos rodeo.

Septima   Podra -el diestro ei:ecutar  herida  en la  diarnecral del· pecho ,,por ·mjecion del arma contraria ‘con el mismo movimiento circular , en el tiempo que su contrario le acomete , 6 despue5 de el ,dig,taland()5t: pera su mayor seguridaJ y defepsa po el;mismo lado de la ex¢cucicn1

Octava,:, Si,jctnra -el, dicstro el :uma· c.onl:1’1ri:i .   on  el gavilan superior en el t:emro que su corltraF10 le ac-otr.ct c, y sin dcsuni rla , inmcdia.tamente executiar-.i la hrida en d rostro , 6 adonde haHe punto ma, cei-cano Pf Scubieno.

Novena : Si cl ticrete del di&.-tro no tuv ie5C. g:rv·jhl• nes , se valdra de la expulsion ·diveiva o expt1ls-i-va ; y luego  que  le  tenga  apartada  el uma  del  diainetto , sa,ara por  el  mismo plano inferior , 6 bien formando , 6librandola , volviendola a subir con el juego solo de la muIieca. Pero sea de uno 6 de otro modo , sin detenerse  en  cosa alguna , la pondra sobre el arma contraria para impe­ dirle la reduccion , y executar la  herida en  el punto que  se ‘Vea descubierto ; y esto sera , 6 bien  de pdmera o de segunda intencion , y con la prontitud posible, para no  dar ugar al contrario a que disminuya ; y  hecho  en  los   ter­ni.inos referidos , lograra el fin , y aun habra ocasiones de la conclusion.

Dccima: Sup6ngase al adversario que  ha acometida executar  la  herida  en la  coracteral derecha  por  la mis·tna union del arma , y segun en las anteriores. El diestropara defenderse podra valerse del medio circulo, esto es, pasara su arma por baxo de la contraria hasta quedarse en primera diagonal , y desde esta disposicion enviara la res­-puesr:a con la. mano. uiias afuera , baxando la punta del ar­ ni.a ; jr enCQm.inandola -a exeoot.:ir la herida en la vertical derecha  debaxo  dcl ? brazo, a la  que  damos  el  nombre  de tocada. ,n• ugunda. Y si el diestro observase que su con­ trario es pronto  en  acudir a su defensa , la  execucioo enese oaso sera en la diametral del pecho ,· para ganarle los grados ·clel  perfil. Par.i lograrlo con alguna seguridad , ha de fingir que acomete en segunda ; y al ir  ru  contrario adesviar , corno antes se lleva dicho, volvera cl diestro la niano unas arriba , y enviar:i el arma por encima·de la<:on­ traria a que execute la herida en la coracteral derecha > y sera de acometimiento en stgimda , y estocada: en quarta. Estas ·diez proposiciones est:m manifest.mdo ser proce­ didas de laestocada que el adversario ha tirado por la pos­tura  del arma  y parte  de  adentro con animo  de executar herida en la coracteral  derecha 6 rostro; y pues  hemos da·do una suficiente noticia en quanto a la defensa que a esta.guardia corresponde, proseguiremos declarando lo que cor­ responde a la siguiente : estando el diestro c;sperando en SU segunda planta COD el brazo  UD  poquito  encogido,  el arma participando de la rectitud alta , y algo remisa a su parte de adentro , la  mano que participe  de  las uiias aba­:xo ofreciendo punto daro y voluntario por encima del bra· zo en la coracteral derecha  6 rostro ,  postura  del  arma  y parte de afuera , como se rnanifiesta por la figura sefialada con el num. 3 de la estampa num.  3.

Primera proposidon: Si estando en dicha guardia 6 postura , el adversario :u:ometieie con animo de exei;;utar herida en el punto descubierto • se defendera el diestro con el movimiento natural , desviando 6 sujetandole el ar­ma con el filo inferior , 6 bien disrninuyendo , 6 eQtrandoSC a los medios del atajo  para  sujetar  6 estrechar  al con­trario,  y dcspues  cxecutar  heridaien la diametral  del pe­.cho, o a.guardar a que la saque de la opresion en que se halla , y en el tiempo  executarla , ayudado  del moyifnien..to accidental.                                                        , ,

Segunda: Puede ·el diatto v.aler$e de los , .6.ngidos acornetimientos; despues del quite, con los·1eq1Jisitos qe se llevan advertidos en·otras anteriores proposiciones , rc­ curricndo para ·la execucion  al  punto  que  su  contrario  le de descubierto’ y logrua el  fin  de  la defema y;efensa  a Sicontrario.,ercera :Tambien .podni el diestro executar. her.ida en el. tien1po ·que su contrario le acomete , 6 •le de la su­ jeciorl quc se le tlene hecha, desigualandose para mas se- gurklad.                                 ,  • L,

Quarta :Sup6ngase  al  diestro  esperando  en  los ·ter­minos que llevamos advertido  en el tiempo que su cotrario le acomete , le apresara el arma con el gavilan su­ perior J e instantaneamente la correra y executara la heri­ da en el rostro 6 movedor del brazo , con  la  precaucion  de que si el contrario  en el tiempo  levanta la mano y  ar­ma para cubrir el punto  dicho,  la  execucion  ha  de  ser baxo del brazo , con la mano siempre uii.as arr iba , par quedar en el tiempo colocado y defendido, tenga 6 no el florete  gavilanes.

Quinta : Preparara el diestro la mano poniendola par­ ticipio de ufias arriba ; y en el tiempo que su contrario le acomete, usara del movimiento circular para desviarle el arma , 6 apresarsela con el gavilan inferior , e inmediata­ mente correra la suya para exerutar herida en la vertical derecha baxo del brazo , a la que llamamos quarta. Pero si al h;lcer el drculo, su ‘contrario pasa el arma sin dar lu­ gar  a que se la toque , recurriendo a executar herida por encima del brazo, se le opondra el diestro con el movi• miento accidental , ocupando la  Hnea  del  diametro antes que  1   haga  su contrario.

Sexta : En el tiernpo que el contrario acomete , po­dra el diestro 6 recibirle 6 detenerle , esto es , sacando el pie izquierdo atras , 6 levantandose a su primer medio;pero de qualquier modo  que  fuese , que el brazo y arma giren con el m,:tv1miento circular para quedar en el tiem­ po defendido ; siendo   la  execucion   baxo  del  brazo,  a la que llamamos sagita , 6 en la coracteral derecha.

Septima y ultima : Si el diestro con el mismo movi­ miento circular  quisiese entrarse a los  medios  6 fin  delatajo ‘ lo podra hacer, aproxlmandose con los dos pies  y si el contrario permanedese , rnetera la mano izquierda por entre las dos arrnas I y le agarrara la guamicion por debaxo, de modo que le quede la contraria debaxo del brazo  izquierdo, y retirando el derecho , y reduciendo  la punta de SU arma a la linea del diametro , podra executar herida en la diametral de] pecho , y sera una de las que decimos de pu1za ; pero si al ir a concluir, su contrario   se retirase disminuyendo , y librando su arma , 6 formando reves , se le opondra el diestro en el .tiempo con el mo­ vimiento accidental , executando la herida en el punto que se le vea descubierto, procurando la buena colocacion para su defensa.

Estas tres referidas guardias 6 posturas me parece son las mas a prop6sito, y en las que el diestro debe afirrnar­ se para  esperar  a su  contrario  e11  rigurosa  batalla ; pero siempre sin  olvidar  las  posturas  diagonales , porque con ellas  se  han  de  hacer  todas  las  funciones  que  convengan a la defensa. No me detengo en tratar nt de cada una de por s1 annque podia ;basta tener conocimiento de los pun· tos  que en  cada  una se  le  descubren  al  contrario,  para ir aplicando las proposiciones anteriores , y segun mejor con·venga. La estampa num.I3 representa las· trts dichas guardias 6 posturas.

Chapter 20: General Strategies

Comment/Interpretation:

Chapter 20 is where Don Manuel presents three general approaches or strategies. The first one describes ways to engage with your opponent. The second is about how to control your opponent and especially, his sword. The third is about how to disengage.  Each strategy provides a series of options – do this, and if your opponent does X, then do that. In a way, you can think of these options as the ‘tactics’, underneath each one of the strategies.

There are seven different tactics under the strategy for engaging with an opponent. De Brea stresses using beats, feints and movement, forwards, up, down and sideways to create openings. He stresses ensuring safety before thrusting or cutting.

Binding, movement pressure and contact on the blade and feints are also central to the nine tactics that are part of controlling the opponent’s blade. De Brea stresses precise movements of feet and hands and mentions the use of the quillions as an aid to entrapping an opposing blade.

The starting point for the seven tactics under the strategy for disengaging is where the fencer has a weak bind on his opponent’s blade. The fourth and fifth tactics are interesting as they provide advice for when the fencer is in a difficult position. The first of these describes what to do when an opponent does not parry but charges forward (parry forward and down, beat offline and riposte). The second shows what to do if your opponent has your blade in a strong bind (don’t parry – you won’t have time, reverse the bind quickly and thrust).

De Brea finishes the chapter with a very helpful ‘warning’ section. He talks about the reality of feinting and that a fencer may need to feint as many times as necessary. He stresses the need to operate at or within measure. He also stresses how important it is to withdraw out of measure quickly to remain safe. He also counsels speed and precision of movement and not wasting time with superfluous movements of sword, body or arm.

Translation:

Chapter XX

General Strategies

There are three general rules that the fencer needs to know in order to be able carry out the moves and attacks of the True Art. The first is the rule of engaging blades or bringing blades together. The second rule concerns binding or controlling your opponent’s blade and the third rule is that of disengaging the blade. There cannot be any more than these, despite several other Masters of Arms asserting that there are six. To justify this, they add rules about inclusion, transference and using the body. Although it is true that these should not be ignored and that it would be possible to implement these rules in isolation, all my experience of fighting with many people of different nationalities and with different weapons leads me to state that there are no more than three general rules. In Chapter XVI of this treatise, I warned that anything that someone might like to invent about the True Art will just be devices and they will need to begin and end with one of the three rules. In fact by the way that we put these ideas into practice, we can see that if we think about the three angles already described, then we can omit inclusion, transferring and using the body from the general rules as in each one of these, the fencer needs to form an angle with this knowledge, we can move on to look at each rule.

Strategies for Engaging

In order for these rules to be put into operation, the right conditions need to be in place. These are that the opponent needs to have his body, weapon and arm aligned along the diameter line. In this case, the fencer will present a right-angled position and choose his measure. If his opponent permits it, then the fencer can cover his opponent’s sword by simply using the position of the sword on the inside line. If the opponent moves his left foot backwards, then the fencer will move his right foot forward into second position and come into measure remembering the advice given in Chapter XIII on binds. If the opponent exposes enough of a target, then the fencer will attack using a mixed forwards and downwards movement. He should be able to glide his blade along his opponent’s and thrust into the right-hand side of the chest. This can be seen in diagram 1 of plate 10.

Fig 1 Plate 10

Second: If the exposed target is very narrow, then the fencer will do well to recur to a beat. Any type of beat will suffice and once the opponent’s blade has been beaten offline, the fencer can thrust in the exposed area.

Third: If the fencer sees that his opponent has moved his arm back and lowered the point of his sword to either change position or free his weapon, then the fencer can deflect on the inside line using the seventh oblique or angled position. Once he has deflected his opponent’s weapon off the line of the diameter, he can take the diameter line with his own weapon and attack any exposed area, which should be the outside of the arm.

Fourth: If the fencer observes that his opponent’s grip is weak, then the fencer should use a forwards and downwards movement to dominate his opponent’s weapon and then wound him on the right hand side of his chest. If he is not in a safe position to hit his opponent, then he can use any one of the beats to force his opponent to expose an opening.

Fifth: The fencer can take advantage of a feint. There are two types: the zero feint and the perfect feint. The way to perform the zero feint is as follows. The fencer lowers the point of his weapon and runs it along his opponent’s blade until the point is just below the hilt. He will rest his weight on his left leg and raise his right foot slightly as if he were about to advance and replaces it in the same position stamping his foot slightly. All of these movements need to be carried out at the same time.  If the actions are carried out sequentially, they will not work. This feint is called the zero feint or the imperfect feint as it is not designed to carry out an attack. It is aimed at putting your opponent off and making him think that you are about to attack and provoke him into a reaction that exposes an area that you can attack.

Sixth: If, when the fencer lowers the point of his weapon so as to carry out the zero feint (as described previously), the opponent reacts by thrusting, then the fencer will raise his weapon again to parry the thrust and without stopping and whilst maintaining contact with his opponent’s blade, the fencer will attack with a forwards and downwards movement and hit his opponent in the ribs or on the right hand side of his chest.

Seventh: If the fencer wishes to take advantage of the diagonal or oblique angle, then he can do this by moving with either his right foot or both feet but without losing measure. He can then either hit his opponent in the face or he will force a defensive reaction. As his opponent reacts, the fencer can attack using a backhand cut or a thrust. He could also continue to move around until he has a clear opening to attack. It is important to keep the body balanced whilst performing these movements and to return to a safe distance, out of measure, whether the attack is successful or not.

Strategies for Controlling

For these rules to be applied, both fencers need to be at true measure and the opponent weapon and arm are facing the fencer on the line of the diameter. The fencer needs to be in a position where he has placed a bind on his opponent’s blade using the outside line and can move his sword, increase the degree of force and  apply pressure to his opponent’s weapon. If his opponent resists the pressure to the blade, then the fencer can attack by gliding his blade along his opponent’s increasing the degrees of force and hitting his opponent in the chest. This can be called either the quarter circle or turning movement as the hand is turned so that the nails are pointing downwards. This can be seen in figure two of plate ten

Fig 2 Plate 10

and it allows the inside quillion to trap or dominate the opponent’s blade. If the fencer’s foil or smallsword does not have quillions, then the attack needs to be made with the nails pointing upwards but still with a quarter-circular motion. This is similar to the first, simple thrust made when the fencer’s blade has been freed from that of his opponent.

Second: If the fencer observes that when he has crossed into measure, his opponent responds by withdrawing his sword arm and lowering the point of his weapon and he looks as if he is adopting the low position of the sword arm, then the fencer can deflect the blade by keeping opposition with the blade and moving to his inside line to the eighth diagonal position. As soon as the opponent’s weapon is off target, then the fencer can free his own blade and thrust at the centre of the chest. Whilst making the thrust or attack, the fencer will need to change measure and continue to move so that he has a better angle of attack. He also needs to carry out the actions quickly so that he may defend himself and not allow his opponent to react to his sword being controlled.

Third: If the fencer should observe that opponent’s sword is lightly held, even when still in opposition, he should continue to move round the circle and change measure in order to create an opening. When an opening appears, the fencer can attack the right hand side of the chest.

Fourth: If the target area is narrow, then the fencer can avail himself of one of the beats and wound his opponent in any area that becomes exposed.

Fifth: If the opponent changes his position by raising his hand and straightening his arm and weapon at a 45-degree angle above the horizontal so that his sword points above the fencer’s head, he will expose his face or the upper part of the arm. In this case the fencer should stop binding his opponent’s blade and attack whichever part of his body is closest and most exposed by changing measure to improve the angle of attack and attacking the arm or the right hand side of the ribs.

Sixth: The best way for the fencer to use these techniques is as follows: just as the fencer stops binding his opponent’s blade, he should add one or two degrees of extra pressure. He should then drop the point as if going into a low sword arm position. At the same time, he should raise his hilt almost to the level of his face. His weight should rest on his back leg. He should then carry out the zero feint by slightly stamping his right foot to create the impression that he is about to attack. The fencer can then take advantage of the opportunity created when his opponent reacts to the feint by attacking the right hand side of the chest. The attack is made by running the blade under his opponent’s arm and taking care not to touch it so that it does not get in the way. This attack is called semi-circular as the hand moves in a semi-circle to make the attack.

Seventh: When he is in the same position as described at the beginning of the section, the fencer can carry out a perfect feint. To do this he moves his right foot about half a foot forward. At the same time and without stopping or parrying, the fencer will run his blade along his opponent’s and leave the bind as the point reaches his opponent’s quillions as if he were about to attack his opponent’s face. This will force the opponent to react or, if he does not, then the fencer can continue and the feint will become an attack to the face. This is called the perfect feint because it forces a response or a hit. If the opponent tries to parry or hold the attacking blade, then the fencer should take advantage of this moment to use his wrist to pass his weapon under his opponent’s arm and with weight equally distributed, the fencer should hit his opponent in the arm pit. This feint involves the hand moving in a circular motion – nearly a complete circle – as the fencer uses his wrist to position his sword. This feint is implemented with two aims. The first is to force the opponent to change position and secondly to prepare a cut, which may easily be converted into a thrust.

Warning: In order to force the required reaction or response from the opponent, the fencer may need to halt his point briefly in front of his opponent’s face. Seeing a point so close and being afraid of being hit, the fencer will probably react quickly and try to parry with his blade. This is what the feint is aiming to provoke. At the same time, the fencer will need to be aware that if, as he initiates his move, his opponent reduces measure, then the fencer will need to recover with his feet in order to carry out the attack successfully.

Eighth: If, as described at the beginning of this section, the fencer is at true measure, and has placed a bind on his opponent’s blade and in doing this he feels that the opponent’s blade is presented in a way that is strong but without sufficient movement, then, if the exposed target area is narrow, the fencer may run his blade along his opponent’s for one or two degrees and advance with his feet the same distance. He should then suddenly drop the point of his sword as if he were moving into the low sword arm position. At the same time, he should raise his hand with the nails turned out as if he were covering the fifth diagonal position. His weight should be on his back leg. He should stamp lightly with his right foot to create the impression that he is going to attack. The forward movement of the feet should not close measure excessively. As his opponent reacts and parries the feint, the fencer needs to take full advantage of this opportunity to attack the right hand side with the nails turned up. This called a feint in seconde followed by a thrust in quarte.

Ninth: If the opponent does not react to the feint but continues to occupy the line of the diagonal in a right-angled position, then the fencer should use a beat to deflect his opponent’s weapon offline in order to attack safely. If he does not wish to beat, then he can trap with the interior quillion and attack the chest. Whatever he decides to do, the fencer will need to change measure in order to stay safe and defend more effectively.

Strategies for Disengaging

First: In order for this strategy to work, we need to imagine the two combatants to be at true measure. The fencer’s blade will be held in opposition but exerting less pressure than his opponent. The visible target area will be above the waiting opponent’s arm. In the case, the fencer will free his weapon by thrusting forwards both lowering the point and raising his hand so that his hilt protect against his opponent’s blade. This can be seen in figure three in plate ten.

Fig 3 Plate 10

Second: The fencer will free his weapon and, at the same time, use his right foot to feint and give the impression that he is going to attack. His body and weapon need to move at the same time but without moving too far. When his opponent reacts and attempts to parry, then the fencer again frees his weapon and thrusts forward into the exposed target area. This thrust involves a semi-circular hand movement and is the result of the previous feint, which creates the opening.

Third: This is called the perfect attack. In order to carry this out, the fencer needs to free his blade and, immediately, run his blade above his opponent’s, passing over his arm and hilt until the point is near his opponent’s face. This very rapid movement is designed to give the impression that the fencer is about to wound his opponent in the face. When his opponent reacts either by parrying or by trying to seize the blade, then the fencer needs to hit his opponent in the armpit with rapid, direct thrust made using a complete circular movement of the wrist. Remember that when the fencer feints to the face and runs his blade over his opponent’s, the blade should not touch as this will impede the attack and the fencer will need to choose a different tactic.

Fourth: This occurs when the opponent does not try to parry but rushes forward trying to wound. The fencer should deal with his by cutting down on his opponent’s weapon. This should be easy to do as the fencer changes his balance and shifts his weight onto his left leg as his parries his opponent’s weapon. The fencer should then straighten his left leg and hit the nearest exposed target area with no risk to himself.

Fifth: If, whether by accident or design, the fencer has allowed his opponent to bind his blade by six degrees of force to three, then he should not try to free his blade as this will expose him to danger and he may not be able to parry an attack in time. What the fencer should do is try to reverse the bind so that he controls his opponent’s blade and then whilst maintaining opposition, he should attack the chest or right hand side of the chest. The sword will need to move forwards, downwards and towards the centre. If the fencer does this, it will be easier and he will not risk exposing an opening.

Sixth: One of the beats will help the fencer, if his opponent straightens up his body whilst his arm and weapon are still facing the fencer along the line of the diameter. The way to do this is for the fencer to shift his weight onto his left leg whilst advancing half a foot forward with the right foot, or if possible, with both feet. What matters is that the fencer’s body is balanced and controlled. He can then move his opponent’s blade offline and attack the nearest opening.

Seventh: Imagine a situation such as that described at the beginning of this section. The fencer’s blade is in weak opposition to his opponent’s blade. If his opponent suddenly changes position by withdrawing his arm across his body and moving into a low quarte sword arm position, the fencer should not be tempted to attack a possible target area either above or below the arm as he will be vulnerable to the opponent disengaging his own blade and counter-attacking. What the fencer should do is free his own blade and come back into opposition with his opponent’s blade and immediately force it offline by moving into the eighth diagonal. The fencer should then free his blade and immediately attack the right hand side of the chest by moving the blade up, forwards and towards the centre. If his opponent tries to parry, then the fencer should procure to hit along a line following the inside of sword arm. If the opponent does not parry, then the fencer can hit freely. He should, however, take care to keep sword arm, feet and weapon in balanced, triangular position. This can be seen in figure one of plate ten and is important as this will provide the fencer with a good defence. This method of attacking is called: second intention.

Warning: All of these attacks, whatever their nature, can be performed following either the inside or outside line. They can also be done under or over the arm or weapon. Sometimes, the fencer will need to take a pace forward and at other times he it will be enough to feint and give the impression that he is going to advance. The blade can be freed as many times as necessary. This is done by lowering the point and raising the hilt and making sure that the opponent’s blade is not touched as this will impede the movement and force the fencer to initiate a different movement. Disengaging the weapon in this way is called feinting and it is done to put off the opponent and force him to expose an area of his body, which the fencer can then attack with some assurance of success. These feints are called a ‘one-two’ or ‘one to three’, depending on the number of times that the fencer frees his weapon. Sometimes once or twice will be enough. Sometimes three or four feints will be needed depending on the response and movements of the opponent and how helpful these are to the fencer. If the opponent, on the other hand, simply uses circular movements of the hand and blade to respond to the feints, then the fencer must avoid the blades touch and he should then be able to carry out an attack.

Any attack or movement should be started from perfect measure. This ensures that time is not wasted and that the movements are successful and achieve what they set out to do, which is to make the opponent feel threatened and force him to change his position. If, as some do, the movements are started out of distance, then the movements are a waste of time and will achieve nothing as even if the opponent reacts as planned and exposes a possible target area, the fencer will not be able to take advantage to hit successfully as he will be unable to reach his opponent. In this case, the fencer´s efforts will be treated with the scorn that they deserve as according to my teaching, as any feints or attacks should be started from a position of true measure. In addition, if a possible target area is exposed, then the fencer should attack quickly and not hang about. The fencer does, however, need to follow the principles of a good defence that were covered in an earlier chapter. Attacks should be made as quickly as possible and the fencer should not waste time with superfluous movements of the sword. Even if excessive or superfluous movements work one time, they may not work again as his opponent may hit him earlier or there may be a double hit.

All the movements described in all the sections on strategies can be performed with the arm or starting from right angled, profiled position. In every case, as soon as the fencer has got within measure, he needs to move back out of measure and defend himself as quickly as possible, irrespective of whether or not his attack has been successful. To defend himself, the fencer will need to parry, use stop hits, control his opponent’s blade, deflect it, free his blade. These defences will need to be varied and appropriate to the situation and if the defensive techniques are applied correctly, then the fencer will not risk being embarrassed by his opponent and when his opponent’s attacks will fail. In this way, the fencer will be able to defend himself and defeat his opponent and he will then always find an opportunity to wound his opponent as can be seen in some practical demonstrations.

These movements need to be used whenever the opponent applies pressure to control or deflect the fencer’s blade and when this happens, the fencer is usually able to carry them out successfully. Attacks can be to the head, which we call vertical attacks. They can be made to the ears or face and these are diagonal attacks. Attacks can also be made to land on the opposing weapon towards the centre of the body with the aim of controlling the opponent’s weapon. I do not recommend horizontal cuts even to the legs and neither do I recommend adjusting one’s position when there is no need to. In both these cases, the fencer risks being hit before his move has finished by a waiting opponent from a right angled position.

Original Text:

CA PIT ULO XX.

Reglas gm,rafts

L;-i, regbs  generales  que  hasta  ahora  se  han   dcu’bierto para poder cxecutar bs prorosicioncs 6 tretas de la ver,ladcra demeza  son tres ; a saber , ror ag ,.egacion dcl arma , por sujuion 6 atajo , y de cau.ra fibre , y no pue­ den ser mas : quieren :ilgunos M:1estros ean seis , a r1ad icn­ do incluir , tra.nsferir , y f orma1·.Y es derto <‘.}Ue si por imismas executaran serian verf dicas , y no deheriamos ex­ cluirlas ; pero \:1 experiencia que tengo por lo mucho que he batallado con toda clase de genres , y de distintas nacioncs’ y con todo gcnero de arm as ‘ me dan motivo a ase­gurar no ser mas de las tres dich’1s, En el cap1tulo xv1de  este escrito se advierte que todo quan to se qnisiese inventar obre lo dicho seran movimientos dispositivos, y han de venir a parar  asi en el principio,  como al  fin  para 1a encu­cion a las tres referid:is  reglas  generales , como  lo mani­festaran las operaciones. Por lo que al incluir , lt”ansft’rir, yf ormar se  les exduye  de tales nombres de rcglas,  tenien·do presente los tres angulos , porque  en  cada  uno  se  ha de formar su regla. Con  estc  conocimiento  pasarcmos  a dar  principio a cada una.

Reg/,, de. agregacion.

Habien<lose de dar principio a esta regla de agrega­ cion es necesario que haya la disposicion conveniente , que es hallar al adversario, ocup:mdo con su cuerpo, brazo  y arma la Hnea del di:imetro. En este caso debera el  diestro preserit:irse en  razon  de  angulo recto , y elegir su medio  de proporcion , y en el supuesto de que la ofrece· con to·  da Conveniencia , se le agregara con la suya por la postura. dcl  arma , y partc  de  adentro ; y si   el  adversario  sacase el pie izquierdo atras, el diestro aumentara con el dere­ cho :a su segunda plant:i , rnedio proporcional con los re­quisites advertidos en el capttulo Xltt donde  se trata  dela·forma del at:i jo. Y consintiendole su contrario, y ofr cicndoe suficiente punto para executar herida , le acome· tera con·el inovimiento mixto de natural y accidental, cor­riendo  su arma ·por la contraria , y habra  executado  la es­toc:ada en 1a coracteral derecha , coma lo rnaninesta la ti­gura  seiialada  con el n u m. Ide la  estampa  num. I O.

Segunda proposicion : Si el punto que el contrario ofrec.e fuese estrecho , se valdr:i el diestro de las expul­ siones , de qualquiera de ellas , segun la disposicion de su0pnesto ,  y al  desvio  recurxira  a ex.ecutar  berida  en  elpunto ‘descubierto.

 

Ter.:era :Si”el’ d.iestro observase que su contrario en­ coge el brazo , y baxa la punta del arma para rnudar de dispo!-icion , 6 librarla , en   te caso se valdra  de  la diver· sion inferior  que se hace con la septima  di::1gonal , y lue­ go que se la tenga dewiada de la linea de\ diametro , le  acometera   ocupindola  con  la  suya ,  y  executara   1a  herida en el punto descubierto, que de precision sera la juris­ dicion  del brazo , y parte de  afuera.

Quart:i : Si observase el diestro en su contra rio que tiene el arma floxa ; se la induira , y con el movimiento mix:to de natural y accidental executara la herida por la union dd arma en la coracteral 6 vertical derecha ; y si no le quedase  en  terminos para poder executar  por ella , sepuede  valer   de  algunas  de  la’>  expulsiones  para  obligar  alcontrario  a descubrir  punto  claro  para executarla.

Quinta : Podra valerse el diestro de uno de los fingi.. dos acometimientos , estos tienen dos especies cero y per­ facto , su e:xecucion en esta forrna : Baxara la pnnta de su arrna , corriendola  por  la  contraria  hasta  ponerla debaxo de  la  guara icion de  su  opuesto :eqniEbrara  el cuerpo sa­bre la columna izquierda : levantara  el  pie derecho  como si fuese a a\’anzar ; y }e  ha de volver  a sentar en  SU   mis­mo 1ugar, 6 .muy poco distante , dando un golpecito en cl suelo: advirtiendo que todas estas acciones .asi de ma­ no, caida de cuerpo , y de fingimiento de pie , sean hechas a un tiempo ; porq ue  si hay incermision no se  lograra el fin , y hecho en los tcrminos  dichos  habra  executado el acometimiento uro , que algunos Haman imptrfacto , por­ que no puede executar ‘ y solo se dirige a dcscomponer asu contrario, y en algun modo  obligar1e a que  acuda al reparo para  acometerle,  y executar  la herida en el punto descubierto , que no se podria conseguir sin este requisito. Sexta : Si en el tiempo que el diestro baxa su arma  para hacer el fingido acometimiento ( como va dicho en la  anterior),  su  contrario  le  acometiese , se  volvera  el diestro a subir  su  arma , y unirla  a la  contraria  para  im­ped ir  la ..execuc_ion; y sin  detenerse y dcsunirse , acome·terle con el movimiento mixto de naturnl y accidental, executando la hcrida en la coracteral 6 vertical  derecha, que sera segwi en la disposicion que quede su   contrario.

Scptima : Si estando corno se dixo en el principio. qaisiese el diestro valerse de la linea diagonal , lo podra hacer aumentando con el pie derecho 6 con los dos,  sin desunirse  de  la  contraria , y  executara  la  herida  en  elfOStro , 0  si DO  obligara  a SU   contrario  a aplicar   alguna fuerza  para  defenderse , y en  aquel  tiempo  el diestro for­mara reves, el que podni executar segun le convenga , 6 reducirle en  estocada , o continuar  el  movimiento  hasta tener  el  punto  claro  descubierto   adonde  con  libertad   sepueda executar la herida.  Y  para que salga  con la perfec­cion necesaria , en el tiempa se ha de equilibrar el cuerpo; Y asi en esta como en las demas proposiciones, tengan efec­ to o no, debera. salirse a sus medios proporcionales.

Regla   at ataja.Para esta -rcgla de atajo se ban de suponer los dos combarientes en el medio proporcional , al adversario -ocu-. pando con su brazo  y arma la· Jinea del diatnetro , y que el diem’O le tiene puesto ,el  atajo  por  la  postura  del ar­ ina y parte de afuer.a y omunicandole un .gradito de fuerza·operanre, $i resiste, le acometera  corriendo el atajo,dciguala ndose para ganarle los graJos al perfil , y execu­ tar  la  herida  en  la· diametral  del  pecho , a la  que  da­mos el nombre de quarta parte di: circu/o. Algu nos la nombran ter&ia sobn las 4rmdt , por tener la particul.1- riJad de volver la mano uiias abaxo, para apresar con el gavilan inferior , coma lo demuestra la . figura nu m. ,. de la estampaIo ; pero si el instrumento , tlorcte 6 espadin no tu viese gavilanes,  la  mano  ha  de  ir  con  las  unas  arri­  ba opuesta a lo dicho , y siempre sera estocada de qu:irta pane de c1rculo, y primera  proposicion  de ,ausa sujeta .

Segunda : Si observase el diestro que al pasar al me­ dio proporcional su contrario encoge el brazo, y baxa 1a pu nta de su arma , a que participe de la recticud baxa , en este caso se la desviara inforior con la octava diagonal , y luego que se la haya apartado  de. la  linea del diametro, la dexara para acom’!terle , y executar la herida en la  dia­

metral del pecho , desigualandose en el tiempo , para ga­narle los grados del perfil ; procurando hacer todas las ac­ ciones prontas para  quedar defendido, y no dar  lugar a u contrario a la reduccion  de su arma.

Tercera :Si el dic::scro obscrvasc que cl arma contra­ ria esta fioxa , aun quando este unida a la suya , para SU mayor seguridad  se la induira ,y al acabar  la evolucion ocirculo, le podra acomete[ por la misma suiecion 6 ataio, que le riene puesto , exccutando la herida en la diamet1al del pho , y siempre convendra desigualarse, para ganar grados al pcrtil.

Quarta; Si el punro que le ofrece el contrarfo foese e,trC(:ho , se valdra el <iiestro de las cxpulsiones , y al des­vio ex«utara  la berida  en el  punto  desc1.Jbierto.

Quinta: Si el ad.versaiio  quitase la d1sposicion levantando la mano , poniendo d arma agud a y remisa , dcscu­ briendo solo el rostro 6 movcdor dd brazo , dcxara el diestro  el  atajo , y executar:i  la  herida  en  el punto mas cercano  descubieno ,  deigualandose   para   banar   grado a la profu nd iJad dcl hrazo 6 costado dcrcho.

Sexta : Le sera muy foil al diestro usar de lo5 aco­ ruetimientos en esta forma :al dexar el atajo hara refucrzo en el arma contraria , esto es, le comunicari un  grad ito 6dos de fuerza  operante , e  inmed iarnmente  baxara  la  pun­ ta de la suya a que  participe  de  la  rectitud  baxa , la ma­ no alta , casi a nive\ del rostro , el cuerpo equilibrad u ha­ cia atras ‘ movera el pie derecho fingiendo que va  a aco­ rueter , y le volvera  a  sentar  en   el  mismo  lugar , 6 muy poco apartado , dando  un  golpecito en el suelo , y habra hecho el fingido acometimiento . y  acudiendo  el  contra­ rio a SU  defensa , entendiendo que le  Va  a CXCCUtar   he­rida , valiendose  el diestro de aquel tiernpo, executara en la coractcral Jerecha , pasando el arma por baxo del bra­ zo contrario,  con el cuidado de que no le toque para  que no le impida el rumbo 6 direccion : a este rnodo de  exe­cutar se le da el  nombre  de medio circulo.

Septima :Estando  el diestro  en  la  posicion  dieha   ro­dra hacer  acometimiento  perfecto , aurnentando  con  el pie derecho la cantidad  de med io pie , y en el tiempo  correra. su arma esta misma cantidad por la contraria • y sin hacer parada  alguna  dexara  el  atajo pasandola por  encima de losgavilanes de la contraria , como si fuese a executar la he­ rida en el rostro ; de rnodo que ha de obligar a su contra­ rio a que acuda a su defensa , y si no lo hace se le execu­ta la herida , que con ese fin se ha de hacer dicho acome­ timlento , por lo que se le  da  el  nombre  de perf ecto.   Ysi el contrario acudc a desviar 6 sujetar la contraria para defenderse , el dicstro en aquel corto tiempo le acomctera pasando su arma por baxo dcl brazo contrario con el mo­ vim iento de la mw’ieca , y equ ilibrio del cucrpo , y execu­tara  la herida  baxo del brazo: a esta se  le  da  el nombre de pr.rdon  ma)’or  de circulo.  Este  acometimiento se debe hacer con dos fines , para obligar al contrario  a mudar de disposicion , 6 para  formarle  tajo , el  que  podra reducir, convertir 6 continuar en estocada.

Adwrtenda.  Para  obligar  al contrario a que con  su arma toque lla de su opuesto, ha de hacer  cl diestro con la suya un poquito de parada frente al rostro , porque quall1uiera que vea la punta del arma tan proxima , te­ miendo  la  ex.ecucion ha  de  procurar , y aun  con alguna aceleracion acudir a su defensa; y como esta ha de ser por

medio dd tocamiento que se hace con las armas, de cl re sultan las formaciones ya dichas, las que solo en esos ca­ sos se han de practicar , teniendo presente que si al tiem­ po que hace el primer movimiento el contrario disminu• yese y le quitase la distancia , necesitara el diestro de la recu peracion de pies para lograr la execucion.

Octava proposicion : En el supuesto  de quc se halla d diestro en su inedio proporcional ,  y puesto  a su con­ trario el atajo , como al principio de esta regla se advir­ ti6 , i rcconociese que el arma contraria esta algo reniisa y fuer te, y el punto que le ofrece es estrecho J correra el ditstro la suya por la contraria , uno 6 dos grados , entran­ do con los pies la misma cant idad , y de improvio la ba­ xara , de manera que la punta participe de la rectitud ba­ xa , la mano a lt;:i , y unas afuera , como si formase la quin• ta diagonal , el cuerpo cargado sobre la pierna izquierda,Y con el pie derecho fingiri que se avanza , dando un golpecito en el suelo , sin excederse de su medida segttn  se lleva advertido en otros casos ; y acudiendo cl contrario a desviar  el arma  para  defenderse ,  el diestro se  va\dra de aquel corto instante , y le acometera , y executara. la he­ rida en la coracteral  derecha volvicndo  la mano uiias  ar­riba. A este modo de fingir y de executar sc le da el nom­bre de acometimt’mto en seguuda , y estocada en quarta.

Nona :Si en lugar de acudir el contrario al fingido acometimiento, ocupa la linea del di:1metro con el fogulo recto para detener , 6 impedir la execucion , en este caso se valdra el diestro de una de las expulsiones , para des­ viarle  el  arma , y  pod.er  executar  su  treta  en  el  tiempo con mas seguridad ;y si no quisiese expeler , podra  apresat:  con al gavilan inferior , y e-x:ecutar la herida en  la  diame­  tral del pecho ; pero de qualquier modo que  fuese  con­ ‘Vendra desigualarse  para mayor seguridad  y defem,a.

Regla  .k librar.

Primera proposicion :Para dar principio  a esta  reglade  librar  se  ha  de  suponer   a los  dos  cornbatientes   en  elrnedio proPorcional ,al diestro con 1a general flaqueza de­ baxo de la total foerza contraria , y al adversario  esperan­do, Y ofreciendo punto por encima <lel  brazo.  En este ca­ so  se va\dra  el  diestro  del movimiento  accidental  t   libran­do su arma , y encaniina.ndola  a executar  la  herida  en el punto descubierto .procurando baxar la punta para intro­ ducirla en la profundidad , levantando la mano para que la guarnicion impida la reduccion de la conuaria  y quelando en el tiempo defendido, corno lo manifiesta  la f.guniseiialada  con  el  num. 3  de  la  estampa  num.  r 0,

Segunda : Librara el d iestro su arma , y en d tiempo fingira con d pie derecho que va a acometer , moviendo a un mismo tiempo el cuerpo ; pero todo sin excederse de la medida ;y quando el contrario acuda a su defensa , vol­ vera cl diestro a librar , para excutar la herida en el pun­ to dcscubierto, ayudaJo del movimiento accidental , y sera estocada de medio dr,uio , y causa Jibre.

Tercera : Con el nombre de acometimiento perf ecta. Para la execucion de este se ha de librar el arma , y de improviso poner la total flaqueza encima de la fuerza con­ traria , haciendo en ella refuerzo , y sin detenerse pasara por  encima  de  la  guarnicion  y brazo  contrario , ponicn­dole  la  punta frente  del rostro , como  si le fucse a execu­tar herida , y en el tiempo que el adversario gasta en que­ rer desviar 6 sujetar el arma de su contrario para su de­ fensa , el  diestro  ha  de  executar  la  herida  debaxo dcl brazo , a la que se la da el nornbre de sagt’ta , aunque drcu­iar. Cvn ad vertcncia , que quando vaya pasanJo su arma por encima de la contraria pa ra los acomet imientos , ha de procurar que no la toque , para que no la impida la di­ rcccion  6 rumbo  qne  lleva ,  pues   de   lo   contrario  no sera posible tenga efecto , y le sera preciso otro recurso.

Quarta : Pero  si  el adversa.rio , en lugar de acud ir asu defoosa ,   arroiase a querer cxccutar herida , £Czandoel ticrnpo , se valdra el dicstro  del atajo , cayendo con  uarma sobre la contraria , que con facilidad lo podra con seguir , por estar el cuerpo rccarg;.do sobre la picrna jz­ quierda , y despues estre,harle ; y se le obligar a que sal. ga de aquclla opresion quc sc le tiene puesra , y en el tiempo a.:orneterle, y exccutar 1a herida en el punto mas ercano descubierto , y no tend ra riesgo en la execucion.

Quint :Si por  descuiJo o por  consen timicnto  el dies­tro  dexase  que  su   contrario  le  ponga . cl ataio ,  y  le  su•jete el arma con scis graJos  sobre Hes ; en  este caso  no e  debe  librar ,  porque  le  puede  est.r  mt1y  mal , y seexpone  a que  le   sorprcudan   en   el   tiempo.   Lo  \}.ue  de­bera  hacer  el diestro es , transferfrsele  pa1a si ,  y sin  dete­nerse ni  desunirse  del arma  contraria , le  acometera , Yex.ecutara la herida en la coracter!’ll () vertical derecha, valicndose  del movimiento  mi xto de reduccion   natural yaccidental , y lograra con mas facilidad y sin riesgo la exe­ cccion.

Si;xta :Si e\ adversario mudase de disposicion ponien­ dose recto, y ocupando con su brazo y arma la lint:a del diametro ; en este caso se valJra  el  diestrn de  una  de lase>.::pulsiones.  Para  lograr  el fin a que se dirigen , en el tiempo caera con el cuerpo sobre la pierna izquierda aumen­ tando con el pie dere,ho , y si puede ser , con los dos la cantidad de medio pie , poco ma, 6 menos: basta que el cuerpo cstc recarga<lo y firme , y a lcs desvios acometerli y executara la herida en el punto mas cercano que vea descubierto.

, Septima: SQpongase al diestro con su total flaqueza h.ixo la general fuerza  conuaria , como al  principio  de es­ ta  regla  se  advirtio.  Si  el adversario  de  pronto  mudase el punto , quitando aquella disposicion , y ponicndose con el arma transversal a su parte de adentro , el brazo encogido; Y la punta panicipando de la rcct itud  baxa  con una  fuer­ za permanente ; en este caso , aun qua.ndo el punto <)Ue ofrezca descubierto por encima o baxo del arma sea sufi• de.rue para  poder  executar  herida ,no se  debe  hacer ,poI que le podra contralibrar , y no se podra· libertar de aquel tiempo.  Lo quc ei d iestro debe hacer  es  l tbrar  su arma, y unirla a la contraria , e inmeJiatamente divertirsela con a octava diagonal ; y asi que se la tenga apartada de la linea  del  diametro , dexarla , y  vol ver .i librar  la suy;i para executar la herida en  la  coracteral  derecha ,  valicndose del movimiento mixto de reduccion , violento y acci­ dental , y procurando a la execucion entrar el arma por lallnion de la contraria , si es que la  reduce , y si  no ira   li­bre, con la precaucion de formar  en  el  tiempo  con  los:  pies , brazo y arma triangulo , para quedar defendido, co­ mo  lo  demuestra  la figura  sefialada  con el nu m. I  de laestampa num. I O :a este modo  de  executar  se  llama  desegm,da intmcion.                           ·

Ad7.iertencia. Los acometimientos, sean de Ia especie que fuesen , se podran hacer por las dos jurisdiciones del arma , a las que llamarnos por dmtro y furra.  Tambien se podran  hacer  por  baxo, 6  por  endma  del  brazo  6 arPara su execucion convendra que unas veces se de compas de aumento , y otras bastara fingirlo. El arma se podra pasar 6 librar las veces que se quiera baxando l-1 punta y levantando la guarnicion , procurando no tocar con la contrada , para que no la impida el rumbo que lleva, pues de lo contrario tendra que volver a determinar otra buena d isposicion. A este modo de pasar el arma se le da el nombre  dtji ntas. Estas se hacen con el fin de  descom­poner al contrario , para que descubra un punto suficiente adonde el diestro pueda encaminar su arma a executar he­ rida con alguna seguridad ; y de aqui  toman  el  nombre de •ma dos , 6 de una tru , que sera segun las veces que la haya pasado. Porque habra ocasiones en que le sera su-ticiente una 6 dos , y otras sera  preciso  tres  6 quatro ,  se gun la disposicion 6  movimientos  de  su  contrario , que  para  todas estas  cosas siempre  tienc que  coady uvar ; pero 5i el adversario , quando su contrario le hace los fingidos acometimientos , se v.1le de los movimicntos  circulares para iru pedir 6 desviar , siempre convendra que el diestro no se dexe tocar el arrna , pod1a continuax su rnmbo hasta lo· grar  la execucion. Toda citacion  6 acometimicnto se  debe  hacer  desde una medida proporcionada , para no desperdicia r el tiem­ po , y lograr el fin a que van dirigidos , que es d (inico medio para cbligar al contrario a mudar de disposicicin , ponerle en algun apuro ; pero si se hacen fuera de distan­ cia , corno algunos acostumbran , es  supertluo, y de nin­ gun valor , porque  aunque uno  vea  que  su  contrario  le da una suficiente disposicion , no se podra aprovechar de ella , por no tener la medida prororcionada para la execu­ cion de la herida , y sufrira el desprecio que de sernejan tes rnovimientos  se debe hacer. Por lo que , segun mi dietamen ,siernprc que se haya  de fingir o acorneter ,sera des­ de una medida proporcionada , y en teniendo punto para poder introd ucir la punta no ha y que detenerse en la exe­ cucion. Lo que st se ha de prncurar  es  guardar  los  requi­ sitos  que  en   otro  caphulo  se   llevan  advertidos  en   quanto a SU  defensa , y en qu:lntO a ]a execucion , que sean  con ]amayor  presteza  posible , no andar vagueand o con el arma, que si  una  vez sale bien , tal  vez  no sald ra dos , por estarXpUesto cl (]Ue le Cojan en el tiempo O herirse los dos , alo que Uamamos encuentro.

Todas las referidas proposiciones, asf de esta regla, corno de las dos ante;riores, se podran  exccutar  por  las dosjurisdic iones del perfi.l 6 del brazo , procnrando , luego que se pasa a los ml!dios proporcionados para la execu­  cion  de la  herida , t:-nga  efocto 6 no , salire a sus med ios de defensa , para lo que unas veces conv1:nd ra al diestro que sea deteniendo , otras sujetando , otras inclu)’endo, otras transjiriaido , otras di”V irtit:ndo , y otras formando cada cosa por su 6rden , y segun la disposido,1 en que se en­ cuentre , y lograra con esta variacion Ia defensa propia , y que su contrario no puede formar juicio para ofenderle, y quando  le  forme  no  le  sera  de ningun  provecho ,  y el diestro siempre lograra SU defensa Iy destruira a SU con­ trario I y aUfl habra OCaSiOfleS en que le podra herit J (0- JTIO se manifiesta en algunas demostracioncs.

Las formaciones se han de practicar siempre que el contrario aplique alguna fuerza para sujetar 6 desviar el arma I casos  en que por  lo  regular no  se desperd icia la execucion.  Podra  lograrse  en  la cabeza Ia las que  llama­ mos -vertkalu , en el rostro u orejas; estas seran diagona­ les, 6 caera  sobre el arma contraria  para  sujetarla  , en me­ dio del cuerpo. No aconsejo que se execute herida de corte , a las que Jlamamos horiumtaluI ni en las piernas, ni  1:ampoco  formar  sin  causa , por  estar  expuesto  el que lo hace a que se le-coja en el tiempo con el angulo recto.

Chapter 19: On Recoveries and Hand Movements

Comment/Interpretation:

In this chapter, De Brea disparages as ‘vain and capricious’, those that rush in with no thought as to recovery and defence. De Brea stresses how important a rapid and effective recovery is – whether – the previous attack has been successful. Failing to do this will place the fencer’s life at risk.

He points out that if fencers keep moving out of distance, then successful ripostes or attacks are impossible. However, if the fencer attacks and this is successfully parried, then the fencer will need to recover backwards and remain balanced.

Interestingly, hand movements are dealt with more extensively. De Brea states that there is no limit to what sleight of hand may achieve – but that this needs to be coordinated with recoveries. Hand movements are essential to forcing the opponent’s sword offline.

Basically, he describes placing a bind on the opponent’s weapon and then turning the nails down whilst raising the hilt and keeping forte to foible. Depending on the opponent’s hand position, the fencer can then move appropriately to dominate his opponent’s sword and possibly even make him lose control of it altogether.

De Brea points out that some will run as soon as they have lost control but the fencer should let them go as there is no honour to be had by chasing such poltroons.

He also points out that this can be done in either the inside or outside lines but the fencer must remember to keep control of measure.

Translation:

Chapter XIX

On Recoveries and Hand Movements

Solid, clean thrusts depend on being able to recuperate and on good hand movements. Good recoveries depend on the fencer having his feet perfectly placed. Sometimes, the fencer will need to close distance with the left foot and sometimes he will need to move the right foot backwards to increase distance. The possibilities are endless as if the fencer tries to hit by advancing the right foot and adopting the third stance, then his opponent may, in turn, try to move out, then the fencer will need to advance his left foot to move into second stance to return to measure so that he can either attack or begin another movement.

If, however, the opponent stays at true measure, maybe as a result of only having made a movement that was just enough to successfully defend himself, then he will be in a position to riposte or attack. In order to prevent this, the fencer will need to withdraw his right foot until he is in second stance or even moving into first stance, depending on which is most appropriate for the situation.

This way of advancing the left foot and withdrawing the right foot is called recovery and there is no other way to do this. I believe it is not possible to free body and weapon and be in a position to continue in any other way.

To these ways of recovering, we need to add hand movements. In order to use hand movements, the fencer needs to have a complete understanding of all of his opponent’s exposed areas as well as the fencer’s own. The fencer will try to wound his opponent in the exposed areas but also try to defend any of his own exposed areas. There is no limit to how sleight of hand can be implemented but movements need to be coordinated with the recoveries as otherwise, the fencer will achieve neither offense or defence.

This point is of the utmost importance and the fencer will be depending on this for his safety. There is no doubt that if a fencer practices this coordination of recovery and hand movement then he will emerge victorious and he will not face any difficulties. This is not true of those capricious and vain fencers, who do not understand what they are doing and who ignore the True Art. They rush in and try to wound replying only on their strength and speed without thinking about how to recover and they are then exposed to danger as they are at the mercy of their opponent.

It is important to ensure that if a fencer is attempting to wound his adversary from true measure and his opponent manages to protect the target area in time, then the fencer needs to look for another exposed area but without losing perfect measure. He also needs to retreat back to his original position as soon as possible, whether or not his attack has been successful. If all of the fencer’s movements have been in proportion, then he will be able to defend himself. If, on the other hand, his movements have taken him to close to his opponent or opened up his stance, then defence will be difficult and his life will be at risk.

Although what has just been stated should be enough to show how important it is to keep recovery and hand movements closely coordinated, I will make some additional comments to make sure that no-one has any questions as how this needs to be done. However, before we do this, we need to know how to deflect the opponent’s weapon. This is done by forcing the opponent’s sword offline. There are three ways to do this. The first is a vertical deflection. The second is by dividing. The third is by beating. These are carried out in the following ways:

Whenever the two fencers are at true measure, with the opponent waiting and standing on the diameter line with his arm and weapon extended towards the fencer, then the fencer will first need to place his sword on the inside of his opponent’s sword as if we were going to place the first type of bind on his opponent. As he does this and without removing his blade from his opponent’s, the fencer will prepare his hand position. He will turn his hand so that the nails point downwards, raise his hilt as high as possible and make sure that the point of his sword is aiming down with his forte against his opponent’s foible. The fencer will be observing his opponent’s hand position. If his opponent’s hand is turned so that the nails point inwards, then running his sword down his opponent’s in a simple, downwards motion should be enough to push it to the floor or even force him to drop his weapon – as often happens. If his nails are pointing down, then his weapon needs to be pushed off to the opponent’s right hand side. This will leave the right hand side of his chest exposed. If his nails are pointing upwards, then the opponent’s weapon needs to be forced off to the opponent’s left hand side and his arm will be exposed.

In order to perform these movements safely, the fencer should start with his blade’s forte against his opponent’s foible. He should run his sword along his opponent’s from foible to . If the fencer does this as indicated, then he will remove his opponent’s sword, weaken his opponent and expose him to being hit. If the fencer stays at true measure, then he can simply move his blade forwards and aim at the closest exposed area. Quite often, some opponents may retreat or even jump back when they have lost control of their weapon. Some even retreat so far that they are more than a pistol shot away. If this happens, then he best thing to do is follow my advice and stay where you are. There can be no True Art against someone who flees and as if often said, if someone runs away, let them go. These deflections can be done on both the inside and outside lines as long as the fencer remembers to keep control of measure as he puts the movements into practice. This will ensure that he is able to defend himself successfully and without being able to defend oneself effectively, the entire knowledge of the True Art will not help.

Original Text:

CAPITULO  XIX.

Recuprraciones ! recursos.

De las recuperaciones y recursos pende la firmeza y Jirnpieza en executar el diestro sus tretas. Para conseguir el fin se ha de afirmar con sus pies en sus perfectas plantas, para lo que unas veces le convendra aumentar con el iz­ quierdo, y otras disminuir con el derecho. Su execucion es infinica ,porque siempre que el diestro para executar  hcri­da aumente  con el  pte  derecho  a su  tercera  planta , y su.contrario en  el  tiernpo  disminuya  y le quite la distancia, debera el diestro meter 6 aumentar con el izquierdo  hasta ufirmarse en su segunda plan ta , para volver l\ propmcio­nar su medida , y poder acometer , si le conviene , o dar pr incipio a otra distinta demostracion.

Pero si el ad,·ersario permaneciese en el med io pro· porcional , pues solo hizo un corto moY1m:cr.to Sl,fiL iente ft su defensa ,quedandole disposicion para rcsronder y exc­ cmar herida , el diestro , para que no lo ccnsiga , dcbera disminuir con el pie  derecho , esto es , retirarlc hacia atras hasta queJarse en su scgunda planta , o si no enteramente levamarse a su primera , pues en qualquiera de ellas esta­ ra pronto a lo que le convenga.

A este modo de aumencar con el pie izqu ierdo , y retroceder con el dere,:ho se le da cl nombre de recupe• radon , y no hay otro ; y aun tengo por impoib\e que pueda haberle para poner el cuerpo y arma en libertad , y firme para. proseguir en sus  funcions.

A estas rern peraciones siguen los recursos de mano, Para esros se ha de tener un completo conocimiento de los puntos que su contrario le  ofrece  descubiertos,  y asimis­ mo  los que se le dexan , los unos  para  encaminar  el arma a que execute herida , y los otros para acudir a la defen­sa segun convenga. Su execucion es ir.finita , y ha de guar­dar tal uniformidad con las recuperaciones, que si alguna se separa , o bien por dernasiada prontitud , o por tardan a , no se lograra el fin de la defensa ni ofensa.

Es punto este de suma importancia , y en el debe d diestro fiar su seguridad. Y no  ha y  duda , que siempre que se practique en los terminos dichos se conseguira el fin , y no padecera ningun contlicto , antes saldra victor io­ so, y no le sucedera  lo que a los  capridmdos ,  vaoidosos, poco  versados   en  l realidad  de  las  demostraciones Iquefiados en su  prontitud  y fuerzas,  y abominando  del  arte,  se arrojan  a executar  herida  luego  que ven  punto  descu­bicrto mcticnJose en el peli gro , sin precaver la saliJa , y exponicndos:; a perecer , por  que<lar  al arbitrio de su con­trario.

Se advierte que siempre que se haya de executar  he­rida , que sea desde los rnedios proporcionales; y si en el tiempo que va  cl dicstro a acometer  le  cubren   cl  punto,debera recur rir adonde vea descubierto , y siempre sin ex­ ceder de la medjda ; y tenga  efecto 6 no , inmt:diararnen­ te salirse a sus med ios de defensa por  rnedio  de  la  recuperacion de pies , que se lo facilita. Por haber hecho todos  sm movimientos en una medida proporcion:id a lcgr;i.ra: quedar defendido; pew si se exccde , C:. bien por haberse abicrto de plan ta , 6 aproximado  demasiado , no  lo pod ra comcguir ‘ y est:ua expuesto a perecer ‘ corno  se ha ex­preado.

Aunq ue lo dicho seria  suficicnre  para  el  conocimien­ to de lu unidos que deben ir los recursos de mano y re­ cuperacione$ de pies , con tOl o me parecen nmy conve­ nier.tes alpmas otras demostracicincs  para  mas  afirmacion, y quc no  nos quede  duda  algu na  en  las  operaciones. Perointes es precio el conocimiento  6  rr.odo  de  desviar  el ar­ rna contraria , y  este  ha  de  ser  por  medio  de  una  rxpul-· sfon. Esta tiene tres especies , a. al..>cr ; 11erticaJ , di’Vi.ri–..a, y txpttlsh:a :su execucicn en ern. forma. Sit!rnpre gue los dos combatiente  sl.! hallen en cl medio proporcicnal , cl ad-·versario esper:inJo , y ocupando la i1nca ciel diametro , for­ mando  con  el  brazo y arm:1  hnea  rec ta , y ofreciendo pun:­ to sumamente estrecho, en  ese  caso  se le uni ra  el  diestro con la s11ya por  la posrura  dcl  arma , y parte  de   adentro,·

Como si form::ise el primer atajo , y sin d1;stmi1 se prep::i ra­ r{t la mano , ponicndola pa rtkipio de ufias abaxo , la  punta. del  arma  que  participe  de  la  rectitud  alta , y  con  el ter­  cer  tercio  sobre  el  primero  de  la  contraria , y  observando la disposicion 6 modo en que su contra r io  tiene  puesta  la mano , si la tuviese con las ufias adentro , en  ee  caso  se  valdra el  diestro  del  n10vim iento  natur 1l  , corriendo  su arma  par  la contraria , y haciendola  baxar  vertical  hasta  el  sue\o , 6  tal  vez  se  le  desprender.’1   de  la  mano. como continuamente  sucede. Si la  ruviese  abaxo , el desvio  sele ha de hacer a su Iado derecho y parte afuera , para que le de:ice punto  descubierto  en  la  coracteral  derecha ; pero si tuviese la mmo part:icipio 6 extremo de unas arriba , el desvio  ha  de  ser  a su lado izqu ierdo  opuesto  al anterior,

Y el punto que  le dexara  descubierto  sera  la  jurisdicion de} brazo: para la seguridad y firmeza se han de empezar dichas expulsiones  6 desvios  de\  arma   contraria  desde  el n umero 2 de la que paJece hasta el 8 , corriendo la que hace desde el 9 hasta el 1• Para que no 5e padezca equi­ Vocacion digo , que desde el fuerte de la que hace hasta el flaco , y empezara desde el flaco al foerte de la  que  pa­ dece ; y no hay duda que hacicndolo en los tcrminos re­ ferido  estaran  bien  hechas las expulsiones , y se  logra ri destruir   la  fuerza  a su   contrario ,  y obligarle  a descubrir los puntos claros; y permaneciendo en el med io propor­ cional ,le acometera el diestro con el movimiento acciden­ tal , recurriendo  para la execucion de la  herida  al  pu ntoque se le vea mas cercano descubierto. Pero si en el tiem­ po que el diestro da la expulsion , su contrario disminu­ ye, y le quita la distancia como acostumbran muchos , que en tocindolos al arma ,brincan con tal exceso , que no seria suficiente un tiro de pistola para akanzarlos ; en estc  caso es mas conveniente seguir mi dictamen , quedarse quieto en el parage quc se encucntre. Porque a 1a verdad contr;iel que huye no hay destreza ; y como vulgarmente se di­ ce , a encrnigo que huye , puente de plata. Estas expulsio•ncs se pueden bacer por las dos posturas del arma , de par• te de adentro , y de parte de afuera , yendo bien colocado para su defensa en el tiempo de las exccuciones. Es sufi­ ciente noticia pa ra el conocimiento de la realidad de es­ tas recuperaciones y recursos, y de que en destreza  toda quanto hay que saber de nada serviria , si se ignorase este punto , y con su conocimiento se puede pasai: mas ade­ lanrc.

Chapter 18: On Central Positions and Triangles

Comment/Interpretation:

This short chapter can seem confusing with its description of angles.  De Brea is trying to show how to use the circles to best advantage and how to remain balanced whilst doing so.

First of all, we need to remember that in destreza, there is an imaginary circle around each fencer, a straight line directly between them and a circle that they share, when they come into measure. This is the circle that we are looking at now and plate 12 shows the circle and the positions of the feet.

The idea is to keep sideways on to the opponent and using the feet to achieve this and pivoting as necessary. He even describes pivoting on the toes, if necessary and also specifically describes using the left hand to cover the inside line.

Translation:

On Central Positions and Triangles.

There are three central positions and triangles in the True Art. These are on the right foot, on the left foot and on both feet. Sometimes the positions will involve the fencer being on his toes and at other times, on his heels. This will depend on what action is being taken over the course of a fight. The positions are formed by three imaginary triangles: isosceles, scalene and equilateral. These can be used to help control the opponent’s weapon, form the different angles, thrust and attack and defend especially when in very close proximity to the opponent.

First central position: In a situation, where both fencers are within measure and the opponent is moving around the circumference looking to expose the fencer’s right hand side or back and wishes to bind the fencer’s weapon, then to prevent this, the fencer will move only his left foot and keep his right foot pointing at the centre of the circle. If the adversary moves around the circle on the other side, to try to create an opening towards the fencer’s chest, then the fencer will move his right foot and use the left foot as a central pivot. In this way, he will be able to stay sideways on to his opponent and successfully defend himself.

If the fencers are close to each other and the fencer has a bind on his opponent’s sword, then the opponent way to try to grab the hilt of the fencer’s sword. To stop this from happening, the fencer will twist his body to the inside on the points of his toes. At the same time, he will place his sword out of his opponent’s reach by raising it head high with the nails turned outwards. This will leave the sword pointing at his opponent’s chest. Whilst doing this, he will also use his left hand and arm to deflect his opponent’s sword. This can be seen in the diagram marked with the letter B in plate twelve.

Fig B Plate 12

Translation:

CA PITU L O  X VIII.

Cmtros  )’  tridngulos.

Los centres y triangulos en verdad era destreza son tres , sobre el pie deredw , sobre el izquierdo , 6 sobre los dos : unas veces convendra sobre las puntas , y otras sobre los talones. Estos se forman en distintos casos , y de dife­ rentes modos en rigurosa batalla , 6 segun lo pide el lan­ ce 6 disposicion en que se encuentran los dos combatien­ es. De su exccucion se forrnan los triangulos , aunque son unaginarios , y mudan de especies por el mas 6 mcnos Centro (como realmente las demostraciones lo iran ma· nifestando ): sus nornbres son is6sceles , escalmo ,y equild­ tero ; con ellos se mjet:i  el arma  contraria , se  forman los angulos rnixtos , se executan estocadas de pu.fio , se con­ cluye , se defiende y ofende a su contrario quando se en­ cuentran  rnetidos en el extremo propinquo.Centro pimero : Puest:os los dos cornbatientes en el med10 proporcional , siempre que el adversario vaya cami­ nando por la circunferencia para  descubrir  las  profundidades del costado derecho 6 espalda con anirno de sujetar el arrna , el diestro, para que no lo consiga , fra movien­ 0 -solo ·el pie izquierdo haciendo  centro sobre el derecho,0 al contr.u-io. Si el adversario diese los compases p<>r ellado opuesto pa ra descubrir las profundidades del  pecho, que  se  dice  gm1ar grados  al  perjil ; el diestro  para que lo consiga , ira moviendo el pie derecho ; y haciendo centro sobre el izquierdo , logrando por  este mt:dio   que­darse perfilado  y defenJido. Sohre  los dos piu: Suponganse a los  dos  combaticntes aproximados , y el diestro  sujetando  el  arma  contraria ,  y que  el adversario  quiere  echar  mano  a la  guarnicion  de  su contrario para concl uirle ; en ese instante el  diestro , para que no lo consiga , bornara el cuerpo hacia adentro sabre las puntas de los dos pies, y  metiendo  su  mano  izquierda por  entre las dos armas , impedira  la reduccion  de la  con­ traria ‘ y retirara la  derecha levantandola a nivel  de la   ca• bcza con las uifas afuera ; de modo que la punta de su ar­ ma le quede  en  el  pecho de su contrario , como lo  mani­ fiesta  la  figura seiialada  con 1 letra B de la estampa nu­mero 12.