Chapter 12: On Measures of Distance and the Contact Points of the Weapon

Comment/Interpretation:

The idea is measure refers to the ability to safely take the initiative. The first way – de Brea calls it ‘perfect’ is when the fencer can hit without being hit – is by using a longer weapon or by being taller etc. He also – and interestingly, he says that you can use the steps within destreza to achieve perfect measure. Again, this ties in with a dynamic system and using movement to break symmetry and gain an advantage. Appropriated measure is when the fencer forces a reaction from his opponent and transferred measure is when the fencer finds that his weapon is controlled by his opponent and he wins back measure by freeing his sword.

De Brea points out that if fencers are the same height and have the same swords, then the initiative will belong to whoever moves first. However, a shorter fencer will need to force a reaction and transfer measure – the initiative – which is risky.

De Brea also describes a way of dividing up the sword into nine sections. This is to provide a way to describe the degrees of force and control that a fencer can apply to an opponent’s sword. It is a way of adding more precision to forte to foible.

Plate 7

Translation:

Chapter XII

On Measures of Distance and the Contact Points of the Weapon

There are three measures of distance: perfect, appropriated and transferred. Perfect measure is when the fencer chooses when he can wound without being hit by his opponent. This can be achieved when the fencer is taller or has longer arms or through the judicious use of one of the steps offered by the True Art.

Appropriated measure is when a fencer is either taller or has a longer weapon and forces distance on his opponent. Transferred measure is when the fencer’s weapon has been controlled and he then transfers measure to himself by freeing his weapon and controlling his opponent’s using a series of upwards, downwards or sideways movements, and is then able, if he wishes, to take the initiative whilst appreciating any risks to which he is exposed. If both fighters are the same height and have weapons of the same length, then the initiative will rest with whoever acts first. Whoever moves first has to make sure that the point of his sword is pointing directly at his opponent, in other words at ninety degrees from the ground, and that the point goes up to but not beyond his opponent’s guard. You can see this in the image in plate seven. However, if the initiating fencer has a longer weapon, then they will have control over the distance. If the fencer is shorter, then he will need to appropriate measure by coming into distance and forcing a reaction from his opponent. It is important to take great care at this point and also with what we will continue to look at later with how to control the blade as any mistakes at this point can have very serious consequences. All of the information about measure can be seen in plate seven.

Before we goon to look at controlling the blade, I feel we need to examine how the blade of the sword can be divided into degrees and understanding this is essential to mastering the True Art. The blade can be divided into three equal parts. These are called the dimensions and each dimension or third can also be sub-divided into three equal parts. These are the degrees of the sword and there are nine in total along the blade. The degrees can be seen in plate number seven. The first degree is at the point of the blade and the ninth is just before the hilt. So we can see that the first third or dimension has got the lowest numbers and it is with these that we wound our adversaries. The middle third or dimension are where we control our opponent’s blade or deflect it. The final third of the blade is where we parry as this is strongest part of the blade.

Original Text:

CAPITULO XII.

De los medios de proporcion y repartimiento degrados rn  d arma.

Los medics de proporcion son tres, propio , apropia• do y transferido. El propio es el que elige el dieHro pa­ ra si con la seguridad de poder executar herida sin ser al­ cam.ado de su contrario. Este se consigue quando excede en altura 6 largura de arma , 6 le toma por medio de  al­ gun  compas que le facilita el arte. El apropiado es   aquel que  el  diestro  obliga  a elegir  al  que   tiene  el  arrna mas corta , 6 cl lo es de altura. El transferido aquel que por haberse apropiado el  adversario,  sujetandole  el  arma , y con disposicion para executar herid a si le conviene, co· nociendo el diestro el riesgo en que se halla , se le trans­  ficre para sf por medio de una evolucion de movimientos rnixtos , que de precision seran remiso , ‘Violento y natu• ral , que es con el que ha de quedar sujetando el arrna contraria. Pero si los dos com batientes fuesen de altura y armas  iguale5 ,  el  que   primero   le  elige lo hace  para los Jos; y para conseguirlo se han de considerar en angulo rec­ to, y con disimulo: el que le haya de clegir , procurara que la punta  de su arma , sea de la  clase  que  fuese , lleguc a Ia guamicion contraria t pero que no pase; y quedara ele­ gido el medio d p.,.opor,ion , como lo demuestran fas dos figuras de la siguiente cstampa num. 7. Pero si el que le clige la tiene mas larga; habra elegido el rnedio propi ‘o por quedar su contrario dcsproporcionado; y si es mas cor- ta , ser.1 apropiado , porque 1 ofrece  l contrario J o que no habia t:!egiJo. Este es  punto  en  qne se  debe  ponet  toJo  cuiJad o • r en  el que mas  adelante  scguini de  la for­ ma  del atajo , porque  si se fa1ta en algun rc 1uisito  poJr.i ser  de roalas  conscqiicncias.  Todo  lo  relacionaJo  se mani­ f:esta en los discfios  de la  estampa  n(i m. 7. Antes  de  pasar  a form;1r  cl atajo  Il1-.!  ha parecido con­veninte  hacer  un  repartimiento  Je  gradoj· en  el  arma, pus es muy del caso su conocimiento e!”I V<;!rdadera des­ treza para  conseguir  el acierto.  Por  lo  que  se  debe repar­tir 6 considerar en tres partes iguales . a l.ls quc llamamos ter.:ios 6 dimmsiones ; y a cada una en tres partes, que en toda  el  arma seran nueve , a los  que  llamamos grados. Es­tos han de tener su  principio numero uno en la punta ,   yel  nueve  arrimado a la guarnicion ; por cuyo moti vo re­sulta que el primer tercio tiene los menores grados , y con el se han de executar las heridas; con el del medio los des,•ios y privaciones , y con el tercero las sujeciones, pues tiene toda la fuerza o superioridad de grados, como se manifiesta en el disefio de la estampa num. 7

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s