Chapter 13: On Binding your Opponent’s Blade

Comment/Interpretation:

Chapter 13 is about binding. Binding is a translation of the Spanish ‘atajo’. Atajo combines applying force from above from the fencer’s blade on to the opponent’s; using the mechanics of the body to increase this pressure; using fewer movements than the opponent and finding the most direct route all of these ideas into a single defensive action which can protect the swordsman while simultaneously creating opportunities from which to strike with safety.

Binding is dynamic. De Brea describes how you can start with a weak bind when out of measure but then move in and increase the strength of the bind – corresponding to the idea of using body mechanics to increase the advantage and pressure.

It is interesting to note that De Brea even describes an imaginary bind. There is some debate as to where this started and if it can be inferred in Pacheco or other authors. De Brea seems to be the first to use the expression. The idea is that if the opponent’s blade is offline, then the fencer can place his blade above it but without actually touching it.

Plate 8 illustrates the binds and plate eleven (number 3) shows the possible effect of a strong bind leading to a disarm.

Plate 8

Plate 8

Plate 11 #3

Plate 11 #3

Translation:

Chapter XIII

Binding your opponent’s blade

Although we could say that any impediment to an opponent’s blade is controlling it, we can simplify this to three principal ways. These are weak, normal and strong. However, we also need to remember that there are three types of force that can be used. These are resisting, manipulating and reserved. With this knowledge, we can see how to control an adversary’s blade. This can be done using either the inside or outside line once the fencer has chosen how to move into measure and also whilst both understanding the risks and observing the opponent’s position and movements. If your opponent’s arm is extended with the sword pointing up towards you, meet his blade and as soon as the blades touch, move his point off line so that it is no longer pointing at your chest. This is the first way of controlling the blade and can be seen in figure one of plate number eight.

Second: if your opponent’s blade is following the line of the diameter and pointing straight towards you, then the fencer needs to place his blade on top of his opponent’s. He should aim to have the sixth degree of his blade con top of the third degree of his opponent’s. This is called the true bind despite four angles being formed where the blades meet. Two different types of force can be seen in this bind.   The fencer whose blade is underneath will need to resist and the fencer whose blade is on top will try to manipulate his opponent’s blade by exercising a degree of force correspondent to the resistance applied by the opponent. To do this, he may need to increase the degree of his blade which is in contact with his opponent’s in order to increase the pressure on the lower blade. This can be seen in figure two of plate eight.

Third: if the opponent’s weapon is not on target, then the fencer may use an imaginary bind. There are two ways of doing this in different moments. If the opponent’s weapon is in opposition but the point is lowered and off target, either to one side or the other, then the fencer will place his blade above his opponent’s and crossing it. If the point is on-line, the fencer can cover his opponent’s blade making sure that he is exercising less pressure than his opponent ensuring that his point does not go beyond his opponent’s hilt. In this way, he is using less than full strength and reserving himself to react as soon as he wishes. This can be seen in figure three of plate eight.

In this way, you can see that, in general terms, any weakness in the total amount of pressure being exercised is not created but is actively allowed to happen.

Three forms of binding have now been described: controlling, dominating and imaginary and we need to have a clear understanding of these if are to be able to make use of these practically. If in doubt, then execution will lack confidence and it will be hard to make real progress.

Original Text:

CAPITULO XIII.

Forma del atajo.

El  atajo  tiene  tres  especies; a saber , en  el prz’n,ipio,en el medio ,y m eJ Jin ; bien entendido, que todo impedi­ znento es atajo , y se reducen a tres sus formas; pero se ban de tener presentes  las tres espedes de fuerza , d.e las ]UC  todo dietro se ha de valer, ‘lue son rtsisttnlf  , 01e- rante y perma,imtr , que por otro nombre se llama intersa y rurrvada , con este conocimiento se puede pasar a for­mar cl atajo:-Esre se puede poner por uno de los dos fa  dos 6 posturas del arma , de parte adent ro ,y parte de afue­ ra , para lo que habra el d iestro clegido SU medio de pro­ porcion  con  los  requisites  ya  advertidos , y obsen:ado la lisposicion en que su  contra rio sc halle : si tuviere el ar­ma obttisa ·Y  el’ brazo estirad6, se congregad. con la supprocurando ‘ luego que se le una ‘ desviarle \a pu nta ‘ qui­tandole  la  direccion  que teoga al  pecho ; y  de este modo habra executado el” primer tajo 6 impedimento , como lo rnanifiestan las dos primer-as figuras seii.aladas con el num. 1 de la- estanipa ·num. 8.   ·..                                                .                 ‘ ·

Segundo, si el adversatro·ofreciese  el  anna· ·recta, yocupando la linea del diametro ‘ rondra el diestro la suya encima , procurando sujetarla  con seis grados sobre tres, y le quedai:a  hecho  el dfajo I ,que    s su verdadero·n”ombre , no obsrant-e ser en el principio . por estar -en angulo recto J y sobre angulo recto , formando quatro angulos  en .  la union que hacen las armas. De que resulta ser dos las especies de fuerza que se hacen ; porqi1e el que se h:dla debaxo  resiste , y el  que esta encima  opera , para desviar0 sujetat , y esto ha  de  Ser a correpondencia· de 1.i rsiS’ tencia que en·cuentre en su contra rio , parn lo que se ban de aplicar mas 6 menos grados hasta lograr el fin de la su jecion , como lo tnal’lifiestan las dos figuras sefialadas ,con el num.   .

Tercero, si el adversario no pusiere el arma en ter­ rninos, se valdra el diestro d.el atajo imaginario. Este se hace de dos rnaneras y en distintos casos: siempre que el arma contrari’1   te rernisa, y la punta  baxa sea per  uno u otro  lado,  pondra  el diemo  la suya  alta  y transversal; o sino  la  pondra  la  general  flaqueza , debaxo  de  la total fuerza contraria ,con fa precaucion de que no pase la pun-­ ta de la guarnicion contraria , con una fui:!rza intersa y re­ servada , que esta no hace ni padece, y esta pronto para lo que le convenga : lo demuestra la figura senalada con el num. 3.

Por lo que daramente  se ve que  la  total  fuerza  sobre la general tlaqueza no hace , sino padece. Quedan ya de­ finidas las tres formas de atajo, que son ag r,gacion , sttje­ don , y el imaginario superior o inferior ; y que el cono­ cimiento  de  estas tres especies  de {uerza  dichas  es  necesa!’ r io , como se ve por las operaciones .. Pareceme ahora. deli• nir  las tres especies que  en  el  principio  ·se  <lixo  tellh1 el_.atajo , para que no nos quede duda en sus operaciones , y po,damos cou seguridad pasar mas adlante , pues de lo conwuio  ai; quedar  con  rzelo, y tal  v.e2;  poca _tQnn.:.za   en_  las  exe<;uciones. ·En  .cuya   suposicion  digo ,  que siempre que el. aµjo se forme desde el rnedto de p,ropor cion , y en los termioos dichos, sera m el pri 11cipio , cau ;Sa1;1do _sol 1wi fectQ t que es el de privacjon,; pero si des,. de el• mcdio de proporcion., principio :I.el aa)()s ·el, ditio se !llt;jor_ase , o por medio ,de w:i  Qmp:ts de au_mento, 6 con la segunda planta , que Haman propor,ional, sujetan­  do con ejs grados sobre tres, habra pasado a-1 medio de/ atajo ,. y lograra  dos  efectos,  qe SQn   privacion  del ar• ma a su contrario,  y  para  si  disposicion.  Si  desde   dicha posicion corriese .el atajo ponicndos.e con su terccr tercio sobre  el  segundo  de  la  contraria ,  sujetaudola    con     ocho grados  sobr seii, babra p.l$ildO  a/ ji n deJ atajo , y lograra tres  efe.ct , que: spn    privaion  sujecioo  y    ispo,icion, para este se necesita  haber  pasado  con el pie  derecho  a latercera planta , segun la  figura  seiialada con  el  num.  3 de la  estampa num.  I1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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