Chapter 15: On landing an attack

Comment/Interpretation:

In Chapter 15, de Brea is at pains to point out that technique will triumph over simple speed. He decries fencers who simply relay on speed alone. He says there are three ways to land an attack – three body positions and three timings – moving before, at the same time or in response to one’s opponent.  It is important to note that binds are mentioned again and is often, throughout the text – not just this chapter – the starting point for a move. De Brea also stresses the importance of understanding what movements are being made and why.

The first method involves binding the opponent’s blade and if they do not respond, then simply extending the arm and running the blade along the opponent’s blade to hit. The second method is made by lowering the body as part of the parry and then riposting. The final method is a slip made when the opponent attacks by bring the feet together and raising the body. These can be seen in plate 9.

plate 9

Translation:

Chapter XV

On Landing with an attack

Attacks can be made in different ways. However, the science, art and experience of the True Art shows us that in reality there are only three ways to attack. These are from an upright body position, a lowered body position or raising the body. These are the only possible ways. Some writers believe that speed alone is enough to attack successfully – whether using the point or edge of the blade. However, whether by luck or skill, if speed by itself were enough to enable a hit on the opponent, then the lighter fencer would always win and a heavier, slower fencer would never hit his opponent or even be able to defend himself.

It is true, though, that a wound can be inflicted or an attack made using one of three different timings. These are: moving earlier than or anticipating your opponent, moving at the same time as your opponent and responding to your opponent’s action. We must remember that in the True Art, any fencer who wishes to provoke an attack from his opponent or defend himself must understand both why actions are being made as well as his opponent’s behaviour. He must also possess skill and promptness. All of these factors are inseparable and a fencer who does not integrate all of these will not be successful.

Let us look at the first way to attack, which is from an upright body position and moving earlier or anticipating your opponent. The fencer is in first position and has placed a bind on his adversary’s blade. If his opponent has enough of an exposed target, where a hit can be made, then the fencer will take a step forward with an extended arm and run his blade down his opponent’s blade until he hits. This can be seen in figure one of plate nine. Irrespective of whether or not the attack is successful, the fencer will take a step backwards and move into second position. This attack does not give the adversary an opportunity to move, which is why we consider it to be moving earlier or anticipating the opponent.

The second method is with a lowered body position and moving later or responding to your opponent’s action.  Let us imagine that the fencer has defended himself against his opponent’s attack by lowering his body and moving into second position. From this position, the fencer ripostes and targets any exposed part of his opponent’s body. As the fencer’s attack comes after his opponent’s, we can say that this is responding to an opponent’s movement and is from a lowered body position.

The third approach is to move at the same time as the opponent. Let us imagine the fencer standing in second position with the weapon pointing at his opponent, when his opponent initiates an attack. At the moment that the opponent starts his attack, the fencer raises his body by bringing his feet together – either right to left or left to right – and hits the opponent on an exposed area – as can be seen in figure three.

Original Text:

C A P I T U L O    X V.

Las ttetas se·,poGt®. exec.utar. de V:\rios modos, pero en dests;¢U • sgun. c.iencia , arte y experiencia de llno de tres , que ·ion t:on el ,uerpo d<rul,o , baxanM fl (turpo , y le’l.1antando ,J ,uerpo , y no p.uede ser de otro modo. En el concepto ;de algunos se· quiere que la tteta  ·tenga eecu,ion por  uno  .de  tres  terminos,  s·de  punta , d  de  cor­te   que son  por  prontit.ud ;’·()Qr  acierto , o por  atte;  con que si solo por proutitud se logrJra la ofensa en su con­ trario , acertaria el que fuese mas ligero , y el solo seria el diestro I y tamas el pesado acertaria , ni t.endria lugar  para lu defensa. Y aunqu,:   s veridiico que la herida  6 treta   se e.xecuta eh  uno Je tres casos,  que son antes  d, ti mpoquien ha de favorecer la suma prontitud pa ra el acie1to, despues- del Jiempo ; y en tl tiempo ; lo cierto es que el que haya  de  lograr  la  ofensa  de    u  contrario y defensa propia, que  es a lo que  esta  reducida   la  verdadera   destreza ,  ha de tener  conocimiento de la causa , y disposicion del  con­trario , arte y prontitud. Estas tres cosas han  de ir tan  uni­das , que  qualcsqu iera  de  ellas que  se  separe  no habra acierto. Y para lograr el fin , se ha de suponer al diestro  en su primera planta , y puesto el atajo 6 impedimento a su contrario; y si le ofreciese punto suficiente adonde pueda executar . herida , dara  un paso d.e aumento corriendo su.irma por la  contraria  hasta  lograr  la execucion ,-.como lo manifiesta la figura sefialada con el num. 1 de la estampa num. 9 , y tenga efecto o no , disminuir con el pie iz­ quierdo atras , quedandose en su segunda phmta , y ha­ br:a  execu rado el primer modo de ,uerpo deruho , y antes de tit’mpo;  pues no da  lugar  a hacer  movimiento  alguno   a su contrario. Segundo rnodo , despuu de tim1po .y ba.rando el cuer­po : sup6ogase haber acometido el adversario, y que el diestro para defenderse baxo el cuerpo a su segunda  plan-ta ; desdc  aquella  disposicion   acomete ., su   contra,io , y executa la herida en  el punto  que  halla  descubierto,  se• gun lo dem u.estra la figura senalada  on el oum•. . Veridicamente se manifiesta scr herid a dtsr.n th ti1mpo , por ser la execucion despues·oe los .mo-Y.imientos de,u· contrario, y de fUcrpo ba.xo. Tercera rn el tiempo. Supongase al diestro esperando en su segunda pfa n ta , ofreciendo punto , y que, el adver­ rio  le accmetc : en aquel  tiempo se leYanta; une  el pie derecho  al.izquierdo ,  o  al  contrario.;  y  levannt.irdo elcuerpo, executa la herida  en el  punto  descubierto,  como  lo manifiesta la figura seiialada  con el num. 3.

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