Chapter 16: On the Main Thrusts

Comment/Interpretation:

Chapter 16 is all about thrusts. De Brea describes three types. He calls these simple, compound linked thrusts. The main difference between these is the number of movements. If there is no – or little – opposition, then a simple thrust may suffice. In every case, binding is critical, as we have seen and De Brea stresses the different hand positions. Plate 10 shows the three simple thrusts.

If there is more opposition, then a compound or linked thrust may be necessary. The descriptions of compound thrusts are good illustrations of the importance of binding. The fencer binds to provoke a reaction. The act of reacting creates an opportunity.

De Brea’s linked thrusts are about multiple movements but are perhaps better described as ripostes off a parry and/or freeing the fencer’s sword from a bind that has been placed upon it.

It is also worth noting that in this chapter, De Brea describes the use of quillions to help the process of controlling an opponent’s blade. This does demonstrate the degree of precision required in hand placement and position.

plate 10

Translation:

Chapter XVI

On the main thrusts.

There are three main thrusts, although in reality they can be said to be the same. The names of the thrusts are derived from the opponent’s behaviour. The first is one touching blades. The second is binding. The third is when the blade has been freed. The thrusts should be aimed at one of three possible targets: the face, the chest or the ribs. These are the easiest to attack in time as it is not as safe to attack other areas of the body as the fencer may expose himself to a counter attack. This is why I always advise fencers to aim at one of these targets without forgetting the different hand movements. Depending on the situation, it may be better to thrust with the hand in first, second, third or fourth position. These thrusts may be single, compound or linked.

Simple thrusts

First simple thrust – Imagine that the fencer has placed a bind on his opponent’s sword and can attack his opponent’s inside line. Without forgetting the warnings from Chapter XIII, the fencer, without disengaging from his opponent’s blade will advance into measure and run his blade along his opponent’s until it is forte to foible. If his opponent allows it and a target area is exposed, then the fencer will thrust moving the sword forwards and downwards, running his blade along his opponent’s blade until the point lands on the right hand side of the chest on the collateral line. This thrust is made with blades touching. In order to make the thrust solidly and safely, the fencer needs to move his right foot into the position of the third stance and turning his heel inwards so that the heels form an isosceles triangle. The hand should be at the level of the face with the nails turned upwards so that the hilt passes the opponent’s point and protects the fencer from it.

Second simple thrust – the fencer will place a bind on his opponent’s blade on the outside line. The fencer will improve the bind by running his blade down his opponent’s until it is forte to foible and increasing the pressure. If his opponent resists the pressure being applied to his blade and the fencer’s point passes even a fraction beyond his opponent’s hilt, then the fencer will continue the forward movement of the blade until he hits his opponent in the centre of the chest. The fencer can reduce the amount of pressure being applied to his opponent’s blade in order to free up the point to make a more secure hit. The fencer should also turn his hand so that the nails are pointing down. This means that the fencer will be able to apply additional pressure to the inside quillion and force the opponent’s blade off line. In this thrust, the point of the fencer’s sword will move through a ninety-degree arc from which it receives its name.

Third simple thrust – Imagine a situation where the opposing fencer is waiting in the second stance with their point at the fencer’s chest or right hand side and covering the inside line. The fencer will meet his opponent’s blade with its own and apply a light pressure to the blade. The fencer will aim to start meeting his opponent’s blade by touching the opponent’s ninth degree of the blade with his own first degree of the blade. The fencer will then move into distance whilst running his sword along his opponent’s blade. If the opponent does not react, and there is an exposed target area, then then fencer will continue to move the sword forwards. This will push the opponent’s blade offline and free the weapon and allow the thrust to follow the line offered by the opponent’s sword until the thrust hits. Whilst thrusting, the fencer will raise his hand to the level of his eyes and turn the sword hand so that the nails are pointing upwards. Foot positions are the same as for the first, simple thrust. This thrust is made as and when the blade has been freed.

In this thrust, the point of the fencer’s sword will move through a ninety degree arc. If the fencer does not have enough of an angle, then he can still thrust to the side[1]. To do this, he supports the thrust by pushing is left arm between the two weapons. I do not recommend this as it exposes the fencer to considerable risk.

Third compound thrust: The fencer will bind his opponent’s blade on the inside line. If, as he advances into measure, the opponent tries to bind the fencer’s blade, or in the time he takes to do this, the fencer will thrust cleanly at the right hand side of the chest, above the arm. This thrust is described as taking the line of the diameter. The fencer will need to make sure that the hilt is raised to the height of the face and the point will need to be aimed down as this will ensure a deep wound. The hand will be turned so that the nails point downwards.

These types of thrust are considered to be made in true time as the fencer is taking advantage of the fraction of time needed by the opponent to free his weapon. This is why these thrusts are called compound thrusts.

The only real difference between linked thrusts and the others lies in the greater number of movements needed. This can be seen in the following examples.

First: Imagine that the fencer is being pressed by his opponent and needs to use his body and shoulder to free his weapon from a bind using either a cutting or backhand movement. The movement will be on whichever side the bind is being made and once the weapon is free, the fencer can riposte with a thrust to whichever part of his opponent is open. The fencer will use his control of time to ensure the thrust is made safely.

Second: The fencer is waiting with his sword pointing at either inside or outside line. His adversary attacks and the fencer parries or deflects his attack and ripostes immediately to whichever target area is exposed.

Third: The fencer might find himself in a situation where he is within measure of his opponent and his opponent has placed a bind on the inside line and is advancing to strengthen the bind. In this situation, the fencer may attempt to reverse the situation and take the initiative by reversing the bind and then running his blade along his opponent’s to hit the right hand side of the chest and then withdrawing to be out of measure.

These three examples should be enough to signal the differences between linked thrusts as opposed to single of compound thrusts. I could easily spend much longer on this point but I have chosen not to as it will be explained in the section on the ‘General Rules’.

Now that we have got to this point by focusing on ways of attacking, we now need to look at defense.

[1] flanconade

Original Text:

CAPITULO  XVI.

De las estocadas principalu.

Las estocadas principales  son tres,  aunque  en s• no esmas que una. Toman el nombre segun la disposicion que da el contrario ; a ‘Saber 1por  kl uniQn dd arma , po, su­jeci on 6 atajo, 6 .de causa Jibre. La execucion la tendran en uno de tres parages , qne seran rostro , pecho 6 cos­ tado de su contrario , que son los mas a prop6sito para quedar en el tiempo defendido; pues aunque se podra herir en algun otro, no sera de tanta -seguridad , y tal vez ser& expuesto.  Por  lo  que aconsejo  al  diestro dirija  su  punta a uno de los tres dichos puntos , sin olvidar los rnovimien­ tos de la mano ;porque unas veces convendr.i  en  prime· ra , otras en segunda , otras en tercera , y otras en quarta: estas se ex.ecutan  con ios nombres de simplu  , compuutat, y ligadas.

Primeras simplu. Sup6ngase al diestro puesto el at;1- jo 6 impedimento por la postura del arma , y parte de adentro  con  los  requisitos  advertidos en el  capitulo xnr , y sin desunirse se .pasara al rnedio proporcional ; y si su contrario le consiente , y le ofrece punto suficiente a poder introducir su punta ,le acometera con el movimiento mix­ to de natural y accidental , corricndo el arma por 1a con• traria   hasta executar la herida  en la coracteral  derecha , y sera p{imcra  estocada por   uniM  d, arma.  Para·,eguridad Y firmeza al tiempo de la execucion , aumentara con el pie ierecho a su tercera  pl:mta , volviendo el talon a su parte de adentro , formando en  el suelo triangulo  isoceles , la mano a nivel del rostro • participio las uiias arriba , para que la guarnicion d.esvie la punta contraria , y quede en el tiempo defendido.

Segunda :Pondra el diestro el atajo  por  la postura del arma , y .pane de afuera , y sin desunirla , como se dixo en Ja anterior , le mejmara pasando a su medio propordo­-nal , comunid.ndole  un  gradito  de  fuerza  operanre: y si el  contrario  resiste,  y  1a  punca  de]  arma  pasa  de  la guar- nidou un grado , estando en esta disposidon le acometera el diestro con el movimiento accidental , corriendo el ·atajo hasta execlitar la herida en la dia.inetral del pecho , por la sujecion que tenia hecha , desigualandose para descu-­ brir mas el punto, e ir con mas seguridad a la execucion Y volviendo la mano partidpio uii.as abaxo, para apresar en el tiempo con el gavilan inferior , y desvi:u la contra­ ria : a este modo de executar se le da el nombre de quar­ta parte de ciNulo. Terce  a :Supongase al adversario  esperanao en su se­gunda planta , ofreciendo punro  en  el  pecho, o coracte• ral derecha por la ‘postura del a.rma y p3rte de  adentro, y al diestro con la general flaqueza debaxo de la total fuer• za contraria , esto es , numero uno baxo del nueve , y pa­ sado a su medio p1oporcional ;y. en el supuesto de que su contrario le cspera ,·y le ofrece sutidente punt<, , Je aco­ metera con el ttiovimiento accidental , librando el’arma , y encaminandofa por la union de la contraria hasta executar la herida, con la precaucion de levantar la mano. a;-nivel de Jos ojos, y participio de unas arriba , el pi,c dercho en Ios tcuninos que se lleva advertido en la primera , y habr:i executado la estocada de causa JibN : asi en esta , como en las demas iomediatamente es menester salirse .a sus medios de <iefensa.  Se advierte que  se  pucden  e:xecutar  por los dos lados 6 posturas del. arma , teniendo presente a la exe­ cucion volvcr  los participios de la  mano para  los  desvios

y sucion del arma coutraria; pero. si no tuviese el florete g.tyilanes Ila  hoja a la execucion’ ha de entrar  d.e plano, y Jos desvios seran con  los filos’  la mano unas adentro; a la que llamamos primera , como lo manitiestan las tres figu· ras scfialadas con las nums. 1,:l y 3 de la estampa nume· ro ,o. Hemos dado noticia suficiente de las estocadas sim.ples IpasaremOS  il.darla de las·COffipUCStaS. Primera :Supongase al diestro esperando, y agregado con su arma a la contraria , ofreciendo  punto  en  la juris­ iccioo del brazo. En el tiempo que el contrario libre el arma 1 6 bien para acometer, 6 para solo mudar de dispo­sicion , en aquel ha de acometer el diestro , y executar he­Iida en la diametral del pecho desigualandose , ganando grados al  perfil , y para  mas seguridad  volver  la  mano.parcici-pio ufia’l abaxo para desviar con el gavilan  in­  ferior.

Segunda : Pondra el diestro el atajo por la postura del arma parte afuera , y quando $U conuario libre su arma, para sacarla de la sujecion que le ticne puesta , le acometera el dieitr4> con el movimiento accidental, y executara fa he· ra en la. diarnetr.al del pecho. Pero si saleformando (que lo podra hacer), la herida ha de ser en 1a coracteral de. recha , levantando  la  guarnicion  a nivel de  la Cabeza ,para que en caso que bue .la cuchi\lada , ‘1escanse en el fuerte, y 1lD sea Dfendido en el t.i.ernpo; pero si luego que pone el arma en libertad se afirma en razon de angulo recto , :um quando  estc con  el  cuerpo  baxo , la herida  en ese  caso  ha de ser en la vertical derecha debaxo del brazo. Para la se­ guridad de esta se ha de volver la  mano participio  uiias ar­ riba , para desviar 6 sujetar con el gavilan inferior , y sera estocada  de quartaparte  de circulo ;  y si no  los tiene , se tira  con el  nombre fanconada , metiendo  el brazo  por  en·tre las dos armas para que supla la falta del gavilan ; pero aconsejo que no teniendole, no se use semejante modo de herir , que es muy  expuesto.

Tercera : Pondra el diestro el atajo por la postura Jel arnta , y parte de adentro; y si al pasar a su medio pro­ porcional su contrario se le transfiere para sf al acabar la evolucion , 6 en el tiempo que la va haciendo , le acome­ tera el diestro pasando el arma limpiamente , y executan­ do la herida  en la  coracteral derecha por encima  del bra A este modo de executar se le da el nombre de ocu­ par la lin,a del didmetro , procurando que a la execucion quede la guarnicion a nivel del rostro , la punta baxa para introducirla a la profundidad , fa mano que participe d ias abaxo , para quedar en el tiempo

Por las operaciones se manifiesta , que este modo de executar herida es de ti mpo ; pues  se aprovecha  el d iestro de aquel corto instante que su contrario gasta en poner  el arma en libertad; como  van  favorecidas del  arte,  se  lcs da el nombre de t()mput_sta.r. Las ligadas no se <iiferencian de las ya dichas en  quanto  a fa execucion , solo  en  que  constan  de mas  mo­vimientos , como lo manifiestan los siguientes exemplares. Primera Sup6ngase al diestro oprimido por su  con· trario obljgado a formar para  poner  el  arma  en  libertad , sea tajo 6 reves , que esto sera segun por el lado que sea la sujecion ; y esta formacion se reduce a estocada , execu­tando 1a herida en el punto cine se ve mas cercano descu bierto , logrando en el t iempo su defensa.

Segunda : Sup6ngase  al  diestro  esperando , y ofre­ciendo punto suficicnte por uno de los dos lados , y que su contrario le acomete, y el diestro la repara 6 desvia , e inmediatamente le responde , y executa la herida en el punto que ve descubierto.

Tercera : Supongase a los combatientes  en el medio de proporcion , y que el” adversario  ha puesto el atajo  por la postura del arma  y parte de adentro, y pasado  a su  me­dia proporcional ; y conociendo el diestro el riesgo que le amenaza , si permanece , de improviso se le transfiere pa­ ra sf , y sin detenerse corre su arma pot la contraria , ayu dado del  movimiento  accidental , y executa  la  herida en)a  coracteral  derecha , Volviendose  a salir  a SUS  medias  de defensa.

Pareccn  suficientes  estas  tres demostraciones  para  co­nocer  la  diferencia   de. lo  simple  y compuesto , a lo  liga­do ; podria muy bien  detenermc , y tratar mas  largarnen­ te sobre este punto; pero  lo omito por tenerlo  que  hacer en la explicacion de las reglas gmerales , a las que me re­ fiero.

Habiendo tratado  hasta aqu.1 solo  de]  modo  de  exe­cutar la ofensa , ahora es preciso hacerlo de la defensa.

 

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