Of the Sworde and Buckler

FOr asmuch as the Buckler is a weapon verie commodious & much used, it is reason that I handle it next after the Cloak. For my purpose is, to reason of those weapons first which men do most ordinarily use, then of those that are extraordinarie and lesse accustomed, discoursing upon eache of them, as much as is requisite when I come unto them. Therefore I will first consider of the Buckler, therewith proceeding orderly.

First his fourme, as much as appertaineth to this Arte. Next the manner how to use it, giving every man to understand that the Buckler and other weapons (which are said to be weapons only of warding) may also be of striking, as I will declare in his proper place.

Of the Forme of the Buckler.

AS the form of the Buckler is round and small, and ought to be a shilde and safegard of the whole bodie, which is farr greater then it: So it is to be understood how it may accompolish the same, being a matter in a manner impossible.

Let every one therefore know, that the litle Buckler is not equall in bignes to the bodie simplie, but after a certaine sorte or manner, from which springeth this commoditie, that he which understandeth it, shall be resolved of the manner how to beare and handle it, and shall know that in it, which shal not onelie advantage him in the use thereof, but also of many other weapons.

It is to bee understoode, that the Buckler beareth the self same respect to the bodie, which the litle prike or sighte, on the toppe of the harquebush artilirie or such like beareth to the object which they respect and behold. For when a Harquebusher or Gonner, dischargeth happelie against a Pigion or Tower, if they behold and finde that the Prike striketh the object, although the prike or sight be verie litle, and of a thousand partes one: yet I saie, the said prike of the Harquebush shal cover the hwole Pigion, and that of the Artilery in a manner the whole Tower: The effect procedinge of no other thing then of the distance. And it is in this manner. The eye behoulding directlie through the straight sight, as soone as it arriveth at the object, and may not passe through, teareth it, and sendeth through a lyne sidewise, spreading it selfe like unto the two sides of a Triangle, the which overthroweth the foundation of that thing which it striketh: The which foundation, the instrument striketh with which the discharge was made. And if it worke otherwise, that commeth either of the defect of the instrument, or of that it was not firme.

Wherefore, applying this example to our purpose I saie, that the enemies sworde is as the lyne of the eiesight, The Buckler, even as the little pricke or sight in the Harquebush, the bodie of him that holdeth the Buckler, as the object unto the which the strok is directed: And so much the rather the Buckler shall be the more like this pricke or sight, and have power to cover the whole bodie, by how much it shall be the further of from the thing that is to cover.

As concerning his greatnesse, standing still on the forme of the Buckler, by how much the greater it is, by so much the better it voydeth the blowes. But it is to be regarded, that it hinder not the eye sight, or at least as litle as is possible. Besides this, there is required, that about the middle thereof, there be a little strong circle of Iron. well nayled and hollowed from the Buckler, so that betweene that circle & the Buckler the Sword may enter, by meanes whereof a man may either take holdfast of the sword, or breake a peece of the poynt. But this is done rather by chaunce than that any rule may be given how a man should so take hold and breake it, for the sword commeth not with such slowenes, and in such quantitie of time, as is requisite in that behalfe.

It shall be also verie profitable, that in the midst of the Buckler, there be a sharpe poynt or stert of Iron, to the end the enemie may be stroken therwith when occasion serveth.

The manner how to handle the Buckler.

IF a man would, that the Buckler worke the said effect, to wit: that it may be hable with his smalnesse to cover the whole bodie, he must holde and beare it in his fist, as farre off from the bodie as the arme may possibly stretch foorth, moving alwaies the arme & buckler together, as one entire and solide thing, having no bendign, or as if the arme were united to the buckler, turning continually al the flatt thereof towards the enimie. From which kionde of holding proceed all these commodities following.

  1. The first is, that the arme (standing directly behinde the Buckler) is wholy covered, neither may be strooken by any manner of thing which is before it.
  2. The second, that all edgeblows are of force encountred in the firste and second parte thereof, where they carrie least force: neither can it fall out otherwise, if the enimie woulde (in manner as he ought) strike either at the head or bodie. For if the enimie would strik them, it is necessarie, that his sword come within the buckler so much as the arme is long: For otherwise it shal never hit home. And in this case he may well warde each great blow, and therewithal easily strike, and that in short time.
  3. The thirde commoditie is, that all thrustes are most easily warded: for the Buckler being rounde, with the directly flatt opposite against the enimie, & warding all the bodie, the enimie will not resolve himselfe to give a thrust but onely against those partes which are so well covered by the Buckler, as, the head, the thighes, or some parte of the bodie, being found discovered by ill bearing of the Buckler. And seeing that these thrustes, having to hit home, ought to enter so farre in, as is from the buckler to the bodie & more (and that is the length of an arme) they maye easily and without doubt (making lesse motion, and therefore in little time) be driven outwardes by the Buckler before they come to the bodie.

There are many other commodities to be gathered by so holding of the buckler, which at this present are not to be recyted.

Wherefore being to finish this Chapter, I say, that the Buckler ought not to defend, but onely down to the knee and lesse. And reason that it should defend no farther than the arme can stretch it selfe, that is to the middle thigh. In the act of fighting, a man standeth alwaies somewhat bowing, therefore a little more is allowed. The rest of the bodie downwardes must be warded with the Sword onely.

IMAGE:  Duelist with rapier and buckler showing the area he can see and the area his opponent can see around the buckler.

Of the hurt of the high warde at Sword and Buckler.

BEcause it is a verie easie matter to ward both the right and reversed blowes of the edge: And for that a man may easily strike under them, I will not lay down either for the one or the other their strikings or defendings, but onely talke of the thrust. I saye, the thrust above may be delivered in two sortes, the one with the right foote behinde, the otehr with the right foote before.

When the thrust is discharged that carrieth the right foote behinde, there must (in deliverie thereof) be encreased a straight pace of the right foote. And it must be driven & forced with all that strength which it requireth, and that is verie great, then setling in the lowe warde.

When one would deliver a thrust with the right foote before, he must remember in any case, first (unawares of the enimie) to steale a halfe pace, that is to saie: to drawe the hinder foote neere the forefoote, & then to cast a thrust with the encrease of a halfe pace forwardes, setling himselfe after the deliverie thereof in the lowe warde.

Of the defence of the high warde at Sworde and Buckler

AS a man standeth at the lowe warde he may easily defend both those loftie thrustes. When they come, he standing at the saide warde, it shall be best to drive them outwardes, with the encrease of a left pace, and with his sword and buckler to s[??]ie the enimies sworde. And because this left pace is a great increase: and likewise the enimie, driving his thrustes, commeth with great force, it may easily come to passe that both may approach so neare one to the other, that he may with his bukler give the enimie, the Mustachio, in the face, but that must be done when fit occasion is offered, and then further recovering his own sword to discharge a thrust underneath with the encrease of a pace of the right foote.

Of the hurt of the broad VVarde, at Sworde and Buckler.

IF a man would stepp forward, and strike as he standeth in the broad warde, it is not lawfull for him to use any other than the thrust, considering the right & reversed blowes may not be delivered without great perill and danger. For in the site or placing of this warde, the sword is farre off from the bodie. And as he moveth to fetch a right or reversed edge blowe, his sworde of force wil be much farther: So that it may not be done without great danger. Therefore he shall use the thrust onely: in forcing and deliverie wherof, he shall proceede first to carrie his hinder foote a halfe pace forwardes, and then to drive it on with the encrease of another halfe pace of the right foote, staying himselfe in the broad warde.

The defence of the broad warde at Sword and Buckler.

AGainst the thrust of the broad warde, the Buckler is to be opposed, standing at the lowe warde. And when the enimie commeth resolutely to thrust, then without warding it at all, he shall drive a thrust at the face, carrying the hinder foote in a compasse towards the right side as well to lengthen the thrust, as also to carrie himselfe out of the straight lyne, in the which the enimie commeth resolved to strike, who, by this manner of thrust is easily hurt.

The hurt of the lowe warde at Sworde and Buckler.

AS this lowe warde is framed two maner of waies, that is to saie, with the right foot before & behind: So likewise a man may strike therein after two sortes, Standing with the right foote behinde (leaving aside, the blowes of the edge, being to small purpose) he shal deliver a thrust with the encrease of a pace of the right foote, betweene the enimies sworde and buckler, or els, if it be more commodious without the sword and buckler, setling in the lowe warde, with the right foot before, in which warde, a man may strike two manner of waies, within and without. Finding himselfe without having first met the enimies sword with his own, he shall encrease a left pace, not to the intent to avoid himselfe from the enimies sworde, but shall with his buckler also, staie the enimies sworde, and forasmuch as he did not at the first deliver the said thrust, he shal then continue and force it on directly with the encrease of a pace of the right foote. Finding himselfe within, the same thrust is to be used but more strongly. For, with the encrease of a pace, leaving his buckler or thenimies sworde, he shutteth it in betweene his own sword & the buckler: and keping it in that strait, (wherby he is sure the enimy can deliver no edgblow because it may not move neither upwards nor downwards, neither forwards, but is then without the bodie,) he shal continue on, & resolutely deliver this manner of thrust, with the encrease of a pace of the right foote.

The defence of the lowe warde, at Sword & buckler.

FOr the defence of all these thrusts, it is necessarie that he stand at the lowe warde, & standing therat, whilest the thrust cometh which is delivered with the right foote behinde, he shal do no other, than in the selfesame time, deliver a thrust at the thight or brest, turning the hilte of his sword against the enimies sworde, & compassing his hinder foot, withal bearing his body out of the straite line, in which the enimie striketh. And this maner of wardiong doth not only defend, but also safely hurt.

For the defence of the other two thrustes, the one within, & the other without, a man must take great heede, and it is verie necessarie that as the enimie encreaseth pretending to strike safely he carrie a slope pace with the left foot & deliver a thrust above hand, upon which the enimie of himselfe shal runne & invest himselfe. And it is to be considered, that in these thrustes, he that defendeth hath great advantage: For the enimie cometh resolutely to strike, not thinking that it may in any other sort be warded then by giving backe, But he that wardeth by encreasing, defending & drawing neere unto the enimie, is so placed, that he may easily hurt him.