The Rapier and Dagger.

HAving as briefely as I might possibly finished all that which might be saide, of true knowledge of Single Rapier: it seemeth convenient, that comming from the simple to the compound, I handle those weapons first, which from the Rapier forwards are either most simple or least compound: And especially those which noweadayes are most used, and in the which men are most exercised, the which weapons are the Rapier & Dagger accompanied togither, and are a great encrease and furtherance both in striking and defending.

Wherefore, it is first to be considered, that with these and the like weapons, a man may practise that most desired and renowmed manner of skirmishing, which is saide to strike and defend both in one time, which is thought to be impossible to be done with the single Rapier, and yet in truth it is not so: For there are some kinde of blow in the defence of which one may also strike (as in the blowes of the edge, downe right and reversed) both high and lowe, and other high blowes which here are not spoken of.

Wherefore seing with these weapons a man may verie commodiously, both strike and defend, for that the one is a great helpe to the other, it is to bee remembred, that because these weapons are two, and the one of lesser quantitie then the other, to each one bee allotted that part both of defendinge and strikinge, which it is best hable to support. So that to the Dagger, by reason of his shortnes, is assigned the left side to defend downe to the knee: and to the sword all the right side, & and the right and left side joyntly downwardes from the knee. Neither may it seeme strange that the onely Dagger ought to defend all the blowes of the left side: for it doth most easily sustaine everie edgeblowe, when it encountreth the sworde in the first and second parte thereof.

But yet let no man assure himselfe, to beare any blowe, with his only Dagger when he meeteth with the sword of the thirde and fourth parte thereof, because that parte carrieth more force with it then may be sustained with the onely Dagger. And yet for all that, no man ought to accustome himselfe to defende blowes with the Rapier and Dagger both together, which manner of defending is now commonly used because men beleeve, that they stand more assuredly by that meanes, although in trueth it is not so. For the Rapier and Dagger are so bound thereby, that they may not strike before they be recovered, and therein are spent two tymes, under the which a man may be strooken when he that striketh continuing by the straight lyne, encreaseth forwards, perceiving his enimie to be occupied and troubled in defending of himselfe. And albeit this is not seene to come to pass many times, yet that is because the advantage is not knowen, or being known, men either are not readie to execute it, either stand greatly in feare to do it.

Therefore leaving aside this maner of defence, let each man use to oppose, one only weapon against the enimies sworde, keeping the other free, that he may be able to strike at his pleasure.

And it is diligently to be noted, that not onely the blowes of the sworde, but also of any other weapon be itnever so great, may with the onely Dagger be sustained and defended, when a man doth boldly encounter it towards the hand.

It is therefore to be knowen, that in the handling of these two weapons one may with lesse danger give a blowe with the edge then at the single Rapier: For albeit the poynt of the Rapier be moved out of the straight lyne: yet for all that there is not free power given to the enimie to strike, considering there is an other weapon contrariwise prepared to defend: but this doth not so fall out at the single Rapier, which bearing it selfe farre off when it striketh with the edge, doth present & give the meanes to the enimie to hit home first. And yet for all that, I would counsell no man, either in this or in any other sort of weapon to accustome himselfe to give blowes with the edge: for that he may under them be most easily strooken by a thrust.

Of the Wardes.

IN the handling of these weapons, men use to frame manie wardes, all which, because many of them carrie no reason, for that they are ether out of the streight line, either under them a man maie easelie bee stroken, I wil cast aside as impertinent to my purpose, & regrain my self unto those three with the which a man may safele strike & defend, wherunto all the rest maie be reduced.

How to defend with the Dagger.

I Have said elswhere that the left side of the eperson is that part which the dagger ought to defend, that is to saie, from the knee upwards: the lower parts together with the right side ought wholy to bee warded with the sword.

Concerning the dagger, that which is to bee done therewith, it is to be noted, that for great advantage, it would be holden before with the arme streched forth & the point respecting the enemie, which although it be far from him, yet in that it hath a point, it giveth him occasion to bethink himself.

Now whether a man ought to holde his Dagger with the edge or flatt towardes the enimie, it may be left to the judgement of him that handleth it, so to use it, as shalbe most for his advantage. I have seene some, who beare it with the edge towards the edimie, alledging this to be their advantage, that as the encounter the enimies sworde (which commeth with the edge or poynt) in the first and second parte therof, & therewithall do increase a pace forwards, of force the hand turneth and placeth the edge of the Dagger there where the flatt was first: So that they are to drive the enimies sword farre from them without any great trouble, because each little motion in the first parte of the sworde causeth verie great varietie in the poynt, from whence principally proceedeth the hurt. In which case, it shalbe very profitable to have a good large Dagger.

There be other some, whome it pleaseth to carrie their Dagger with the flatt towardes the enimie, using for their defence, not onely the Dagger, but also the guardes thereof with the which (they saye) they take holdfast of the enimies sword: and to the ende they may do it the more easily, they have daggers of purpose, which beside their ordinarie hilts, have also two long sterts of Iron, foure fingers length, and are distant from the dagger the thicknes of a bow-string, into which distance, when it chaunceth the enimies sworde to be driven, they suddenly straine and holde fast the sworde, the which may come to passe, but I holde it for a thing rather to be immagined then practised, the case to standing, that in the heate of fight, where disdaine bickereth with feare, little doth a man discerne whether the sworde be in that straight or no. And when he is to premeditate and marke, endevouring and striving in his lively judgement, he must advise himselfe to perfourme it with the exquisite knowledge and perfect discerning of the enimies motions, his neerenesse and farensse, and to resolve himselfe to strike by the shortest way that may be: for therchaence springeth the victorie.

Let every man therefore holde his dagger with the edge or flatte towardes the enimie, as it shall most advantage him, or as he hath beene most accustomed. True it is, that by holding the edge towards the enimie there is this advantage gotten, that with the dagger he may strike with the edge, which he may not do the other waie. But let every man hold it as he wil, yet he ought to carrie his arme stretched out before him, with the poynt in manner aforesaide, to the end he may be able to finde the enimies sworde a great deale before it hitteth his person.

Besides this, he ought to observe for an infallible rule, that when the poynt or edge commeth on the left side, he must beat it from that side with the dagger. And in like sort defending himselfe with the sword, to drive it from the right side, for doint otherwise: that is, if he force the blowes given on the left side outwardes: on the right side (forasmuch as the enimies sworde hath by that meanes two motions, the one crossing, which is alreadie given, the other straight which the enimie giveth it, continuing the one with the other) it may be, that in the straight motion, it may hit the person, before that (by the thwart or crossing motion) it be driven quite outwardes. Therefore all blowes shalbe beaten outwards toward that side or parte of the bodie which is leaft to the end it may the sooner avoide daunger. And those blowes that come on the right side must be beaten towards the right side: and those on the left side must in like manner be voided from the same side.

Now, as concerning the fashion of the Dagger, thus much is to be saide: that it would be strong, able to beare and incounter the blowes of the sword: indifferently long) that it may be quickly drawen out of the sheath some what short: and those that are of the middle size would be chosen.

The offence of the High warde at Rapier and Dagger.

As in handling the single Rapier, so likewise in this, it shall not be amisse to begin with the High warde, which in managing these two weapons may be framed after two fortes. The one with the right foote before, which I will call the first: and the other with the same foot behind, which I will terme the second. This second requireth a greater time, because the point of the sworde is farther off from the enimie. The first (being more neere) with the onely encrease of the foote forwardes, striketh more readily, yet not more forcible than the second, which, when it striketh with the encrease of a straight pace, joyneth to the force of the arme & hand, the strength of the whole bodie.

IMAGE:  Two duellists with rapier and dagger.

Beginning then with the first, as with that which each man doth most easilie find: I saie, he ought if he will keepe himselfe within the boundes of true Arte, to thrust onely with the increase of the foote forwards, setling himselfe in the lowe warde.

In the socond waie, which is framed with the righte foote behind, the sword alofte, and the dagger before, & borne as aforesaid, he ought in like sorte discharge a thrust as forciblie as he may, with the increase of a straight pace, staying himselfe in the lowe warde. Neither ougt anie man in the handling of these weapos to assure himselfe to deliver edgeblowes, because he knoweth that there is an other weapon which defendeth: For he that defendeth hath the selfe same advatage, to witt, to be able with one weapon (and happelie the weaker,) to defend himself and strike with the stronger. The which stroake is painfully warded by him, who hath alreadie bestowed all his force and power, in delivering the saide edgeblowe, by meanes whereof, because there remaineth in him small power to withstand anie great encounter, let him provide to thrust onelie.

Of all, or of the greater parte of the edgeblowes, aswell of striking as defending, I wil reason at large in the Treatise of Deceite.

Of the defence of high Warde at Rapier and Dagger.

TO speake of the manner how to withstand the blowes of the edge, having alreadie saide that all such blowes may easelie be warded by givinge a thrust, I omit as superfluous. But for the defences of both sides of the bodie: I saie, it is greate vantage, to stand at the lowe warde, with the right foote forwardes, by the which manner of standing, the right side is put fourth towarde the enimie, whereunto he will direct all his thrustes: and those may be encountred after three fortes, that is to saye: with the Dagger onely: with the Sworde onely: and with both joyned together. But in each of them, a man must remember to encrease a slope pace, whereby that parte of the bodie which was to be strooken is voided out of the straight lyne.

When one wardeth with his Dagger onely, he shall encrease a pace, and be are his arme forwards, and having found the enimies sworde, he shall (with the encrease of a straight pace) strike him with a thrust underneath, alreadie prepared.

When he wardeth with his sworde onely, it is requisite, that making a slope pace, he lift up his sworde, and beare it outwards, or els, as soon as he hath found the enimies sworde, that with his dagger he strike at the temples of hes enimies head, staying his sworde with his owne: or els in steede of striking with the Dagger, therewith to staie the enimies sword, & with it, (encreasing another straight pace) to deliver a thrust: but it is verie commodious to strike with the Dagger.

The thirde waie: As soone as he hath made the slope pace, and found the enimies sworde, he ought to staie it with his Dagger, and therewithall, withdrawing his owne sworde, to discharge a thrust underneath with the encrease of a straight pace.

The hurt of the broad warde at Rapier and Dagger.

IN each weapon and warde, I have layde downe as a generall precept, that no man ought, (either for the procuring of any advantage, either for striking the enimie more readily) deliver blowes of the edge, And in like sorte, I have saide, that easily and with small danger, one may be strooken under any such blowe: which precepts, as in each time and place, they ougth to be observed: so in this warde principally they may not be forgotten. For a man may not without great discommoditie and losse of time, strike with any edgeblowe, as he standeth at this warde.

It resteth therefore, that the thrust be onely used, which ought to be delivered with the encrease of the foote forwards, alwaies regarding before it be given, if it be possible) to beate awaie the point of the enimies sworde with the Dagger.

The defence of the broad warde at Rapier and Dagger.

THis thrust also as well as the other may be warded after three sortes, to wit: with the Dagger only, with the sword only, and with both joyned together. But for a mans defence in any of these waies, it is good to stande at the lowe warde. And when he wardeth with the dagger only, he must make a slope pace, and finding the enimies sworde, with his said dagger, discharge a thrust underneath with the increase of a straight pace.

And when he wardeth with the sworde onely (which is the best of any other, both to strike the enimie, and defend himselfe) he must oppose the edge of his sworde against the enimies, and drive a thrust at his face, fetching a compasse with his hinderfoote, both for the lengthning of the thrust, and assuring of himselfe.

It is possible to withstand the thrust with the sworde and dagger joyned together: but is is so discommodious and so rediculous a waie, that I leave to speake thereof, as of a waye nothing safe to be practised.

The hurt of the lowe warde at Rapier and dagger.

IN each warde, when one standeth bearing the poynt of the sworde towards the enimie, it doth much disadvantage him to strike with the edge. And if in any sorte it be lawfull so to do, it is, when he standeth at the lowe warde: For it is commodious, and there is spent but little time in the bestowing of an edgeblowe betweene thrustes. Or, the rather to trie the enimie, there may be delivered an edgeblow from the wrist of the hand, in the which as there is spent little time, so the poynt is carried but a litle out of the straight lyne, so that the enimie may very hardly enter to strike under either of these blowes. But it is better, not to use them, resolving rather to discharge thrust after thrust, then any edgeblowe.

This warde may (as the high ward) be framed after two sortes, to wit: with the right foote behinde, and the same foote before: but that with the right foote behind, is used rather to expect the enimie that to strike first. For although it carrieth great force by reason that the sworde is farre off from hurting, and before it hitteth home, it spendes much time, yet the hurt thereof may easily be warded, either with the weapon, or by retyring a pace. I will speake of that onely which is framed with the right foote before. And in this, one may strike two waies, to wit: either within or without: By (Within) I understand, when his sworde is borne betweene the enimies sword & dagger. By (Without) I meane, when any one of them is borne in the middle against the other.

When one findeth himselfe within, at the halfe of the enimies sword, the poynt whereof, is directed to strike at the right side, he must verie swiftly encrease a slope pace, and in a manner straight, to the ende he may approch the neerer his enimie, and therewithall suddenly barring the enimies sworde in the middle with his owne sworde and dagger, encrease a straight pace, and deliver a trhust.

This may be done after another plainer waie, and that is: when he standeth at the halfe sworde, to beat the enimies swordes point out of the straight lyne on that side which shalbe most commodious, and in that lyne encreasing his foote forwards to drive a forcible thrust, at the enimiew face or brest.

But standing without, he maie (with the encrease of his foote forwards) give a thrust at the face, which the enimie of necessitie must defend with his sword: but therein the sword and the poynt thereof is commonly carried out of the straight line, in which case he may (with the encrease of a slope pace) turne a reverse at the legges, and then presently something withdrawing his sworde, deliver a thrust underneath with the encrease of a straight pace.

He may also after a second manner, give a right edgeblow from the wrist, as short and strong as is possible, not so much pretending to strike as to finde the enimies sworde: And it being suddenly found hee must with the encrease of a slope or crooked pace, lift up his hand and drive a thrust downwards, with the increase of a straight pace.

After a thride sort also, he may strike, and that is to deliver the foresaid blowe from the wrist, and having met with the enimies sworde, to make presently a slope pace, and staie the sworde with his dagger, and then nimbly recovering his owne sworde, to thrust underneath with the increase of a straight pace.

These be sufficient, concerning that which may be done in this warde with the sworde both within and without, at least, for so much as may be done by true Arte.

The defence of the lowe warde at Rapier & Dagger.

ALthough in the defence of blowes in eche warde, there is great consideration & heede to be taken: yet in this especially is required a farr more excellent judgement and readines in action. For this warde doth oppose it selfe against all others. And the greater part of blowes which are of importance, proceed from this warde.

Besides, every man doth naturally more accustom himself to staie and repose himselfe in it, than in any other. Neither is it (as I beleeve) for any other cause, then that he knoweth, by so bearing himselfe, he may easilie both strike and defend. And because in this warde, as I have before saide, in the hurt or offence thereof, it is more commodious to strike with the edge than in any other warde, albeit, it is not there given for counsell to be good to use it. But yet because it may easily happen, there shall be here layde downe some defence for it: calling this principle before any other to remembrance, (He that is nearest, hitteth soonest,) to the ende, that knowing what way either sworde maketh, each man may resolve himselfe to deliver a thrust under an edge blowe, by the which is prevented the fall of the saide blowe.

But because none, but such as are endued with deepe judgement, great activitie, and stout courage, do or may safely put this in practise: And to the end also, that those, who accustom to defend every blow, perfourming that in two times which might aswell be done in one, may rest satisfied: I will laye downe the defence of the edgeblow.

Therefore, whensoever edgeblows are given, they are either right or reversed, high or low.

Against the right high blowe, either the onely dagger is to be opposed, either the sworde and Dagger both together. When the onely dagger is used, then a straight pace must be encreased, & the dagger handle lifted up to encounter the enimies sword in the weakest parte thereof, & being suddenly found a straight pace is to be encreased, and a thrust underneath (alreadie prepared) to be discharged. But if the sword and dagger be both together opposed, they both must be lifted up, and as soone as the blowe is encountred, the enimies face is to be cut by discharging a reverse, with the onely turne of the hand, resting & staying it selfe in the brode warde.

The right blowe, given beneath, or belowe, must be warded after no other manner, then by driving a thrust at the enimies thigh, which thrust is to this purpose, that it hitteth home safely under that blow, and farther is a let, or barre, to the enimies sword, so that it maie not light on the legges, considering that in the discharge of the saide thrust, the hinder foote must necessarily go compassing towardes the right side behinde.

Reverses also, are either high or low. If high: they may be warded with the dagger onely, therewithall discharging a thrust underneath, with the encrease of a straight pace, as soone as the dagger hath met with the enimies sworde. Either, they may be warded with the sworde onely encreasing a straight pace with the left foote, therewithall discharging a thrust (alreadie lifted up in the warde) with the encrease of a straight pace of the right legge. And this manner of warding, is more according to Arte, because it hath beene saide, That all blowes on the left side, are to be warded with the dagger onely.

The reverse blowe would be warded with giving a thrust which safely hitteth, and hindreth the sworde to light on the legges. This blowe also, may be warded after other and divers manners, which shalbe declared in the treatise of Disceit: for this is not their proper place.

There is great regarde to be taken in warding of thrustes, to wit: to be are the bodie out of the straight lyne, because this is the safest waie that may be found to voide them, because it verie difficult to meete with them, when they come barred and closed in, and are forciblie discharged. For when a thrust commeth within (at the verie time that the enimie striketh) hee ought to encrease a slope pace, ensuring himself of the enimies sword with his dagger, and then to discharge a thrust with the increase of a straight pace.

The thrust without is warded after the first maner, to wit, when the enimie striketh, to encrease a slope pace (whereby the bodie voideth danger) & to give a thrust with the encrease of a straight pace. In this order one may warde himselfe from other wayes of stryking.

In like case, when the enimie (onely to trye and provoke) doth deliver an edgeblowe from the wrist of the hande: let every man be advised, as soone as the blowe is delivered, to encrease a slope pace, and deliver a thrust with the encrease of a straight pace, before the enimie (after his blowe given) do determine to discharge any more. This may suffice, for the handling of the Rapier and Dagger truely, with advantage.