[ TREATISE ] Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence
This ARMA edition of Joseph Swetnam’s 1617 treatise picks up primarilywith Chapter XII, where the bulk of the practical instruction begins.
The entire book is worth reading, but for the purposes of training and research the exerpt here is sufficient. Special thanks to Steve Hick for providing the text portions of chapters XII on.
- NOTE: This translation is only as reliable as is so far known and ARMA makes no claim as to its accuracy.
Being the first of any English mans invention, which professed the sayd Science; So plainly described, that any man may quickly come to the true knowledge of their weapons, with small paines and little practice.
- The First Chapter sheweth what weapons are chiefly to be learned, with many other principal notes worthy of observation.
"Because old weapons lyeth rusty in a corner, and every man is desirous of the newest fashion of weapons, especially if they seeme to be more danger to the enemy than the old, therefore it is my intent & purpose at this time to express and set downe both the true and false play principally of the rapier and dagger, and staffe, for I hold that the skill of these two weapons are chiefly and necessary of every man to be learned, for to have the use of a rapier to ride with, and staffe to walke a foote withall, for those which have the skill of these two weapons may safely encounter against any man having any other weapon whatsoever as hereafter you shall be sufficiently satisfied."
"But first a word in commendations of those two weapons, this I can say and by good experience I speake it, that he which hath a rapier and a close hilted dagger, and skill withall to use him hath great ods against the sword and dagger, or sword and buckler, and the like I do affirme of a staffe against all long weapons; my reasons shall follow anon; but first I will speake more in commendation of the rapier and dagger, note it well, for it is the finest & the comliest weapon that ever wa sused in England, for so much cunning to this weapon belongeth as to no weapon the like.."
- Some Quotes From Parts I-XI
"Also they say that a man with a sword will cut off thy rapier at one blow, but I say this is a most cowardly kind of ignorance, for is a skillful man doe hold the rapier, it is not a hundred blows with a sword can doe a rapier any harme, no although they light upon him."
"For he that is well instructed in the perfect skill with his weapon although but small of stature, and weake of strength, may with a little moving of his foote or suddain turning of his hand, or with the quick agility of his body kil and bring to the ground the tall and strongest man that is."
"But I say there is great ods betwixt fighting in the field and playing in the fence-schoole, for in the field being both sober, I meane if it be in a morning upon cold blood, then every man will as much feare to kill as to be killed, againe a man shall see to defend either blow or thrust in the field then in a fence shcoole, for a man will be more bold with a foile or a cudgell, because there is small danger in either of them."
"Also, take headeth that thou strike not with thy rapier, for so thou may breake it, and bring thy self to thine enemies mercy, and it may be he will take the advantage of thee".
"…and always let your eyes be on your enemies face,"
"Againe, and againe I say, strike not one blow in a fight, at what weapon soever thou fightest withall, except it be a wrist blow, and that you may aswell doe with a rapier, as with a sword, for a wrist blow consumeth but alittle time, yet better use no blow at all, but continually, thrust after thrust…"
"if thou have a close hilted dagger and a rapier, I hold them more surer than a sword and dagger,"
"… for a thrust with a rapier is more feareful than with a sword, and a man may feel the thrust better with a sword then with a rapier."
"Yet many are of the opinion, and will say, it is better to fight with a Sword and Dagger, then with Rapier and Dagger, the reason is (say they) with my Sword I may both strike and thrust."
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