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SMALLSWORD RESOURCES

A CURRICULUM for the FRENCH SMALLSWORD

PREFACE:

This curriculum is derived from two 18th century sources, namely Fencing Familiarized, or A New Treatise on the Art of Sword Play, by Monsieur J. Olivier and Domenico Angelo’s The School of Fencing.  References to those two treatises are noted with [Ov] for Olivier’s Part and Chapter, and [DA] for Angelo’s Pages and Plates.  In addition, there are also three attachments that are part of Lesson 9.

 

The smallsword system as presented here is very concise and comprehensive.  This curriculum is designed to take the practitioner through the essentials of fencing with the smallsword in a progressive manner.  As such it draws no distinction between novice and more advanced levels.

 

 

LESSON 1.  THEORY

Goal/Milestone:  Getting a sense of the fundamentals of smallsword.

  • The weapon.

  • The four lines.

  • Two tempi actions of parry and riposte.

  • Fencing engaged, and the use of disengages.

  • The use of the feint.

LESSON 2. THE BASICS  [Ov: I-3, DA: Plates 2 & 3]

Goal/Milestone:  Learning how to hold the smallsword, the basic stance and guards, and engagements of the blade.

  • Stance in Carte and Tierce

  • Engagement in Carte and Tierce

  • Fencing Measure

LESSON 3.  FOOTWORK [Ov: I-4; DA: Pages 8 & 9, Plates 32 & 33]

Goal/Milestone:  Learning the basic footwork associated with the smallsword.

  • Simple advance and retreat (retire)

  • The Extension

  • The Lounge

  • Passes and Voltes (demi and full)

LESSON 4.  HANDWORK: GUARDS, PUSHES, PARADES and RETURNS [Ov: I-5 through 11, 14 through 18;

DA Plates 4 through 9, 15 through 28]

Goal/Milsetone:  Learning the Guards; learning how to Thrust (Pushing), learning the Parries (Parades) and Ripostes (Returns).

  • Thrusting Carte, Parrying Carte, Riposte Cart and Cart over the Arm

  • Thrusting Tierce, Parrying Tierce, Riposte in Tierce and Seconde

  • The Half Circle Parry

  • The Quinte/Octave Parry

  • The Prime Parry

  • Countering the Parries

  • The Flanconade

LESSON 5. OF DISENGAGEMENTS and ENGAGEMENTS  [Ov: I-12,13,23; DA, Plate 29, Pages 57 through 60]

Goal/Milestone:  Understanding of blade engagement and disengagements.

  • Upon the Blade

  • Under the Wrist

  • Over the Point (the Coupe)

LESSON 6.  FEINTS  [Ov: I-19 through 22; DA: Pages 41 through 43, 46 through 50]

Goal/Milestone:  Learning this fundamental action, which is key to successful attacks.

  • Une-Deux

  • Une-Deux-Trois

  • Feint Seconde Carte Over the Arm

  • Feint Seconde Carte Inside

  • Defense Against Feints – The Counter Disengagements [Ov: II-1,2; DA: Pages 41 & 42, 67 & 68]

  • The Circle Parade  [Ov: II-3]

LESSON 7.  ACTIONS on the BLADE  [Ov: I-24,25; DA: Pages 50 through 56]

Goal/Milstone:  Learning how to open up lines of attack by use of actions against your opponent’s blade.

  • Beating the Sword

  • The Glizade

  • Crossing the Sword  [Ov: II-10; DA: Pages 53 & 54]

LESSON 8.  ADVANCED TECHNIQUES

Goal/Milestone:  Understanding and executing these special smallsword techniques.

  • Of Attacks [Ov: II-4]

  • Thrusting, Time Thrusts [Ov: II-6 thru 9; DA: Pages 69 & 70]

  • Return with the Wrist [Ov: II-11]

  • Parrying Tierce and Quart [Ov: II-13]

  • Thrusting and Parrying Feints [Ov: II-14,15]

  • Use of the Pass [DA: plates 30 & 31, Pages 60 through 67]

LESSON 9.  STRATEGEMS: THEORETICAL COMPONENTS

Goal/Milsetones:  Understanding the tactical applications of smallsword.

  • Of the Assault – See Attachment 1 [Ov: II-16]

  • Of Measure – See  Attachment 2 [Ov: II-17]

  • Of the Left Handed Opponent – See Attachment 3  [Ov: II-18, DA: Page 80]

LESSON 10.  OF  DISARMS  [DA: Plates 34-40]

Goal/Milestone:  Learning to disarm your opponent upon his attack and countering.

  • Disarm After Parrying the Carte Thrust

  • Disarm on the Thrust in Tierce

  • Disarm on the Carte or Seconde Thrust, after Parrying Prime

  • Disarm after the Parry on the Outside of the Sword

DRILLS in the USE of the FRENCH SMALLSWORD

 

PREFACE:  The following drills are to be considered foundational.  Over time, other variations to these drills, as well as new drills, will be added.  These drills are designed to enhance the practitioner’s basic skills in terms of both handwork and footwork.  Also the drills provide for the opportunity to develop an understanding of specific techniques and counters. 

 

All drills not identified as solo, are two person drills.  During training sessions, the solo drills will be performed as a group.  Away from training they can be performed by the practitioners individually.  For the two person drills, the AGENT (A) is the initiator of the action, and the PATIENT (P) responds; however, the practitioners will switch and assume both roles.  Start slow, frequently checking the posture and form of the technique, then increase the speed and intensity of execution.

 

LESSON 2.  THE BASICS  [Ov: I-3, DA: Plates 2 & 3]

DRILL 1:  SOLO, THE TWO GUARDS

Begin:  In First Position

On count 1.  Fencers assume the guard in Carte.

On count 2.  Fencer move to assume the guard in Tierce.

Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

End:  In First Position

 

LESSON 3.  FOOTWORK [Ov: I-4; DA: Pages 8 & 9, Plates 32 & 33]

DRILL 1:  SOLO, THE EXTENSION AND LUNGE

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte.

  2. On count 1.  Fencers perform an extension.

  3. On count 2.  Fencers perform a lunge in carte.

  4. On count 3.  Fencers recover in tierce.

  5. On count 4.  Fencers perform an extension.

  6. On count 5.  Fencers perform a lunge in tierce.

  7. On count 6.  Fencers recover in carte.

  8. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

 

DRILL 2:  SOLO, BASIC FOOTWORK  

  1. The fencer starts in guard and begins by making one advancing step and then stopping for the "beat" of one step in a step-rest-step-rest pattern, continuing until he reaches almost the end of his space (i.e. he cannot advance any further), where he ends with a lunge and recovery.

  2. Then, he returns to the place from which he started with retreats, i.e. retreat-rest-retreat-rest, again ending with a lunge-recovery. When he is confident with this, he should string two advances together: advance-advance-rest-advance-advance-rest and retreat the same way. This can be increased in complexity as the fencer increases his skill and stamina, for example: advance-advance-advance-retreat-retreat-lunge-recover-rest. As always, careful attention must be paid to form, mechanics, and weight-distribution.

  3. There are endless variations on this drill which should be obvious. Increase the number of variations and the length of time spent on each of them as the fencer's technique and stamina increase.

 

DRILL 3.  SOLO, BASIC FOOTWORK, THE PASS

  1. Begin: The fencers are in a line facing the instructor, En Garde in carte.

  2. On count 1.  Fencers perform a passing step with the left foot, then lunges in carte.

  3. On Count 2.  The fencers recover En Garde in tierce.

  4. On Count 3.  The fencer passes again, and immediately lunges in tierce

  5. On Count 4.  The fencer recovers again En Garde in carte.

  6. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

 

DRILL 4.  SOLO, BASIC FOOTWORK, SILENT DRILL

  1. Begin:  The fencers are in a line facing the instructor, En Garde in carte.

  2. The fencer is to follow the instructor’s movements.  If the instructor retreats, the fencers advance, trying to maintain the same distance.  If the instructor advances, the fencers retreat. 

  3. If the instructor stops and takes his tip off line, the fencers should immediately lunge. 

  4. The fencers should recover from the lunge only after the instructor brings his tip back on line.

  5. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

  6. Variation 1.  Fencers perform a pass-lunge when the instructor moves his tip off line.

  7. Variation 2:  The group can be divided into pairs, making this a two person drill.  The instructor determines who will be the Agent.  After a number of repeats the roles can switch.

 

DRILL 5.  BASIC FOOTWORK

  1. Begin:  The fencers face each other in proper measure and En Garde in carte.

  2. The instructor designates the Agent, with the other line being the Patient.

  3. The Agents follow the instructor’s commands, which will be either to advance, retreat, extend, lunge, and recover; all of which will be given in various combinations at the instructors discretion.  The fencers will endeavor to maintain distance and execute each command in proper form.

  4. After some time, the fencers repeat the drill engaged in tierce.

  5. The drill is repeated with the fencers switching roles.

DRILL 6.  THE VOLTES

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust carte with an advance and lunge. P performs a demi-volta and     strikes A lightly in carte.

  3. On count 2.  Both fencers recover.

  4. On count 3.  A thrust carte with an advance and lunge.  P performs a full volta and   strikes A lightly in carte.

  5. On count 4.  Both fencers recover.

  6. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

LESSON 4.  HANDWORK: GUARDS, PUSHES, PARADES & RETURNS [Ov: I-5 through 11, 14 through 18;

DA Plates 4 through 9, 15 through 28]

DRILL 1:  SOLO. THE BASIC PARRIES (from Bill Bordeau)

  1. Fencers line up against the wall in carte. At the instructor’s command, the fencers perform carte parry, tapping the tip of their blade lightly on the wall, then perform a half circle parry to low carte, again tapping the wall. Fencers repeat this up-down motion concentrating on the hand position and their stance until the instructor calls halt.

  2. Fencers line up against the wall in tierce.  At the instructor’s command, the fencers perform a tierce parry, then perform a half circle parry to quinte/octave.  Repeat until the instructor calls halt.

  3. Fencers remain lined up against the wall in tierce.  At the instructor’s command, the fencers perform a feather parry, then a seconde parry.  Repeat until the instructor calls halt.

 

DRILL 2:  BASIC HANDWORK

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust carte with an advance.

  3. On count 2.  P parries carte, riposte in carte.

  4. On count 3.  A parries carte, riposte in carte under the arm.

  5. On count 4.  P parries half circle, riposte in carte, and recovers.

  6. Repeat at instructor’s discretion. 

  7. Then fencers come En Garde in tierce, blades engaged.

  8. On count 1.  A thrust tierce with an advance.

  9. On count 2.  P parries tierce, riposte in tierce.

  10. On count 3.  A parries tierce, riposte in seconde under the arm.

  11. On count 4.  P parries in quinte/octave, riposte with in carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover.

  12. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.

  13. End:  Both recover En Garde in carte; switch roles and perform drill from beginning.

DRILL 3:  MORE HANDWORK

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust tierce with an advancOn count 2.  P parries with the Feather Parade, riposte in seconde under the arm.

  3. On count 3.  A parries seconde, and thrust under the arm in seconde.

  4. On count 4.  P parries prime, and riposte with a thrust in carte. Both fencers recover.

  5. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.

  6. Then fencers come En Garde again in tierce, blades engaged.

  7. On count 1.  A thrust under the arm in seconde with an advance.

  8. On count 2.  P parries quinte, riposte quinte under the arm.  Both fencer’s recover.

  9. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.

  10. End:  Both recover En Garde in tierce; switch roles and perform drill from beginning.

 

DRILL 4:  From the Engagement in Carte

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust carte with an advance.

  3. On count 2.  P parries carte, riposte in low carte.

  4. On count 3.  A half-circle parries to low carte, riposte carte under the arm.

  5. On count 4.  P parries octave/quinte, riposte with thrust in tierce.

  6. On count 5.  A parries tierce, riposte with thrust in carte over the arm.

  7. On count 6.  P parries tierce and riposte with thrust in seconde under the arm of Agent.

  8. End:  Both recover En Garde in carte, repeat at the instructor’s discretion, then switch roles and perform the drill from the beginning.

 

DRILL 5:  From the Engagement in Tierce

  1. Begin: En Garde in tierce

  2. On count 1.  A thrust tierce with an advance.

  3. On count 2.  P parries tierce, riposte with a straight thrust carte under the arm.

  4. On count 3.  A parries in seconde, riposte in seconde to the outside flank.

  5. On count 4.  P parries quinte/octave, riposte with a thrust over the arm in carte.

  6. On count 5.  A parries tierce, riposte with a straight thrust in tierce.

  7. On count 6.  P parries with a Feather Parade, riposte under the arm in seconde to hit Agent’s outside flank.

  8. End:  Both recover En Garde in tierce, repeat at the instructor’s discretion, then switch roles and perform the drill from the beginning.          

 

DRILL 6:  The Flanconade and its Counter

  1. Begin:  En Garde in Carte

  2. On count 1.  A thrust at P in carte.

  3. On count 2.  P parries carte and riposte in carte.

  4. On count 3.  A Executes the Flanconade, concluding in quinte and thrusting quinte under the arm of the Patient.

  5. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

  6. End:  Both recover En Garde in carte; switch roles.

 

The Counter:

  1. On count 1.  A thrust at P in carte

  2. On count 2.  P parries carte and riposte  in carte.

  3. On count 3.  A executes the Flanconade.

  4. On count 4.  Upon the initiation of the Flanconade by the Agent, Patient immediately turns his hand into seconde and thrust seconde into Agent’s body.

  5. Repeat at the instructor’s discretion.

  6. End:  Both recover En Garde in carte; switch roles.

LESSON 5. Of DISENGAGEMENTS and ENGAGEMENTS [Ov: I-12,13,23; DA: Plate 29, Pages 57 through 60]

DRILL 1:   SIMPLE DISENGAGMENTS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages to tierce.

  3. On count 2.  P changes hand position to tierce, disengages to carte.

  4. Repeat at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Then fencers come En Garde in tierce, blades engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages to carte

  7. On count 2.  P changes hand position to carte, disengages to tierce.

  8. Both fencers recover En Garde in carte; switch roles and perform drill from beginning.

  9. Variation:  Perform this drill with footwork, where A advances on count 1 while performing the disengagement and P retreats.  P advances on count 2 while performing the disengagement and A retrerats.

 

DRILL 2:  DISENGAGEMENTS TO ATTACK

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages to tierce and thrust tierce with an advance.

  3. On count 2.  P parries tierce.  A disengages the parry and riposte with a thrust in carte.

  4. Repeat at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Fencer’s come back En Garde and engage in tierce.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages to carte and thrust cart with an advance.

  7. On count 2.  P parries carte.  A disengages to tierce and riposte with a thrust in tierce.

  8. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.

  9. Both fencers recover En Garde in carte; switch roles and perform drill from beginning.

  10. Variation:  On count 2, A disengages and riposte with a thrust to the low line.

 

DRILL 3:  SIMPLE DISENGAGEMENTS FROM THE PARRY

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages to tierce and thrust tierce with an advance.

  3. On count 2.  P parries tierce, disengages to carte and riposte with a straight thrust in carte.

  4. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

  5. Fencer’s come back En Garde and engage in tierce.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages to carte and thrust cart with an advance.

  7. On count 2.  P parries carte, disengages to tierce and riposte with a thrust in tierce.

  8. Repeat at instructor’s discretion. 

  9. Both fencers recover En Garde in carte; switch roles and perform drill from beginning.

 

DRILL 4:  THE BASIC COUPE

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust carte.

  3. On count 2.  P parries cart weakly (that is with the foible).  A performs a coupe to the outside of P’s blade and riposte with a straight thrust in tierce.

  4. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch and perform the drill.

  5. Fencers come back En Garde and engage in tierce.

  6. On count 1.   A  thrust tierce.

  7. On count 2.   P parries tierce weakly.  A performs a coupe to the inside of P’s blade and riposte with a thrust in carte.

  8. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.

 

DRILL 5:  OTHER CUTOVERS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A thrust carte over the arm.

  3. On count 2.  P parries tierce.  Before P’s parry makes contact, A performs a coupe to the inside of P’s blade and attempts a riposte with a straight thrust in carte.  As soon as P responds to this thrust, A will disengage under P’s blade and finish with a thrust in carte over the arm

  4. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch and perform the drill.

  5. Fencer’s come back En Garde and engage in carte.

  6. On count 1.  A  thrust carte.

  7. On count 2.  P parries carte.  Before P’s parry makes contact, A performs a coupe to the outside of P’s blade and attempts a riposte carte over the arm.  As soon as P responds to this thrust, A will disengage low and thrust carte under the arm.

  8. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

  9. Fencers remain engaged in carte.  At the instructors command, A performs a coupe to tierce, drops his tip and strikes P in seconde.

  10. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 6:  DOUBLE  CUTOVERS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. At the instructor’s command, A performs a coupe to the outside of P’s blade and attempts to thrust carte over the arm, then cuts over again to perform a thrust in carte. 

  3. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch and perform the drill.

  4. Fencer’s come back En Garde and engage in tierce.

  5. At the instructor’s command, A performs a coupe to the inside of P’s blade and then cuts over again to perform a thrust in tierce, or a thrust carte over the arm. 

LESSON 6.  FEINTS  [Ov: I-19 through 22; DA: Pages 46 through 50]

DRILL 1:  THE FEINT UNE-DEUX

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte over the arm.

  3. On count 2.  As P attempts a parry in tierce, A disengages again quickly to the inside and thrust carte to the chest.  Both fencers recover. 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte inside.

  7. On count 2.  As P attempts a parry in carte, A disengages again quickly to the outside and thrust either tierce or carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover. 

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 2:  THE FEINT UNE-DEUX-TROIS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte over the arm.

  3. On count 2.  As P attempts a parry in tierce, A disengages again quickly to the inside and   attempt to thrust carte to the chest.  As P attempts to parry carte A disengages again and thrust tierce or carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover. 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencers come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte inside.

  7. On count 2.  As P attempts a parry in carte, A disengages again quickly to the outside and attempts to thrust tierce over the arm.  As P attempts to parry tierce

  8. A disengages again and thrust carte to P’s chest.  Both fencers recover. 

  9. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 3:  THE FEINT  IN SECONDE (HIGH-LOW)

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust tierce.

  3. On count 2.  P parries in tierce, then feints a riposte in seconde under the arm of A.

  4. On count 3.  As A attempts a parry half-circle in octave. P lifts the point of his/her sword in carte and strikes A carte over the arm.

  5. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  6. Fencers come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  7. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust cart inside.

  8. On count 2.  P parries in carte, then feints a riposte in low carte under the arm of A.

  9. On count 3.  As A attempts a parry half circle to low carte. P lifts the point of his/her sword in carte and strikes A carte to the inside.

  10. Repeat at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

DRILL 4:  DEFENDING THE FEINT UNE-DEUX WITH COUNTER DISENGAGEMENT

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte over the arm.

  3. On count 2.  P moves his arm as if to attempt a parry in tierce, but as A disengages again to thrust carte to the chest, P disengages under A’s blade and parries carte to the inside.  P finishes with a riposte in carte.  Both fencers recover. 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages and attempts to thrust carte inside.

  7. On count 2.  P moves his arm as if to attempt a parry in carte, but as A disengages again to thrust tierce, P disengages under A’s blade and parries tierce.  P finishes with a riposte carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover. 

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

LESSON 7.  ACTIONS on the BLADE [Ov: I-24,25; DA: Pages 50 through 56]

DRILL 1:  THE BEAT

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A beats P’s blade to P’s outside and thrust to the chest in carte.  Both fencers recover.

  3. On count 2.  A disengages and beats P’s blade to A’s outside line.  A thrust to the chest carte over the arm.  Both fencer’s recover 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A thrusts P in tierce.

  7. On count 2.  P disengages in carte, raises the tip of his/her sword and beats A’s sword downward and out. P thrusts A in carte to the chest.  Both fencers recover. 

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 2:  THE GLIZADE

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A raises the tip of his/her sword to gain P’s foible.  Once done, A presses against P’s sword, and while sliding down the length of the blade thrust straight to the body.  Both fencers recover

  3. On count 2.  A thrust P in carte.  P disengages to the outside of A’s blade and performs the glizade against the outside of P’s blade ending with a thrust to the chest carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A performs a glizade in tierce against the outside of P’s blade ending with a thrust in tierce over the arm.  Both fencers recover.

  7. On count 2.  A thrust P in tierce.  P disengages to the inside of P’s blade and performs the glizade against the inside of P’s blade, ending with a straight thrust to the chest.  Both fencers recover.

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

DRILL 3:  THE CROSS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A attempts a straight thrust to P’s chest.

  3. On count 2.  P engages A’s blade during the attempt and turns his/her hand to tierce while still remaining engaged, and with a strong motion push A’s sword away.  P quickly riposte with a thrust in carte.  Both fencers recover.

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 4:  DEFENDING AGAINST THE BEAT

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A beats P’s blade to P’s outside and attempts a thrust to the chest in carte. 

  3. On count 2.  P disengages to the outside of A’s blade and thrust A to the chest in tierce or carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A beats P’s blade to the inside and attempts a thrust in tierce or carte over the arm

  7. On count 2.  P disengages in carte to the inside of A’s blade and P thrusts A in carte to the chest.  Both fencers recover. 

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 5:  DEFENDING AGAINST THE GLIZADE

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, blades engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A raises the tip of his/her sword to gain P’s foible.  Once done, A presses against P’s sword, and while sliding down the length of the blade attempts to thrust straight to P’s body. 

  3. On count 2.  As soon as A raises his/her tip, but no later than A presses, P shall swiftly disengage to the outside of A’s blade and thrust tierce or carte over the arm.  Both fencer’s recover 

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A performs a glizade in tierce against the outside of P’s blade and attempts a thrust in tierce over the arm. 

  7. On count 2.  Upon A’s attempt to perform the glizade, P disengages to the inside of A’s blade and performs a straight thrust to the chest.  Both fencers recover.

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 6:  DEFENDING AGAINST THE CROSS

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A attempts a straight thrust to P’s chest.

  3. On count 2.  P engages A’s blade during the attempt and turns his/her hand to tierce while still remaining engaged, and with a strong motion attempts to push A’s sword away.

  4. On count 3.  At the moment A feels the crossing, he/she should immediately disengage and quickly riposte with a thrust over the arm.  Both fencers recover. 

  5. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

LESSON 8.  ADVANCED TECHNIQUES

DRILL 1:  time thrust  in carte [Ov: II-6, DA: Pages 69 & 70]

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A attempts a straight thrust in carte, but feints to low carte.

  3. On count 2.  At the moment of the feint, P opposes A’s blade and thrusts straight in carte.  Both fencer’s recover.

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in tierce.

  6. On count 1:  A retreats one step.

  7. On count 2.  P advances, and at that moment, A thrust carte over the arm.  Both fencers recover

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 2:  thrusting with the wrist [O: II-11]

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A strongly opposes P’s blade.

  3. On count 2.  P disengages to attack A on the inside.  At that moment A parries and riposte with a straight thrust in carte using only the extension of the arm.  Both fencer’s recover.

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Fencer’s come En Garde in carte, engaged.

  6. On count 1:  A strongly opposes P’s blade.

  7. On count 2.  P disengages to attack A with carte over the arm.  At that moment, A parries tierce and riposte either in tierce or seconde, with only the extension of the arm.  Both fencers recover

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill.

 

DRILL 3:  Attacks with the pass, from engagement in tierce

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  2. On count 1.  A makes a feint straight thrust in tirece.

  3. On count 2.  P attempts to parry the feint in tierce with a bent elbow.  At that moment A passes with his left leg before the right and strikes P with carte over the arm.  Both fencer’s recover.

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Fencer’s remain En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  6. On count 1:  A makes a feint straight thrust in tierce.

  7. On count 2.  P replies with an attempted parry.  At that moment, A disengages to the inside and feints a straight thrust in carte.

  8. On count 3:  P attempts to parry carte.  A disengages to the outside, performs a pass of the left leg, and strikes P with a thrust over the arm.  Both fencers recover.

  9. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill

 

DRILL 4:  Attacks with the pass, from engagement in CARTE

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. On count 1:  A strongly beat against P’s blade.

  3. On count 2.  P replies with an attempted parry in carte.  At that moment, A disengages to the outside, performs a pass of the left leg, and strikes P with a thrust in tierce.  Both fencers recover.

  4. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion. 

  5. Fencer’s remain En Garde in carte, engaged.

  6. On count 1.  A disengages to the outside and feints carte over the arm.

  7. On count 2.  P attempts to parry tierce.  At that moment A disengages to carte, passes with his left leg before the right and strikes P with a straight thrust in carte.  Both fencer’s recover.

  8. Repeat drill at instructor’s discretion.  Fencers switch roles and perform the drill

 

DRILL 5:  Angelo’s Plate 31

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. On count 1:  A moves his sword to the inside, thus providing an opening on the outside.

  3. On count 2.  P replies with a pass and attempts an attack to the outside either in tierce or carte over the arm. 

  4. At that moment, A lowers his point to strike P in seconde with wrist raised high; and at the same time moves his left foot back to its full extent so that the left leg is straight, the right foot remains unmoved, and the right knee is bent. The left arm should fall perpendicularly between the legs with the left hand facing the ground to provide support should the left foot slip.

  5. On count 3:  Both fencers recover.

LESSON 9.  STRATEGEMS: THEORETICAL COMPONENTS [Ov: II-16, 17, & 18; DA Page 80]

DRILL 1:  the assault

Fencers will take turns bouting, under the direction of the instructor.

LESSON 10.  Of  DISARMS [DA: Plates 34-40]

DRILL 1:  DISARM AFTER PARRYING THE CARTE THRUST

  1. Begin:  En Garde in carte, engaged.

  2. The Agent (A) thrust carte at the Patient (P)

  3. P parries with the carte parry using a sharp beat, at the same time advancing about one foot and straightening the left leg.

  4. P seizes A’s blade at the shell with the left hand, and threaten A’s body with his tip.   A should yield his sword; OR,

  5. If A resists, P then steps forward with his left foot just past his right, and while so doing, pushes A’s blade down and away to the outside, which should cause A to open his fingers and yield his sword.  P should end this motion by threatening A with the point. 

  6. P immediately brings his left leg back past his right while still holding fast A’s sword.  The disarm having been made, P will threaten A with both points.

  7. End:  Both fencers recover.

  8. Repeat the drill at the instructor’s discretion, then fencers switch roles.

DRILL 2:  DISARM AFTER PARRYING THE TIERCE THRUST

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  2. The Agent (A) thrust in tierce or carte over the arm at the Patient (P)

  3. P parries with using a sharp beat, and by traversing P’s blade, forces it upwards. At the same time P passes his left leg about one foot before his right.

  4. P seizes A’s blade at the shell with the left hand, and while still holding fast this sword, throw A’s arm outward to the right.  At the same time P should carry his left foot forward about two feet. P should straighten his left leg, bend the right knee a little and threaten A’s face with his tip.   A should yield his sword.

  5. End:  Both fencers recover.

  6. Repeat the drill at the instructor’s discretion, then fencers switch roles.

 

DRILL 3:  DISARM on the Carte or seconde thrust, AFTER PARRYING with prime

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  2. The Agent forces the Patient’s blade on the outside.

  3. P disengages to thrust carte or seconde. 

  4. A parries the thrust in prime, with a pass of the left leg.  A then passes his left arm over the forte of P’s blade and grabs the shell of the sword.

  5. A then draws P’s sword to his own body, brings his right leg back while bending the left knee, and presents his point at P’s chest.  P should yield his sword.

  6. End:  Both fencers recover.

  7. Repeat the drill at the instructor’s discretion, then fencers switch roles.

 

DRILL 4:  DISARM AFTER PARRYING the outside of the sword

  1. Begin:  En Garde in tierce, engaged.

  2. The Agent forces the Patient’s blade on the outside.

  3. P disengages to thrust carte. 

  4. A counter-disengages, forcing P’s blade upward; and at the same time passes with  the left leg. 

  5. A then seizes the shell of P’s sword, brings his right shoulder and arm back, while stepping back with his right foot.  A should then pass his sword behind his back, lean his wrist against his hips, and present his point to P’s belly.

  6. End:  Both fencers recover.

  7. Repeat the drill at the instructor’s discretion, then fencers switch roles.

ATTACHMENT 1, FROM OLIVIER’S FENCING FAMILIARIZED

PART II, CHAPTER XVI

 

“OF THE ASSAULT IN GENERAL”

 

     An assault is the resemblance of a single fight with swords, where you perform against your adversary, all the thrusts and all the parades that you learned by lessons; endeavouring on both sides to deceive one another by some feints, so that you may either make some thrust or parry them.

     Therefore when the combatants have made the salute, they must take peculiar care to keep their proper distance and measure, and to oppose one another’s parades, lest they should touch one another both at the same time.

     When you begin to make an assault, you must consider whether your adversary has a mind to attack you.  For that purpose, make a small step backward, presenting the point to his breast.  Then, if you are engaged in carte over the arm, and if he comes upon you to gain his measure, force upon his blade, and give him an opening on the inside, to oblige him to thrust carte.  When he does it, use the simple parry in carte, and return carte.  If he makes the feint une-deux, parry with the counter in carte, poising your body somewhat backward, and throwing in a straight return.  If you perceive he strengthens his body and is coming to parry your return with the simple, lose a time and disengage carte over the arm.

     Never stretch out to your adversary; but on the contrary oppose always a parade.  Don’t let your eyes be fixed upon one part any more than another, by which means he can never judge what you have a mind to perform; but rather assume a bold air and study all that you want to execute.  I would always advise that your aim and mind seem unsettled on all your designs, that he may not guess at them.  Do not accompany your thrust with a voice, for it serves but to let your opponent know your intentions, to fatigue your stomach and to stun the spectators.

     Again, it is decent and polite, whenever you hit your adversary, not to boast of it, the spectators are to be your judges.  Have ambition but no malice.  Such are the manners which all gentlemen ought to adopt in an assault.

     You must also take care that the distance of your guard be not too wide, for I would have you make your adversary think that you are out of measure; which then you will oblige him to approach you.  If your distance is too large, lose your measure; your adversary believing you are too near him, will certainly get farther, and cannot reach him.  Perhaps, some will object to my not being firm, but custom will give me that firmness.  And those who have seen Mr. St. George’s fencing, (who is without doubt the best fencer we have) ought to have remarked that though he is of a very high size, his guard comprehends but a very little distance.  By which means he is out of the other’s reach, and still his adversary is within his.

     Never attack your adversary but with prudence, and when you have hit him, recover directly and quickly, fixing your point to his body, so that you may always act defensively.  If your adversary is not as much skilled as you, never attack him, for it is the prudence of a good fencer to bear the attack and to receive the adversary.  You may not hit so often; but at the same time your adversary will not have the satisfaction of touching you, as you don’t expose yourself to his thrusts.

     There are many good fencers that are touched by novices; but it is their fault.  They give six hits to one, that’s true; but, however they receive one. But this proceeds from their imprudence only, in always attacking; they are caught by hazard rather than by address and knowledge; which proves that nothing in fencing is certain, but the art which one employs, renders it useful and agreeable.  Therefore keep always and by all means on the defensive, taking care to parry well, and then you’ll be almost sure to deliver the return. 

     If you make an attack on a person so skillful as yourself, never return to him but straight, which perform swiftly.  That is the way not to spoil yourself in fencing.

     When you engage the sword, take a particular care not to divide your guard.  I mean, if it is in tierce, cover well the outside, so that you have nothing to fear but on the inside; and contrarily, if it is on carte, secure well the inside, that you may have the outside only to defend. For, it is incontestable that if you keep a divided guard, you will have two sides to defend instead of one.

     When you step forward to gain your measure, you must never disengage, as the ancients were used to teach in their lessons.  That is contrary to rules and principles.  You have nothing else to do but to make yourself sure of you adversary’s blade; for, you must know that as often as you quit if, you expose yourself to the time thrust, which, indeed they were not so wall acquainted with as we are at present.

     When you parry, hold the sword always very fast in your hand; but on the contrary, when you have a mind to make any feint, you must keep your arm flexible, and the sword easy, that you may act with more vivacity.

     Don’t let your adversary penetrate into your intention and conjecture your parades; this you must effect by not minding his disengages and false attacks, which are only snares to make you more so, that he may find and opening to thrust in.  But keep always your point fixed against his body, keep it firm and up; and if you perceive he makes his motions too wide, deliver him quickly a time-thrust.

     When you are on guard and want to attack your adversary, disengage inside and outside, in order to try what parade he is going to make use of, and then determine which thrust you may venture.  If he doe not oppose your attacks, make an extension of the arm and slip along his blade; managing well your body (which is the most essential point).  If you find he resists, disengage quickly; if, contrarily, his arm is flexible, raise your hand and push straight carte over the arm.

     When you are engaged on the outside, make an extension of the arm.  If your adversary opposes your blade, and is coming to parry with the half circle, double carte inside.  Take care in forming your extension lest he should throw in a time thrust, or should give a fling on your sword, or should cross it.  You must keep your body poised very firm upon your legs, and be ready to parry, or deceive the parade.

     On the same engagement, you may also make use of feints, as of the seconde-carte over the arm; or of the little beatings of the sword, in order to get an opening wherein you may disengage nimbly a straight thrust.  You may again make the feints une-deux under the wrist.

     On the same engagement, if you perceive your adversary is going to parry with the counter in tierce and the simple of carte, counter disengage and come again to carte over the arm.  If it happens that he wants to parry with the simple in tierce, which forms two parades, throw carte inside, in lunging well the thrust in tierce to disengage under his arm.

     On the same engagement, if your adversary would enter in by force with a straight thrust, raise your hand, keeping the wrist flexible, and form the parade of prime in order to return seconde.

     On the same engagement, if your adversary appears to be at an uncertainty to attack you, make a rumpling with strength along his blade, which will form a disarm, or at least give you a sufficient opening to enable you to thrust straight carte over the arm.

     On the same engagement, in order to lay a snare for your adversary, lean upon his sword in raising and turning your hand a little, the point low as if you were going to parry the half circle.  If he deceives your parade, stop him by parrying with octave and immediately deliver your thrust straight.

     If you want to lay him another snare on the same engage; disengage carte. The point somewhat low, and inclining your body a little forward, your hand in the ling of direction, opposed to his sword in order to secure you from the time-thrust.  If he comes to join your blade, cut carte over the arm, or cut and disengage, or cut and double, according the parades he uses, of which you art to judge at the same instant you thrust.

     On the same engagement, if your adversary uses always the counter in carte, counter disengage.  If he baffles your design by parrying with the simple of tierce, thrust carte inside.

     When you are in measure engaged on the outside, and that your adversary disengages to seize your blade in carte inside, you must directly disengage and push a time-thrust in carte over the arm.  By that you shun his sword, and your thrust becomes certain.  You may also, upon his disengage, mark the feint of carte over the arm to deliver carte inside, passing your last disengage under the arm.

     What I said above may be in some regard applied to the engage on the inside, if the adversary disengages, and according to his motions.

     Being engaged on carte inside; if our adversary keeps his wrist low and point high, make an appel and lean a little on his blade.  If you find that he forces, cut carte over the arm; if he parries with the simple of tierce and waits till you recover, in order to deliver his thrust, throw him in a thrust of the wrist, recovering quickly.  You may also cut and disengage, when he comes to parry with the simple of tierce, by passing your point under his arm, at the instant he comes to the parade.

     On the same engagement, if you remark that your adversary is not firm on his guard, lunge out with force and rigour a thrust in tierce, and throw seconde, or double, if he parries with the circle.

     When you attack by some disengages, if your adversary parries with the counter in carte, mark the extension in holding the sword rather fast, and disengage swiftly carte over the arm.  You’ll certainly hit him, if he continues to parry with the counter; your extension coming so near his body, that you only them pass the hand to touch him.  If he should come again to the parade with the simple, make a feint une-deux.

     Whenever your adversary marched leaning upon your blade, disengage and thrust with vivacity either inside or outside, according to the side he is engaged.  If he marches in disengaging, disengage with him and throw a time thrust as above directed, in opposing fully your sword to his.  That is to say, in covering yourself well to prevent an interchanged thrust.

 

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ATTACHMENT 2, FROM OLIVIER’S FENCING FAMILIARIZED

PART II, CHAPTER XVII

 

“OF THE MEASURE”

 

     Nothing is so difficult in fencing as to know well the measure, since there are no certain rules to determine and fix it.  Practice and justness of the eye must give you an idea of it.  It is a must essential point; and he who neglects to learn it, is often hit in an assault.

     To assure yourself of a right measure, you must pay attention to the length of the sword and the height of your adversary.  Therefore keep yourself out of distance, ‘till you know how far he can lunge out.

     If you are engaged with a tall man, you are only to make little motions out of measure; and if he answers to them, reach nimbly the measure in order to deliver your thrust.  If he parries, you must make a quick recovery.

     You may, also attack him, out of measure; and after having well assured yourself of his sword by engaging it, for fear of the time-thrust, make your left foot follow and immediately deliver your thrust, to which a man of a middle size ought to accustom himself particularly, when he fences with a tall one.

     You must not retreat when he marches.  On the contrary, engage his sword, in order to parry the thrust he might have a mind to deliver.  As for example, give him an opening to thrust carte over the arm.  If he delivers that thrust, parry with the simple tierce, rather high than otherwise, and return seconde with quickness.

 

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ATTACHMENT 3, FENCING A LEFT HANDED FENCER

FROM OLIVIER’S FENCING FAMILIARIZED

PART II, CHAPTER XVIII

 

“OF THE LEFT HANDED”

 

     To defend yourself from one who fences with the left-hand, you must observe the same rules as with the right-handed.  The play, at first, will become a little more puzzling, as you are but seldom used to fence with them.  It may nevertheless be necessary to do it now and then; and masters ought to be attentive to accustom their scholars early to it; that, if they meet with such adversaries, the situation of the sword should not seem more strange to them on one side than on the other.

     In order to attack a left-handed fencer, endeavor to engage him always on the outside of the arm, that you may perform either small strokes or glizades along his blade, to thrust under the arm.

That engagement is the most advantageous, as you may make use of the parade of the counter in carte, which is the best you can execute against him.  If it does not cause a disarm, (which is almost certain) at least it gives you a sufficient opening to deliver your return.

     If he holds his wrist low and the point high, make use of simple parades.

     If you find he has a mind to disarm you (and that you will be able to perceive by his attempts) avoid it by stepping a little backwards; or else by keeping your arm flexible, in order to deliver a time-thrust, as soon as you loose his sword.

 

 

FROM ANGELO’S THE SCHOOL OF FENCING

“OBSERVATIONS ON LEFT HANDED FENCERS”

 

It often happens that the right handed fencer is much embarrassed in defending himself against a left handed one, occasioned by the constant habit of fencing always with right handed fencers, which gives the left handed fencer a considerable advantage.  You seldom have occasion to fence with a left handed man, because the number of these is but small; and the same reason, when tow left hands meet, they are equally at a loss with one another.

To obviate this inconveniency, I am of the opinion, that a fencing master should accustom his scholars to fence with both hands; (that is to say) that when the pupil has learnt to handle his foil well with the right hand, he should be exercised with the left hand.  This practice will be found hard with every body, but with a good will, and by taking pains, you may attain a degree of perfection which will be advantageous to yourself, and will do honour to him that teaches.

The master should not only use his scholars to take lessons with both hands, but should likewise use them to fence loose, called assaulting; this method would enable them to defend themselves with both hands, and they would never be at a loss against an adversary who might present himself to them in a different position than their own.

When a right handed and a left handed fencer are together, they ought to be attentive, both of them, to keep the outside of the sword; this side being the weakest, they have both of them the facility of beating, or making a glizade or press on the outside of the blade.

If the beat is given properly, it is almost impossible that the sword doth not drop out of the hand, except the adversary takes the precise time of the beat, either by disengaging, or by turning his wrist in tierce.

You must observe also, that the right handed fencer ought to thrust carte instead of tierce, to the left handed one, and tierce instead of carte; that is to say, that he ought to thrust all the outward thrust within, and the inner thrust without.

The same rules also are for the left hand to the right handed fencer; by this means the hand will always be opposed by the sword, and the body and face always be covered.