1994, 2000 Richard J. Orli   -  Credits

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Di Grasse - His true Art of Defense

The First Part - The Basics


Time of Advantage - a moment of opportunity during which a strike may be safely delivered.














Foible (weak torque for parry) - parts 4 and 3

Forte (strong) - parts 1 and 2










II. The Sword

.O f all weapons a man may use, none is more honorable, handy, useful or safe than the sword. The sword offers two tools - edge and point. Weather you cut or thrust you must observe the time of advantage - when your sword is more near and more ready to strike than the enemy's. 

This principle is easiest to apply against edgeblows (cuts). For example, if your enemy is close and cuts widely (the point describes a big circle as your opponent swings), you must not defend, but close and strike with the point with all celerity. As you hit home you will prevent the fall of the enemy's sword. If forced to defend from any edgeblow, parry with the strong part of the blade, close to the hand.

Thrusts are the most perilous blows. To be ready for a thrust, stand at the ready, so as not to loose time in reaction or preparation. If you stand awkwardly you will need to prepare for a trust by drawing back the arm, shifting the feet, leaning the body, or other dangerous motion which will invite an attack as you prepare.

The blows of the sword are strongest the further from the hand, much as the force at the rim of a wheel is stronger than at the spokes. Dividing the blade into four parts, the two nearest the point 4 and 3 are to be used for striking. 1 and 2 are to be used for wards, since nearer the hand they are strong to resist any violence. These divisions are illustrated in Figure 1.

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This logic applies to the arms, and the wrist and elbow should be used (adding to the circumference of the circle, they add force to the blow). But, as they are strong, they are also slow (as they perform the greater compass) Therefore, do not swing from the shoulder, because you will give to much time to your enemy, and the wrist and elbow give strength enough.
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Remember - the hit with the point is the straightest, shortest, and fastest.

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The Rapier is long and lightweight , designed primarily to thrust. In 1550, it was a light and long broadsword variation that kept getting lighter year by year. By 1650 new rapiers had become so light that blades often broke, leading soon to blades forged with a triangular cross-section.











By 1600, rapiers were lighter and the benefit of using the elbow was reduced, as it provided insufficent additional momentum to be an effect cut. Saviolio no longer recommended using the elbow to cut.






Diagram illustrating arc of blow from the sholder (large circle), elbow, and wrist.