1994, 2000 Richard J. Orli   -  Credits

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Di Grasse - His true Art of Defense

The Second Part - Attack and Defense Tactics and Opening Moves from each Ward of the Several Weapons



Steal a Pace - To draw the left (rear) foot near the right (front).

Void - not being where the blow is aimed.


Stop thrust - attack with point after the opponent's attack starts.

Reverse thrust - keep the point in line or extending while your body falls away.









All Italian edition diGrasse images are copyright William Wilson.




Parry inward - the modern Parry 4 (if high line, or 7 if low line).

Traverse - move to side, 90 degrees to opponent.

                  VIII. Single Rapier

T he high ward of the Single Rapier.

The truest and surest blow is the trust above hand. First draw your left foot near your right foot, and lunge as forcibly as you may, ending in the low ward. If your opponent dodges right, immediately follow with a slash right to the head.

To defend against the same, stand in the low ward, encounter the edge of the sword to push it right and step sloping forward with the left to void to your opponent's Right. Keep the point down toward the enemy so that he would impale himself if careless.

To defend against a cut, I have spoken of the stop thrust. Because I know that some timid souls out there might prefer to defend themselves first, another way is to parry with the edge. Then, thrust to the face while stepping with your left foot circularly to your right. This places your body behind your weapon and is secure because it attacks while it defends. This move is also called a reverse thrust.

The broad ward of the Single Rapier

The most sure and principal blow from this ward is the thrust underhand. Draw the left near the right foot, lunge, and settle in the low ward.

To defend against the same, stand in the low ward, and do a simple parry since the attack has no advantage to hit home first.

The low ward of the Single Rapier

Any move is possible from this ward, but there are no special advantages in thrusts from here. The special tactic of this ward is one of the defensive. dgsinglow.jpg (15529 bytes)

To defend against a thrust, parry inward and traverse to the right by stepping broadly back with the left (rear) foot. Then lunge and thrust solidly from this new angle.



In modern fencing, the default response to an attack is a retreat. In Rapier, it is to move to the side or sloping diagonally forward or back. Note also that by pivoting the body as part of a side or diagonal movement, the rapier can close the line of the original attack without actually having to move the rapier arm. Indeed, that would be considered the best type of parry.

The circular step moves the body away from the line of the attack while re-orienting the body to the opponent's new position. Also known as a demi-volte or quart. A volte continues the circular motion toward the opponent in an attack.