© 1994, 2000 Richard J. Orli - Credits
|Di Grasse - His true Art
The First Part - The Basics
Parry - defensive use of weapon to block thrust or
cut. Modern term adopted from the post 1660 French school jargon. Di Grasse's translator
uses "break", "ward", "block", "encounter" and
other words for parry.
See other illustrations of Blocks in BASICS.
Below, the thwart, or sloping step forward.
Stop thrust= attack into an attack
Time thrust. Rather than parrying first and hitting on riposte second, try to parry while hitting at the same moment. Timing is extraordinarily critical - the slightest error is fatal.
The following sections offer advice on how to attack
and defend when either you or your opponent is a given position. This is conceptually not
unlike a manual of chess openings.
VI. The Means of Defending
means defend against all attacks from either point or edge. The first is the parry - your
weapon opposes the opponent's. The weapon you use can be a sword, dagger, a stick, your
hat, your hand - because a soldier and gentleman must master defense, not just how to use
a particular tool such as a rapier. Besides, one can not always be armed as one would
But the parry is not always the solution - especially as it is often practiced and taught today. Particularly dangerous is the habit of retreating while parrying - caused apparently by a lack of confidence in the parry's ability to control the opponent's attack. # Problems caused by withdrawing include:
The greater likelihood of your being hit by (or near) the point, and so take a
stronger, more dangerous, blow.
I advise stepping into a cut, with the left foot taking a sloping step forward.
Thereby, the attack's measure will be misjudged, and the cut can be taken close to your
opponent's hilt, where it has less power. In addition, by stepping forward, you can strike
in the same instant. This manner of defense is so sure and quick, I use it above all
The third means of defense is the void, in which the body is taken away from the line
of the attack. This is seldom used alone, but rather used with an opposition with the
weapon as described in the first means of defense, or as part of a timing attack as
described in the second means above. If used alone, the idea is to move enough to let the
opponent's weapon slip past, while hitting simultaneously with your weapon.
VII. Application of Method
the sections to follow I will address the most practical and useful attacks and defenses
practical for each ward. Every conceivable bad attack or weak defense is not discussed.
These techniques were selected largely based on two principles that always hold true: 1)
In the Attack: Trust to the Thrust. 2) In the Defense: Trust to the Thrust against the
preparation or into a wide cut
# Post 1660 small sword technique encourages
retreating while parrying. The default rapier technique is stepping to the side.
## The advice is sound, but not for the timid.
*Attack into an action, to forestall a weak or indirect attack with a strong direct thrust. In modern jargon, this is an attack into the preparation or stop thrust depending on circumstances.
Miyamoto Musashi (Japanese near-contemporary) on
fixing the eyes: Some schools have one fix their eyes on the sword, others on the hand,
others on the face or eyes. But if you fix your eyes on anything other than a man's heart
your spirit can become confused. The gaze must include perception which is strong, and
sight which is weak; perception includes the enemy's spirit, the terrain, changes in
advantages. In single combat you must not fix the eyes on details and neglect important