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



Cloak - more general term for outerware, may be sleeved.

Cape - usually sleeveless garment with a hood (the 'cape' itself).

Mantel - sleeveless outerware without a hood. Characteristically worn over the left shoulder.





















Reversa - indirect blow (imbrocatta) delivered angled from the left.

Full-pace - Pass

Void - evasive move of the body away from the line of attact










Steal a pace - slide rear(left) foot close up to the right.

Take another half pace - fencing step advance, or lunge

Forcing action - thrust maintaining blade contact, such as a glide.

X. Rapier and Cloak

The next most commonly available weapon a gentleman will have at hand, after the dagger, is the cloak. Here I will discuss it in straightforward use. I will complete my discussion of the art of the cloak in the treatise on Deceit.
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Handling the Cloak

The cloak's use is determined by its length, size, and flexibility. Flexibility, and not strength, is indeed the hallmark of the cloak. One trusting to the strength of a cloak by wrapping it about the arm to absorb a strong right cut will prove himself a fool. One must use the length and flexibility of the cloak, and with that any blow can be warded.

Take the cloak by the collar or cape, and wrap it at most twice about the arm. Make sure your left leg is not leading when warding a hit, for the cloak will only absorb a blow if there is distance - anything solid immediately behind it (like a leg) is in peril if you are trusting it to stop a blow.

Edgeblows delivered high should be warded with the sword, since lifting the arm and a heavy cloak high is as violent as it is perilous. This is so because the arm is exposed, and you risk blinding yourself by your own cape.

There are two ways to wrap the cloak: by the collar or cape as described above, or, as it often falls out in practice, by grabbing one side as it is taken off the shoulder, and turning it once or twice about the arm.

With the second method of folding, the cloak is usually longer. Therefore, when striking, it is often best to take half-paces (fencing steps), since with the whole pace (a pass, or walking step) the risk of entangling the feet is great. Either way, the danger of tripping yourself should be guarded against. This is not a problem when warding, however, since your motion is often away, and tired arms lift heavy cloaks better when danger presses.

Three wards apply with the cloak as well. The first is the high ward, and particularly deserves its name here, since the cloak is also almost at chin level.

The High Ward of the Rapier and Cloak

From the high ward, the edgeblow should be delivered without any motion of the feet. The Reversa should be done with a full pace. The enemy's parry should be followed with and stayed by the cloak, while a thrust is delivered underneath.

In defense against the high, the thrust should be taken with a void, left foot moving behind and to the right, while hitting the face in a reverse thrust. If the enemy's sword is encountered without, then step forward with the cloak and encounter the enemy's sword with it. Thrust with a lunge underneath.

Parrying with the cloak while hitting, without a void, has little certainty and great peril in it, and yet if well done is excellent. Great acuity and deep judgement is needed, for as the enemy's point approaches, you must wait until it is just within the hand's reach, and then beat it down with the cloak while delivering a blow yourself.

The Broad Ward of the Rapier and Cloak

From the broad ward, I recommend the following sequence. First thrust while sliding the rear foot in a circle to your right, then cut, then thrust with a lunge. Attacks may often be effectively stopped by a counter attack to the left thigh.

The Low Ward of the Rapier and Cloak

If the opponent is in the low ward, do not cut (since this may be easily warded and counter attacked), but thrust only. Use the cloak to occupy the enemy's sight while you steal a half-pace on him. Then take another half-pace, and strike with a forcing action on the sword.



\At this period, capes and mantels may be short - to the waist - or long to below the knees, depending on the season's fashion.  They were worn by all classes, year round.







Cloak Parry

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Since a thrust high to the face often opens the defender as he wards, you may have an opportunity to continue with a slope pace to the left, and reverse at the legs.




Counter attack in this case means a stop-thrust