This is a transcription from the second part of di Grassi's (1594) His True Art of Defense. No spelling, punctuation, or grammar has been altered in any way. The only difference is the formatting which has changed due to the difference in width in the original text as compared to the transcription. This has been posted as a public service, anyone who would be interested in a more convenient version is free to contact me with regard to this.
Of the falſes of the two Swordes: or Rapiers
THEIS kind of weapons haue ſo great libertie of ſtriking and warding, and are ſo entermedled the one with the other, as no other ſorte of weapon is, which I may compare with theis. There may be framed an infinite cõpanie of wardes with theis weapons, and all of them ſure, except two, which are framed and borne without, and are theis as followeth.
To bear both ſwords with their points backward: for this maner of warding, is as if one would of purpoſe cauſe himſelfe to be ſlaine: or elſe to beare both aloft, which a many may hardlie ſuſtaine, conſidering the paizes of the ſword are naturally heauie and tend downewards, ſo that the armes are much cumbred thereby. Therefore from theis two which are framed without, ſhalbe laide downe, all thoſe which may be founde and may be framed in the handling of theis weapons: as for example, high wardes, lowe, wide, latered, diminiſhed, and al thoſe wards which are mixt, as to frame with one ſworde the high warde, with the other the broad warde, and to frame the lowe and broad warde, the high and lowe ward, two lowe wardes, and two broade wardes: but yet theſe laſt two are as painfull as the two high wardes, and therefore ſhall not be vſed. Moreouer, a man may beare one ſworde with the poynte forwards, and the other backewards, and may further, verie eaſely finde out and practiſe diuers other waies, if he conſider in how manie waies a man may moue his hands, his armes, his feete, and his whole perſon: for each of theis motions are ſufficient of themſelues, to alter the warde. In all theis wardes, he may with either hande and ſword, practiſe to falſe againſt the enemie, ſometimes by fayning, ſometimes by diſcouerie. And this is properlie belonginge to theis weapons, to wit, to falſe with one, and to ſtrike home, either with the ſelfe ſame, or with the other weapon: & likewiſe diſcouerwith the one, and ward with the ſelfe ſame, or with the other, which neuer yet to this daie was or might be done with any other weapon. For in the handling of other weapons, that which falceth, doth in like manner ſtrike home, ſo that of force, there are ſpent two times: for which conſideration men hold opinion, that falſing is occaſion both of great hurte, and alſo of loſſe of time. But yet this happeneth not in theſe weapons, which foraſmuch as they are two, and are of equall power both in ſtriking and defending, may be handled both after one faſhion. And preſuppoſing alwaies that one is as skilful to handle the one aſwel as the other, he may diſcharge at ſelfe ſame time two thruſtes, two edgeblowes, both right & reuerſed.
But if he would exerciſe himſelfe onelie in ſporte & plaie, he ſhal then continually vſe to ſtrike his enimie with one, and defend his perſon with the other. Therefore when one dealeth againſt an enemie that hath two ſwords, one of which maie alwaies encreaſe a pace, and ſtrike either with a thruſt, or with the edge, from that ſword he muſt take heede to warde himſelfe, for it is verie forcible, and alwaies bringeth great daunger and perill with it: The other ſworde which was before, maketh no increſe of pace and therefore cannot ſtrike more then the defence & ſtrength of the arme will beare, and that is weake to ſtrike, but yet verie ſtrong to defend: and the ſelfe ſame accidentes and qualities, which are found to be in the enimie, are incident alſo to ourſelues. Wherefore when one findes that he ſtandeth with his right foot before, be it in any warde whatſoeuer, he may falſe with the forſword and ſtrik home with the ſame, or elſe he may falſe with his hinder ſword, & ſtrike with the ſelfe ſame: or elſe after a third waie, to wite, to falſe with the one, and hit home with the other: And this kind of falſe, doth more properlie beling to the two ſwords then any other, but yet he muſt take heede and verie well remember that whileſt he falceth with the one, and would alſo ſtrike home with the ſame, that he beare the other directly oppoſite againſt the enimie. For whileſt the enimy is bound to warde the falſe, and homeblowe of the one ſwordm he may come in with the other and ſtrike, if he finde any place either diſcouered or eaſie to enter: So that bearing this rule continuallie in remembrance, which is in the fight of two ſwords, to beare alwaies the one directly againſt the enimie, to the entent to hinder him, that he reſolue not himſelf to enter, he ſhall indeuour to falſe, ſometimes with the one, and ſometimes with the other ſword, ſome times a thruſt, ſome times an edgeblowe, and then to driue it home, either with the ſame ſword that falceth, or elſe with the other. But in practiſe, and doing all of this, it is required that he be of deepe iudgement, knowing preſently vpon the falſe, what parte of the bodie the enimie diſcouereth, increaſing thither, and inueſting the enimie with that ſword which is moſt nigh to that parte, and with the which he may moſt ſafelie ſtrike.
And it is to be conſidered, that it is a verie ſtrong & ſhort waie of ſtriking, to falſe with the fore ſworde either a thruſt or an edgeblowe, and to falſe them not once or twice, but diuers times, now alofte, now beneath, ſometimes with a thruſt, ſome times with an edgeblowe, to the entent, to blinde and occupie the enimies both ſwords, and at the laſt when fit occaſiõ ſerueth, to ſtrike it home with the hinder ſworde: but yet alwaies with the encreaſe of pace. The falce which may be practiſed with the hinder ſword, is vnprofitable being made without the motion of a pace, for it is ſo ſhorte that it is to no purpoſe. Therefore it cannot buſie the enemies ſwordes in ſuch manner, that it may force him either to diſcouer or diſorder his bodie. From whence it may be gathered, that after this falſe of the hinder ſword, it is not ſure plaie to ſtrike either with theſelfe ſame hinder ſword, or elſe with the fore ſword, becauſe the enimie was neither in any parte diſcouered or troubled. The beſt thing therefore that may be don, if one would falſe with the hinderſword, is, to driue either a thruſt or an edgeblow, reſolutelie ſtriking with the encreaſe of a pace, and as the enimie moueth to defend him ſelfe, to ſtrike with the ſame ſworde, in ſome place that is diſcouered: For he cannot ſtrike with the other ſword, for that by meanes of the encreaſe of the hinder ſword, that ſword which was before, remaineth now behinde, So that it may not ſtrike, except it encreaſe of pace, and to encreaſe againe, were to ſpende much time. Therefore when one endeuoreth with the encreaſe of a place to force his ſword within, he ſhall aſſaie to ſtrike it home, with the ſelfe ſame ſword becauſe as I haue before ſaid, to ſtrike with the other were to long. Wherefore I wil laie downe this for a rule, in the handling of theis weapons, that if a man falſe with the foreſword, he may alſo ſtrik home with the ſame, or elſe with the other, ſo that he increaſe a pace. And if he falſe with the hinder ſword, he ſhall preſently, and reſolutely force the blow home with the ſame ſword, but yet with the increaſe of a pace: but if he doe not fullie deliuer it, he ſhall againe procure immediatly to ſtrike home with the ſelfe ſame ſword, either with a thruſt, or edgeblowe, be it high or lowe, as at that inſtant ſhall be moſt commodius to ſerue the turne.
An Aduertiſement concerning the defences of the two Swordes, or Rapiers.
IN ſport or plaie one may ſtande euerie waie againſt the enimie, to witte, if the enimie be on high, to ſettle himſelfe at his warde, lowe or broad. But it is more gallant to beehold and more commodius indeed to place himſelf againſt thenimy in the very ſelf ſame manner as he findeth him, with the ſelfſame foote before, and in the very ſame ſite that he is in, either high or lowe. For ſtanding in ſuch manner, the enimie may hardly endeuour with his falſe, to troble or buſie both ſwords. And moreouer it muſt be conſidered, that the fore ſworde is that which wardeth both falſes, and reſolute blowes, the which it doth verie eaſily perfourme: For it be borne aloft, then by bending of the point down, it defendeth that part of the bodie, to which it is turned. Remembring therefore theſe rules, which are, to ſtand euery way as the enimie doth, & to warde his falſes or blowes come: then as ſoone as he hath warded them with the fore-ſworde, he ſhall encreaſe a ſlope pace, & with the hinder ſworde deliuer either a thruſt at ſome diſcouered place, either a right blowe with the edge at the legges, or els (which is better) ſhall fetch a reuerſe, either athwart the face, or els athwart the armes, and this blowe doth moſt eaſily ſpeede: for the enimies fore-ſworde is occupied, and his hinder ſworde cannot come to oppoſe it ſelfe againſt this blowe: neither may it ſo eaſily ſtrike, becauſe (by encreaſe of the foreſaid ſlope pace) the bodie is moued out of the ſtraight lyne, ſo that the enimie may not ſo commodiouſly ſtrike with his hinder ſword, but that he ſhalbe firſt ſtricken on the face or on the armes.
Wherefore, let euery man reſolue himſelfe, (as ſoone as he hath encountred the enimies ſword with his owne foreſworde) that he ſtep in and ſtrike with his hinderſworde. Neither, let him ſtand in feare of the enimies hinder ſworde: for either it cannot hurt becauſe the bodie is voyded (as I haue ſaide,) or els, if it may, it muſt preſently prouide to ſtand to his defence, and thereto is ſo bound, that it may do no manner of hurte.