AS among all other weapons, which are worn by the side, the single sword is the most honorable, as beeing such a one which is left capable of deceit of any other: So among the weapons of the Staffe, the Pike is the most plaine, most honorable, and most noble weapon of all the rest.
Therefore among renowned knightes and great Lords this weapon is highly esteemed, because it is as well voide of deceite, as also, for that in well handling thereof, there is required great strength of bodie, accompanied with great valure and deepe judgement: for there is required in the use thereof a most subtill & delicate knowledge and consideration of times, and motions, and a readie resolution to strike. These qualities may not happen or be resident in any persons, but in such as are strong of armes and couragious of stomacke. Neither may they procure to get any other advantage in the handling thereof, then to be more quick and resolute both in judgement and hande than their enimie is. Therefore seeing every man may hereby knowe what is necessarie for him so to handle it, as he may obtaine victorie thereby: let him resolve himselfe either to give it over quite, or els to handle it as he ought, and is required.
THis renowmed weapon hath beene of divers diversly handled, in single combat: (for the manner of using it in the warres, maketh not at this present for my purpose.) Therefore it shall not be amisse, if (speaking of the manner of his use in these are daies) I declare also mine opinion concerning the same. There have beene some (who greatly regarding ease & little paine) would have the Pike to be borne in the middle. Other some, more strong of arme, but weaker of hart, (to the end they might be the farther off, from hurte) accustomed to beare it at the beginning neere the heele or blunt end thereof: which two waies in my judgement are to be refused, the one being too daungerous (I meane the bearing of it in the middle) the other too difficult (I mean, the bearing it at the blunt end,) because a man is not able to stande long at his ward, neither to defend himselfe strongly, nor offend safely, considering, much of his force is taken away, by ststeining and bearing it at the said end. So that, when a forcible blow commeth he hath not sufficient power to beat it off. And forasmuch as the Pike is a long straight lyne, which hath his motion in the head or beginning thereof, which motion be it never so finall, neere the hand, is yet verie great at the point, it is requisite, if he would strike just and straight, (when he so holdeth it at the end) that he be greatly practised, and have great strength whereby he may be both skilfull & able to beare it so just & even, that the point thereof strik or hit there where the hand & eie would have it. This is verie hardly accomplished, aswel beecause it is a thing impossible to strike by the straight lyne, as also for that the armes being weakened with the paize of the Pike, do shake and deliver unstedfastly. Therefore, for the avoyding of these two inconveniences, the Pike must be born within an armes length of the said heele or blunt end, in which place, it is sufficiently distant from hurt, & it is not borne with much difficultie if the hands be placed an armes length one from another of the which the hinder hand must be stedfast, I meane, holde the Pike harde, and the forehand somewhat lookse: So that the Pike may shift through it to and fro.
IT is most manifest, that the Pike maketh greater passage with his point than any other weapon: and the twohand sworde, more then the ordinarie sword: & the sword more then the dagger. And among al weapons, this is generally true, that the longer the weapon, the greater passage it maketh with the point, and the greater blow with the edge. Neither doeth this so chaunce, because the weapon is more heavie, neither because there is applyed more force unto it in action, as most men suppose, but rather through a naturall cause which is as followeth.
If there be two circles, the one greater then the other, and are moved by one manner of motion, the greater shall be more swift then the lesse: for being greater in circumference & turning round, in the same time that the lesse turneth it must needes be, that it goeth more swiftly. So it commeth to passe, that one selfe-same hand may deliver a greater blow with the two hande sworde than with a single sworde, and with a long sworde, then one that is shorter, and with that, then with the dagger: And with a Bill, a greater blowe, then with the two hand sworde, and so likewise in all other weapons. Wherefore it is most cleere, that of edgeblowes that maketh the greater stroke, which is delivered with the longer weapon. It remaineth now to be considered, how this falleth out in the blowes of the point. I saie therefore, if the blowes of the point are also circuler, so that the Pike being verie long, maketh the greater circle, and by consequence the greater blowe of the point or the greater thrust. That the blowes of the point are circuler, may be shewed by this reason. The arme (being as a straight line, & fixed fast in one parte, as for example in the shoulder, and movable in the other, as in the hand, standing I saye, fixed as a straight lyne, and the one end moving from the other) shall alwaies move circulerly: So that the arme cannot otherwise move, except when it is bowed, and would then make it selfe straight againe, the which motion is also doubtfull, whether it be straight yea or no. Therefore imagining that on the movable parte of this arme, or straight lyne, there be also another thwart lyne, to wit, a Pike, a sworde, or any other weapon, then the arme moving, carrieth also, circulerly with it, the said thwart lyne: which lyne, by how much, the longer it is, by so much it maketh the greater circle, as may be seene in this figure.
Whereby, it is manifest, that the Pike, the longer it is, frameth the greater circle, and consequently, is more swifte, and therefore maketh the greater passage. The like is to be understood of all other weapons, which the longer they are being moved by the arme, cause the greater edgeblow, and greater passage with the point.
IN mine opinion, if a man would either strike, or defend with the Pike, he may not otherwise use it then by framing of two wardes, in one of which, he shal strike the bodie from the middle upwards, & this I will terme the low warde: the other shall strike the bodie from the middle downwadrs, & shalbe called the high ward. Neither shalthey be so termed for any other cause, then for that it is verie necessarie for him that striketh, first to beat off the enimies Pike, & then to deliver his owne. But yet it should breed great inconvenience, & there would be two much time spent if finding it good & commodious to strike in the lowe warde, he would first beat off the enimies weapon, & then shift from the lowe to the high warde, which shal bee, when one beareth his armes high, & the point of the Pike low. And the low warde is, when the armes are low, & the point of the Pike high. There is another warde which would be framed as a meane betweene these two, & that is, when the Pike is borne directly towards the enimie. And it falleth out that it is most sure & long, when it is opposed against any of the other two aforesaid, because then a man is in case both to beat off the weapon & to enter therewithall with great advantage. But putting the case, the enimie do likewise directly oppose himselfe against this warde, then the Pikes may not beat off one another, but both parties are like to be invested & runne through at one instant, without any defence or warding thereof. So that this straight ward may not be used except it be against one of the two aforesaid. And when the enimie standeth in any of the said two, then a man must resolutely bring his weapon into the said straight ward, for as he getteth therby the greater advantage both of length & time, so he may very easily beat off the enimies Pike.
WHen the enimie is in the low ward, a man ought alwayes to stand either at the high or straight ward. And contrarilie, in the low or straight ward, when the enimie is in the high ward. And must indevour as forciblie and as nimblie as he may, first of all, to beat off the enimies Pike, whether it be within or without, but yet in such sort, that he depart not much from the straight lyne, and be therby constrayned, to spend much time in returning thither againe, And as soone as he hath beaten off the enimies weapon, to thrust, bearing his bodie contrarie to his armes, to the end, he may be the more covered from the thrustes, and deliver his owne thrusts with the more force, alwaies regarding in the high ward, to thrust downewards, and in the low ward, upwards, & in the straight ward, in the middle: for this maner of thrusting, is verie commodious, and consumeth little time.
THe hurts of these wardes, are defended in the selfe same maner, as those of the Javelyne are, to which Chapter, (having htere reasoned sufficiently) I referre you, to the intent I may not repeat one thing often.
And it is to be considered, that there is greater regard to be had of the times in managing this weapon then in any other, because it is not furnished with any forkes, or other defences which may helpe a man, but all hope of victorie consisteth in the judgement of the times, and in dexteritie of deliverie.
I will not therfore at this present stand to declare any more of the true knowledge of the weapon, then that, which onelie appertayneth to be spoken in this worke, but will hereafter at my more leasure, handle it more at large, at what time, it shal be knowen, that men (giving over all other false & vain kind of skimrmishing) ought to settle them selves in this, by meanes wherof, their judgements are perfected, and they more insured under their weapons, and so by consequence are made more bold and hardie. And forasmuch as all this ought to be verified in deedes, and not in wordes, it shall be every mans part, that will exercise himselfe in this Art, first diligentlie to learn the principles, & afterwards by exercise of the weapon to attaine to the most subtil and delicate knowledge & consideration of the times, without which (as I have said els where) it is not prossible to profit therin. For although there be happilie some, who (being strong of arme, and nimble in delivering falses, either right reversed, or straight) have bin in our time accompted for tall men, yet for al that, those who are skilfull in this true Art, ought not to give credite unto it, because they know assuredlie that not right or reversed edge blowes, get the masterie, but rather the thrusts of the point, neither the bestowing of them every way, but with advantage and in due time. Neither ought a man to strike, therby to be stroken againe, (which is the part and point, rather of a bruite beast, then of a reasonable man) but to strike and remaine without daunger. All which things by this true Art are easilie learned.