IT is most manifest, that the Target is a most auncient weapon, found out only for the use of warfare, & not for frayes & peculiar quarels betweene man & man: albeit, since the finding therof, there have beene devised by the industrie of man a thousand waies to serve them at their neede: From whence it hath come to passe, (because it seemed convenient unto the professors of this Art) that this weapon was verie commodious & profitable, aswel for his fashion, as for that it is a meane or middle wepon, betweene the buckler & the round Target: That they have framed a speciall kinde of plaie therwith, although it differeth from the other two weapons in no other thing then in fashion. Therefore, divers professors of this Arte, being moved, some by reason of the forme, some by the bignes, & some by the heavinesse thereof, have accustomed to beare it after divers wayes, Those who make most account of the heavines, would for some consideration, that the right & proper bearing therof, was to hold it leaning on the thigh, not moving therehence, but being greatly constrained thereunto.
Others, who esteemed the forme & bignes therof, because it seemed unto them that the Target without any other motion was most apt of it selfe to ward all that parte of the bodie which is betwixt the neck & and the thigh, bare it with their arme drawne backe close to their brest. The which opinion, I meane not at this present to confute, forasmuch as by the shewing of mine owne opinion, it shall appeare how mightily they were deceived in the holding thereof, from the true holding whereof springeth all the profite which h is forme and bignes doth give it.
BEing desirous to beare great respect aswel to all the qualities of this Target (which are, the forme, the bignesse, and the heavines) as unto that wherwith it may either helpe or hurt, I saie (if a man would that the fourme thereof do bring him profit without hurt) it is to be holden with the high poynt therof upwards respecting the head: the parte opposit, the low partes of the bodie: the right parte therof, the right side, and the left, the left side: from this manner of bearing spring these advantages. First, a man may more easily see his enimie, and view what he doth by the point of his corner, which is on the one side, and that is by the high point, by which, if he woulde beholde his enimie, from the head to the feete, it is requisite that he carrie his Target, so lowe, that he discover not too much of his bodie which is above it: to the warding whereof he cannot come againe, but discommodiously, and in long time.
Besides, the said commoditie of beholding the enimie, there is also another that is of warding: For the Target being borne after this manner (framing a triangle) the sharpe corner thereof respecteth the forehead, and the sides thereof so spread themselves, that through the least motion, any bigg man whosoever, may stand safe behind them. And if blowes come at the head, be they thrustes or edgeblows, al of them light upon one of the said sides, behind which standeth the head safe without hindering of the eyesight. The other two sides of the Target, right, & left, with verie small motion, warde the right and left side of the bodie, in such sort, that a man may also draw back his arme: For the left side of the Target wardeth the elbowe, which it doth not do, when the high side thereof is carried equall. To conclude therefore, that in holding the Target, his bignes may the better warde, for the causes abovesaid being superfluous to be repeated againe, I counsell, it to be holden with the arme stretched forth from the bodie, not accompting the heavines to be hurtfull, because a man continueth not long in so holding it: and if the too long holding be painfull, he may drawe back his arme, and rest him selfe. The better to do this and to be able to see the enimie, I saie, he shall hold it, his arme stertched out, with the high point outwards, respecting the forehed.
MAnie Deceites, Falses, and Wardes, may bee practised in the handling of these weapons: All which I reserve to the treatise of Deceite or falsing, as unto his proper place, framing likewise in this as in all the rest, three ordinarie wardes, upon which, all the rest depend, and against which they may be opposed.
Standing at this high warde, and pretending to strike the enimie, it is first of all to be provided, that one steale a false pace from behinde, and then discharge a thrust above hande, with the increase of an other half pace forwards, which being warded by the enimie with his Target onely, not moving his bodie, he may then increase a straight pace of the left foote, & (somewhat lifting up his hand, and abasing the poynt of his sworde) force a thrust from above downwards betweene the Target & bodie of the enimie, with the encrease of a pace of the right foote: the which thrust will sfaely speede the enimie, if his bodie be not first voided. The selfe same thrust may be delivered in this high ward, standing with the right foote behind.
THE foresaid thrust may easily be warded, if in the verie time that it commeth it be encountred with the high poynt of the Target, but with that side which bendeth towardes the right hand. And as soone as the enimies sworde is come one handfull within the Target, it must be strongly beaten off by the Target towardes the right hand, increasing the same instant a left pace. Then with as great an increase of a pace of the right foote as may be possible, a thrust underneath most be given, already prepared, because a man ought to stand at the lowe warde for the warding of the thrust abovehand.
IN this warde likewise, the enimie may be invested on the poynt of the sworde, by going forwardes as straightly as is possible, and by striking quickly before the enimie. For the Target (whose charge is onely to defend) is so great, that it may easily warde all edgeblowes, & those chiefly which come from the knee upwardes. Farther, when a blowe is pretended to be delivered, it is manifestly, that a thrust doth enter by a more narrowe straight than any edgeblowe doth. And therefore, when one woulde strike the enimie standing at the locke or lowe warde, he must remember that he approch as neere him as he may be possible: and being so neere, that with his Target put forth one handfull more forwards, he may beate awaie the enimies sworde, then by so beating of it, he shal encrease a left pace, and presently after it, with the increase of a pace of the right foote, deliver him a thrust, if it so chaunce that at the first encounter he strake him not strongly.
STanding at the lowe ward, one may warde and defend the thrust of the broad warde, divers waies, among all which, there is one waie, verie easie and sure and thus it is.
For the defence of this thrust, it is necessarie, that he stande at the lowe warde, his sword and arme being in their proper place: and that with his Target something stretched out from his bodie, he provoke the enimie, who being determined in himselfe, and comming resolutely to give a thrust, hee then ought with the increase of a pace of the right foote, to strike the enimie with a lowe thrust, underneath both his owne and his enimies Target.
THere are manie blowes to be bestowed, standing at the lowe warde, all which I esteeme as vaine & to no purpose, considering the manifold and abundant defence of the Target. Therefore I will restraine my selfe unto two onely which are verie strong and hardly to be warded. And they are two thrustes, the one within, the other without, with the right foote both before and behinde.
When one findeth himselfe within, with his right foote before, and so neere his enimie, that by the increase of a left pace, he may with the right side of his Target, beate awaie the enimies sworde in the middle thereof, then he ought nimblie to encrease that lefte pace, and (closing in the enimies sworde between his Target and his owne sworde) to deliver a forcible thrust at the thighes, with the encrease of a pace of the right foote. He may also do the verie selfesame when he findeth himselfe to stande with his right foote behinde, but then he must farther increase a pace of the right foote first, and then continuing still force his sworde and paces directly onwards, if he hit not the enimie as he would at the first.
But if it chaunce that he finde himselfe without, then he must (having first found out fit opportunitie to beate off the enimies sworde with his Target) encrease a elft pace, and placing the high side of his Target under the enimies sworde and his owne sworde upon it, closing it i n, in the middle, encrease a pace of the right foote, and discharge a forcible thrust, at the brest or face. And he may do the selfe same, when he standeth with the right foote behind.
FOr the warding of those two thrustes of the lowe warde, it is necessarie, that a man stande at the same warde. And as the enimie commeth resolutely determined to thrust within, he must as soone, or more redily then he, encrease a left pace, and with the right side of his Target close in the enimies sword, between it and his own sworde, and then to enter perforce, & thrust either betweene the two Targets or els under them, with the increase of a pace of the right foote.
But if the enimie come without, he must encrease the selfe same slope pace, & with the right side of his Target beat off the point of the enimies sword, & then thrust either above, either beneath, as in that occasion it shal be most for his advantage with the increase of the pace of the right foote. And when in consideration of the aboundant defence of the Target, he may neither increase his paces, nor deliver a thrust, he must settle himselfe in the lowe warde with the right foote behinde, which ward I will largely handle in the treatise of deceite or falsing, being as it were his proper place, here ending the true handling of the sword and square Target.