How to Use a Sword George Greenwood



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39 pages


How to Use a Sword  by  George Greenwood

How to Use a Sword by George Greenwood
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THEORY OF THE SWORD EXERCISE.Quarte and Tierce form the base on which the following sword exercise is built. For the explanation of a cavalry sword exercise, it is conceived sufficient, if the hand is considered as having but these two positions. First quarte, or, as anatomists would call it, in supination, with the back of the hand out of sight. Second tierce—in pronation— with the back of the hand in sight. I prefer this definition to the edge to the left or to the right- or to the nails up or down- because in the points, and the horizontal guards, the edge is neither to the left, nor to the right- and in the parries it is reversed- and in the horizontal or vertical guards, or in the vertical cuts, or parries, the nails are neither up nor down.

It is a mistake to suppose that the hand is changed from one position to the other by a turn in the wrist- or that the wrist has any rotatory motion at all. Its action is simply bending and extending- which is communicated to it by the flexor and extensor muscles. The hand is changed from one position to the other in two ways, by two systems of muscles, and by two joints. First, by the rotatory muscles of the forearm—the pronators and supinators—acting on the two bones of the fore-arm, causing them to cross backwards and forwards, over one another, and their ends partially to rotate in the elbow joint.

Second, by the pectoral, deltoid, and scapular muscles acting on the bone of the upper arm, turning the elbow upward and outward, or downward and inward, and thus causing the bone of the arm partially to rotate in the socket of the shoulder. Without these two turns, made by these two systems of muscles and joints, continuous circles, with the same edge leading, cannot be made. In cuts, the middle knuckle of the little finger should lead. As a general definition, a proper cut may be called a semicircular sweep with the hand in first or second, and at the end of the semicircle which is opposite to that where the cut properly commences, the hand, of necessity, must stop, and may or may not be turned by the rotatory muscles of the fore-arm, into the opposite position.

But if, to this turn of the fore-arm, the turn of the upper arm is added, the hand is changed into its original position again. For instance, from first to second, and into first again. This necessity of changing the hand at the turning point into the opposite position, before the circle can be continued in the original position, causes the propriety and facility of cutting alternate semicircles, backward and forward, in first and second. Indeed, if the cut is dealt, as far as the actual turning point, with any force, and it is attempted to stop the impact of the sword by pressure, that is, without turning the hand into the contrary position, a violent strain will be occasioned to the hand and arm of the swordsman, the fingers will probably be forced, and the sword fly from the hand.

By turning the hand into the contrary position, the sword is allowed to continue its range, after advantage has been taken of the utmost sweep through which it can be carried with the same edge leading- its impact is stopped by degrees, and by tension, not by pressure. But if, instead of the return cut in the opposite position and direction, the second turn is given to the hand, by the rotation of the arm in the socket of the shoulder, continuous circles may be made, with the same edge of the sword leading- though the semicircle, from the turning to the opposite point, cannot be called a cut, the semicircle from the opposite towards the turning point alone bearing that character.

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