Girard Thibault – Chapter 1, Figures A thru E: More on Selecting a Sword

Thibault appears to come from an era where stupidly long swords were fashionable. I cannot think of any other reason why he is so determined to instruct his students to use shorter blades.

Figure A

This shows how a proper gentleman hangs his sword as to not offend or annoy those around him. Note that the sword is vertical, possibly so that those behind him do not trip over it.

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Figure B

This figure demonstrates our fencer grasping the scabbard just prior to drawing the sword. Note that it rests at a continent height so that one does not need to bend in order to reach it.

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Figure C

The next figure actually draws the sword. The right foot must be raised to make this possible, and even then we are seeing the longest possible sword that one may draw without much inconvenience. Believe it or not, this is considered to be a graceful sword draw.

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Figure D

Another demonstration that the correct length of the sword is that of the navel to ground or twice that of the raised arm to the ground. I wonder how anyone could sheath a longer weapon.

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Figure E

In this demonstration you can see that the height of our fencer us equal to the length of the sword and arm measured from shoulder or armpit to the point.

The other man is assisting by using a staff to measuring our fencer.

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2 Responses to Girard Thibault – Chapter 1, Figures A thru E: More on Selecting a Sword

  1. B.G. Hearns says:

    FIGVRE A
    Pour le premier il eſt repreſenté par ceſt figure A, que la longueur, que nous mettons pour l’Eſpee, ne donne point de faſcherie à la perſonne, quād on eſt en converſation avec des gens, ou qu’on ſe trouve en la foule, ou cheminant par des eſtroits paſſages, ou en ſemblable occaſions, eſquelles on eſt ordinairement embaraſſé par les armes qu’on porte. Au contraire eſtant la lame de ceſte longueur, que nous luy avons aſsignée, & la portant à coſté avec un tel ceinturon & pēdant d’eſpee, qu’il ſera domonſtré en la Table ſuivante, moyennant qu’on tire la garde devers ſoy avec la main droite, la pointe viendra à tomber d’elle meſme perpendiculairement en terre à coſté de la perſonne, un peu devant, enſemble auſſi la garde en viendra à ſe mettre en ſa juſte place, ſi bien à point, & à l’egal de la hauteur du nombril, qu’en avançant le pied gauche environ d’un demi pas, on aura la commodité de repoſer le coude, & enſemble tout le coſté gauche du corps deſſus; en ſorte qu’elle ſervira d’un appuy, pluſtoſt que de nous empeſcher, comme font neceſſairement toutes les eſpees, qui n’ont pas la longueur proportionée.

    FIGVRE B
    La meſme longueur d’eſpee eſt auſſi tres commode pour le deſgainement. Car en la portant avec le ceinturon & le pendent de noſtre deſcription, qui ſera propoſé au prochain Tableau ſuivant, & que le Cercle meſme demonſtre; la garde en vient un peu en avant à coſté du corps, le fourreau tirant vers le derriere; chaſcun en ſa juſte hauteur, & en telle ſorte qu’on peut travailler à ſon aiſe en un meſme temps de la main droite & de la gauche, en portant la main gauche embas, pour empoigner le fourreau pres de la garde, & la droite circulairement en avant, pour prendre l’eſpee, ſans aucune autre preparation, ne ſans courber le corps, comme on voit faire ordinairement aux autres, quaſi comme s’il la falloit cercher, ou qu’elle ne fuſt aſſez à commandement attachée au flanc de celuy qui la porte. choſe qui eſt de tres mauvaiſe grace, encor qu’elle ſoit assez commune.

    FIGVRE C.
    S’enſuit l’operation meſme du deſgainement, que nous deſcrirons plus particulierement au Tableau III. avec toutes ſes circonſtances, & les raiſons, pour leſquelles en faiſant le deſgainement on eſt contraint de hauſſer le bras, enſemble avec la main, tant qu’il eſt poſſible, meſmes de lever auſſi la jambe droite, & d’accomoder toutes les aćtions du corps, à celle fin que la main puiſſe monter à ſuffiſance, pour laquelle meſme conſideration il convient auſſi ouvrir les doigts. Leſquelles choſes ſont toutes neceſſaires à cauſe de ceſte longueur de la lame, qui a beſoin d’eſtre aſſiſtée de toutes ces aides. Dont it appert que noſtre meſure de lame eſt ſi grande, qu’elle ne pourroit eſtre de plus ſans des notables incommoditez.

    FIGVRE D
    Or tout ainſi que ceſte meſure eſt egale à la partie inferieure du corps eſtendu, depuis la plante des pieds juſqu’à la hauteur du nombril, auſſi l’eſt elle pareillement à la partie ſuperieur, depuis le nombril en ſus juſques au plus haut que la main peut atteindre, comme on voit en la figure que ces deux parties ſont egales en longeur; auſſi la preuve en eſt facile, comme elle eſt icy repreſentée. Car en mettant la pointe de l’eſpee en terre avec l’une des branches de la croix ſur le nombril, & tournant en apres la pointe droitement en haut, l’on trouvera, qu’elle viendra au plus haut qu’on pourra toucher du bout des doights.
    Et voilà comme il appert derechef, que la meſure de la lame eſt egale à la juſte moitié de la longueur eſtendu de la perſonne, & pareillement au demi-Diametre de noſtre Cercle, prenant le nombril pour le Centre, & la longueure eſtendue pour le Diametre.

    FIGVRE E
    Quant à la hauteur naturelle de la perſonne depuis la plante des pieds juſques au ſommet de la teſte, icelle ſe peut auſſi meſurer, & eſt icy repreſentée à meſurer avec l’eſpee. Car ſi on la prend au poing ſuivant le ſtile de ceſtuy noſtre Exercice, dont il ſera parlé cy apres, & qu’on l’eſtende enſembe avec le bras en droite ligne, ainſi qu’il ſe voit en l’une de ces deux perſonnes, tenant la point, & la garde, & l’eſpaule en egale hauteur; la ligne de l’eſpee avec le bras, depuis la pointe de la lame juſques à l’eſpaule ou à l’aixelle, ſera trouvée egale à la ſtature de la perſonne. Si vous en demandez la preuve, prenez un long baſton ou un demie lance, et en meſurez de longeur depuis la pointe de la lame juſques a l’aixelle: puis appliquez ceſte meſme ligne à la hauteur de la perſonne, mettant le ſuſdite baſton entre le creux de ſes deux pieds, & le dreſſant tout drout contre le corps pour le meſurer. Et ce faiſant ſera trouvé, que la meſure en accordera juſtement à la hauteur de la perſonne.

    ========================================================================

    Figure A
    To begin with Figure A, here we see that the length that we have determined for the sword does not bother anyone, whether in casual conversations, or in a crowd, or moving through narrow passages, or similar situations where one would ordinarily be encumbered by a sidearm. On the contrary, with a blade of this length, and in a belt and hanger, of a design which we shall show in the following Plate, drawing the handle towards oneself with the right hand, the point by itself falls perpendicularly to the ground beside the person, the hilt a little forward, together with the handle falls in its proper place, on the hip, at the height of the navel, when one moves the left foot a half-pace forward, one can comfortably rest the elbow and in fact the left side on it; as such it serves as a rest, rather than an encumbrance like all other swords not proportionally sized.

    Figure B
    The same length of sword is also very convenient for drawing the blade. For, as shall be explained in the next Table, and as the Circle itself shows, when carrying the sword on a belt & hanging as described, the guard comes slightly forward beside the hip, the scabbard angles towards the rear; each at its correct height, and so one may easily use both hands at the same time, with the left hand grips the scabbard just below the guard and the right hand reaches circularly across in front to grip the handle, in a way that requires no other preparation, no twisting the body, as we ordinarily see done by others, as if they had to search for their sword, or as if it were not properly attached to their side, a very clumsy, if common, arrangement.

    Figure C.
    Next we see the operation of drawing the sword, which, we shall describe more fully in Plate III with all the various circumstances and reasons for which, in drawing the sword, one is constrained to raise one’s hand and arm as high as possible, even to raise the right leg, or any other bodily action, which may even include opening the fingers, to raise the hand sufficiently to clear the scabbard. All of which are necessary to assist in drawing because of the length of the blade. Thus it is apparent that our size of blade is so large that it could not be made longer without causing considerable inconvenience.

    Figure D
    So, as this blade length is equal to the lower half of the extended body, from the soles of the feet to the navel, it is also equal to the upper half, from the navel to the highest that the hand can be raised above the head and as we see from the figure these two halves are equal. This is easy to show, as it is here. If we put the tip on the ground with one end of the crosspiece on the navel, and rotate the the tip upwards around the crosspiece, one will find the tip is as high as one’s fingers can reach.
    And thus it can be seen once again, that the size of the blade is equal to half of the extended length of a person, and equal to the radius of our Circle, taking the navel for the Centre and the extended length as the the Diameter.

    Figure E
    As for the natural height of a person from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, this can also be measured and is here shown to be measured with the sword. For if we grip the handle in the style of our training, about which we shall discuss more later, and one extends the sword and arm in a straight line, as we can see with one of these two persons, keeping the tip, the guard, and the shoulder at the same height, the line of the sword and arm, from the tip to the shoulder or the armpit, will be found to be equal to the height of the person. If one wishes proof, take a long stick or half-lance, and measure the distance from the tip of the blade to the armpit, then place the end of the stick on the ground between the feet and and stand it upright. It will be found that the measurement is exactly the size of the person.

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