L’Ange – Chapter 4 Near and Wide Measure

Wide Measure

Firstly you must learn to recognize well that when you must and can come with your weak onto the enemy’s weak, this is the wide measure. In this, as he is too far away, you cannot injure the enemy without setting your right foot forward twice and your left once, to gain the enemy’s weak with your strong as the Figure No. VI. placed opposite shows. And with this you must nonetheless always seek to injure the enemy in one tempo, as, however, cannot be done in the wide measure, except with extraordinarily great swiftness.

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A significant problem in rapier is that fencers are often inclined to attack at the wrong measure. They gain the sword in wide measure and then immediate launch an attack, which is easily countered.

Narrow Measure

Secondly, concerning the near or right measure, this occurs when with a swift setting forward of the right foot and fist, from which the thrust follows, you can injure the enemy in one tempo with extended arm, proper body, and with your foot set forward, either in secunda, tertia, or quarta, as can be seen in the following Chapter VII. and as Figure No. VII. demonstrates.

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Another problem is that, in an attempt to keep the sword pointed at their opponent, they lower the tip in narrow measure. It is really tempting to place yourself in the position of the right fencer. To the untrained eye it looks like your sword is online for a thrust, when in fact all you’ve done is given your sword to your opponent.

The fencer on the left is doing it correctly. Rather than pointing his sword at his opponent, he is looking through the weak of the sword at his target. It may seem counter-intuitive, but your point rarely travels in the straight line formed by it and the hilt. This illustration by di’Grassi shows how that the seemingly straight-line movement of the point is really the combination of two circular movements, one at the shoulder and the other at the wrist.

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The mind is well equipped to compensate for the complex movement of the body, making whatever adjustments are necessary to strike what you are looking at. But therein lies the problem. If your point is low such that it is pointed directly at your opponent, and you can see said point, then you aren’t looking at your opponent’s face or chest. Rather, you are looking at their belly as this annotated illustration shows.

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Footnote (literally)

Look closely at the ground to the left of the fencer in the above illustration. L’Ange occasionally shows the starting position of the feet, allowing us to better understand what type of footwork was being used.

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