A few thoughts around timing

"The second cause is, the lack of the knowledge in due observance of the four actions, the which we shall call bent, spent, lying spent, and drawing back. These actions every man fights upon, whether they are skillful or unskillful, he that observes them is safe, he that observes them not, is in continual danger of every thrust that shall be strongly made against him." - George Silver, Paradoxes of Defense

This is a follow on from this post concerning timing, in which towards the end I highlight some thoughts on the "safe" times to attack your opponent from various manuals.

After studying a range manuals I've come to a broad conclusion that is that this is essentially to do with Active versus Passive movement. With most manuals advocating observing when "passive" movement is taking place and attacking your opponent then. This can be summarized as "any movement your opponent makes which is not offending you is a time to attack" or as Giganti puts it:

"any motion of Dagger, Sword, Feet and Body, as changing of guards, this is a time to wound."

"Active" movement is any movement that is involved with a direct attack while "Passive" movement is any movement that does not bring a blow to directly to you, i.e. is preparation or recovery from a blow. Hence Silver's apt "bent, spent, lying spent and drawing back" are all passive movements, or parts of the movement when you are not being immediately threatened with a blow.

Common examples of "time" would be:

The moment when you've parried
The moment when the blow has passed you
The moment when they draw back their sword to strike
The moment when they disengage
The moment as they move from one guard to go into another
The moment as they step into measure

The interesting exception to this is the counter attack, which is surely the signature move of this time period. 


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