The Art of Defence on Foot with the Broad Sword and Sabre
Compiled by Peter Frank
Originally published in 1804 and aimed at the volunteer regiments of the Napoleonic Era, when engagements with swords were still a reality of warfare, The Art of Defence was written for civilians wanting to learn to fence with the sabre, broad-sword or spadroon.
The growing interest in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) has led to a world-wide increase in clubs and societies, and this text is aimed at these new students.
The content is presented in a highly-structured way and in easily accessible language. Although primarily aimed at the novice, the text contains a number of more advanced techniques, from which more experienced fencers can benefit.
This newly transcribed edition puts the complete, original text into a modern typesetting to make it easily accessible during lessons, but is otherwise left unchanged. To ensure the transcription will remain as compatible with other sources that refer to specific parts of the text as the original edition, all content has remained on the same page.
All the plates, including the foldouts, have been photographed and digitally enhanced in order to reproduce them in as much detail as possible.
Part One: Practice at the Target
Of Holding the Sword
Introductory Remarks on the Six Cuts
Direction of the Cuts
Method of practicing the Six Cuts at the Target
o Cut I
o Cut II
o Cut III
o Cut IV
o Cut V
o Cut VI
Combining the Six Cuts
Part Two: Practice with the Antagonist
Forcing an Adversary’s Guard
o 2d position
o 3d position
St George’s Guard
Application of the Point
Cuts differing from the general principles of the System
Cut at the Advanced Leg
Parade & Return for the above
Remarks on the Spadroon
Opposing the Small Sword
§ Musket & Bayonet
Variations from general prinicples of the System when engaged with Sticks
Peter Frank was born in Wiesbaden, Germany and attended schools in the Scottish Borders and in Germany. He studied Japanology, Dutch culture and language and German philology at the University of Cologne. After living in Kyoto for a year he returned to Cologne in 2008 and joined Die Freifechter - Gesellschaft für Historische Fechtkunst (Society of the Historical Art of Fencing), which is where he was first introduced to this text.