Silver is most often known as a proponent of the blow rather than and advocate for the thrust.  His fighting style, by virtue of favoring the English Broadsword as the weapon of choice, incorporates far more cutting attacks than thrusts.  He is also quite infamous for his Paradoxes of Defense in which he lays out all of his arguments for why the true fight of English Broadsword is superior to that of the rapier.  But Silver is actually a very well rounded fighter and teacher.  In his Paradoxes he argues for a complete education for students of the art of defense and he also argues, quite effectively, that the true fight must incorporate both blows and thrusts.

Perfect fight standeth upon both blow and thrust, therefore the thrust is not only to be used.

-George Silver, Paradoxes of Defense

An illustration from Di Grassi's treatise (1570's) showing a situation in which attacking with a cut would be preferable to a thrust.

An illustration from Di Grassi's treatise (1570's) showing a situation in which attacking with a cut would be preferable to a thrust.

Silver argues that the perfect fight must incorporate both blows and thrusts.  Neither attack is perfect for each and every situation.  Sometimes you will find yourself in a position where striking with a blow is the most effective attack and other times it will be a thrust.  You may find yourself in a position where a quick thrust to your attackers hand will end the fight.  In some positions though you may find that if you attack with a thrust it will cost you time, requiring two movements, when a blow would only require one and cost significantly less time.  This is very effectively illustrated with a woodcut from Di Grassi’s treatise.

While Silver may have originally intended this paradox to argue for the importance of the blow it also very effectively argues for the inclusion and importance of the thrust.  No one attack can be relied on for every situation so it is imperative that you be able to execute both effectively so that both will be available to you when you face your opponent.

*Sorry I’m still off schedule guys.  I blame actually setting the schedule in the first place. 🙂  But hopefully this should be the last off schedule post for a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *