George Silver: A Brief Overview of His General Rules (2-10)

After dealing with Silver’s first general rule in depth I decided I wanted to do a brief overview of his other general rules, delving into them more deeply in later posts. 

In Silver’s second rule he stresses that a fighter should stand comfortably, constantly thinking about his opponent’s stance and attacks. However, a fighter should take care to always maintain his distance from his opponent, keeping his head, arms, hands, body, and legs out of range so that if his opponent wishes to attack he must first advance forward. Once his opponent has advanced forward, a fighter has three options available to him. He may attack his opponent immediately as soon as his opponent has advanced, he may ward first and then attack, being careful to remember his governors, or he may step back, attacking his opponent as he steps out of range. Silver continues to stress that a fighter should take care to step back if his opponent advances on him in order to prevent his opponent from gaining the advantage and to give himself time to prepare to execute any of the options Silver discusses above. 

In his third rule, Silver cautions fighters to maintain distance and not to allow their opponent to place them within his range. Once they are within their opponent’s range they are in danger of being hurt by an attack. A fighter should always know at what range his opponent can attack without having to advance forward. 

He goes on to explain in his fourth rule that when your opponent attacks he is almost always open to an attack on some area of his body or, at the very least, weak in his ward and that you should take care to strike at the nearest opening or weak area. 

Similarly, in his fifth he cautions his readers that when they move to gain an advantage over their opponent that they must always move in guard and remember their governors. If you opponent attacks you and presents you with an advantage then you should attack him as he advances forward. If he attacks you then you should ward his attack and counter with an attack of your own while moving out of his range. 

Silver’s sixth rule concerns fighting an opponent who is standing in the variable ward. If your opponent attacks you from the variable ward, then again you should take care to maintain your distance so that you are out of his range, attack the closest opening, and back up out of range. 

Silver goes on to state that if two fighters are both fighting in the variable fight and both standing within range of the other then those fighters are in imminent danger of being wounded as they don’t have the time and positioning to make the true cross in order to parry their opponent’s weapon. 

In rule eight, Silver continues to caution fighters to take note of how their enemy holds his weapon and when he moves, to position themselves into the ward that best fits their body and hand, and in this ward they should attack their opponent while keeping their governors in mind. 

Rule nine deals with moving your opponent’s attack offline. If a fighter can redirect his opponent’s attack, either by parrying or voiding their body, then they will gain a distinct advantage over their opponent. Their opponent will have to move to bring his attack back online while you can attack immediately and move out of range during the time he is try to bring his attack back online. 

Finally, in rule ten, Silver explains that if you ward an attack made to your right or left side, then you should move your rear foot circularly away from the side that was attacked. This will place you in a better position to make your own attack.

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