In order to disengage and push from the Outside to the Inside, being in Guard towards half Quart; the Wrist must be raised a little at the Time that you lower the Point and raise it again, which should be done as close as possible, by a smooth and quick Motion, that you may be covered and lose no Time, and be able to push with your Fort to the Adversary’s Feeble.
Some People, in pushing Quart and Tierce, keep the Wrist in Tierce, in order to push Quart the swifter, which is a Fault; because they accustom themselves to a Situation, which, when they come to assault, is unsafe and dangerous, for want of being in the Guard of Defence.
In disengaging from the Inside to the Outside, the Wrist should turn a little more towards Quart, than in the Guard which I have recommended: The Point should fall and rise and the same Instant, and the Hand should turn insensibly in Tierce, as the Thrust goes forward.
Some Masters teach to hold the Sword in Guard between Quart and Tierce, and to disengage in that Situation; whereby the three Advantages which the Disengagement in Half-Quart gives you, are lost; that is to say, first, a good Air, secondly, the being covered with the Fort of the Sword, and thirdly, the Swiftness of the Thrust; because the Hand has not a sufficient Freedom of Motion.
The knowing how to disengage barely is not sufficient; it is necessary that you be acquainted with the Time, and with your Adversary’s Play, in order to disengage to Advantage. The Time is when the Adversary comes to your Sword; and when your Adversary, depending on his Strength, comes to your Blade, in order to guide his Thrust to your Body, is what is meant by his Play or Manner. You may indeed disengage without taking the Time, but with less Success.
When the Adversary engages swift, ’tis good to keep your Point a little low, or distant from his; by which Means he requires more Time to engage you, and gives you more to prevent him, unless you suffer him to touch your Sword; which would not only make you lose the Time of hitting him, but would also expose you to receive a Thrust, it being certain that when you go to the Blade on one Side, you cannot defend the Other; for you cannot do two opposite Actions at one and the same Time; and by the same Rule, if you miss the Time of disengaging, and disengage too late, you expose yourself to his Thrust; for you cannot, at the same time, quit his Blade and parry.
Though it is necessary that every Fencer should understand the Disengagements, it is more especially so to tall and weak Men. To the first, that they may keep their Adversary at a Distance; which by Reason of their Height, is an Advantage to them; and to the others in order to prevent closing; in which Case, their Weakness would be a Disadvantage to them.