Of Left-handed Men.
Most People imagine that a Left-handed Man has, by Nature, the Advantage of a Right-handed Man in Fencing, whereas he has it only by Habit, exercising oftener with Right-handed Men than a Right-handed Man with him, as well in Lessons as in Assaults, most Masters being Right-handed, as well as most of the Scholars, taking Lessons from the Right-hand, and practising seldom with Left-handed Men, find themselves puzzled, nothing surprizing more than what one is not used to, which is so true, that to embarrass a Left-handed Man, who has not fenced much, you must put another against him; I say one that has not fenced much, because Right or Left-handed Men who go to the School of a perfect Master, will be taught to use both Hands, by which Means, they will not be so much surprized when they meet with a Left-handed Man, as they would otherwise be.
When a Right and a Left-handed Man fence together, the Right handed Man should push but seldom within, that being the Antagonist’s strongest Part; and his weakest and outward, which should be kept covered, or in a defensive Condition, as the most liable to be attacked; the best Way is to push Quarte without, Engagements, Feints under, and Thrusts above, and double Feints, finished above or under the Wrist in Quarte, Cuts over the Point without, and upon the Parade, with the Fort, or with the Feeble, redoubling Quarte under the Wrist, or Seconde over: These are chiefly the Thrusts which a Right-handed and a Left-handed Man may make against each other, whether on an Attack, or in Defence, by Time or Risposts.
Several Masters puzzle their Scholars by telling them that with a Left-handed Man they must act quite contrary to what they do with a Right-handed, which appears to be false; because to a Right or Left-handed Man you must push, opposing with the Sword, which is to be done by pushing Quarte, when the Enemy is within your Sword, and Tierce, when he is without. All the Difference between a Right and a Left-handed Man is, that two Right, or two Left-handed Men, are both within or without, whereas a Right with a Left-handed Man, the one is within when the other is without, the one in Quarte, the other in Tierce.
Of the Parade of the Hand.
There are, in Fencing, three Parades with the Left-hand: The first, like the Opposition that is from the Top to the Bottom; the second, with the Palm of the Hand without, towards the Right Shoulder, and the third, from the Bottom to the Top, with the Outside of the Hand: Of these three Parades, the first is the easiest, the most used, and the least dangerous: They are condemned by able Men, as weakening those of the Sword; wherefore it is wrong in a Master to shew them to a Scholar, before he has practised those