Worcester Yeomanry Cavalry

A living history unit
 Sword Exercises Guards
 MODES of PARRYING

We now arrive at the different modes of parrying to the front; they are five in number, including the one already practised, under the denomination of the Guard.

Theleft and right protect are the two following motions, which will be performed succeeding each other without coming to the prepare between the intervals of their performance.

 

Prepare to guard,

Guard
To preserve uniformity in the motions of left and right protect, which are both applied to the same principle, it was necessary to distinguish the immediate points to which the hand was to be directed : but when opposed to an enemy, their application must depend on the direction of the cuts or thrusts, which they are intended to parry.
The utmost attention must be paid not to oppose the edge to the enemy’s sabre when it can be avoided; but the bevel: which can only be done by placing the thumb between the back plate and the ear of the sword, and keeping it firm in that position, the arm to be properly distended, for the purpose of resisting the force of the blow.
The only difference necessary to be observed in coming to the protect from the prepare, in the place of the guard, is, that before the hand moves to the position directed, the thumb must be shifted to the place on the gripe already described.
The two following motions are for the protection of the horse’s head, at the same time with that of the rider.
Left Protect
Words of Command: Guard. Left Protect
From the guard, carry the sword-arm smart across the body to the left*,  
Raising the point of the blade till it becomes perpendicular; keeping the hand above the level of the shoulder : at the same instant, place the thumb on the gripe, between the back plate and the ear (plate VI.) which will turn the edge of the sword to the right, and the back outwards to receive the cut; the arm to be kept as far from the body as the position will admit.
The elbow in this as well as in the next motion is to have no action whatever, as the whole must proceed from the shoulder to the wrist.
*The sight should always accord with the direction of the blade, and recruits be cautioned against that absurd practice of looking one way and acting another.


Words of command  Right Protect        

Without changing the direction of the blade, as held in the foregoing position, carry the sword-arm briskly to the right, directing the hand to the distance of two feet from the edge of the circle, above the level of the shoulder. – Return to the prepare to guard.


Horse off side protect

The two following motions are for the protection of the horse’s head, at the same time with that of the rider.

Words of Command: Horse, off side Protect    
Raise the blade till it becomes perpendicular, carrying it at the same instant in a brisk motion forwards to the off ear of the horse, and in the exact position of right protect, not forgetting to place the thumb in the direction therein mentioned. – Return to the prepare to guard.
Horse, near side Protec

Words of Command: Guard Horse, near side Protect
Direct the point of the blade forwards to the left of the horse’s head, and in a diagonal line from the hand, which is not to droop, but to be carried a little forward, in order to afford the protection required either from cut I. or III.
The edge will be upwards in this instance, but it must necessarily be exposed from the nature of the guard.
Retiring positions
The different guards to the front have already been described; we therefore now proceed to the retiring positions, which are performed upon a different principle, the arm being necessarily bent to carry the sword to the rear.
The three following guards must be executed succeeding each other, without coming to the prepare between the intervals of their performance.
Bridle arm protect
Words of Command Guard. Bridle-arm Protect,            
in two Motions
1.    From the position to guard carry the sword in a horizontal direction to the right; the edge of the blade leading till it arrives in a right line with the point of the shoulder.
2.    Turn the back of the hand under, which will cause the edge of the blade to be upwards : at the same instant, by bending the elbow and turning the wrist so as to place the palm of the hand in front, the blade will be conducted to the protection of the bridle- arm, which position consists in having the  sword-hilt above the helmet, with the blade crossing the back of the head, the point of the  left shoulder, and the bridle-arm; its edge directed to the left, and turned a little upwards, in order to bring the mounting in a proper direction to protect the hand.
After protecting the bridle-arm in two motions, it is to be performed without making any pause on the first motion.
sword arm protect

Words of Command: Sword-arm Protect.     

Without sinking the hand from the protection of the bridle-arm, or moving the arm from its former position, carry the blade round the back of the head to the right, by turning the wrist till the palm of the hand arrives opposite the helmet; the blade will then be in a diagonal line, with the point downwards directed to the right, and the edge up.


St George
Words of Command: St. George    
Motions
Bring the blade in a horizontal direction across the top of the head, with the edge upwards and the point to the left.  This is done by turning the wrist up so as to carry the blade round the back of the head to its position.