admin wrote:Interesting stuff, do you mean this publication? -
If so, I haven't looked at it in years but will have a look now.
In regards to any mention of Sergeant Waite, technically he was never a Sergeant because the Life Guards do not have that rank - he was a Corporal Major (equivalent of a Sergeant Major). But he often got refered to as 'Sergeant', 'Corporal' and suchlike (in error). I would think that the author must be refering to him... but in 1890 he was dead for 6 years!
Some diversity of opinion exists as to the best "Engaging Guard" to take
up. In the two Figs., 21 and 22, I am inclined to favour the former for
use when opposed either to the small sword or the bayonet, and give
preference to the latter when facing another broad-swordsman. In Fig.
21, it will be observed, the point is well forward, and it is easy with
a light pressure to turn aside the opposing point and instantly lunge
out in the return. The engagement is here in Tierce, but it might just
as well be in Quarte, in which case the edge would be turned to the left
instead of to the right.
At the same time, the more common engaging guard, the very low hanging
guard in Fig. 22, has many merits not possessed by the other. It will be
better to constantly practise _both_ these guarding positions and then
come to a decision as to which you can do best in. Two things are
certain, viz., you can, if proficient at both, puzzle an opponent who is
at home only in one, and the change of position is a great rest in a
long succession of bouts.
These pages are merely intended for the tyro--they are, at best, a
compilation of those notes written during the last ten years in black
and white upon my epidermis by the ash-plants of Serjeants Waite and
Ottaway, and Corporal-Major Blackburn. Two of them, unfortunately, will
never handle a stick again, but the last-named is still left, and to him
especially I am indebted for anything which may be worth remembering in
these pages. A book may teach you the rudiments of any game, but it is
only face to face with a _better_ player than yourself that you will
ever make any real advance in any of the sciences of self-defence.
1864 assault at arms in London
ON Wednesday, 17th Feb., the non-commissioned officers of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards exhibited their skill and prowess in an assault of arms at St. James's Hall. The occasion, which had for its object the benefit of the Soldiers' Daughters' Home, was honoured with the patronage of the Prince of Wales, and of several distinguished military officers. It had been expected that the Prince of Wales would be present in person, and preparations were made for his reception; but a letter from Colonel Teesdale, written by command of His Royal Highness, apprised Colonel de Ros of the Prince's regret that the distance between London and St. Leonard's did not allow the journey's being made so as to enable him to return in anything like convenient time. So great had been the desire, both within and without the hall, to see the Prince, that lines of carriages and crowds of people extended along Regent Street, while half the actual spectators of the assault of arms were, for a time, dividing their attention between the fencing bouts on the platform and the sumptuous Aubusson carpet and crimson silk fauteuils, which Mr. Nosotti, the decoratist, had arranged for His Royal Highness and suite.
Amongst those present were the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Cardigan, the Earl of Longford, Lord Colville, General Brotherton, General Laurenson, Colonel the Hon. Dudley de Ros, Colonel the Earl and Countess of Mount Charles, Colonel Vyse, Colonel Marshall, Colonel Bailey, Colonel Hogg, Mr. Augustus Lumley, &c. The proceedings commenced by the performance of an overture by the bands of the 1st and 2nd Life Guards, which was followed by a display of various sword exercises, comprising single-stick, fencing, cavalry sword exercises, a contest between the sword and the small sword and the bayonet, and with sabres. Every man who appeared on the platform displayed a thorough knowledge of the use of his weapon, and the fencing of different kinds exhibited in the men a very great amount of skill. The assault was commenced by Corporal Dean, 1st Life Guards, and Corporal Howe, 2nd Life Guards, with the single-stick. Both men set to work with admirable skill, fencing so cleverly as to parry each other's blows for some minutes. But before time was called it was difficult to say which had the advantage; but Howe at this moment leaving an opening Dean planted a smart blow on the casque, which brought down thunders of applause. Corporal Butt, 2nd Life Guards, and Corporal Cornish, 1st Life Guards, next came on the platform with the foils, and fenced with so much judgment, that at the close of the bout their merits were pronounced equal. Corporal-Major Waite, 2nd Life Guards, now met Corporal-Major St. John, 1st Life Guards. These two men evinced the highest possible skill, Corporal-Major St. John at length overcoming his antagonist, and retiring amidst loud applause. The old English science of boxing with gloves was next illustrated by Corporal Butt and Trooper Ottoway, both of the 2nd Life Guards. These men fought with great science, and were frequently encouraged with rounds of applause, which became more clamorous as the gallant fellows closed, and with simulated anger got each other's heads "into chancery." When they retired the shouts of "encore" were so loud as to oblige them to return to the stage and give another round. Cavalry sword exercise was next exhibited by Corporal-Major Armstrong, 1st Life Guards, Corporal-Major Wake, 2nd Life Guards, and Corporal-Major Priestly, Royal Horse Guards; after which a conflict with the bayonet and sabre was illustrated by Corporal-Major Adcock, 1st Life Guards, and Corporal Butt, 2nd Life Guards. The relative qualities of both arms were admirably shown by these men, and it was very difficult for the non-professional spectator to decide to which the advantage belonged. A second set-to with gloves, by Corporal-Major Learmont, Royal Horse Guards, and Corporal Cornish, 1st Life Guards, gave agreeable variety to the entertainment; the combatants in this instance opposing each other with so much determination that when they left the platform both men bore evidences of the punishment they had received. Some curious feats of swordsmanship followed, in which Corporal-Major St. John, 1st Life Guards, severed a sheep's carcase at a single cut, and Corporal-Major Waite, 2nd Life Guards, cut a bar of lead apparently with the same facility. Captain Chapman, the best amateur fencer in London, displayed his skill in a bout with Corporal-Major Waite, 2nd Life Guards, which although prolonged for more than a quarter of an hour, gave the highest satisfaction to the spectators. All the single-stick play, from first to last, was admirable. The boxing, good as it was, might have been better if the stage had been roped in. As it was, the men were compelled to exercise a caution which put a certain check upon their vigour. But, spite of drawbacks, the boxing was decidedly the most popular part of the proceedings. The ladies laughed and applauded, with scarcely the concealment which should have attended the snatching so very fearful a joy. Seeing that their fair friends were unmistakably pleased with le boxe, the male spectators redemanded one of the matches, so that Corporal Butt and Trooper Ottoway had to set-to twice. Corporal-Major St. John and Corporal-Major Waite, who bore each of them a heavy share of the day's exertions, performed the sword feats of severing the carcase of a sheep at a single blow, chopping through bars of lead, and cutting silk handkerchiefs and ribbons into pieces. The "Napier feat"—so-called from Sir Charles Napier having once borne a passive part in it—was also accomplished by Corporal-Major Waite. This seemingly perilous trick consists in cutting-an apple in half on the palm of a man's hand, by a downward stroke of a sabre. The same accomplished swordsman likewise performed the more surprising feat of dividing an apple wrapped in a handkerchief without injuring the latter.
As an exhibition demonstrating the strength, expertness, courage, hardiness, and presence of mind, cultivated to a very high extent in our army, this assault of arms must have gratified everybody who witnessed it; and the pleasure thus caused will be multiplied tenfold by the knowledge that the funds of a patriotic institution have received considerable benefit.
Let me illustrate my position. I remember well, at Waite's rooms, in
Brewer Street, seeing a big Belgian engaged with a gentleman who at that
time occupied the honourable position of chopping-block to the rooms.
The Belgian had come over to take part in some competition, and was an
incomparably better player than the Englishman, but then the Belgian
wished to play according to the rules of his own school. It was arranged
at last that each should do his worst in his own way, and it was hoped
that Providence would take care of the better man.
Unfortunately the worse man of the two had been very much in the habit
of taking care of himself when subjected to the attacks of such
punishing players as Ottaway and Mr. Jack Angle.
The Belgian's legs had been protected by a rule of fence, which made it
illegal to hit below the waist, or some such point, and now naturally
they fell an easy prey to the Englishman's ash-plant. The result was, of
course, that in a very short time that Belgian's thigh was so wealed
that at every feint in that direction he was ready to be drawn, and to
uncover head or arm or any well-padded spot, not already sore, to the
other man's attack.
Captain Chapman, the best amateur fencer in London, displayed his skill in a bout with Corporal-Major Waite, 2nd Life Guards, which although prolonged for more than a quarter of an hour, gave the highest satisfaction to the spectators.
admin wrote:I have an enlarged version of that to publish at some point.
Unfortunately the online archive I was using for research has now become a closed resource open only to academic institutions and paying companies, which is rather annoying considering that it is provided by the British Library and my taxes pay all their staff and heating bills!
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