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Philibert de la Touche

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Philibert de la Touche
Born 17th century
Nationality French
Notable work(s) Les Vrais Principes de l'Espée Seule (1670)

Treatise - Les Vrais Principes de l'Espée Seule

FIRST PART - Of the knowledge one must have use the Sword properly.

SECOND PART - Of the actions of the single Sword.

Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. "de le prendre au pied levé", which also means to surprise someone on the spot.
  2. TN : "Bottes secrettes", which literally translates as “secret boots” but designates a special and secret maneuver.
  3. NT: grand & petit pas d'Asne, respectively, large & small Donkey's step ; this technical term is left untranslated.
  4. N.T. here Philibert abruptly switches from first, second, third, fourth guard to prime, seconde, tierce, quarte.
  5. N.T.: dégagement
  6. N.T.: battement
  7. N.T.: here, this is distinct from "taking the time" as it specifically refers to striking someone attempting to take the time that was given.
  8. N.T.: "prendre au pied levé" in modern french this expression means: to take someone by surprise or in an inopportune moment.
  9. N.T.: "coup fourré", here refers to the case where both opponents hit and get hit at the same time.
  10. This is a reference to "Le Maître d'Arme Libéral", a treatise from 1653 by Charles Besnard.
  11. N.T. : Estocade de pied ferme - this is the thrust accompanied by a classical lunge, where the back foot stays put.
  12. N.T. : Estocade de passe - thrust accompanied by a lunge where the front foot stays put and the back one projects forward
  13. N.T. : that is, at the beginning of the measure gaining or breaking action.
  14. serait plutot precision ici?
  15. N.T. : the original text mistakenly uses "speed" instead of "precision" here
  16. N.T. : "bon pied & bon oeil" : a saying meaning "to be alert, and in the fullness of one's capabilities
  17. N.T. fencing floors
  18. NT: here the original french uses the word “où“, meaning “where”, but I judged that it was a mistake for “ou” meaning “or”, which makes much more sense
  19. N.T: the point of the ennemy
  20. N.T. : the French word here, "hardie", may also mean bold or daring.
  21. N.T. : here there may be a missing punctuation mark.
  22. NdT : peut-etre plutot 8eme Planche "Garde de Seconde la pointe basse ou bien croisement d'Espée"
  23. N.T : the figure here would rather be the 8th : "Guard of seconde with the point low or Sword crossing".
  24. N.T. : 32.5 to 38cm, presuming a 2.707cm-long inch at the time in France, keeping in mind that ancient measuring units are always a headache. Here for instance: before 1668 there was an inch that was 2.722cm-long. Is Philibert using the older measuring unit (which he has known for most of his life), or using the more recent measured instituted by Colbert?
  25. N.T.: here I use a neologism to translate "esquivement" (esquive corresponding to dodge).
  26. N.T. : here I keep the original French term, which translates literally to boot, but originally designates any thrusts and here denotes a special technique, a gambit.
  27. N.T. : this is the modern fencing term; Philibert uses the term "reprise" (literally "retake" or "remake") but it has taken another meaning in modern fencing.
  28. N.T. : here again I keep the original French term, which translates literally to boot, but originally designates any thrusts but here denotes a special technique, a gambit.
  29. N.T.: faux-montant
  30. N.T.: descendant or fendant
  31. N.T.: literally right hand, its name connects to the mandritto of other systems, although it is not entirely the same thing.
  32. N.T.: taille ronde
  33. N.T. : a reference to a famous XVIth century duel