This is from Matthew J. O'Rourkes A New System of Sword Exercise, with a manual of the sword for Officer (1872)
In making the cuts, care should be taken to extend the arm, to keep the thumb on the back of the grip, to keep the hand well in front of the centre of the body, and fix your eyes* steadily on those of your opponent.
*many authors lay down the rule that their pupils shall "glance" at the part of the person they intend to direct a cut or point. The absurdity of this must be apparent to the merest tyro. To do this would be equivalent to giving a verbal notification to guard a certain place, and would would be utterly opposed to the vital principles underlying the entire practice. The great aim of those which desire to excel as swordsmen should b to so far disconnect th hand from the eye that the muscular movement of the one will have no perceptible effect on the other. This can only be acquired by long practice, and so great is the advantage to be derived from it that when swordsmanship was at its zenith , and the first gentlemen the world staked their lives in the skull and dexterity with which they could wield their swords, it was deemed the very acme of the art to be able to deliver a "pass" without any movement of the eyes.
6 months ago