Jéann Daniel L’Ange was fencing master at the Electoral Palatinate court and at the University of Heidelberg. His Deutliche Erlärung der Adelichen und Ritterlichen freyen Fecht-Kunst of 1664 is an independently mastered take on the “Italian manner” of rapier fencing, containing many practical hints and recommendations from L’Ange’s own experiences.
Such as what to keep in mind when selecting a place to fight your opponent…
There are four things you have to pay attention to when you step through the city gates to meet your adversary.
First, pay attention to the sun, and strive to have it in your back, and in your adversary’s eyes, so you have a better shot at injuring him.
Second, look for the hills. If you notice an obstructing hillock, try to jump to your left side and, to regain the advantage and take away his, try to drive the enemy toward it. As it is well known, you can’t defend yourself well downward from an elevation, but you can push the other against it until he’s injured or falls.
Third, look for water, walls, and hedges. Should you find yourself with one of these obstacles in your back, you have to be firmly resolved to save yourself with a jump, and then to drive the adversary into it, which represents a great advantage.
Fourth, pay attention to cobble stones and gravel paths, because these are no good. You have to be careful not to bump into them [with your foot] or trip during a long lunge and be injured as a consequence. Many think that the most convenient location , if you have time to select the place to meet your opponent, is the green meadow. But this isn’t always the case, especially in the afternoon, when the sun has made the grass slick with its rays. Based on my own, manifold experiences, I personally think that a plowed field, or one freshly seeded or harvested, or an even sand field is the best and most comfortable.