One of my favorite fencer-researchers is Russ Mitchell–he’s good people. He seems to collect good people around him too. This is an important piece on some of the issues female fencers face with regard to using sources written at a time that assumed only men (usually only men…) were using swords.
I would extend what they share here to a broader demographic, meaning, that all people whatever their sex or gender inhabit different bodies and may need to adjust what a manual or treatise suggests in order to use a technique, move, or make an action correctly. Spirit of the law in this sense means more than letter of the law–if slavish attention to a source means one can’t use the system effectively, then it makes sense to make the small adjustments one must in order to use that system.
For example, for those with larger chests (regardless of sex or gender), some of the actions where one must bring the weapon across the body can be difficult, so using more of the core to turn makes sense. Likewise, the en garde stance which demands heels in alignment doesn’t work as well for some with wider hips–keeping the rear foot a bit off-line to the inside and turning slightly more forward (provided decent footwork and a sense of a measure) is a simple solution.
P.S. Thank you Russ for the correction–my apologies to Kat for misspelling the name.