It was upon the evening of this memorable Sunday that Sir Everard entered the library, where he narrowly missed surprising our young hero as he went through the guards of the broadsword with the ancient weapon of old Sir Hildebrand, which, being preserved as an heirloom, usually hung over the chimney in the library, beneath a picture of the knight and his horse, where the features were almost entirely hidden by the knight’s profusion of curled hair, and the Bucephalus which he bestrode concealed by the voluminous robes of the Bath with which he was decorated.
Please help me understand correctly the above sentence from Waverley by Sir Walter Scott.
…went through the guards of the broadsword…
Does it mean he put his hand through the guards of the sword, that is he seized it by the hilt? Or simply he examined the guards of the sword without touching them?