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Andrew Maxwell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 11:47 am    Post subject: German Longsword Q&A         Reply with quote

This thread was suggested in the SCA thread; no-one else has done it so I thought I would. Hopefully we can iron out which parts of the art are actually in dispute and which are just miscommunication Big Grin

Of course, my motives aren't entirely altruistic here- I want to know all your moves in case I have to fight you for supplies after the zombie apocalypse Wink

Anyway, my first question: Which primary cutting mechanic are you using and why? There are two that I know of being used at the moment- the "standard" arcing cut and the right-cross-with-bottom-hand-torque straight cut- which have you found better in freeplay/test cutting? How great do you find the difference?

Any and all answers appreciated- the more disparate answers the better Happy

cheers
Andy
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Jesse Eaton





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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

[Hopefully we can iron out which parts of the art are actually in dispute and which are just miscommunication]

Okay, lets start here what do you mean by 'the "standard" arcing cut' and "the right-cross-with-bottom-hand-torque straight cut"

I think you are reffering to ober hau and zorn hau? Ober hau is strait down from vom tag and zorn hau is angled from vom tag. Is that what you mean though?

First things first when discussing anything technical is defining your terms. The discussion will be a whole lot more productive if you start there. I'm interested in the question, so please do define your terms, I'd love to be part of the discussion Happy
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Andrew Maxwell




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I guess this is the first misunderstanding right there Happy

I'm not actually talking about a different (named) cut per se, but actually a different mechanic for all cuts (all the Meisterhau etc.)

The first type of cut is the one I've seen used the most, If we take vom tag as the starting point and use zornhau as an example: the arms straighten and the hands describe a smooth elongated curve from vertical to horizontal, the tip of the sword describes a continuous arc and travels through langen ort to alber/nebenhut etc. Arms, hands and sword are describing an arc, this is what I refer to as the "standard" cut.

The second cutting mechanic is one that AFAIK has been used only much more recently (in the HEMA reconstruction world): From vom tag again, the right hand moves straight forward from the shoulder (as though throwing a right cross) with the tip of the blade describing a straight line as it moves, angling forward throughout the movement but not arcing; towards the end of the cut the bottom hand is lifted to torque the sword around it's COG, with the tip of the sword only describing an arc during this last part of the movement.

The second is (or seems to be) faster and within a tighter frame; it is imo harder to read as all of the meisterhau look the same until the last part of the movement. OTOH, it only has power to langen ort, not through a full cut. There has been some disagreement as to whether it is effective and in what situations and whether it was historical- that is what I was asking for opinions on Big Grin

edit: Sorry if that explanation isn't terribly clear, if I get time I'll knock up a diagram to show what I mean Happy
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Max W.




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's about the pulled hew with angled arms VS a pushed lashing hew ending in Langort with arms stretched out.

We call it gezogener Hau/gedrückter Hau over here: pulled/pushed hew since performing the former one your hands travel the target line earlier than your blade, as though pulling it through the cut. While doing the latter one hands and point are linear to the target after you pushed the point forward in a snapping motion.

The question if and when the slicing motion of the pulled one or the sharp impact of the pushed one is to be preferred, i'll leave to others Wink
Since they both have tactical ad- and disadvantages the discussion might get fuzzy.

But thats actually a thing i want to try on tatami someday. I never saw anyone -snapping- it through yet, respectively showing off it's damaging potential.
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Andrew Maxwell




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max W. wrote:

But thats actually a thing i want to try on tatami someday. I never saw anyone -snapping- it through yet, respectively showing off it's damaging potential.


I haven't tried it with sharps yet either, though a few people I know of (such as Michael Chidester) can by all accounts cut quite well using that technique.
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 5:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max W. wrote:
It's about the pulled hew with angled arms VS a pushed lashing hew ending in Langort with arms stretched out.

We call it gezogener Hau/gedrückter Hau over here: pulled/pushed hew since performing the former one your hands travel the target line earlier than your blade, as though pulling it through the cut. While doing the latter one hands and point are linear to the target after you pushed the point forward in a snapping motion.

The question if and when the slicing motion of the pulled one or the sharp impact of the pushed one is to be preferred, i'll leave to others Wink Since they both have tactical ad- and disadvantages the discussion might get fuzzy.

But thats actually a thing i want to try on tatami someday. I never saw anyone -snapping- it through yet, respectively showing off it's damaging potential.


Hallo allerseits!

Max, I could kiss you as you just covered a major misunderstanding with some of the American practitioners of the Liechtenauer system.

To me the Three Wounders ( Drei Wunder) are simply Hacking (Hauen), Thrusting (Stechen) and Cutting (Abschneiden).

A blow can be delivered with a percussive strike as a Hauen, or in a slicing motion as Abschneiden. While Hauen would not cut a man in half like a good draw cut, I'm still certain that it will do damage...

damage that could effect the following movements in a sword fight.

A Zwerchhau is a percussive strike, yet with a sharp sword I'm pretty sure if delivered at speed with force, brain matter would be released to the open air in a period life and death struggle.

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 6:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Max W. wrote:
It's about the pulled hew with angled arms VS a pushed lashing hew ending in Langort with arms stretched out.

We call it gezogener Hau/gedrückter Hau over here: pulled/pushed hew since performing the former one your hands travel the target line earlier than your blade, as though pulling it through the cut. While doing the latter one hands and point are linear to the target after you pushed the point forward in a snapping motion.

The question if and when the slicing motion of the pulled one or the sharp impact of the pushed one is to be preferred, i'll leave to others Wink
Since they both have tactical ad- and disadvantages the discussion might get fuzzy.

But thats actually a thing i want to try on tatami someday. I never saw anyone -snapping- it through yet, respectively showing off it's damaging potential.


That's a good way to sum it up.

I too never saw anyone cut with the push pull cut, and I can't do it myself. The best person I know at the push/pull can only get through half a mat, and he is leagues above 99.99% of the WMA community at doing that cut.

I've seen other people try to cut with that cut, but their bodies take over and they do the arcing cut instead. This is exactly what happens to me whenever I try it. If I bear down and force myself to use that mechanic, all I can do is bite into a mat. Since cutting a single tatami is much easier than cutting through several layers of linen and wool (medieval clothing), this tells me it’s just not good enough.

Now if some ubermensch comes along and cuts with that cut, does that mean it's a good cut? No. Not unless anyone can do it with some training and practice, just as anyone can cut with the arcing cut. Otherwise it’s just a great feat of skill and power.

In the end, to me it's about probabilities. Think of a bad feint--you throw an oberhau against some guy in vom tag, then stop it, come up to the other side and strike. It's a very bad feint; the reaction you're drawing with the oberhau is the zornhau ort, or some other single time counter. So even if you complete your attack, you're probably going to die. If you don't, you're going to die anyway, since there will be nothing stopping his point from going right to your face. That’s theory, but in practice this kind of feint works quite well, at least in free play. It works because people make mistakes, and they do so very often. Yet this feint is not described in the texts (at least not the Liechtenauer texts). A proper feint, such as a pulled zwerchhau, calls for a reaction that is not threatening to the attacker.

So if it works, and works well, why not use it? Why is it not in the texts? I think it's because of probability. It may work, but it may not. So why teach someone a technique that may or may not work?

It's the same with the pull/push cut. It may incapacitate your opponent, it may not. Why use a technique that may or may not work whenever it works? Meaning even if you hit, you may or may not do anything except make the guy go "ouch".

If I hit someone with a proper arcing cut, he's going down, no two ways about it. It an arm gets in the way, that arm is coming off. This, to me, is the virtue of that cutting mechanic.

David Teague wrote:

To me the Three Wounders ( Drei Wunder) are simply Hacking (Hauen), Thrusting (Stechen) and Cutting (Abschneiden).

A blow can be delivered with a percussive strike as a Hauen, or in a slicing motion as Abschneiden. While Hauen would not cut a man in half like a good draw cut, I'm still certain that it will do damage...


My read of the sources does not support that interpretation. The slice (abschneiden) is described quite well, and is not a draw cut. A cut, draw or otherwise, is hauen, such as what we are told to do from both wide measure and close measure to take the vorschlaag. A slice, as described in the texts, is, for example, when you fall on someone's hands in a bind, and press up or down. This has nothing to do with striking from wide measure. The term schnitt is never used to describe a strike from wide measure.

Quote:
A Zwerchhau is a percussive strike, yet with a sharp sword I'm pretty sure if delivered at speed with force, brain matter would be released to the open air in a period life and death struggle.


A zwerchhau can be a percussive strike, but it doesn't have to be, and in my opinion should not be. I can cut tatami with a zwerchhau, and I could not do so if I was doing it as a percussive strike.

That’s my take, at least. Happy

For those who have not yet seen it, this me cutting with the "arc" cut: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2ahRiSHi0E

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Last edited by Michael Edelson on Sun 22 Nov, 2009 6:54 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, and since we in HEMA are in the habit of backing up our assumptions with textual evidence, note the Talhoffer plate I used in the opening of the video, where the fencer on the left severs the head of the fencer on the right.

Note how his hands are low. This is not the terminus of a point first push pull percussive strike. That is an "arcing" cut, clear as day.

I am referring to the 1459 Talhoffer, plate 158, which you can also see here on page 156 (first plate on left):


http://www.kb.dk/da/nb/materialer/haandskrift...2_290.html

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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And here I thought we worked this out on the phone...

Let me edit this from "To me the Three Wounders ( Drei Wunder) are simply Hacking (Hauen), Thrusting (Stechen) and Cutting (Abschneiden).

A blow can be delivered with a percussive strike as a Hauen, or in a slicing motion as Abschneiden. While Hauen would not cut a man in half like a good draw cut, I'm still certain that it will do damage..."

To: To me the Three Wounders ( Drei Wunder) are simply Hacking (Hauen), Thrusting (Stechen) and Cutting (Abschneiden).

A blow can be delivered with a percussive strike as a Hauen, or with a slicing motion. While Hauen would not cut a man in half like a good draw cut, I'm still certain that it will do damage...

Happy Now?

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:

Happy Now?


No. Happy

I am not happy because you seem to be saying the "slice" is an attack from wide measure, a different way to attack than a "strike". As in it is an oberhau, unterhau, whatever, such as would be used from wide measure to strike the vorschlaag, or in close measure (aka krieg) to strike follow up blows, but done with a drawing or slicing action.

Is that about right?

If so, the texts do not support this. The slice, schnitt, has a specific description in techniques such as slicing to the hands or neck from close measure. Never, ever, from wide measure.

For example, from Von Danzig:
Quote:
Note, there are four slicing cuts (Schnitts), two from below and two from above. Do it like this: If he runs at you, raises his arms up and wants to overwhelm you on your left side, then wind your sword and fall on his arm under his hilt with your long edge with crossed hands and press upward with the cut. If he runs at you however to your right side, then fall on his arm with the short edge and press it upward like before.


Since we are talking about how to enter measure with a cut, this is simply not applicable.

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Mark Millman





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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 7:11 pm    Post subject: Re: German Longsword Q&A         Reply with quote

Dear Mr. Grandy,

On Sunday 22 November 2009, in another thread, you wrote:
Bill Tsafa wrote:
Bill, I have been trying to find this in Meyer with no luck. I find references to Meyer's Zwechhau, but nothing about using the short edge when cutting to the left. Can you provide me with link to the translation you looked at. This cut is of great interest to me.



I don't have a link, as I'm not aware of a transcription or translation online. But if you read through the first technique section on the oberhut/vom tag, you'll find it at least twice, if not more times.

I'm very interested in this question, but I'm afraid that, like Mr. Tsafa, I'm having some trouble finding the reference in Meyer. I'm using Jeffrey Forgeng's The Art of Combat and, if I understand you correctly, the section to which you refer should fall on pp. 76-78. In device 1.33r.1 on p. 77, the text describes a Running Off--in which the false edge leads the action--in a Thwart by the adversary's right ear, but it reads to me as though this is a true-edge Thwart which is removed before contact by means of the Running Off. There are a couple of instructions to cut with crossed arms, using the false edge, at the adversary's right ear (e.g., in 1.31v.1 and 1.32r.2), but it's not clear that these are Thwart Cuts, as it appears to be possible to make diagonally descending false-edge cuts from both sides in Meyer's system.

This may be a difference in interpretation, and if so, I don't suppose there's much we can do to resolve the apparent discrepancy. But if it's not, I'm missing a technique that should be in my repertoire, and I'd like some guidance.

Best,

Mark Millman
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Andrew Maxwell




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
It's the same with the pull/push cut. It may incapacitate your opponent, it may not. Why use a technique that may or may not work whenever it works? Meaning even if you hit, you may or may not do anything except make the guy go "ouch".

If I hit someone with a proper arcing cut, he's going down, no two ways about it. It an arm gets in the way, that arm is coming off. This, to me, is the virtue of that cutting mechanic.


Hi Michael,

I have also found the push/pull cut (useful to have a name for it Happy ) to be seemingly less powerful, though as I said I haven't had a chance to try it with sharps and I have only tried using that technique quite recently, so those may be mitigating factors. To play devil's advocate for a minute though, the push/pull cut is definitely more powerful than some other moves in my repetoire- such as the standard duplieren cut from a bind. If that duplieren cut (which I don't think you can improve the power of, given the limited space) can wound or kill, surely the push/pull cut can too?
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Andrew Maxwell wrote:
Michael Edelson wrote:
It's the same with the pull/push cut. It may incapacitate your opponent, it may not. Why use a technique that may or may not work whenever it works? Meaning even if you hit, you may or may not do anything except make the guy go "ouch".

If I hit someone with a proper arcing cut, he's going down, no two ways about it. It an arm gets in the way, that arm is coming off. This, to me, is the virtue of that cutting mechanic.


Hi Michael,

I have also found the push/pull cut (useful to have a name for it Happy ) to be seemingly less powerful, though as I said I haven't had a chance to try it with sharps and I have only tried using that technique quite recently, so those may be mitigating factors. To play devil's advocate for a minute though, the push/pull cut is definitely more powerful than some other moves in my repetoire- such as the standard duplieren cut from a bind. If that duplieren cut (which I don't think you can improve the power of, given the limited space) can wound or kill, surely the push/pull cut can too?



Hi Andrew,

It's not that I think the push/pull cut is less powerful. It is plenty powerful, if you work on body mechanics and know how to strike with the power of the entire body. It's that it by it's very nature prevents that power from being used in the cut. Swords cut best when the edge is pulled along the target. If you hack into a target without any pulling motion, you are giving up a lot of what makes a cut.

Your question about duplieren is an excellent one. To me the answer is that duplieren is not a fight ender, it strikes the head with only enough power to momentarily stun the opponent, setting up either a schintt or a takedown. When you double, you have control of your opponent's sword, thus creating safety for yourself. When you strike, you have no such control.

Let me play devil's advocate in return.

The big objection to "arcing" cuts is that you are more vulnerable to being cut as you come in. The most popular objection being that you can get hit in the hands because you lead with the hilt.

My devil's advocate response is two fold.

First...

Ask yourself this question...do you think coming in straight with the point makes you less or more vulnerable to being hit in the hands with a krumphau?

Your attack is much more linear. Not your footwork, but your attack. The mechanic of the push/pull cut comes straight in like a punch. This is not difficult to void with a sidestep, as it's trajectory is linear, and the hands are coming straight in. The krumphau strike to the hands relies partially on such a void.

An arcing cut tracks easier; since the hilt comes first, you have more time to adjust the blade, making a void more difficult. Also, because the arcing cut comes from above with the cross above the hands for much of it's "flight", the cross offers some protection from krumphau.

Second...

While an arcing, hilt first, cut from above may be less vulnerable to a hand strike from above (krumphau), it is more vulnerable to a hand strike from below.

Ask youself why there no such attack (hand strike from below) in the German system.

The system exploits tons of mistakes--cocking your sword back in measure, striking the sword and not the man, bad parries,etc.--so if it is a mistake to come in hilt first, why is this not exploited in the texts?

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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 10:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
The system exploits tons of mistakes--cocking your sword back in measure, striking the sword and not the man, bad parries,etc.--so if it is a mistake to come in hilt first, why is this not exploited in the texts?


Hello Michael,

I think there is: The Krumphau to the hands. I have found that it works superbly against someone who comes in hands first because he is not truly threatening me before I void and start to cut.

I like the push-pull cut, as you call it. Can you whack through layers of tatami? Perhaps not. Can you hack through a heavy woolen doublet? I have yet to see evidence one way or another. But can you hack *into* a head, or into an exposed forearm or into a bare neck? Absolutely. As you know, I don't do test cutting, but my students are quite vocal about the power of this type of cut when it hits them on the mask. You don't need to cut off a head or cut through a body to kill, you only need to cut into it. In my opinion, and I say this with great respect, your test cutting video shows you and your people cutting well past the target, which means that had you missed (some thing that happens in real fights all the time), your sword would be far out to your side and slow to respond to your opponent's attack. Moreover, your point should stop very close to on line--close enough that you can re-orient your point toward your opponent as per the instructions in Hs 3227a to always direct your point at your opponent:

"If you hit or miss, always search for the openings, in all teachings turn the point to the openings. He who strikes widely around, he will often become seriously shamed." (Hs 3227a fol. 23r)

"No matter how you fence always aim the point at the opponent’s face or breast, then he will always have to worry that you will be faster since you will have a shorter way to go in to him than he has to you." (Hs 3227a fol. 24r)

It seems clear that by swinging so far past your target (and remember, if you miss, you will go even farther out than you are in the video) then you are "striking widely around" as the master says, and you are not "turning the point to the openings" or aiming "the point to the opponent's face or breast".

Regards,
Hugh
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2009 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Hugh,

For why I think krumphau is not specific to an arcing cut, see my explanation in the post above. I will only add that we practice both mechanics in NYHFA and I have an easier time krumping someone who is coming at me with a point first push pull cut than I do someone coming in hilt first. Even so, which type one finds it easier to krump will likely vary with the individual, reinforcing the point that it really doesn't matter.

The discussion about full cuts vs. cuts to langeort has been ongoing in the SCA thread and I have no wish to repeat the details provided by myself and Bill Grandy, but sufice it to say every two handed sword system uses full cuts some of the time (ie cuts to lower wards such as wechselhut, alber or even nebenhut). The evidence for these cuts is plentiful, and some of it was provided in the SCA thread. You can search for it if you wish. To semi-quote Bill Grandy, if you say that full cuts are wrong, you are saying that every two handed sword system in the world is wrong.

I am not disputing that you should strike to langenort when appropriate, and it can be done with a push pull or an arcing cut. I can do so with either mechanic with equal ease. But there are also times when a full cut is appropriate, and there is, as I said above, a lot of textual and pictorial evidence for this.

Your suggestion that you do not need to cut, in my opinion, limits your choice of targets. If you strike the head, you can aim for langenort, because you do not need to cut the head to take someone down. But if you can't cut, you are limited to the head and exposed fleash, which on a medieval man is only his hands and neck. You say you have no evidence for whether the push pull can cut through a linen lined doublet and linen undershirt and perhaps a linen lined wool coat, well, it's not hard to get some. Get the fabrics, put them over a target and cut them. I have done this, and I know exactly what happens when you hit such a target, which is why I cut the way I do.

Also,respectfully, I find your analysis of our cutting to be inaccurate. When it is necessary to cut, you must cut past your target, or you will not cut. My full cuts end in the same place, hit or miss. There is nothing "wildly around" about them. Furthermore, you have to understand the context of what I am simulating in those videos. If I was simulating a vorschlaag to the head, I could do so with a blunt sword and a watermellon.

I'd also like to suggest, again respectfully, that you try cutting. Cutting teaches you many things. If you do not cut, you cannot truly understand how swords work, leaving you with blunt swords and other simulators on which to base your body mechanics.

P.S. Hilt first or point first? Which does this look like? (oberhau on left, unterhau on right, both shown in progress)


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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2009 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
The discussion about full cuts vs. cuts to langeort has been ongoing in the SCA thread and I have no wish to repeat the details provided by myself and Bill Grandy, but sufice it to say every two handed sword system uses full cuts some of the time (ie cuts to lower wards such as wechselhut, alber or even nebenhut). The evidence for these cuts is plentiful, and some of it was provided in the SCA thread. You can search for it if you wish. To semi-quote Bill Grandy, if you say that full cuts are wrong, you are saying that every two handed sword system in the world is wrong.

I am not disputing that you should strike to langenort when appropriate, and it can be done with a push pull or an arcing cut. I can do so with either mechanic with equal ease. But there are also times when a full cut is appropriate, and there is, as I said above, a lot of textual and pictorial evidence for this.

Your suggestion that you do not need to cut, in my opinion, limits your choice of targets. If you strike the head, you can aim for langenort, because you do not need to cut the head to take someone down. But if you can't cut, you are limited to the head and exposed fleash, which on a medieval man is only his hands and neck. You say you have no evidence for whether the push pull can cut through a linen lined doublet and linen undershirt and perhaps a linen lined wool coat, well, it's not hard to get some. Get the fabrics, put them over a target and cut them. I have done this, and I know exactly what happens when you hit such a target, which is why I cut the way I do.

Also,respectfully, I find your analysis of our cutting to be inaccurate. When it is necessary to cut, you must cut past your target, or you will not cut. My full cuts end in the same place, hit or miss. There is nothing "wildly around" about them. Furthermore, you have to understand the context of what I am simulating in those videos. If I was simulating a vorschlaag to the head, I could do so with a blunt sword and a watermellon.

I'd also like to suggest, again respectfully, that you try cutting. Cutting teaches you many things. If you do not cut, you cannot truly understand how swords work, leaving you with blunt swords and other simulators on which to base your body mechanics.

P.S. Hilt first or point first? Which does this look like? (oberhau on left, unterhau on right, both shown in progress)



Hi Michael,

First, let me respond about the Talhoffer picture: I don't know what that picture shows. I doubt it shows a Liechtenauer interpretation, however, because if it did the Unterhau would end in an Upper Hengen, as Döbringer tells us. He says that the Oberhau and Unterhau are the base attacks of the system and "from them you come into the four hangings" (Hs 3227a fol. 24r), which would, as I suggested earlier, put the point on target. As for the Oberhau, that picture may well show vom Tag prior to a cut--after all, the right leg is still back. Unfortunately, Talhoffer is simply tough to call.

As for Bill's quote, I have less than zero interest in digging through the SCA thread, but proving that system A does a cut one way is no proof system B does so. But Döbringer's words that the base cuts take you into the four Hengen, that is, that they're not wide and that they end up with your point aimed at your opponent, is pretty telling.

As for my analysis of your cutting, it's not my criticism you have to address, it's Döbringer (we know it's not really him, I just use the name for convenience). You *are* showing wide cuts--what else could he mean by "striking wildy around" than this? You *aren't* ending up in one of the Hengen, and you're not ending up with your point threatening your opponent. Since we are clearly told to do all of that, I fail to see how it's possible to take this any other way.

As for cutting to the body, I have to say I'm confused about this: Have you read Meyer? He says something I find interesting and very telling. He talks about the diagram in his book showing how to divide the body into quarters, then he says:
"And although these four parts of the combatant would be enough, according to the use of German combatants of former days, who allowed thrusting as well as cutting, nonetheless with us Germans nowadays, and especially in the handwork with the winding, are made mostly and chiefly to the head..." (Forgeng 2006 p. 51)

You know what that sounds like to me? It sounds like he's saying there's little point in cutting at the lower quarters (presumably because of the clothing), and that breakdown was only useful because in former days, when thrusting was allowed, they could attack them, but since he relies only on cuts now, he thinks head cuts are more important.

Do I think this is proof? Absolutely not, but it is interesting. I can't seem to find any cuts in Ringeck aimed toward the lower openings: I just did a search of his entire longsword text, and every single time he directs *us* to attack the lower opening, it's with a thrust, not a cut (he does tell us what to do if someone else cuts at our lower openings, however). There is a cut to Pflug in the plays of the Zwerchhau, but that's a feint. Please don't take my words here as more definite than I mean them to be: This is a new idea I've been toying around with, and is not fully developed yet, and clearly more reasearch is called for. It would explain why there are so few instructions to cut at the lower opening, however.

So while I can't say that you're *never* supposed to use a wide cut (you do when you move down into Nebenhut to trick your opponent into attacking, for example), I have yet to see any compelling reason to do so *most* of the time.

Oh, and as for test cutting? What makes you think I haven't done it? You may not be aware that I come from a Japanese sword background, and while test cutting was forbidden as being a modern, flash activity not suited for real swordsmanship, some of my fellow students and I were young and stupid and rebellious, and we had to know what cutting was like, so we did it all the time until we got yelled at for doing huge, wide cuts in class like students of the modern-era sword schools (there was no HEMA way back then). Thank heavens I'm not longer that young. So I know perfectly well how to test cut and what it feels like, and now I know how unnecessary it is, and how it teaches you bad habits like overcutting.

By he way, I wanted to tell you that your sword is just *lovely*. I handled one of those that one of my students had, and it's magnificent.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
Joined: 25 Jan 2004

Posts: 409

PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2009 1:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
David Teague wrote:

Happy Now?


No. Happy

I am not happy because you seem to be saying the "slice" is an attack from wide measure, a different way to attack than a "strike". As in it is an oberhau, unterhau, whatever, such as would be used from wide measure to strike the vorschlaag, or in close measure (aka krieg) to strike follow up blows, but done with a drawing or slicing action.

Is that about right?


Well...

No.

I look at thing now as small frame or large frame. Large frame generally makes use of the "large" push pull attack and small frame is the fast counter from Nach to seize Vor which often uses the more percussive strike .

Odds are favorable that while we are 3359.10 miles apart on the continent we are closer to what each other does in our sword work. Writing styles keep us apart...

or the fact you're wrong Eek!

Just kidding. Razz

I think we should keep from making endless debate on something that we are pretty close on. Happy

Cheers,

DT

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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William Carew




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2009 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:


I think we should keep from making endless debate on something that we are pretty close on. Happy



I suggest drinking beer together instead. Big Grin It won't improve our fencing but it will improve our humour. Laughing Out Loud

Bill Carew
Jogo do Pau Brisbane
COLLEGIUM IN ARMIS
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2009 4:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:

As for cutting to the body, I have to say I'm confused about this: Have you read Meyer? He says something I find interesting and very telling. He talks about the diagram in his book showing how to divide the body into quarters, then he says:
"And although these four parts of the combatant would be enough, according to the use of German combatants of former days, who allowed thrusting as well as cutting, nonetheless with us Germans nowadays, and especially in the handwork with the winding, are made mostly and chiefly to the head..." (Forgeng 2006 p. 51)


Hi Hugh,

I find it odd that you would use Meyer but not Talhoffer. However, intetersting thing about Meyer--he clearly describes two types of cuts. The half cut, ending in langenort, and the full cut, ending in wechselhau. He describes them as being cuts to the center and through the center.

Bill Carew has a nice video showing these cuts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeId43X_ceA

Also, Liechteanauer divides the body into four openings, two upper openings and two lower openings. These are not, last I checked, the bottom of the head and the top of the head on both sides. Happy

Hugh Knight wrote:

First, let me respond about the Talhoffer picture: I don't know what that picture shows. I doubt it shows a Liechtenauer interpretation, however, because if it did the Unterhau would end in an Upper Hengen, as Döbringer tells us. He says that the Oberhau and Unterhau are the base attacks of the system and "from them you come into the four hangings" (Hs 3227a fol. 24r), which would, as I suggested earlier, put the point on target. As for the Oberhau, that picture may well show vom Tag prior to a cut--after all, the right leg is still back. Unfortunately, Talhoffer is simply tough to call.


Dismissing Talhoffer is a hefty price to pay for being true to your interpretation of 3227a, but even so, the lower hangers are not langenort. And if not, why don't you cut into Pflug from the oberhau?

Hugh Knight wrote:

Oh, and as for test cutting? What makes you think I haven't done it?


Well... Happy

Hugh Knight wrote:
As you know, I don't do test cutting,



Hugh Knight wrote:
By he way, I wanted to tell you that your sword is just *lovely*. I handled one of those that one of my students had, and it's magnificent.


Do you mean the Brescia? If so, yes, it is amazing, isn't it? I'm completely in love with the thing. To me, it has no equal, at any price range.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2009 4:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

OK, I'm not coming at it from a specifically German longsword perspective, however there are a few things I'd like to highlight.

First, I don't remember having seen the push-pull straight cut in any other bladed arts. It seems pretty much limited to German longsword. Japanese kenjutsu does not show it as far as I know, in Chinese swordsmanship I haven't seen it either but I'd like to know if someone has seen it used elsewhere... The closest I've seen is in stick-based arts, for example la canne has an attack called the "brisé" which also has an arm motion looking like a straight punch, ending very straight forward. However there is a significant difference, in that the stick rotates around the hand, not its Center of gravity. Also, in the page I link to it is pointed out that when the strike ends with the hand lower and the arm and weapon misaligned, it is called a "sabré" (=sabered), which I take to mean that that should be the method practiced with a blade, though it is not the right one with the stick.

The other kind of cut, which does not need as much torque in the hilt, is more common. I'd call it a whipping mechanic, more than arching. Arching would be extending the arms up and swinging from the shoulder, but you can cut with a far more refined arch too, one that does not open you up so badly. You'll find example of it in nearly every bladed art. It is also easier to perform one-handed, because it's the force imparted on the hilt and not the torque that mainly contributes to the motion. A point of note is that the arc can be made really tight with the hands, even in a line, but in that case the blade lags a bit. Of course nothing prevents you from stopping in long point either, it's a separate problem. With the "whipping" mechanic you have the choice, whereas with the push-pull mechanic it doesn't make much sense to cut through to another guard, since the cutting power is sacrificed anyway.

Making the sword rotate around its CoG in the push-pull cut is robing the cut of some of its power, because in that case the mass of the sword does not really impact the target. Of course it is easier to make the sword pivot around the CoG, and thus quicker too, but the energy transfer to the target is not optimal, and I suspect the power transfer into the sword is not optimal either because the hilt is so fast aligned and the CoG just thrown forward. The attack is fast, that's sure, perhaps even too fast relative to a stepping motion, meaning it converts naturally into a thrust.

Actually, I think that the push-pull cut can be adequately described as a thrust from a point back position. It's pretty much optimal to make this job as no power is wasted taking the CoG off-line. I'll have to try but I think a beginner instructed to thrust from vom tag, for example, would naturally switch to the push-pull mechanic. The cut is a bonus side effect Happy

As for cutting through or stopping in long point, I think both must be practiced since both are obviously described. I would add that a one-handed weapon makes it even harder to cut with significant power and stop dead at longpoint, so if the cutting mechanics must be shared across the weapons of the system, better be prepared to cutting through...

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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