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Matt J




Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 18 Aug 2015

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PostPosted: Thu 27 Aug, 2015 5:49 pm    Post subject: longsword techniques         Reply with quote

I am trying to find a list of longsword techniques. I know there are differences between the many manuals, but is there anywhere with a good list of the different techniques. Like wards, mordhau, krumphau, etc. I only know a select few. Im not interested in practicing them, I want to know the names so I can research them.

The manuals are long and complicated, im hoping for help narrowing my search.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 27 Aug, 2015 7:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you read our German Longsword article?
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Matt J




Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 18 Aug 2015

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu 27 Aug, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have not, thank you! I have no idea how I missed that.

Is this generally a solid idea of what longsword fighting is, or just the tip of the iceberg?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 27 Aug, 2015 9:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The German Long Sword article is a pretty good start. What's crucial to realize, though, is that a lot of the key actions of fighting occur after the opponent displaces your blow--or you displace his--creating a bind with the swords crossed. Depending upon how strong or weak the opponent's position is at the bind, you must immediately drive a short attack to the nearest opening, whether with a thrust, a strike, or slice, (or some other technique). So, in addition to knowing the funff hau (Zornhau, Krumphau, Zwerchhau, Schielhau, Scheitelhau), you need to have some sense of what actions you can do when a bind has occurred. The actions you can easily do from a bind with a Zornhau are not necessarily identical to the actions you can easily do from a bind with a Zwerchhau. Learning these strikes, and their appropriate follow up actions, are necessary if you want to know about the long sword.

While you can fence pretty well just by being able to masterfully deliver the funff hau and their follow-up actions from the bind, they do not represent the entirety of Liechtenauer’s art. There are seventeen techniques in all that make up the core of what Liechtenauer teaches, and these are the hauptstücke. You can see a list of them there: https://grauenwolf.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/liechtenauer-notes-on-l43-50-the-17-techniques/. Obviously, this is just a list of the techniques; to see how they are applied, you need to read one of the manuals.

I recommend using the so-called “Peter von Danzig” manual (the Rome copy), or Sigmund Ringeck’s glosses on Liechtenauer’s teachings. They follow the hauptstücke and provide good glosses on each of these core techniques.
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Matt J




Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 18 Aug 2015

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu 27 Aug, 2015 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will revisit Danzig and Ringeck.

Also, I wanted to make a note about The German Longsword Call to Arms section. It is amazing, truly. But there is one thing I'd like to add.

When talking about half swording, you refer to holding the blade so that the thumbs on each hand face each other. The word for this is "Pronated Grip." Big Grin

I couldn't post a photo, so here is a quick link.

http://www.crossfit1080.com/2014/08/supinated...ated-grip/

The dead lift "Inverted Grip" is the closest thing to the usual way you would hold a sword.

http://www.crossfitwest.com/wp-content/upload...00x599.jpg

Also, note, I am not advocating Crossfit or the content of these links, just the photo.
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Herbert Schmidt




Location: Austria / Europe
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 12:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are also quite a few books that cover this, including mine.
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Historical European Martial Arts
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Jeff Kaisla




Location: Qualicum Beach, B.C., Canada
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 7:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Richard Marsdens site has the Italian Guards etc.

http://www.worksofrichardmarsden.com/fiorelongsword.htm
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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 168

PostPosted: Fri 28 Aug, 2015 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And while it's still rather a work in progress, there's the Wiktenauer technique index.
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Matt J




Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 18 Aug 2015

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sat 29 Aug, 2015 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lot's of spotty information Big Grin I like it.

I'll try to keep my rules as closely resembling this as possible. My first play test for my game is on Sunday...

I will be teaching these Crusaders the basics of sword play, and then they will have roughly 8 undead peasants to test out the mechanics on.

Currently, I have 4 Guards, 3 Cuts, and a Thrust. Not sure what to do about the Slices. These are just the basics, the Master cuts will come later, if they choose to continue pursuing the sword.

Plow:
Over-cut --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Fool's
Under-cut --> Targets Lower or Middle --> Recover to Ox
Middle-cut --> Targets Middle --> Recover to Ox or Plow
Thrust --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Plow
Openings: Upper and Lower

Ox:
Over-cut --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Fool's
Under-cut --> Targets Lower or Middle --> Recover to Ox
Middle-cut --> Targets Middle --> Recover to Ox or Plow
Thrust --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Ox
Openings: Middle and Lower

Roof:
Over-cut --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Fool's
Under-cut --> Targets Lower or Middle --> Recover to Ox
Middle-cut --> Targets Middle --> Recover to Ox or Plow
Openings: Upper, Middle, and Lower

Fool's:
Over-cut --> Targets Upper or Middle --> Recover to Fool's
Under-cut --> Targets Lower or Middle --> Recover to Ox
Middle-cut --> Targets Middle --> Recover to Plow or Ox
Thrust --> Targets Middle or Upper --> Recover to Fool's
Openings: Middle and Upper

Note that all of these Guards provide the ability to Ward from any attack, right? The "openings" simply designate the parts of the body your foe is able to target. For example, one cannot Middle-cut against Plow.

Without the context of the 5 Master Cuts, I can't see the point of Roof Guard, but I'm sure tomorrow you guys will provide me with a bunch of wonderful, new information lol.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2015 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don’t know how closely your game is trying to mimic Liechtenauer’s long sword, so my points here may not be fully relevant. The thing is, however, that series of attacks you have listed: Oberhau, Unterhau, Mittelhau from each of the guards is not really the pedagogy of the German long sword. Conceptually, Liechtenauer and his commentators did not organize their teachings in terms of delivering high (ober) middle (mittel) and low (unter) attacks from each of the four guards. While one might argue that this organization is embedded in the Liechtenauer teachings, it’s not really the way the material would have been taught to students.

Rather than focusing upon oberhau, mittelhau, and unterhau, the foundation of Liechtenauer’s system were the funff hau--which are later termed meisterhau or master strikes/cuts. In other words, the foundation of Liechtenauer’s system is the Zornhau, Krumphau, Zwerchhau, Schielhau, Scheitelhau, and all of their accompanying plays. The emphasis is not upon high, middle and low, but rather upon “These are the foundation strikes of the art which you need to learn, along with their accompanying plays from the bind”.

You'll note that the Zornhau, Krumphau, Schielhau, and Scheitelhau are all examples of oberhauen. The Zwerchhau is an oberhau, but it also is, in a sense, a mittelhau because of the somewhat horizontal line of the strike. There's not a lot of emphasis placed upon unterhauen in Liechtenauer's system, although Ringeck does teach some material on the subject. But again, I want to stress: the emphasis is not upon ober, mittel, and unter: it's on the core five strikes.

Calling the funff hau “master cuts”, as Joachim Meÿer does (and as the article on the German long sword does), can be misleading to modern readers, because we tend to have strong connotations of a master as someone who can do techniques and actions that an ordinary person cannot. Meÿer probably meant something more along the lines of “These are the strikes taught by the masters in the Liechtenauer tradition”. In other words, the master cuts are not special techniques that you go on to learn after doing the basic oberhau, mittelhau, unterhau. Rather, they are the foundation strikes taught by masters in the Liechtenauer tradition.

Think of something like ice hockey. There are different kinds of shots one might take trying to score a goal. You can deliver a wrist shot along the ice. You might take a slap shot with significantly more force. And you might also raise the puck off the ice when you shoot (whether wrist shot or slap shot). However, none of these shots are special or “master” shots within hockey. All of them form the foundation of basic shooting skills. The same is true of the funff hau. They’re the core foundation of the long sword curriculum, which also includes other techniques and applications as part of the rest of the haupstücke.

Does that make sense?
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Matt J




Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 18 Aug 2015

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Sun 30 Aug, 2015 10:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see, so... it is that the cuts themselves are masters, not cuts for masters. Master cut, a cut that is superior to other cuts.

I was saving the master cuts for people who wanted to learn swordsmanship, over other things.

Are the purpose of the guards to defend yourself? Or are they for preparing for strikes and thrusts? Like, what reason would you go from Ox to Fool's? In order to get a better position for an attack?
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J wrote:
I see, so... it is that the cuts themselves are masters, not cuts for masters. Master cut, a cut that is superior to other cuts.


I think you still might be not quite understanding exactly what I’m getting at. The master cuts are not superior to other cuts. They’re just five different ways of striking. The funff hau are different tools in your toolbox of strikes and displacements, nothing more. The oldest text from the Liechtenauer tradition says indicates that a fencer should strike with the funff hau only- don’t bother with other strikes. So they’re basic foundation of Liechtenauer’s fencing. Nothing special-just slightly different ways to attack your opponent.


Quote:
I was saving the master cuts for people who wanted to learn swordsmanship, over other things.


Properly, people who don’t know long sword would not use the Krumphau, Zwerchhau, Schielhau, and probably would not use a Scheitelhau. What they would use, however, is the Zornhau, since it’s the most basic, natural and intuitive strike- it exists in every martial art that involves the sword, and is simply a descending, diagonal strike to the head.

So really, an untrained warrior will use a Zornhau to strike (or perhaps a thrust from a position like Pflug, Lang ort, or Ochs). If the opponent strikes at him, he will probably try to block with his sword (perhaps with the edge, perhaps with the flat) if he is untrained, or counterstrike against the opponent’s incoming attack to displace it if he is trained.

Once a bind has occurred, an untrained warrior will perhaps pull free from the bind to try to strike to another opening. Of course, when you pull free from a bind, you expose yourself to counterattack, particularly if the point of your opponent’s sword is aimed at your body when your opponent displaced your sword. In Liechtenauer’s teaching, you should always be turning your sword towards the opponent’s body to hit with the point as soon as you bind--assuming that the bind hasn’t automatically put you in a position where your point is aimed at the opponent.

Quote:
Are the purpose of the guards to defend yourself? Or are they for preparing for strikes and thrusts? Like, what reason would you go from Ox to Fool's? In order to get a better position for an attack?


Liechtenauer allegedly did not care too much about the guards- they’re real value for him was that they allow you to efficiently launch an attack (without having to move your sword around to put yourself into a position to attack) because of how you’re holding your sword. Vom Tag allows you to strike any oberhau (read Zornhau, Krumphau, Zwerchhau, Schielhau, Scheitelhau) very effectively. Right Ochs allows you to threaten with a high thrust to the face, or wind (move) into left Ochs to cover against an incoming strike while thrusting to the face. Pflug allows for middle thrusts, and you can move up into left and right Ochs to cover against attacks and thrust to the face.Alber is mostly a position to invite attacks to your upper opening, and perhaps harass with thrusts to the lower openings.

Really, however, Vom Tag is the position you’d use most frequently, and for variety/unpredictability fight with the other three. Also, there’s times at the bind where you may be in a position analogous to one of the guards. If you strike a low Schielhau, you finish in a position similar to Pflug, and some of the windings of the sword after you bind put you in a position similar to Ochs, for instance.

To answer your last question, there are not a lot of reasons to move around from Ochs to Alber. More importantly, if you’re moving from one guard to the next and not too far from your opponent, a skilled adversary might close the distance and strike or thrust as you’re moving, catching you in a bad position to displace the attack. It’s better to choose a guard and commit to attacking (or displacing) with it than cycling through the guards while closing with your opponent.
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt,

I would highly recommend reading this book if your interests focus on the German fencing traditions, and should you have the finances available to buy it:

http://myArmoury.com/books/item.1891448072.html

...As an additional note, if you buy directly from the publisher, you ought to get a discount on your next purchase.

There is something I'd like you to consider with regards to three of the meisterhauen: Zwerchau, Krumphau, and Sheilhau - these are essentially all the same cut. Their principal differences are their positions in regards to the body and what they are used for. All of these cuts make use of what we commonly call the thumb grip, where (as implied by the name, "thumb grip") the thumb presses against the flat of the blade or the wide part of the sword grip such that both the long and short edge of the sword may be turned efficiently against a target. In contrast, note that this is very hard to do when you hold the sword in what is commonly called the "hammer grip," where the edges of the sword are aligned to travel along the rotational axis of your arm. Let's take a brief pause to make a point:

As an example, take a common ruler (pretending it is a sword, of course) and hold the bottom portion in a matter which feels natural and comfortable to you. Likely, this means that the edges of the ruler are in line with your knuckles, and the edges "cut" up and down when you move your forearm. Otherwise, when you hold the ruler out in front you, the ruler appears thin as the edges are seen but the flats are perpendicular to you. This is commonly called the hammer grip. Now, observe that it is very easy to cut with the edge out in front of you (called the "long edge" - notice that it's furthest from you), but cutting with edge pointing towards you (called the "short edge" - notice that it's closest to you) is more difficult, and involves flicking your wrist upwards. This may cut easily from a low guard, but it is still harder to generate power, and the more you move the ruler to make a horizontal cut, the harder it gets to generate a decent amount of power. Further still. if you try to cut with the short edge in a downward motion, cutting becomes very weak indeed!

Now, take the ruler and put your thumb on the flat, pressing it up against your fingers - this is the thumb grip. Notice that when held upright, the flats are visible, and the edges seem to cut in a 45-degree angle to you. Note that with little effort, you can also make the edges move straight up and down as you did with the "hammer grip." More importantly, holding the ruler out in front of you, note how easy it is to cut with both the short and long edges, as the ruler has now been permitted to move off-line of action of your forearm. This is critical to understanding three out of the five cuts in the Liechtenauer tradition, as the zwerch, krump, and sheil are truly impractical without them.

I noted that the three cuts mentioned are effectively all the same cut - consider this: the Zwerchau cuts above the head in a horizontal arc; the Krumphau cuts in front of the body in a vertical, diagonal arc; the Scheilhau cuts in a vertical arc to the side of the body, with the cut striking forward. This is my understanding of the strikes in the simplest terms I can find - I have watched and read numerous assessments of these strikes and what they look like or do, and most really fall short of illustrating the point. There should be no mystery to these cuts - they are mentioned as different cuts rather than as a single cut, because there are three principal axes along which the sword may cut in the thumb grip (x, y, and z), as well as any angle in between.

The only mystery to these cuts should be when they are to be employed, and they are far more versatile than general writings on the matter allow - the Zwerchau is a short-ranged strike above the head - thus, it is best used to simultaneously counter an oberhau (or Zornhau) and strike to the opponent's higher openings when closing distance. The Krumphau is fit to simultaneously counter thrusts or flavors of oberhau and unterhau (not to mention the gaurds Alber and Ochs), and through winding one may strike with yet another krump or a Shielhau against the foe; if the opportunity presents itself, the krump is well suited to strike at the hands. The Shielhau is best in striking "off sides" against incoming oberhau and mittelhau: if you strike from your right and your opponent strikes from the right, you meet in the middle with a nasty bind. If you strike from the right in a shielhau, it is as if you strike from the left - so, when your weapon meets the opposing weapon, it is on their right, with the flat of your weapon sliding against theirs - when your point moves forward, you use their own energy against them to cut into their ear or neck; if you are delayed, then wind and thrust into them to end it.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 2:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly, I think you're picking the completely wrong system for a role-playing game. After many clumsy attempts (both mine and other people's) to adapt the Liechtenauer system(s) into role-playing game mechanics, I've come to the conclusion that there's simply no satisfactory way to represent the subtleties of working at the bind in a manner that would make sense to players who don't already have experience with the system. And you really don't want your game to be picked up solely by HEMAists who have studied the Liechtenauer-based texts in one way or another.

Instead, I'd advise you to use systems that can be more intuitively adapted into RPG mechanics, like 19th-century British military broadsword/sabre. It has a relatively small number of attacks with a relatively simple correspondence to the available guards. Alfred Hutton has even been kind enough to do an adaptation of the two-handed sword into the language of classical and military sabre/broadsword guards and cuts in Old Sword-Play; regardless of what people might think of its merits as an actual fighting system (it doesn't seem to have ever been tested in battle, and Hutton himself advocated using only set-plays rather than free-play since he believed that unscripted bouts with two-handed swords were too dangerous for the level of protection available back then), it's a really, really simple system at heart that can be studied at the purely theoretical level without even having to pick up a sword (although as usual it's much more fun when it's actually put into practice with swords). That's a huge advantage when the players can't be guaranteed to have the time, money, or inclination to actually study HEMA just in order to make sense of the swordfighting system in the game.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matt J wrote:
I see, so... it is that the cuts themselves are masters, not cuts for masters. Master cut, a cut that is superior to other cuts.

No, not superior, as such, but essential.

As I understand it, the "master cuts" are not merely better than other cuts - a notion that makes little sense if you really think about it - they're key to the whole system. These five strokes are to Liechtenauer's fencing as the jab, cross and hook are to boxing. They're "master cuts" because they govern the art, and mastering them is a prerequisite to mastering it.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

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PostPosted: Thu 10 Sep, 2015 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

By the way, speaking as a fellow gamer, you might be interested in Guy Windsor's recent book Swordfighting for Writers, Game Designers and Martial Artists. Exactly what the doctor ordered, here, I think! Just got a copy myself the other day and it's already giving me ideas - not so much the very brief gaming chapter, perhaps ironically, but the part on writing has many interesting observations and suggestions.

You can get it from Amazon via the myArmoury bookstore by clicking here.

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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