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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jan, 2007 2:20 pm    Post subject: Codex Wallerstein Article         Reply with quote

Hello Everyone,

This is the first time I've posted a new topic on this list but I've been a long-time reader.

My name is Hugh Knight and I have a small Western Martial Arts school where I teach both armored and unarmored German martial arts.

I recently completed an article analyzing and interpreting certain plays from Codex Wallerstein, and while I fear the article won't make much sense to a beginner (it's about actions from the Winden, so you have to understand binds and winding first), I know there are some experienced swordsmen on here so I thought I'd post this announcement in case anyone is interested.

My friend Hal Siegel has graciously posted this article on the Therion Arms web site here:
http://www.therionarms.com/articles/

I hope you will take the time to read this article and pass on any response you may have about its contents. I look forward to reading what people have to say.

Regards,
Hugh
Die Schlachtschule
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Greg Coffman




Location: Lubbock, TX
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I appreciate your interpretation of Wallerstein and the clarity of your demonstrations. I suggest an alternate to your first interpretation and have a comments on the second technique, but I think you have done a fairly good job of interpreting techniques with realism and effectiveness.

On the "Elbow Cut to counter Winden," you don't need to drop your point. If you immediately cut around to the other side and under, an underhau or maybe even a krumphau(?), then you accomplish the same thing quicker and with less risk to yourself. Releasing from the bind when your opponent is already in position to thrust seems overly dangerous. The pressure you put on your opponents blade is the only thing keeping you from getting skewered. I struggled with this drawing and am not 100% sure that this is right. Your interpretation is just as valid and might be the intent after all. The qualifying test is, "Does it work?" Personally, I find that cutting under to the right works better, but this is not what Wallerstein is depicting.

On the next drawing, notice the the sword is place on the right shoulder of the opponent whereas in your demonstration you end up with the sword on her left shoulder. This isn't a big deal. The left shoulder is easiest and closest and should yield a faily decent cut to the opponent if that is the intent. However placing the sword on the right shoulder allows you to hook the sword around the neck and then pull your opponent to the ground as Wallerstein describes.

The rest looks good.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 1:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:
I appreciate your interpretation of Wallerstein and the clarity of your demonstrations. I suggest an alternate to your first interpretation and have a comments on the second technique, but I think you have done a fairly good job of interpreting techniques with realism and effectiveness.


Thanks for writing, I appreciate it.

Quote:
On the "Elbow Cut to counter Winden," you don't need to drop your point. If you immediately cut around to the other side and under, an underhau or maybe even a krumphau(?), then you accomplish the same thing quicker and with less risk to yourself. Releasing from the bind when your opponent is already in position to thrust seems overly dangerous. The pressure you put on your opponents blade is the only thing keeping you from getting skewered. I struggled with this drawing and am not 100% sure that this is right. Your interpretation is just as valid and might be the intent after all. The qualifying test is, "Does it work?" Personally, I find that cutting under to the right works better, but this is not what Wallerstein is depicting.


Well, I know that my interpretation is not 100% in line with the Wallerstein plate as I said in the paper. But I am sure that to achieve the finishing position shown in the plate you have to cut under as I did. This is actually fairly safe to do because you slide your sword am Schwert along your opponent's blade, thus moving onto his weak to counter his Winden. By the time you pass under his point you can easily out time most things he could do.

Conversely, your suggestion would involve leaving the bind without getting inside of your opponent's sword, so all he'd have to do is thrust. You must find a way to interfere with your opponent's Winden to do anything. Leaving the bind when your opponent's point is on line is one of the worst mistakes you can make in the Liechtenauer system.

Quote:
On the next drawing, notice the the sword is place on the right shoulder of the opponent whereas in your demonstration you end up with the sword on her left shoulder. This isn't a big deal. The left shoulder is easiest and closest and should yield a faily decent cut to the opponent if that is the intent. However placing the sword on the right shoulder allows you to hook the sword around the neck and then pull your opponent to the ground as Wallerstein describes.


Yes, as I said in the text I should have placed my sword on Christina's other shoulder; that was nothing other than an oversight during photography. Frankly, I don't see that it makes any difference to the technique, but I was trying to match the plate as closely as I could except where (as in the halfsword counter) I felt there was an artistic error.

Quote:
The rest looks good.


Thank you very much--I expected to get a lot more response from this paper than I have; so far only four people (counting you) have commented, and I'm quite surprised.

Regards,
Hugh
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Greg Coffman




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I missed your ommission about the mistake in the photo. And I agree with your assesment of the artistic mistake regarding the halfswording. It makes much more sense and gives you much better control to put your hands as you have depicted. In fact that is almost always the desired hand position when half swording.

As for the elbow strike, I am not suggesting leaving the bind. If you stay on the bind and move your point up, around to the left, and under your opponents sword, never ceasing contact, you can end up in a right ochs position with a cut to the arm. In your second photo you leave the bind, releasing pressure and oppening yourself to a thrust as you have stated. You don't need to leave the bind at all.

It is difficult to describe these things in writing. It is still difficult to describe with pictures, although you did a fairly good job and alot better than some of the manuals Happy . We might be thinking about close to the same thing, although I don't think you need to leave the bind to get it to work.

As far as getting responses, this is not primarily a martial arts forum. I am a member of ARMA and check out that forum every once and a while. However, it is a smaller community that participates there and not as much to talk about, so I come here. I wish there was more discussion on WMA but I am content with what is here. myArmoury does a very good job in regards to historical arms and in providing a more serious enviroment for sword enthusiasts. All of us seem to really like swords and our point of entrance is different. I come from a WMA perspective and have not begun collecting. It seems most people here are collectors or historians first and dabble in WMA. Also, myArmoury is right here online with so much information to drool over while it may be hard for many to find others close by to learn from or practice with.

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Coffman wrote:
As for the elbow strike, I am not suggesting leaving the bind. If you stay on the bind and move your point up, around to the left, and under your opponents sword, never ceasing contact, you can end up in a right ochs position with a cut to the arm. In your second photo you leave the bind, releasing pressure and oppening yourself to a thrust as you have stated. You don't need to leave the bind at all.

It is difficult to describe these things in writing. It is still difficult to describe with pictures, although you did a fairly good job and alot better than some of the manuals Happy . We might be thinking about close to the same thing, although I don't think you need to leave the bind to get it to work.


Ah, now I think I see what you mean, and that might work. My primary purpose in this paper, however, wasn't to find techniques that could be made to work but rather to interpret the material in Codex Wallerstein as accurately as possible with an eye towards better understanding the system and its place, if any, in the Liechtenauer tradition.

Quote:
As far as getting responses, this is not primarily a martial arts forum. I am a member of ARMA and check out that forum every once and a while. However there is a smaller community that participates there and not as much to talk about, so I come here. I wish there was more discussions on WMA but I am content with what is here. myArmoury does a very good job in regards to historical arms and in providing a more serious enviroment for sword enthusiasts. All of us seem to really like swords and our point of entrance is different. I come from a WMA perspective and have not begun collecting. It seems most people here are collectors or historians first and dabble in WMA. Also, myArmoury is right here online with so much information to drool over while it may be hard for many to find people to learn from or practice with.


Oh, I know that, but I meant that I didn't just post notice of this article here, I posted it on four or five different places.

Quote:
Here is a question for you, what is your interpretation of a krumphau? I have heard differing opinions and am not quite clear on the matter.


Well, what do you want to know? The Krumphau is one of the Meisterhau and is used to counter both the Ober- and the Unterhau by voiding offline and cutting either to the hands of a novice or to the blade of an experienced fencer (to be followed up with a killing technique). It is also one of the Vier Versetzen or "Four Displacements" used to attack static guards; in the case of the Krumphau, it is used to counter Ochs.

In its simplest form, when your opponent cuts at your left side you step off to your right while at the same time cutting into either his hands or the blade of his sword depending upon his skill (this is because a novice won't "follow the blow" as Liechtenauer teaches, so his hands will be more vulnerable) with a downward blow with the long edge of your sword with crossed wrists. The arc your sword takes is from your right to your left, almost exactly like the blade of a windshield wiper.

I have attached two pictures of my students performing the Krump. In the first, Christina cuts at Greg with an Oberhau so he jumps off diagonally to his right and cuts at her sword blade (since, of course, she followed her blow). In the second, we see that the moment their blades clashed together Greg cut directly up with the short edge of his sword into Christina's head to end the play.

Of course, there are lots of other things than can happen, including different ways of attacking, and counters, etc. Was there anything in specific you wanted to know?



 Attachment: 101.63 KB
Small Krump.jpg
The initial Krumphau

 Attachment: 94.45 KB
Small Krump 2.jpg
Followed by a short-edge Unterhau

Regards,
Hugh
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Steven H




Location: Boston
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 7:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for posting this material.

Last week in the sparring class I attend (w/ Jeff Tsay in Burlington MA) I ran into the problem of neverending binds, so I am glad for some techniques I can try against my partners tomorrow night.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Thank you for posting this material.

Last week in the sparring class I attend (w/ Jeff Tsay in Burlington MA) I ran into the problem of neverending binds, so I am glad for some techniques I can try against my partners tomorrow night.


You're welcome.

Say, is this the Jeff Tsay who came down to study with me when I was still teaching in Pennsylvania? If so, so hello to him for me, would you?

Regards,
Hugh
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Hugh,
I only just got a chance to download these now, so I haven't given them a real read through yet. Nonetheless, I always applaud any effort to put out interpretations, so good work!

I'm actually working on a paper at the moment on the same sword and buckler techniques. I've only given yours a quick look so far, and we seem to agree on about 80% of the techniques, but I think there are a few where I interpret them differently. Let me read them more in depth first, since it looks like you did a good job in presenting your material, and I want to give it the attention it deserves. I'll post back here in a day or two after I've done so.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Hey Hugh,
I only just got a chance to download these now, so I haven't given them a real read through yet. Nonetheless, I always applaud any effort to put out interpretations, so good work!


Thanks, Bill!

Quote:
I'm actually working on a paper at the moment on the same sword and buckler techniques. I've only given yours a quick look so far, and we seem to agree on about 80% of the techniques, but I think there are a few where I interpret them differently. Let me read them more in depth first, since it looks like you did a good job in presenting your material, and I want to give it the attention it deserves. I'll post back here in a day or two after I've done so.


I'd love to see what you have to say. Truth to tell, sword & buckler is the form I understand least, so that paper was really intended to put out something that would get me some other people's insights. I'm espcially interested in your take on my Wechselhau interpretation as this is the one I had the most trouble with.

Regards,
Hugh
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jan, 2007 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I'm actually working on a paper at the moment on the same sword and buckler techniques.


By the way, Bill, speaking of sword & buckler, have you seen the Paulus Kal Fechtbuch yet? In the Sword & Buckler section he shows us Lignitzer's halfsword play at the buckler (although, disappointingly, he doesn't pin his opponent's sword with his cross as I do--I was tickled by that idea). Also, in his Messer section he shows a counter to Talhoffer's Ubergreiffen--definitely a technique I plan to include in our curriculum.

Regards,
Hugh
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Johan S. Moen




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 2:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great work Hugh!

I read the article as soon as you put it out on the AA, and I've been itching to try it out in my training group. I'll give it a try tomorrow Happy. I did some "dry" testing just to get a feel of the techniques, and they actually remind me of some scenarios that have happened when we've done Ringeck here, people often try out their own techniques when the main thecnique they were focusing on did not work. Although it usually goes from "trying" to "silly" in many instances when people don't know to continue what they just started...so having your article with some clear guidance is going to be a good assett!

Johan Schubert Moen
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Hugh,
I've only really looked at your s&b article so far. I think you've got some good stuff here. I don't want to get into too much detail until I'm finished with my article, but I'll touch on some of the main things.

First of all, I think we're pretty much in agreement with the Talhoffer sections.

In regards to the Lignitzer section:

In the first play, I agree totally.

In the second play, I mostly agree, though I don't think the pass forward is necessary from the dupliere, particularly with a single handed weapon. No need to bring yourself closer to a punch in the face from the buckler when you are already in distance to strike without the pass. This also leaves you in an advantageous distance to strike the forward leg should the dupliere fail. As a personaly preference, I also have the hands further forward in the "double shield" while winding, as this really controls the opponent's sword.

The third play... the troublesome wechselhau. Happy In short, we may never know what Lignitzer meant with the wechselhau, though I have a theory. When my article's done, it'll address how I interpret that (much easier to show in the pictures than in text). Nonetheless, I do agree with striking down into nebenhut, and doing essentially the exact play that Ringeck describes from the Nebenhut with the deflection of the short edge (as you show). Where I disagree is with the minor nuances of how you perform the strike. I feel you should be using the "weak" of your sword to strike the opponent's blade aside from nebenhut (it is a strike against the blade, not a parry), and from there it will be a very small circular motion of the tip to bring it back around to the other side of the head. But that's more of an argument of the finer points, because overall I agree.

Play four I totally agree with.

Play five I do fairly differently from all of the other interpretations I've seen. The text doesn't say to wind at the sword, it only says to wind, but again, this will be easier to explain when I have the paper done.

The sixth play I go to the half sword before the action happens. While I understand why you feel it should be done in mid-stroke, I feel that with the grip of the buckler this becomes too awkward to do quickly. Also, the text says IF the opponent tries to move around your parry, THEN let go of the sword. So my take on this is where you half-sword against the attack, and in theory strike the opponent from there. If your opponent tries to take the vor and come back around to strike, then you let go, using the sword and buckler to defend, and grab the buckler with your off hand.

Quote:
By the way, Bill, speaking of sword & buckler, have you seen the Paulus Kal Fechtbuch yet?


Yes, I have read it, and it's fantastic! But if you notice, Kal's plate is subtly different from what you show. The hilt is down, not up. This implies to me that Kal is half-swording where the off-hand has the thumb-side towards the tip. On the other hand, there is another plate (I think in Jorg Wilhelm? I'm drawing a mental blank suddenly) that does show the hilt up, which suggests to me that this was probably a preferential difference, and not an important one.

Otherwise, nice work, Hugh. I need to give the Codex Wallerstien article a good read-through now.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan S. Moen wrote:
Great work Hugh!

I read the article as soon as you put it out on the AA, and I've been itching to try it out in my training group. I'll give it a try tomorrow Happy. I did some "dry" testing just to get a feel of the techniques, and they actually remind me of some scenarios that have happened when we've done Ringeck here, people often try out their own techniques when the main thecnique they were focusing on did not work. Although it usually goes from "trying" to "silly" in many instances when people don't know to continue what they just started...so having your article with some clear guidance is going to be a good assett!

Johan Schubert Moen


Thanks, Johan! Drop me a line and let me know how the techniques work for you if you try them in class.

Regards,
Hugh
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
I've only really looked at your s&b article so far. I think you've got some good stuff here. I don't want to get into too much detail until I'm finished with my article, but I'll touch on some of the main things.

First of all, I think we're pretty much in agreement with the Talhoffer sections.


Let me ask you a question about that. Talhoffer basically shows 5 plays that he uses both for arming sword/messer and for sword & buckler. Just 5 (well, not counting some of the weird plates in Alte Armatur und Ringkunst that he doesn't describe and the one-against-two plates that I believe are more guidelines than specific techniques). So with that few number of plays, why did he choose to make 2 of the 5 almost identical? The Ubergreiffen and the Uberschneiden both start from the same positions (presumably), both block the same way, both wrap the buckler arm around the attacking arm the same way, and then you finish differently, one with an Oberhau and one with an Unterstich. It's almost as if he only really had 4 techniques, one of which could finish in two different ways, but he doesn't say which finish should be used in what situation. And I know it's not necessary that every technique that can be used agaisnt the same attack have different "causes", but then why is this the only one he shows two different solutions to? It's like the Zucken vs. the Durchwechseln: When I first started practicing longsword I couldn't see why you'd prefer one over the other, but as I practiced more and more it became pretty obvious pretty fast. I just don't see that here.

Quote:
In the second play, I mostly agree, though I don't think the pass forward is necessary from the dupliere, particularly with a single handed weapon. No need to bring yourself closer to a punch in the face from the buckler when you are already in distance to strike without the pass. This also leaves you in an advantageous distance to strike the forward leg should the dupliere fail. As a personaly preference, I also have the hands further forward in the "double shield" while winding, as this really controls the opponent's sword.


Interesting. On the double shield I move my hands so as to be on the weak of his sword, so how far forward they are is really a function of where his sword is, but I'll try that and see if I can see a different way of doing it. As for the second winding, it's interesting that you call it a Duplieren--I look at it as the Second Winden, and I think of the Duplieren as a cut as it is in Ringeck, not a thrust as we have here; both of them seem to require a step to me anyway, as I dislike being in right Ochs with my right foot forward. Again, I'll have to try these out to see how they feel.

Quote:
The third play... the troublesome wechselhau. Happy In short, we may never know what Lignitzer meant with the wechselhau, though I have a theory. When my article's done, it'll address how I interpret that (much easier to show in the pictures than in text). Nonetheless, I do agree with striking down into nebenhut, and doing essentially the exact play that Ringeck describes from the Nebenhut with the deflection of the short edge (as you show). Where I disagree is with the minor nuances of how you perform the strike. I feel you should be using the "weak" of your sword to strike the opponent's blade aside from nebenhut (it is a strike against the blade, not a parry), and from there it will be a very small circular motion of the tip to bring it back around to the other side of the head. But that's more of an argument of the finer points, because overall I agree.


Interesting--I've never tried using the weak to set aside my opponent's blade because I feel I should always use my strong for more control. What does doing it this way get you? Just a faster return on the cut?

I'm glad we're pretty close, however--this play cost me more skull sweat than anything else in the book by far.

Quote:
Play five I do fairly differently from all of the other interpretations I've seen. The text doesn't say to wind at the sword, it only says to wind, but again, this will be easier to explain when I have the paper done.


OK, I look forward to seeing your take on this. To me the Winden am Schwert seems logical and feels good because it follows the whole attacking from one side to another and from high to low (e.g., cutting to the Ox and the Plow) that Ringech teaches. When he blocks your low attack you wind high while staying on his sword to control it. But a lot of that is based on my presumption of how the enemy will react, and that's something the text doesn't really say much about; a slightly different take on how the enemy reacts will change the nature of what's best to do.

Quote:
The sixth play I go to the half sword before the action happens. While I understand why you feel it should be done in mid-stroke, I feel that with the grip of the buckler this becomes too awkward to do quickly. Also, the text says IF the opponent tries to move around your parry, THEN let go of the sword. So my take on this is where you half-sword against the attack, and in theory strike the opponent from there. If your opponent tries to take the vor and come back around to strike, then you let go, using the sword and buckler to defend, and grab the buckler with your off hand.


Interesting (I keepsaying that--sorry, but all these differing takes are!); I confess I find it easy to slap my sword onto my left hand in practice, but I haven't tried it in bouting yet so maybe it's harder than I think. I just see starting in halfsword to be a kind of telegraphing, and I want to avoid that. You'll notice that wereas most people who have intererpreted these plays start from a variety of different guards, I have tried to show them all starting the same way? That's why: I don't want to give my opponent a sense of what I'm going to do. But I don't understand what you mean about striking your opponent while still being in halfsword. Strike him how? A pommel thrust after the block? Or winding up into the First Halfsword Guard (from the armored plays) and thrusting witht he point?

Quote:
Yes, I have read it, and it's fantastic! But if you notice, Kal's plate is subtly different from what you show. The hilt is down, not up. This implies to me that Kal is half-swording where the off-hand has the thumb-side towards the tip. On the other hand, there is another plate (I think in Jorg Wilhelm? I'm drawing a mental blank suddenly) that does show the hilt up, which suggests to me that this was probably a preferential difference, and not an important one.


That's what I said above: I really liked my idea of using my cross to hold down my opponent's blade while I strike with the buckler, so I was disappointed to see Kal doesn't do it that way. On the other hand, Lignitzer never says what to do with the buckler, so I'm glad to see Kal uses it the same way Tobler originally interpreted it. I always like to see the things we do verified when our original source wasn't that clear. I've tried holding the sword with my left thumb pointing at the tip of my sword, however, and I just found it clumsy and awkward. I can't wait to get my copy of Tobler's translation of Kal to see if the text tells us anything else.

Quote:
Otherwise, nice work, Hugh. I need to give the Codex Wallerstien article a good read-through now.


Thanks, I'm really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. And thanks for the detailed commentary all around; as I said earlier, I think these buckler plays are tantalizingly incomplete, so it's good to find others coming up with much the same take on them.

Regards,
Hugh
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In regards to Talhoffer: I just don't know why he demonstrated things the way he did. I can pour through his longsword section and see three or four techniques that are almost the same thing. Maybe it was his way of emphasizing what he felt was more important? Who knows? His manuscripts are a little strange that way.

Hugh Knight wrote:
As for the second winding, it's interesting that you call it a Duplieren--I look at it as the Second Winden, and I think of the Duplieren as a cut as it is in Ringeck, not a thrust as we have here; both of them seem to require a step to me anyway, as I dislike being in right Ochs with my right foot forward. Again, I'll have to try these out to see how they feel.


I don't view the dupliere as necessarily a cut. Like most techniques, it can be done with any of the three wounders. In fact, the dupliere can be done with either the long edge against the left side of the head here, a thrust to the face, or a cut with the short edge against the right side of the head (the later technique both Kal and Meyer show in the longsword plays).

As for the step, here is where longsword and single-hand swords differ. If you look at many of the messer plays, the sword is often on the side of the lead leg. This is different with two-handed weapons because of the positioning of the shoulders.

Quote:
Interesting--I've never tried using the weak to set aside my opponent's blade because I feel I should always use my strong for more control. What does doing it this way get you? Just a faster return on the cut?


There is a play in Bolognese spada that works almost identical the the Nebenhut play. It is very specific that this is a strike with the weak of the blade. This is basically the difference between a beat and a parry: A parry stops a sword with the strong. A beat uses the weak (which is moving faster) to strike the blade aside (since the text does say to strike it hard), which redirects the sword away. I find this to be faster, because you are primarily moving the fast part of the blade.

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OK, I look forward to seeing your take on this. *snip* But a lot of that is based on my presumption of how the enemy will react, and that's something the text doesn't really say much about; a slightly different take on how the enemy reacts will change the nature of what's best to do.


Yeah, this will be much easier to explain when I have the visual aids. My take on it is much simpler than how I've normally seen it interpreted, and is actually incredibly easy and natural to do, but as always, is hard to explain in text.

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I just see starting in halfsword to be a kind of telegraphing, and I want to avoid that.


I can very much appreciate that. But on the other hand, Talhoffer's longsword section show people starting in half-sword positions all the time, and this doesn't seem to be considered bad form.

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You'll notice that wereas most people who have intererpreted these plays start from a variety of different guards, I have tried to show them all starting the same way?


Oh, I agree with that, up until the last play. The last play seems to be the odd one out, to me, in terms of the starting position. All the rest tell you to begin from a strike, and that strike could be in any guard (so why not show them starting from the same guard, as you've done, right?)

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But I don't understand what you mean about striking your opponent while still being in halfsword. Strike him how? A pommel thrust after the block? Or winding up into the First Halfsword Guard (from the armored plays) and thrusting witht he point?


I view this as going to half-sword. Your opponent attacks, so you lift the sword up to catch the oncoming blow. If you maintain the vor, you can either wind the tip to his face, or else thrust with the pommel (depending on where you intercepted his attack). If your opponent responded before you were able to take the vor, that's when you release your grip on the sword and continue with the rest.

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I've tried holding the sword with my left thumb pointing at the tip of my sword, however, and I just found it clumsy and awkward.


Well, this is a position that is common in non-German schools in regards to half-sword and the spear, and is occassionally seen in some of the German manuscripts. I'm used to doing it the more "traditional" Liechtenauer way (thumb side pointing towards the hilt), so that's more natural to me as well, but having experimented with the other way, I find that it works just as well once you get used to it. Though I don't necessarily lift my blade necessarily into a completely horizontal position; rather, I have the sword off to the side, more at a diagonal angle.

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I can't wait to get my copy of Tobler's translation of Kal to see if the text tells us anything else.


Unfortunately, Kal's sword and buckler plays are just as vague as everyone else's. Seems that all the masters really expected everyone to have a strong basis in the principles of the art as a whole, and that sword and buckler would then be very natural.

Though something you might find interesting about Kal is that he really relies on the buckler for parrying, unlike I.33. In fact, it seems to me that using the sword to defend first is more of a I.33 artifact, not an overall rule (especially if you take into account some of the Renaissance manuscripts, which use the buckler as a main defense quite a bit more often). I think that it is very common to separate the sword and buckler in the Liechtenauer tradition, despite the fact that I.33 seems to view this as a huge no-no. I can't say why that is, though.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Hugh Knight




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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
In regards to Talhoffer: I just don't know why he demonstrated things the way he did. I can pour through his longsword section and see three or four techniques that are almost the same thing. Maybe it was his way of emphasizing what he felt was more important? Who knows? His manuscripts are a little strange that way.


They're strange in a lot of ways. Don't get me wrong, I'm Talhoffer's biggest fan and I honestly think I train with his material more than anyone else I know of (especially when he's considered passe by much of the WMA community these days). But I suspect there's more to his organization than people realize--it just might not have to do with how to fight. For example, the Harnischfechten material in his Ambraser Codex seems weird because he appears to show some real techniques and then just some "moments in a fight" (i.e., some plates don't appear to show either combatant doing anything useful). But then you realize that he wrote this to win the good graces of Lutold von Konisgegg and you start to think that it probably recounts a specific bout he was in rather than being meant to teach technique you start see get a feel for how old Hans worked. On the other hand, some of his pollaxe plays didn't make sense until I looked at them in context with the plays around them, so there's more to him than just currying favor, too.

Quote:
I don't view the dupliere as necessarily a cut. Like most techniques, it can be done with any of the three wounders. In fact, the dupliere can be done with either the long edge against the left side of the head here, a thrust to the face, or a cut with the short edge against the right side of the head (the later technique both Kal and Meyer show in the longsword plays).


I practice the Duplieren to the other side with the short edge, too, but I see the Duplieren as a cut, not a slice or stab. To me, the Duplieren is a specific kind of Winden done with a cut; a subset of the Winden, if you will--else, why call Winden Winden? They'd just be kinds of Duplieren. On the other hand, when you look at the Wallerstein Codex article I did you'll see that the second defense against a blocked elbow cut involves a technique *very* much like the Duplieren, but clearly done with a Schnitt. I didn't call it that because of my prejudice toward the Duplieren as a cut, but an argument could be made...

Quote:
As for the step, here is where longsword and single-hand swords differ. If you look at many of the messer plays, the sword is often on the side of the lead leg. This is different with two-handed weapons because of the positioning of the shoulders.


You may be right, and it could just be longsword bias on my part. I do confess that in the Zwerchau sequence in the third play I'm always tempted to do it without a step.

Quote:
There is a play in Bolognese spada that works almost identical the the Nebenhut play. It is very specific that this is a strike with the weak of the blade. This is basically the difference between a beat and a parry: A parry stops a sword with the strong. A beat uses the weak (which is moving faster) to strike the blade aside (since the text does say to strike it hard), which redirects the sword away. I find this to be faster, because you are primarily moving the fast part of the blade.


Like I said, I'll give this a try.

Quote:
I can very much appreciate that. But on the other hand, Talhoffer's longsword section show people starting in half-sword positions all the time, and this doesn't seem to be considered bad form.


Very true; I think I was seeing halfswording with the longsword as more developed--that is, there being more you could do from it--while this technique seemed very limited. Interesting take.

Quote:
I view this as going to half-sword. Your opponent attacks, so you lift the sword up to catch the oncoming blow. If you maintain the vor, you can either wind the tip to his face, or else thrust with the pommel (depending on where you intercepted his attack). If your opponent responded before you were able to take the vor, that's when you release your grip on the sword and continue with the rest.


So you really see this as a kind of Absetzen then, and only go to the buckler grab if you have to? Pretty interesting.

Quote:
I've tried holding the sword with my left thumb pointing at the tip of my sword, however, and I just found it clumsy and awkward.


Quote:
Unfortunately, Kal's sword and buckler plays are just as vague as everyone else's. Seems that all the masters really expected everyone to have a strong basis in the principles of the art as a whole, and that sword and buckler would then be very natural.


LOL! Bastard!

Quote:
Though something you might find interesting about Kal is that he really relies on the buckler for parrying, unlike I.33. In fact, it seems to me that using the sword to defend first is more of a I.33 artifact, not an overall rule (especially if you take into account some of the Renaissance manuscripts, which use the buckler as a main defense quite a bit more often). I think that it is very common to separate the sword and buckler in the Liechtenauer tradition, despite the fact that I.33 seems to view this as a huge no-no. I can't say why that is, though.


Yes, I had noticed that already; very interesting. You'll note that in my introduction to the S&B paper I hinted about that based on how Talhoffer does it. Of course, in later texts I think the buckler is used more for active blocking because the sword hand is better protected by a more complex guard or even a basket hilt, but in my work on sword & shield fighting I've noticed tendencies to use the sword in such a way that the cross is always in a very defensive position (unlike the way many reenactors use it), so that may be part of the answer. Either that or Kal thinks he can get away with it because those fierce haces on his bucklers will so mesmerize his opponent that he won't even notice your hand! Happy

Regards,
Hugh
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PostPosted: Wed 31 Jan, 2007 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow! Am I ever an idiot sometimes! I forgot the close relationship between Codex Wallerstein and the Dürer Fechtbuch (if we may call it that). I wish I'd done a comparison before I put this paper together because Dürer's drawings are so much clearer than those in Wallerstein. As it happens they only make me feel better about my interpretations, especially the Schnappen play against a blocked elbow shot--I made an assumption that hitting with the pommel meant putting it over your opponent's hands as in the Schnappen, but it wasn't clear from the picture; now I'm sure. Likewise, I changed the appearance of the elbow cut itself: in Wallerstein the attacker's point is high as if he wasn't winding any longer, but in Dürer the plate looks exactly like mine!

You can download Dürer's Fechtbuch here:
http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/topics/durer/

Page 3 of my paper corresponds to Dürer's #12; Page 4 of my paper corresponds to Dürer's #13, and page 5 of my paper corresponds to Dürer's #10. I don't know why the order is different or why Dürer left out my page 6, but the pictures are pretty clear.

Regards,
Hugh
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2007 9:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey Hugh,
So I finally read your article. Better late than never, right? Happy

I largely agree with everything you show with the exception of the initial elbow cut... which is one that has always plagued me. After a lot of head scratching over the past couple of years, here's my interpretation of it.

Imagine it this way: You and your opponent meet at the bind, and your opponent winds into ochs. The text says to "wind high", which will draw out his defense. The way I read this is to quickly wind into a left ochs, causing my strong to meet my opponent's weak, protecting me. I would also be attempting to thrust from above, but it is fairly easy for my opponent to lift his hilt to defend against that (i.e. using the kron), so as I feel the pressure from my opponent's hilt lift my tip up, I go soft and cut from underneath with a short zwerchau (or unterhau with the long edge) while passing with my left foot slightly towards his side (on my right).

Is my take on it correct? Who the heck knows. Happy But it will finish pretty much exactly as the plate shows.

In the schnappen counter, I agree with everything except the attacker's initial position, which I feel should have been with the long edge down. Technically, that doesn't make a difference to the counter, so that doesn't really effect the interpretation. Now, I understand why you showed it with the short edge down, based on your interpretation of the initial elbow strike. Nonetheless, if we follow the way I was interpreting it, the long edge will be down, and furthermore if you look at the hand position in the plate, I'm quite certain that should be a long edge strike.

Ditto for the next play. Otherwise, I'm completely on the same page in terms of how the counter works.

As for the half-sword play, I don't think it's an artistic mistake. My reasoning for this is that the text says to thrust at the groin, and by that token you'd want to ensure that you left enough room on your blade to reach a lower opening without getting too close yourself. Now, that said, I don't think it's wrong to grab the blade as you show, either. I've experimented with both ways. I agree with you that grabbing the sword right in the middle does give more leverage against the sword. On the other hand, doing it as the image shows 1) gives more reach so that you can stay at a safer distance, and 2) effectively lengthens the strong of your blade just far enough to still give you enough purchase on the weak of your opponent's. Again, I don't think it's wrong to grab the middle of the blade as you show, just that I also don't think it's wrong to grab above the blade as the illustration does.

Anyway, I'm glad to see others working with Codex Wallerstein. While it isn't my main focus (being just barely outside of the scope of the mainstream Liechtenauer system), it still has quite a number of really cool techniques once your really sit down and force yourself to look at them.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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