Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Talhoffer plate 1

Though Herr Talhoffer uses both hands, the movement is the same.  In the above print, the man on the left is attempting a strike which I call the "number five" strike.  That is a strike which is more or less straight down.  Its not of course...it is actually moving down and to the left, in a diagonal line.  The fighter on the right is bringing his sword up to meet the strike. 
       These are just opening moves.  As meaningless, yet pregnant with meaning as the opening moves in a game of chess. The right hand fighter will step forward and to the left, catching his opponent's sword as close to the forte as he can.  Then he will deflect the strike off to his right, his sword will be forced down and to the right, and will have a load of energy to continue the swing back and around to hit his opponent's arms, or maybe, since they are both stepping closer to each other, even his head or neck. 
The samurai in the pic above is deflecting the incoming overhead strike same as the Talhoffer sketch.  His sword will rise from the en guarde position to the high guard shown above. 

There are so many good reasons why Herr Talhoffer taught this as the very first move in his book.  It is extremely important.  The five strike is very nearly the most popular strike you will ever face.  Practice deflecting it away as shown.  Then get used to swinging the sword to the left, then up. 

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