Thursday, November 8, 2012


The disengage.  Now there is a place where you can shine!  Or fail miserably! 

It is all part of knowing how to deal with what is thrown at you and how to handle it. 

First rule....get into guard.
Second the attack, deflect it, turn its energy against the attacker.
Third rule...Disengage and get into guard.

That disengagement is where you can get into a lot of trouble.

It was a development of techniques which I shoved together because I had to teach a class filled with veteran fighters who wanted to see something different.  Its not so much a matter of coming up with something totally different as combining existing techniques in new ways.  So its not just one technique, but rather several tacked together.  And if I can do it the way Talhoffer did it, even better!

First I got into guard.  Second, I deflected his sword over my head.
So far, fairly straightforward.  Thats just rule number one and two.
Then I pushed the hilt forward and hooked his sword hilt with my pommel, pulling on his arm trying to straighten it.

Stepped in, place my foot behind his, and tried to drive him into an arm bar by slamming my shield hand against his elbow.  (I like to use the back of my hand, my shield, buckler or forearm, but Talhoffer just pushes the elbow with the palm of my hand.  Same, same.  The other difference is of course that Talhoffer steps in front of his opponent's leg instead of behind it.  This leads to a different finish yet.  But...back to the arm bar...

An arm bar almost never works...he bends his arm, the armour locks up, so I go to the fourth part of the techinique quite smartly.  I brought the sword blade up towards his neck for a throat cut.
        Cute technique.  And quite complex with four discrete moves.  (four things to go wrong! ha!)  But it won't work on a guy in armour because of that pesky gorget.  So now we must disengage.   (rule three) 
         To do this, I must free the sword from its tangle of pommels, heads and so forth.  Only direction it CAN go is forward, so I shove the quillion into his throat, and lift my pommel out of the action.  Also, I body check him forward as I am doing this.    Hopefully my left knee is still behind his right knee...not a guarantee!
      Withdraw the sword smoothly from the action and place the blade into a tail guard, then bang the pommel into his ear.  This covers up my movement of my fist behind his head to the far side...I place my left hand on his left shoulder. 

      These next two things must be done at the same time... I unlock his right knee with my left knee, and shove his body down towards his right foot.  He should drop in front of you. 

   My sword was still in its tail guard, and it comes naturally onto the back of his neck with 180 degrees of movement.  This will be a kill.  To make this strike work, you MUST move your left foot back and you MUST withdraw your hand. 

This withdrawal technique was a development of the shoulder twist takedown which we have been teaching for many years.  The only difference being that the guy being taken down ends up on his face.  The unlocking of the knee and the push straight downwards with the left hand is the same....but you are less likely to drop your opponent on your leg by dropping him in front of you.  But you DO have to watch out for that elbow...grin!

The above picture shows a drag backwards so it doesn't "quite" illustrate the technique I just described, but the samurai has his left knee placed in the back of my right knee, and there is not a lot I can do about it.

At this point in the picture, the samurai pulled me down.  He could have dropped me in front of him, or he could step forward and drop me on my back.  These pictures show me on the way onto my back. 


Further development work on this techique can be derived from plate 188, 182, 177, and plate 32.
All show work you can do when you are tight in like this.