Thursday, January 9, 2014

German Sword Fighting, fifth class of the basic course.

Hanging guards.

Very beloved of the Lichtenhaur school.  Not so beloved by me.
    That being said, when used correctly, they are VERY useful.  Which means don't leave them hanging for long!  Remember, a six will go right through ANY hanging guard.  Move directly to the Winden. 

The Winden.  So simple, yet so useful.  All you do when you wind your opponents sword (which is what a winden wind, as in winding a watch) is to turn your hand over.  If it was facing up, that pommel is a tempting grab target. (Grabben).  You MUST keep your sword in the bind when you do this.  You must be cognizent of what your opponent is planning.  Since you cannot read his mind, you should use the computer inside your skull to figure out what he CAN do, decide if he is able to do it if you do "this" (whatever "this might be) and what his options are.  This is called "INDES".  Very up close and personal!

The chances (if you are in a bind) are limited...anything he does will snap your sword up (dos schnappen!) into his face or neck.  So he will pause to think.  At this point, you simply turn your sword around, and regain the "strong".  Then slam his sword down (or up as you desire) and proceed to cut, hew, stab or whatever. 
       I will often use a half sword stab at this point. 
       But of course it always starts with the Indes.  I cannot help you develop this close in battle field must sort of figure it out for your self.  However, a good knowledge of hard and soft, combined with weak and strong of the swords will not only safe your life, but will assist you in your quest to develop Indes.  A solid knowledge (plan) would be handy at this point.

Lichtenhauer always said "you must displace your sword into your opponent, not against his sword" Talhoffer always said "throw it away and then move in".   Hard to say which is better advice.  I would suggest that if you find someone who is always pressuring you, pushing you back, head butting, then use the Talhoffer (South Tower Style)  against him.  Its like Judo, you move around either left or right to confuse him as to where you are.  Some have described the South Tower System as "Bull Fighting".  It is very elegant, like bull fighting, and it gets off the line of attack like a matador does.  But remember, you are NOT fighting are fighting people as agile as you.  But I rather like the metaphor.  People will turn as fast as you can I usually make a tentative step towards the right and end up moving left.  Or vice versa.  Hard to say which is better.  Either will put you behind your opponent. 
     If you find yourself fighting a person who is well trained in the Talhoffer tradition, then I suggest you become very aggressive in your fighting.  If (for instance) you have decided to make a strike at the left side of his head, and he knocks it up and over, then spend almost no time in the Alban and aim for his arm as you step to your right.   Such manoevers have a lot of value.  But they take a LOT of practice as you develop them.  Why does this work?  Well when you discover your strike has been displaced, you must go into a winden to win.
Just.     Like.    That.
thus endeth the lesson.


  1. These insights on the hand a half sword use with the historical source references are the cat's meow! Thanks Bill! Printing.
    I had planned a saturday armoury visit to get started on dishing some bucklers but the valley being blanketed in ice prevented that. sheesh. I'll come for a good visit after storms pass through.

  2. You are always welcome, on any day!