Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sword fighting, 3rd class of the basic course.

Lichtenhaur' wards had really cool names!  Oxen, plows, iron gates.  Obviously he was teaching peasants.  Aristocracy already had their own teachers.  In fact, Lichtenhaur himself was a teacher of a famous knight of the day...before he hung up a shingle and went into business for himself. 

The first ward was the "oxen" 

The oxen can be brought down to pretty much protect the whole side.  When you do this, the proper term is "Alban".  You can stay in an Alban for some time in perfect opponent will search for an opening....and eventually make a futile attempt to your head or neck.  From an "alban" you can either move forward to your right, or move forward to your left.  The right will give you a little more time to get your sword up, whereas the move to your left forward quadrant will put your sword up against his before he gets it moving as quickly.   Mark calls this the "scary" block, but it is not so bad.  Make sure his sword is caught on your quillion (Remember swetch und stark...weak and strong".  But the time you have tossed his sword away, you will probably be in a number two ox, and therefore, are prepared to club him like a baby seal.

If he succeeds in stopping in time...just push the tip of your sword beside his head, and let the power of his own sword ring his bell by pushing your sword into his helmet.  But that is a very advanced technique, borrowed from the advanced two handed stuff.  But it works a treat!

The Von Tag strikes are simply strikes from above which you deflect by lifting your sword in front of your brow and stepping aside...following the handle.  If they come in diagonally, same deal....move either right or left and deflect the incoming sword into an Alban, and then continue.  How would I continue?  Well, I suspect I would move towards the diagonal...lift my sword to parry, and follow the handle around his corner.  If it came from the right, I would move behind his shield and bring my sword down on his shield arm.  If it came from the left, I would follow the handle of my sword to the left, and bring my sword down on his arms.  Such a strike is called a "squinting" cut.  I have no idea why!

     Then I would retreat a moment because I will probably not get another great shot at his arm...and remember, under our rules, he has to be hit three times on an armoured bit for it to count.  Though because I would get such a great squinting cut on his arm, he MAY retreat to tend to the broken radius a squinting cut can do, even through armour.

The second ot last "ward" is the pflug.  What a great means plow.  You slam it into the ground to protect your leg...either side will do.  If it was a fake to the leg, it is easy to raise to an Alban.  The Alban is known in English as a "hanging guard"

The last ward is the tail guard.  Again, it is only transitory...and its only saving virtue is that nobody knows where you are going to strike.  From a tail guard, a unterhau (upward cut moving from below....translation would be "under cut".  If you have tailed it to your left you have many options...left quadrants including legs, diagonals, horizontals and "from the roof" (Von Tag)


  1. Yes, I concur. Guards are indeed transitory and not a lot of training time is necessary to figure out their static and fluid applications. Seeing two fighters circling around each other switching from pose to pose makes me want to go for coffee..yawn. thought you came here to fight & train?

    1. your comment clock is off by three hours. so there.

  2. One of my favorite phrases is "Get in came here to fight right?"

    I don't think I explained HOW transitory the oxen reality, they should be in place for less than an eye blink as you smoothly move it into a half sword stab. This will provide all the security you really need. But if you want more...step away from the sword a step and fall into an Alban, a hanging guard. Personally, I would immediately go into a half sword, but thats just me... "I came here to fight!"