Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Liechtenauer lineage and related sources (eg. Sigmund Ringeck, Peter von Danzig, Paulus Kal, Hans Talhoffer), interpretation and practice. Open to public view.

Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Michael Chidester » 31 Aug 2011 17:15

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:@Michael: sorry, I don't get your point. Ringeck is mentioned as the author - or better commentator on Lichtenauers "secret teachings" in folio 10v and 11r
10v
Hie hept sich an die vßlegu~g der zedel

in der geschriben stett die Ritterlich kunst des langes schwerts Die gedicht vnd gemacht hat Johannes lichtenawer der ain grosser maiste~ in der kunst gewesen ist dem gott genedig sÿ der hatt die zedel laußen schrÿbe~ mitt verborgen vñ verdeckte~ worten Daru~b dz die kunst nitt gemain solt werde~ Vnd die selbige~ v°borgneñ vñ verdeckte wort hatt maister
11r
Sigmund ain ringeck der zÿt des hochgeborne~ fürsten vñ herreñ herñ aulbrecht pfalczgrauen bÿ Rin vñ herczog in baÿern schirmaiste~ Glosieret vñ außgelegt alß hie in disem biechlin her nach geschrÿben stät dz sÿ ain ÿede~ fechter wol verömen vnd vestan mag der da ande~st fechten kan ~

Ringeck is not explicitly mentioned apart from the long sword section in 10v, but neither any other author except master Lichtenauer himself as founder of the secret teachings. If it's an error to think Ringeck was the author/interpreter of all the sections, it would have been an error now and then.

Yes, the "secret teachings" refers to Liechtenauer's Epitome, and the commentary on it is the gloss found at the beginning of the manuscript. While the names of the authors of the other sections (Andres Lignitzer and Ott Jud) are omitted, that's not the same as asserting their authorship to Ringeck. Plagiarism and its assorted baggage is a very recent invention, and in this period they simply didn't place much importance in proper attribution. Most likely the source text that the scribe who penned the C487 was copying Lignitzer's sword and buckler from didn't have his name attached to it, while the text that he was copying Sigmund ain Ringeck's gloss from did. He didn't know who the author was and didn't need to know.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Bladerunner » 23 Sep 2011 08:58

Thearos. Here's a couple of videos presenting some basic concepts of Liechtenauers longsword. Hope this answers some of your questions. Shame they didn't do more.

http://www.youtube.com/user/avalongliwi ... PpZIdP5kBY

http://www.youtube.com/user/avalongliwi ... 8U1LG27cVc
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 24 Sep 2011 00:24

Thanks
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby bigdummy » 10 Feb 2012 00:01

Thearos, to answer your original question,

I'm not sure where you came up with the notion that Liechtenauer is based on all attack, but I think this idea was an early misunderstanding about the differences between Fiore and Liechtenauer. I believe the perception of a conflict has more to do with the people currently trying to figure the fencing manuals out than it does about the Masters themselves.

I have to be a little bit careful what I say here since some groups who made some of the early mistakes are still around and still rather militant in their point of view, but I'll speak somewhat generically.

In the early days of the HEMA revival, or at any rate when I got involved in it about ten or twelve years ago, understanding of the fighting systems in the manuals was pretty low across the board. What's more, people who were able to translate a little bit or had even a small inkling of some postures which looked a little bit like the pictures from the old books, started right away styling themselves as "Masters" and a few even moved to remote places to open schools, or became "directors" of organizations which were purported to be extremely important. These folks took themselves and their own interpretations very seriously and soon began to argue bitterly online.

I call this the "Burger King hat phase of HEMA". Many early ideas about basic things like footwear, stances, whether one should parry with the edge or flat, what the guards were, and what the general idea was behind the various manuals (including the idea of whether German fencing was based on an "all-attack" philosophy) and other artificial barriers emerged between different camps, including a series of misunderstandings between some of the Liechtenauer people and some of the Fiore people (the wiser in each camp stayed out of the fray). And another camp which insisted that there was only One True System (tm) which was pan-European. People established entrenched, hard-line positions on some of these ideas in frantic internet flame-wars, s0me of which would later prove difficult to back away from. HEMA split into different factions to some extent, and some groups and individuals backed way off (while others simply stayed out of all the drama and went on fencing, and studying and so forth, and quietly comparing notes with one another).

Fast forward through the advent of some large HEMA events like at Dijon and umbrella groups like HEMAC which linked together small HEMA schools in several countries, and some continued cautious conversations online on various private mailing lists and places like this forum, an understanding gradually improved a little. It began to dawn on some of us how much we actually had to learn. More and more manuals emerged, making it clear that there was more than one thread to the "German" tradition as Mike Chidester described.

At the current level of understanding, we see a lot of similarities between Fiore and the Liechtenauer school. We have some consensus about a few of the basic ideas in Liechtenauer. "Indes" for example is basically a timing concept, as in "Vor", "Nach", and "Indes": before, after, and during. This plays into the distances: Zufechten (the outer distance, or the entry), Krieg (the 'war', the middle distance) Ringen (the wrestling or grappling distance) and the Abzug (the exit).

We see a little bit more of an emphasis on maintaining or recovering the initiative in Liechtenauer than Fiore, arguably, but both systems actually cover many of the same things. Not to say they are part of the SAME system (though some people will still argue that) but they are not so different as we first supposed; neither is Japanese fencing for that matter (if you watch those old Kirosawa films, you'll see all the guards from Liechtenauer).

The Miesterhau (Master Cuts) from the Liechtenauer zettel, the poem which gets repeated in a lot of the manuals we associate with this tradition, are used both for opening attacks, and defense (Versetsen). They are considered the ideal opening attacks to break different guards, and the ideal defense against certain attacks, but not the only attacks or the only defenses. Some of these like the Zwerchau master cut or the Absetsen can be single-time counters; at least as often they are effectively provocations to try to get a bind or to force the opponent to react. The system also uses void-counters (Nachriesen) like you see in Japanese fencing, and double-time counters like you see in FIore (like for example many if not all interpretations of the Krumphau).

The real emphasis in the "German" system is not on always attacking, but is on trying to always understand what is going on before the other guy does. The timing concept of Vor can mean acting in the Vor or thinking in the Vor ... for example when you do a Nachriesen (striking after you void by stepping or leaning out of range, i.e. after your opponents blade goes by) this is usually because you were able to see what they were doing before they did it... thus you are aware in the Vor but you are acting in in the Nach. The emphasis on "Indes" is (by my limited understanding) on figuring out what is going on as it is happening.

One recommended way to stay 'ahead of the game' in terms of knowing what is going on, is to keep the other guy reacting to your moves. This in an earlier era was (I think) misinterpreted to mean always attacking; attacking first is just one 'ideal' strategy that you can try circumstantially; (just like a single-time counter or a double-time master-cut which steals your opponents time is considered superior to just parrying because it allows you to see what is happening before your opponent does, since he is reacting to you); but what strategy you actually employ depends a great deal on what your opponent is doing. Joachim Meyer for example describes four fighting roles: A frenzied attacker (often criticized in other Liechtenauer tradition manuals as a buffalo attack), a cunning counterattacker ready to pounce on a mistake, a judcicial and deceitful role probing and feinting, and a 'fool' role seeking to lure the opponent into an overconfident attack. It's the third role that Meyer actually thinks works best for him, but he tells you that you must be able to recognize all four roles in your opponent and be able to adjust your own style to fight as all four types of fighter if necessary.

I still don't think we understand that much about either Liechtenauer or Fiore 'systems' to be honest, but I believe our understanding overall is starting to become a bit more nuanced.

BD
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 10 Feb 2012 19:23

Thanks for taking the time to write. Gripping, and well worth mulling; very helpful in showing where HEMA is. I suppose I did read the idea that "German school = attack all the time" or misunderstand it somewhere; I do think there is one author who disdains parrying. And yes, from this forum, I got a sense of the diversity and nuance of current understanding of HEMA, as opposed to say 10 years ago (I started reading the posts and articles on a well-known site, led by a, uh, charismatic figure, in 2002; earlier I read S. Anglo as soon as it came out; even before that I had read Silver and Marozzo, in original editions, and also some C18th treatises-- referred to them by Burton, I think).

More soon !
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby admin » 16 Feb 2012 18:52

I think it's also worth pointing out that we will all explain things differently. That does not mean they are necessarily different. 10 people will describe a car crash in 10 different ways.

Having said that, human perspective is a very important thing - whether it is the perspective of the ancient masters or our own perspective. You can gain information from that 10th description that the other 9 people didn't mention.. it might even be that the 10th person's description is way more accurate than the other 9, or totally misleading...

For my own part I am usually on the side of arguing for diversity amongst styles and pointing out the differences between what we know of Fiore and Liechtenauer. I came at Fiore from a completely neutral position - I initially wanted to study a German source, but the group I was with wanted to work on Fiore and I had Italian friends who could help with the translation, so that's what we did. Then I started teaching at international events and I was amazed at all the similarities with what the German guys were doing... then after some time, as I got to know Fiore better, I started noticing all the differences and I realised that I had been subconsciously taking what I was seeing the German guys doing and injecting it into my own practice, creating a bastardised form of Fiore. I used to teach the Zornhau and the winden into Ochs in a Fiore context. But they just aren't there. I now stick to what is shown in Fiore, because he shows a parry-riposte system based on certain kinds of parry and beat, and in my eyes if you try to get good at doing Liechtenauer-ish Zornhau and winding then it makes you worse at doing the kind of parry-riposte actions that Fiore shows. So I choose to try and be good at one thing, rather than mediocre at two.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Bulot » 17 Feb 2012 02:38

and in my eyes if you try to get good at doing Liechtenauer-ish Zornhau and winding then it makes you worse at doing the kind of parry-riposte actions that Fiore shows. So I choose to try and be good at one thing, rather than mediocre at two.


It helps knowing the techniques though. At least to be able to recognize them in an opponent's way of fencing and to be prepared to counter them.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby admin » 17 Feb 2012 07:55

Absolutely.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby bigdummy » 17 Feb 2012 16:46

It's funny I'm a Liechtenauer guy because that is what was available to me when I got into this (there were no Fiore translations that I could find back then) but my natural inclination as a fighter is to parry and riposte. Maybe because in my pre-hema days I did a lot of sword and shield or single-stick fighting, or maybe it's due to my experiences of regular (non-weapon) fighting because I used to fight that way. I have however come to really appreciate the Miesterhau as opening attacks, the single-time counter as a counter, and the whole winding / mutating concept.

I've spent a lot of energy learning the longsword and it has become the weapon I'm most effective with, and it's far too late for me I think to learn the Fiore system, but the Liechtenauer model of "attack first' is not a completely natural fit for me, and I have to fight my instinct to let the other guy strike first. For me the saber, the single-stick or the sword and shield are much easier to use, but I've come to believe that the longsword is a more versatile and dangerous weapon in the hands of a skilled fencer. Knowing what you can do with the sword and shield, I feel like I can beat almost any sword-and-shield guy with a longsword at this point, though I have yet to face the worlds best at this (I know some sword and buckler fighters have done very well in longsword tournaments).

The most interesting thing I've learned is that you have to be able to be very flexible and adapt your fight to what your opponent is doing, just like for example when you are playing chess.

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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 17 Feb 2012 21:11

What is the Fiore-ist counter to Liechtenauer style bind-and-wind ?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Bulot » 17 Feb 2012 21:47

Depends on the position in which the winding goes, and how the bind was made.

If the opponent is pushing your blade and goes from the bind to an ochs (like usually seen after a zorn-ish strike), either you leave the bind and strike to the other side, or you pass while covering and goes with the pummel to the face.

If the opponent is going to a pflug-like guard, you beat his sword to the ground and strike to the arms/head, or you exchange the thrust...You may also close the distance and disarm him.

There is'nt a definite answer to this question because it highly depends of the way you crossed swords, at least in my opinion.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby admin » 18 Feb 2012 01:10

In addition to the above, Fiore's grabs and disarms wor8k great.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Arto Fama » 22 Feb 2012 14:05

I have focussed on Ringeck's glossa on longsword the past few months, and the more I look into Liechtenauer and Ringeck, the more it seems to me that he does have sort of an attitude: parrying is for losers.
In this: parrying being a passive defensive action in the time of an opponent's attack.

To make a bold statement to be discussed here: always attack even if your opponent is attacking. Never 'just' defend/parry.
I do not claim to know that it either is or was so, there are just several pieces that give me the impression:

Absetzen: blocking and thrusting in a single time action.
All meisterhau have at least one option of attacking into the attack, when it does not go as planned you 'only' break the attack and gain the Vor/initiative.
Nachraysen: He moves back, you attack in his movement. He strikes and misses, you strike in his action.
Indes being considered the key to the true art of swordfighting: using his movement to both counter his action and hit the opponent.

(free translation of quotes)
He who goes after parry's is easily defeated.
... do not care about what he does, strike with intent to head and body, and to blows he will not come.
... keep thrusting to every opening and his plays he will not finish.

Ofcourse there are moments when the versetze/parry you make is not as active as you wish, and you have to fight to regain initiative.

Please give me the Fiore fighters/specialists opinion about this, would love to compare!
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Stevie T » 22 Feb 2012 14:45

I've always seen it that the main goal of any fight is to 'not die'.

Liechtenauer would think the best way to do this is 'kill the other guy without getting hit'.

Fiore would think the best way to do this is 'ensure you don't get hit, then kill the other guy'.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Michael Chidester » 22 Feb 2012 19:13

Arto Fama wrote:I have focussed on Ringeck's glossa on longsword the past few months, and the more I look into Liechtenauer and Ringeck, the more it seems to me that he does have sort of an attitude: parrying is for losers.

Which translation are you using? Lindholm's especially is more indicative of how Lindholm wants you to fight than how Ringeck does.

Arto Fama wrote:Absetzen: blocking and thrusting in a single time action.

Ringeck's short description might make it seem that way, but if you turn to the more detailed Pseudo-Peter von Danzig gloss, he makes it clear that the order of actions is: Wind to the appropriate guard (pflug or ochs), then step, then thrust. Probably two tempos, not one.

There's also the fact that the canonical counter to the Schaytelhaw is a cover with the guard Kron, not a counter-attack, after which you are to close and grapple. This is a very Fiore-like action, present in the core of Liectenauer's teachings.

And if you're looking for double-tempo actions, off the top of my head there are also several in the devices from Nebenhut.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Keith P. Myers » 22 Feb 2012 21:40

If you look at the more recent German tradition, Paulus Hector Mair doesn't seem to really distinguish between "absetzen" and "versetzen." Both words are used to denote a parry or defense of some kind. You also find less emphasis on or use of Meisterhawen as simulataneous parry and hit in both Meyer and Mair. I'm not very familiar with Fiore, but I get the impression his method may be more similar to the later Liech tradition than it is to the early Liech tradition. Of course by the 16th century, the Liech tradition had undergone some "evolution" as well as likely "mixing" with other methods.

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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Herbert » 22 Feb 2012 21:47

Keith P. Myers wrote:If you look at the more recent German tradition, Paulus Hector Mair doesn't seem to really distinguish between "absetzen" and "versetzen."


There you see how a system changed. I am quite certain that Absetzen is a different thing from Versetzen, as it is mentioned in the earlier sources.

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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Arto Fama » 23 Feb 2012 02:24

Thanks for the insights!

@Michael: Yes, I totally agree. There are several techniques where a double tempo is performed. That is why I specifically said: I believe the focus is on attacking.

Besides your excellent example of the Kron defense against Schaytelhaw, I belief there are also:
-the versetze from the opponent when a simple High-Low Fehlen is performed
-the striking to the blade from Nebenhut as you mentioned
-Krumphaw as versetze against Ober/Unterhau
-Zornhau, not hitting the opponent
-Schiller, not hitting the opponent
-Everytime a followup technique is described preceded by: "if he displaces this.."

So actually quite some examples.

On this moment I try to work from the Transcription of Svard and Lindholm, and use their Translation, the old one from Tobler and the recent one from Keith Farrel as possibilities/advice.
Being from Holland gives me a slight edge, the German used is sometimes even more similar to Dutch than modern German is. It is still my interpretation, thus full of mistakes, me being human :)

Even from your short description of the Psuedo-Peter von Danzig way of explaining Absetzen, I do not see why it should be in two tempo's. I do not believe that breaking a movement up into easily explainable steps is enough to consider it split movement.

When winding to the appropriate position/guard, the step and thrust can already begin.
I totally agree: Ringeck does not tell us to do it in one fluent motion.
But the constant reminding about Indes gives me the idea that it is to be done in the action of the other, and therefore completed: Your point hits, his misses.

To strike when he strikes and to thrust when he thrust is also in line with this view.

If the goal is to gain the Vor and tactical/physical advantage in the following situation (a bind for example) would you consider a defensive action still an attack?

I will send you a message so we can discuss text examples about the absetzen, in order to keep this thread unspoiled.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Herbert » 23 Feb 2012 07:49

Arto Fama wrote:I totally agree: Ringeck does not tell us to do it in one fluent motion.
But the constant reminding about Indes gives me the idea that it is to be done in the action of the other, and therefore completed: Your point hits, his misses.

I totally disagree:

Aber ain stuck von abseczen
It~ wann du gen im stäst In de~ hu°t de pflu°gs võ dine~ lincken sÿtten Hawt er dir dann zu° der obern blöß dine~ lincken sÿtten so far vff mitt dem schwert vnnd vff die lincken sÿtten gege~ sine~ haw / dz gehülcz für din haupt vñ schrÿt zu° im mitt dem rechte~ fu°ß vñ stich im in dz gesicht ~~~

Taken from Hammaborg / Transkription by Dierk Hagedorn

This is one fluid motion and we are told to do it in one motion. You cant't really argue here. Also he tells you to do an Absetzen against a thrust in one motion (just before this paragraph on the same page 40r). What makes you think Ringeck doesn't tell you to do it in one motion?

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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Keith P. Myers » 23 Feb 2012 13:08

Even from your short description of the Psuedo-Peter von Danzig way of explaining Absetzen, I do not see why it should be in two tempo's. I do not believe that breaking a movement up into easily explainable steps is enough to consider it split movement.

---I think that sometimes the tempo is not double, as in "1, 2" but rather broken, as in "1 &.. Its a "time and a half" rather than a "double time"...if that makes sense. The better you get, the closer to a "single time" it becomes.

But the constant reminding about Indes gives me the idea that it is to be done in the action of the other, and therefore completed: Your point hits, his misses.

---Going by the more recent Liech tradition again....in context "indes" or "inn dem" seems to mean something more like "immediately" rather than "simultaneously." To me, this implies a "time and a half" rather than a "single time." But this is another area where meanings and applications may have shifted a bit compared to the older Liech tradition.

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