Zwerchau

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

Re: Zwerchau

Postby admin » 08 Dec 2011 11:46

Herbert wrote:That is to be expected, isn't it. If anything the contrary would be exceptional. I would be most surprised to find a coherent system spread over a large area such as Italy as a whole, or the german speaking countries. Local differences make much more sense.


I agree. :)
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 16 Jan 2012 14:26

I do the zwerchau with thumb and without thumb on the blade. Two reasons not to put it there, according to my instructor - first, if the opponent hits on your zwerchau from above, there is a chance he may break yout thumb. And if you wield a sword like... Albion's Munich, which is what - less than an inch wide at the base - thumbgrip gets uncomfortable.

On the whole Doebringer/Lichtenauwr thing - Matt, which manuscripts do you consider Lichtenauer? Only Doebringer? Or everything up till Meyer? Or everything German? There was one more important thing Doebringer said in the beggining of his MS - "but I would like to see one who can think up a fencing move that does not come from the Lichtenauers' art". That implies that the art is all inclusive, and definetely goes against the idea that it was something special and secretive. The meisterhau are not vectors in the air, they are principles, put into strikes. The same goes for all positions - they are more intervals than fixed positions. And I think Fiore's art was also all inclusive. By following Fiore's principles, not separated phrases from his MSs, one can do a Zwerchau without being a Lichtenauer student. The Zwerchau for me is actually a natural move.

How do I use it? I strike hard and keep on line, doesn't matter what happens after your first hit before you have made that his so it delivers.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Michael Chidester » 16 Jan 2012 15:17

B. Cross wrote:There was one more important thing Doebringer said in the beggining of his MS - "but I would like to see one who can think up a fencing move that does not come from the Lichtenauers' art". That implies that the art is all inclusive, and definetely goes against the idea that it was something special and secretive.

Leaving aside the fact that Döbringer doesn't say that, and actually never mentions Liechtenauer at all, all that that particular statement by pseudo-Döbringer means necessarily is that this glossator, whoever he was, was prone to hyperbole or a very narrow world-view. I can show you several techniques out of Fiore that do not come from Liechtenauer's art (including a few that are effective despite contradicting his advice), and more from other non-Liechtenauer sources like Gladiatoria or the Kölner Fechtbuch. Let's not even start on the 17th century rapier manuals or the 18th century backsword stuff.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 16 Jan 2012 15:30

I had to say "the cod. 3227a", and it is a matter of choice if you see the whole 'secretive' part as a hyperbole or this small quote.

I also study Fiore, and while I agree 100% that there are things shown in his treatises that do not appear in L., but I am not talking about that. I am talking about underlying principles, which are, IMHO, not contradictory. In any case, the differences are a matter of style and personal preference of each teacher, in my opinion.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 17 Jan 2012 08:35

I doubt that the Zwerchhau is a natural move - otherwise why would I spend hours to teach newcomers to make it right, or why would people after 10 years of practice still hone and fine tune it? It is anything but natural if done right.

A broken thumb is extremely unlikely to the point where it can be neglected. If you injure your thumb you were doing something completely wrong.
Narrow blades, especially with a center ridge, can be uncomfortable but they are only that: uncomfortable.
If you really train, then it gets a second nature to put the thumb there (if you do it on principle) and therefore works even with narrow blades. I tried it.

As to the quote from MS 3227a. He specifically talks about the fancy moves of the Klopffechter and therefore can be taken quite literally. Of course it also includes the underlying principles. Regarding the techniques there are often quite big differences between the masters and even regarding underlying principles you often find differences. It is not "all the same". It may still be valid though.
If you don't believe in differences in the principles then compare the I.33 with Lignitzer for example.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 17 Jan 2012 15:14

Well, what is a natural move? Is a straight punch a natural move? I think it is, but it may also take years to perfect. But I've seen people get the basic principle of movement in just one lesson - of course, their muscles are not yet ready but they understand what the strike is aboyt and from there to doing it is a really short ride. I also consider the Zwerch a natural move, but that does not mean that a natural move doesn't need perfection.

Herbert (I hope you don't mine me using your first name), I have quite a bit less experience than my instructor. If I doubt something he says, I work as hard as I can to rpove my point of view, but there are some facts I just haven't managed to proof. I was just quoting his reasons for not using the thumb. Pure facts are, his Zwerch is still martially sound and a lot more precise than mine without using the thumb.

And will you be so kindly considerate and point out the differences between I.33 and Lignitzer? Because in Lignitzer I see only a lichtenauered I.33... There are some principles that are constant - that is what is aplied by the word 'principle', at least when I use it. I can try to describe them in words, if tou insist, what I think the common principle of medieval fighting are, in whole, but I am not sure I can do it without showing it in person. I strongly believe from my humbke experience that the general principles of Fiore, Lichtenauer and honestly any master in the 13-16th century is the same. I would believe that things after that aslo did not changed much, but as that is my are of experience, I can only believe that.

However, some of those principles are not stated directly in the MSs. They have to be extracted from interpretation. What I see a lot of people doing is that they are trying to interpret the art piece by piece and they do not look at it as a whole. Most of you guys don't do that now, but many groups still go his way and IMHO, it is wrong, because it leads to a system without understanding - a system relying on a bundle of interpretated techniques.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 17 Jan 2012 19:30

B. Cross wrote:Herbert (I hope you don't mine me using your first name)

Not at all!


B. Cross wrote:And will you be so kindly considerate and point out the differences between I.33 and Lignitzer?

Basically it is about the way you try to overcome your opponent.
I.33 is all about control whereas Lignitzer is about bringing your opponent into a situation you want him to be in so you can exploit it.
The I.33 almost never attacks unless he has control of your weapons first which is not at all the case with Lignitzer.

NOW we are completely off topic of the thread - would be better to cut this part out and start a new one.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Keith P. Myers » 19 Jan 2012 01:29

Hey B. Cross!

Sounds like you would be a proponent of the "Pan-European" theory. :wink:

You said:

"I am talking about underlying principles, which are, IMHO, not contradictory. In any case, the differences are a matter of style and personal preference of each teacher, in my opinion."

Principles are certainly important, but only take you so far. What counts as much is how you move. Certainly it is a matter of "style." But that style is unique to a particular "school" or "tradition." And this is what separates the different methods. Conceivably one could teach only the "prinicples" and not show specific technique and then let the student come up with his own thing. What would result would likely be wildly different between various students!

Our challenge in recreating these martial arts is to try to figure out as closely as possible how they actually moved without having 500 year old video tape to tell us! Mish-mashing things together is not going to help with that. Sure, you could probably derive a "zwerch-like" move from Fiore's principles, but would it be something he is likely to have used regularly? I think if it was, he would have put it in one of his books.

I agree with Herbert that the Zwerch is not that "natural" of a movement. You don't see it in Japanese swordsmanship. You don't see it in Jogo de Pau. You don't see it in Bolognese two-handed sword.

Anyway, just my 2 cents. :)

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 19 Jan 2012 03:08

I have seen a rough equivalent to a left side zwerch in katori shinto ryu. And in japanese jo. Actually, jo techniqued have a complete equivalent of a zwerchau.

I agree that mish-mashing stuff is not a good idea. But I am talking about understanding it and finding your own way of doing it, while still retaining the principles. If you are doing something martially sound, but it is not in any of Fiore manuscripts, although it does fit with his principles, should you stop doing it because he did not write about it? Or if one of your students does something Perfectly sound from a bolognese manuscript, but you are working on I.33, so you ask him not to use it?
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Andreas Engström » 19 Jan 2012 13:19

B. Cross wrote:And in japanese jo. Actually, jo techniqued have a complete equivalent of a zwerchau,

Ehm, a weapon without edge and crossguard has a complete equivalent of a technique where part of the fundamental principles is using the crossguard to protect against an incoming attack and where several of the followup techniques are schnitte? I call shenanigans.

"Vaguely analogous in some respects" is the furthest I can imagine there being, even if you consciously tried to construct an exact equivalent..

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 19 Jan 2012 17:22

Ok, ou obviously haven't faced a received a full stregnth Zornhay over your Zwerxh before you can finish it. Zwerch defends the head with position, and the hands with angle. If those were bad, the crossguard may help you, but it may just as easily just fail under a strike (or it might go over and reach your fingers). So a zwerhau with a stick is entirely possible, even if not as easy as with a sword.... That's why people used swords, after all. But the path of the weapon, the position you need, the angle of the blade is the same, and IMO, that s what makes a zwerhau.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 19 Jan 2012 17:51

B. Cross wrote:But I am talking about understanding it and finding your own way of doing it, while still retaining the principles. If you are doing something martially sound, but it is not in any of Fiore manuscripts, although it does fit with his principles, should you stop doing it because he did not write about it? Or if one of your students does something Perfectly sound from a bolognese manuscript, but you are working on I.33, so you ask him not to use it?

You can use whatever you want, but you can't call it whatever you want. A person with sword and buckler can fight whichever way he or she chooses but she mustn't call it I.33 or "according to I.33" or anything similar.

And you can not take everything that is martially sound and put it onto an existing system. There are a lot of techniques for example that are martially sound and still are not within a given system. Perdiod. Wether we like it or not, that is the way it is. Everything else is wishful thinking.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 19 Jan 2012 18:13

So you think that we have the complete systems of the masters? I am sorry, but that is just ridiculous. Take Fiore for example - we have only a handfull of MSs, mostly identical to each other. Or someone called Lignitzer a system - only 6 plays and ou think of him as a compete system? Am I the only one founding this ridiculous? We have obviously no Direct connection to the master. Their MSs can tell us a lot, but not all. So if we think of something based on the principles of those manuscripts, but it is not in them, yes, we cannot say that it follows what the paryicular master jhas showed in his MSs. But if it is martially sound and relies on the same principles as all other techniques a master has shown us, why not use it? There aren't that many ways to cut a meatbag down.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Michael Chidester » 19 Jan 2012 19:10

B. Cross wrote:So you think that we have the complete systems of the masters? I am sorry, but that is just ridiculous. Take Fiore for example - we have only a handfull of MSs, mostly identical to each other. Or someone called Lignitzer a system - only 6 plays and ou think of him as a compete system? Am I the only one founding this ridiculous? We have obviously no Direct connection to the master. Their MSs can tell us a lot, but not all. So if we think of something based on the principles of those manuscripts, but it is not in them, yes, we cannot say that it follows what the paryicular master jhas showed in his MSs. But if it is martially sound and relies on the same principles as all other techniques a master has shown us, why not use it? There aren't that many ways to cut a meatbag down.

Go ahead and use whatever works for you, no on's saying not to. But don't say that you got it from a source where you didn't, or people will start calling you on it.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 19 Jan 2012 19:38

Aah, yes, about that you are certainly right. When I was at the Days of the Swords in Conwy two years ago, in One of the breaks me and a couple of other people discussed some techniques. i did a schwertnehmen with a single sword against one of them, and everyone asked me from which soirce it was. I honestly said that I have no idea, and in fact, I have not seen it in a source done that way. But it was working, it was martially sound, so i continue to use it. I'll never say it is from a source, but I will say that it is based on thenprinciples the masters teach us.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 20 Jan 2012 08:57

B. Cross wrote:So you think that we have the complete systems of the masters?

Of course we haven't but we have to work with what we have.

It all boils down on what you want to do. Do you:
• want to fight with a sword
• want to fight according to a certain source
• want to fight historically correct (using various sources)

If you want to be true to one source, you have to stick to it - period. When I give a class on I.33 I don't bring in stuff from somewhere else, be it as martially sound as it may be.

If you use sword an buckler and tell people that this is how it was used, then you need a proof of that. The proof usually is a fencing book. So you need to be able to cite a source. Otherwise you can't call it historically correct.

If you just want to fight with sword and buckler then do whatever you want - no one will argue there. Just don't call it "according to a source" or "historically correct".

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Andreas Engström » 20 Jan 2012 11:20

B. Cross wrote:Ok, ou obviously haven't faced a received a full stregnth Zornhay over your Zwerxh before you can finish it.

OK, I certainly have. Why would you assume otherwise?
B. Cross wrote:Zwerch defends the head with position, and the hands with angle. If those were bad, the crossguard may help you, but it may just as easily just fail under a strike (or it might go over and reach your fingers).
Yes, things can always go wrong. This doesn't change the fact that the zorn will almost always end up sliding down to the crossguard. The manuals also talk explicitly about protecting your head with the hilt (gehülz). Ringeck also says explicitly that you will catch his blade with your crossguard ("So vaschdü sine~ haw In din gehu~ltz vnd triffest In zu° dem kopff ~ ")
B. Cross wrote:So a zwerhau with a stick is entirely possible, even if not as easy as with a sword.... That's why people used swords, after all. But the path of the weapon, the position you need, the angle of the blade is the same, and IMO, that s what makes a zwerhau.

If you use the same angle of the "blade" (which a stick doesn't have), the opponent's attack will slide down your stick and hit your unprotected fingers. If you do something vaguely zwerch-like with a stick you need a rather different mechanic to keep your fingers safe.

You will have a quite different set of followups since you can't slice with the stick.

There will certainly be an analogous technique, but that wasn't what you said. You talked about a complete equivalent.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby B. Cross » 20 Jan 2012 11:40

Herbert, I can site you a source for anything I do. But why the fact that I wold be citing 3 or more sources wold make it not historicly correct? and if I am following the principles of the master, I know he would've done a certain tehnique, even if he did not describe it in his manusript

Andreas, sorry, but I assumed so because it soundedlike ou trust the crossguard to do all the work. Yes, it will protect you, and it often happens to fall there, but certainly the best way to do a zwerch is to cut with enough deliberation so that the opponents blade stays clear of you head and hands. And if you do cut the exactly same way with a long enough stick, you will get the approximately - ok, the complete equivalent was stretching it a bit - approximately the same result. I am not saying it is easy. Bur if you do a perfect zwerchau in a perfect tempo you can do it with a stick.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 20 Jan 2012 14:42

B. Cross wrote:Herbert, I can site you a source for anything I do. But why the fact that I wold be citing 3 or more sources wold make it not historicly correct?

Exactly - if you can show a source when you do something it can be considered historically correct (but maybe not within a system - but let's just not go there).


B. Cross wrote:and if I am following the principles of the master, I know he would've done a certain tehnique, even if he did not describe it in his manusript

If he didn't describe it, so how do you know wether he would've done what you did? That is a bit…presumptuous.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Andreas Engström » 20 Jan 2012 14:52

B. Cross wrote:Andreas, sorry, but I assumed so because it soundedlike ou trust the crossguard to do all the work. Yes, it will protect you, and it often happens to fall there, but certainly the best way to do a zwerch is to cut with enough deliberation so that the opponents blade stays clear of you head and hands.

It absolutely does not do all the work, but the work it does do is very important. I don't think that any technique that is required to be performed perfectly every time (and, by implication, requires your opponent not to be perfect) to work is a very good technique. The zwerch is a good technique because it has failsafes. Without a crossguard I don't think zwerch against zorn is a martially valid technique. I would much rather do something else if I don't have a crossguard on my weapon.

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