Master strikes

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Master strikes

Postby swordflasher » 06 Jan 2007 11:14

Regarding the master strikes for longsword and messer - are people generally agreed on the description below [from Wiki 'German Longsword'], and are there any good, clear video clips of them up on the net - for both longsword amd messer if possible - that I can direct people to?

Thanks!

Master-Strikes
Called "five strokes" in 3227a, later "hidden strokes", and in late manuals "master strokes". These likely originated as secret surprise attacks in Liechtenauer's system, but with the success of Liechtenauer's school, they became common knowledge. All five are attacks from long distance (zufechten), accompanied by triangular stepping.

Zornhau: 'strike of wrath'
A powerful diagonal strike dealt from the vom Tag guard that ends in the Wechsel guard on the opposite side.[1] This strike is normally thrown to the opponent's upper opening.
Krumphau: 'crooked strike'
A strike that reaches across the direct line to the opponent, striking left from a right position and vice versa. The Krumphau breaks the guard Ochs.
Zwerchau: or Twerhau 'cross-strike'
Any high horizontal strike, typically with the 'short' (backhand) edge when thrown from the right side and with the 'long' edge when thrown from the left side. The Zwerchau breaks the guard vom Tag.
Schielhau: 'squinting-strike'
A feint that strikes a part of the opponent's body while pretending to be aiming at another part. This is the most difficult to interpret of the five strokes, and later authors like Mair simply regarded it as a particular feint beginning as a right oberhau but ending as a backhand stroke from above on the left side. The Schielhau breaks the guard Plfug.
Scheitelhau: 'top-strike'
A vertical strike dealt to the opponent's upper openings, most often to the opponent's head. The Scheitelhau breaks the guard Alber.
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Postby Herbert » 06 Jan 2007 11:45

Well it is not that easy. I disagree with some points here. But what I disagree most is that the Zornhau doesn't end in the Wechsel but in a lower Hängen (Pflug-like) with the point directed against the opponents face.

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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 08 Jan 2007 12:31

Hello Mike,there has already been a discussion about the hidden strikes here: http://fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=40
That should be helpful.
My personal opinion is, that it's rather difficult to put the performance/intent of the hidden strikes into one-liners, for my take the original manuscripts already work as stripped-to-the-bone-explanations of the techniques.
As Herbert said there are some points I'd disagree with the description, therefore the former discussion should be quite helpful.
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Postby swordflasher » 08 Jan 2007 23:48

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:Hello Mike,there has already been a discussion about the hidden strikes here: http://fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=40
That should be helpful.
My personal opinion is, that it's rather difficult to put the performance/intent of the hidden strikes into one-liners, for my take the original manuscripts already work as stripped-to-the-bone-explanations of the techniques.
As Herbert said there are some points I'd disagree with the description, therefore the former discussion should be quite helpful.
Regards
Wolfgang


Thanks Wolfgang, most illuminating.
So do we think that swordsmen of the times were more in agreement about these terms than we are, or less so?
Also, are there clips on the net of the hidden/secret/master strikes?
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 09 Jan 2007 16:15

Hi Mike,
Thanks Wolfgang, most illuminating.
So do we think that swordsmen of the times were more in agreement about these terms than we are, or less so?
Also, are there clips on the net of the hidden/secret/master strikes?

I don't think that there will be an answer to that unless somebody discovers a written convesation between - let's say - Sigmund Ringeck and Lew.....
I think there may have been very subtle differences but in general they look the same today as back then.

The most difficult one for me is the Schielhau.
I have seen several versions which all have some value. One with the hands upward, very similar to a Zwerchhacu end position and one where you strike the Schielhau in a lower hanging position. Both have worked for me in different situations.
I don't stress that much on the idea of feinting as been mentioned in your opening post. This can be an aspect but I don't think that this qualifies it for one of the hidden strikes.
I think the major value of the hidden strikes - at least concerning the use of the hidden strikes for replacing attacks - lies in the combination of closing a line against an incoming attack while simultaneously creating and attacking a line for your own attack.
There is a slight but important difference between Zornhau and Schielhau in the angles of:
- your own position towards your opponent,
- your sword and its position
- the position of your opponents sword

The angle in which your sword is straightened against your opponent is different, i.e. it's more right sided straight forward line with a zornhau and slightly more to the left whith a schielhau. Thereefore you are closing different lines of attack/counter.

Does that make any sense? I guess not, sorry.
Are you coming to Dijon this year? If yes, it would be a lot easier to show than to explain - and you can show me some of your double-sword-thingy in return!

Two more things:
1. I'm with Herbert on the Zornhau ending in the guard Wechsel.
Concerning the older manuscripts like 3227a (aka Döbringer), Ringeck, Lew, von Danzig, von Speyer etc., I think that the strikes ended in the lower hanging (unteres hengen) a position close to the guard Pflug (plow) vice versa in the
upper hanging (oberes hengen) close to the guard Ochs for upward rising cuts. The advantage - apart from having your sword between you and your opponent for safety reasons - is that your point remains a constant threat. For example the whole Zornhau-Ort complex works like this : strike a Zornhau agianst his attack, if you're fast enough, you'll hit him first, if not, you'll finish him with the point in his chest.

AFAIK only Joachim Meyer describes "full" strikes (like a Zornhau from the right shoulder down the diagonal line ending on your left besides your hip)and "half" strikes (from the shoulder to the lower hanging) in detail.

I'll look around if I find some videos. I think Bart Walczac from ARMA Poland shows some on their homepage........some guys from ARMA USA maybe?

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Postby swordflasher » 09 Jan 2007 18:43

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:Hi Mike,
Thanks Wolfgang, most illuminating.
So do we think that swordsmen of the times were more in agreement about these terms than we are, or less so?
Also, are there clips on the net of the hidden/secret/master strikes?

I don't think that there will be an answer to that unless somebody discovers a written convesation between - let's say - Sigmund Ringeck and Lew.....
I think there may have been very subtle differences but in general they look the same today as back then.

The most difficult one for me is the Schielhau.
I have seen several versions which all have some value. One with the hands upward, very similar to a Zwerchhacu end position and one where you strike the Schielhau in a lower hanging position. Both have worked for me in different situations.
I don't stress that much on the idea of feinting as been mentioned in your opening post. This can be an aspect but I don't think that this qualifies it for one of the hidden strikes.
I think the major value of the hidden strikes - at least concerning the use of the hidden strikes for replacing attacks - lies in the combination of closing a line against an incoming attack while simultaneously creating and attacking a line for your own attack.
There is a slight but important difference between Zornhau and Schielhau in the angles of:
- your own position towards your opponent,
- your sword and its position
- the position of your opponents sword

The angle in which your sword is straightened against your opponent is different, i.e. it's more right sided straight forward line with a zornhau and slightly more to the left whith a schielhau. Thereefore you are closing different lines of attack/counter.

Does that make any sense? I guess not, sorry.
Are you coming to Dijon this year? If yes, it would be a lot easier to show than to explain - and you can show me some of your double-sword-thingy in return!

Two more things:
1. I'm with Herbert on the Zornhau ending in the guard Wechsel.
Concerning the older manuscripts like 3227a (aka Döbringer), Ringeck, Lew, von Danzig, von Speyer etc., I think that the strikes ended in the lower hanging (unteres hengen) a position close to the guard Pflug (plow) vice versa in the
upper hanging (oberes hengen) close to the guard Ochs for upward rising cuts. The advantage - apart from having your sword between you and your opponent for safety reasons - is that your point remains a constant threat. For example the whole Zornhau-Ort complex works like this : strike a Zornhau agianst his attack, if you're fast enough, you'll hit him first, if not, you'll finish him with the point in his chest.

AFAIK only Joachim Meyer describes "full" strikes (like a Zornhau from the right shoulder down the diagonal line ending on your left besides your hip)and "half" strikes (from the shoulder to the lower hanging) in detail.

I'll look around if I find some videos. I think Bart Walczac from ARMA Poland shows some on their homepage........some guys from ARMA USA maybe?

Regards
Wolfgang [/url]

Thanks Wolfgang, this is all most helpful. . Yes I will be in Dijon, God willing.

I was not so much wondering if the top half-dozen masters agreed, I guess, but more if the majority of swordsmen studying these arts at the time - without out benefits of instant communication across continents - would have any more of a clue what the treatises were saying - assuming they had access to them.
I have a picture in my mind of Western martial arts in historical times as being organised very much like ourselves, with small groups of interested people searching, researching and studying and reinventing the fighting arts, with [often] more people involved, and more teachers, but less access to treatises and with greater difficulies in communicating across long distances.

So if we are struggling to agree on these things, with all our modern day advantages, were there really a large number of teachers teaching just the same thing that they had swallowed whole and were regurgitating without mistakes [or changes due to personal preference or interpretation], or were swordsmen of the time scratching thier heads too, or argueing in taverns about this cut or that?...
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Postby philippe willaume » 09 Jan 2007 19:47

Hello, I agree with Herbert and Wolfgang in general and about the zhorn in particular.
In the 15the century manual and in the goliath the zhorn ends up in lower hanging.

The krump does not necessarily reach over the line but we are stepping to side in any case.
The Zwerch is not necessarily horizontal, but we need to step to the side
The shiel is not a feint (in fact you can feint with the zwerch as well), it is a strike that collapse the opponent guard or attack by tacking advantage of a stronger biomechanics (namely alignment of the wrist and elbow in a very strong position)hitting him with the short edge
The sheitel; we are missing the notion that we can finish in high hanging.

About picture there is picture of the strikes in the goliath (and in one of lebkuchner if I am not mistaken.)

The way I understand the manuals, is that every author (read one that is not a verbatim copy of the other) is describing the strike in a situation that makes sense and that is the best for him to describe. (And that probably need to be understood taking in account the period when the text was written)

So I do not think it does not necessarily mean that they had different understanding of the strikes, but may be that they the tactical application of the strike is different or just that they have a different way of explaining things.
As Wolfgang said unless we find a letter/book between two masters we will really never know.

If I can take a more modern example
Ask Herbert, Anders, Wolfgang and myself to describe a given master strike and you will have a several slight difference ad some similarities, And that probably more on paper than what we actually do.

For example the shiel, I would say that the zhor will deflect the blow of the opponent but the shiel will collapse it. And in the zornh you will end up in the lower hangen, in a shiel you will and up anywere between the lower and upper hangen.
And the Zhorn will stay mainly within the frame describe by you body and the shiel will finish well out side your body frame

It sounds different from what Wolfgang is saying but I am not sure it is at all. I have the suspicion that if you saw us doing the strike they would be very similar.
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 10 Jan 2007 16:57

Hi Mike,
well, we have the mention of "Liechtenauers company" in the Paulus Kal manuscript:

Hye hebt sich an die kunst die liechtenawer mit seiner gesellschafft
gemacht und gepraucht hat in aller ritterlicher wer das im got
genadig sey
* Maister hanns liechtenawer
* Maister peter wildgans von glass.?
* Maister peter von tantzig
* Maister hanns schindler? von tzwayen?
* Maister lamprecht von prag
* Maister hans leysen?fa?en von erfurt
* Maister andre liegnitzer
* Maister iacob liegnitzer: gepried.
* Maister sigmund am ring.
* Maister hartmann von nurnberg
* Maister martin huntzfeld
* Maister hanns pägnitzer
* Maister philips peyer
* Maister virgily von krac.?
* Maister dietherich degen vechter von brawnschweig.
Maister ott iud der der herrn von osterreicher ringer gewessen ist.
Der edel und best stettner der ain maister der (maister) aller schuller gewessen
ist und ich maister pauls kal pin sein schuler gewessen das im
got gnadig sey for in allen.

And there are others mentioned in ms 3227a form 1389 like Hanko pfaffen (= priest) Döbringer, Niklas prewßen (= prussia), Jost von der nyssen, Andres Juden (= Andrew the jew). They seem to be part of the Liechtenauer-tradition. At least they are presented with some techniques, whereas ms 3227a also speaks negatively about the "leychmeister" who fence "prettily" with exaggerated movements and "don't know anything of the art".

Obviously we have several fencing masters who thought of themselves as being part of a earnest and serious traditional art, whereas others are simply fooling around.

@Philippe:
yep, it looks different, but I think we mean pretty much the same.....

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Postby Herbert » 10 Jan 2007 17:53

I totally agree with Phillipe and Wolfgang. The Schielhau that Phillipe brought up as an example is well chosen. I feel confident saying that we make it more or less the same having worked with both, Wolfgang and Phillipe, but we will certainly describe it differently because we probably lay the emphasis on different points. I for sure describe it some times differently regarding to whom I am talking and what the point is, the other is not understanding. So you end up with different descriptions of one stroke.

As Phillipe said:
- We are stepping aside with the Krump, I would even say, we jump aside.
- the Zwerch is not necessarily horizontal, it can even be rather angled
- the Schiel is definitely not a feint but a rather good way of redirecting an incoming blow while bringing yourself in a good position to hit with the short edge

We could elaborate but you see that although the execution of strikes is the same we can lay the emphasis on different aspects.

greetings

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Meisterhauen

Postby Jeffrey Hull » 03 Feb 2007 20:06

Hello:

I should like to actually answer your question:

Yes -- you can get the best thing in the Web regarding Meisterhauen, found here, with option to peruse JPG sequences online or to download a PDF of said sequences (click the thing at end regarding PDF) :arrow:

The Mastercuts – What They Are and What They Aren’t

by Bartholomew Walczak and Jacob Norwood
Editing and pictures by Stewart Feil, ARMA Senior Free-Scholar


http://thearma.org/essays/mastercuts.html

Those fellows of mine are accomplished fencers and scholars.
They know what the hell they are doing.

Enjoy,

Jeffrey Hull

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Postby Randall Pleasant » 06 Feb 2007 01:27

Herbert wrote:But what I disagree most is that the Zornhau doesn't end in the Wechsel but in a lower Hängen (Pflug-like) with the point directed against the opponents face.
Herbert

Yes, when a Zornhau is used as a master cut to counter a Zorn it does ends in a lower hangen when you establish a bind with the adversary's sword. The reason I wrote that line in the Wiki article is because a Zornhau that does not make contact with either a person or their sword does end in Nebenhut / Wechsel. There are indeed times when one might pull their cut so as to make a quick follow up thrust but that is a special case. At the WMAW event in October 2006 I observed a number of people who performed a Zornhau by pulling their pomel down, making their cut end in Pflug. I was not impressed by such cuts! Such cuts were weak and had much reduced reach and would be very easy to counter cut. The point is indeed a threat, but so is a long reaching edge moving fast and with power. Also, Nebenhut is a guard which one does not stand in for long, rather it is a guard in which one moves into and out of very quickly. So the question is, what action would most likely take you into the Nebenhut guard? Might it be a Zorn? Let me end by pointing out that Tobler's second book also shows the Zornhau ending in Nebenhut.

The article by Bar Walczak and Jacob Norwood should answer any other questions.

Take care friend,
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 06 Feb 2007 10:51

Hi Randall,
the problem is, that Joachim Meyer is the only prime source to differ between "full" and "half" cuts, i.e. striking Zornhau to Wechsel or to a unteres Hengen.
AFAIK none of the older Liechtenauer treatises differs the strikes like that.
The argument there can only be if one should strike (Zornhau) from the shoulder through Langort ending in unteres hengen or if - as has been point of a discussion in the Vienna event last weekend - end in Langort.

That might have been the reason why the cuts you have been watching seemed to short. Of course the cuts have to be performed in a way that the maximum reach is used, i.e. hitting the opponent in that moment of transitioning Langort..
But that is not necessarily a question of performing a weak cut. The most "promising" target for a (right) Zornhau is the (left) side of your opponents neck. From the cutting experiments I did myself (sadly not enough) or watched others performing, the one important thing was not the force or power of the cut, but keeping the precise cutting line whole performing in a fast move. A Meyer "half"-cut or a cut into unteres Hängen is definitely sufficient to kill.

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Postby philippe willaume » 07 Feb 2007 11:11

Hello
After the discussion on the Arma forum with Ran I think I see where is coming from.
I have seen people cutting from the shoulder straight to the plough (as in Ringeck and VD plough, or even Meyer plough).
In pretty much the way obata sensei (shikenko) did his helmet cutting. So whilst it can be a pretty hefty cut (if you are good enough at it), nonetheless it has all the other short coming that Ran mentioned.
Ran,
The thing is that I am not sure at all that this is what Wolfgang is talking about though.
You can deliver relatively powerful cut that will finish in a plough (sorry i meant hengen)
it will not be as powerfull as a full cut but it packs a good wallop.

Nebnhutten as far as the XV century glossator are nor necessarily coda longa.
Nowadays I tend to believe that it is the plough like but for all weapons and with and without armour (the armoured or on horse and in those instance those guards are not called plough)
Last edited by philippe willaume on 07 Feb 2007 11:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jörg B. » 07 Feb 2007 11:20

Cutting from one guard to another is something that is explicitly mentioned only in Meyer. And there it's only mentioned as the second part of a preparatory exercise. The first part advises the student to cut from a guard to the point of maximum extension (i.e. longpoint). Because that's where the sword would normally be if the strike connects or is parried.

In the Dusack section he says something along the lines of 'If you cut from a guard and miss and therefore end up in another guard.'

I think that's the way this should be seen. Start in one guard, accelerate to maximum reach and power (longpoint), if one misses decelerate and follow through into another guard and start again.

I teach to strike or thrust into longpoint, not into a Hengen. The Hengen is rather *something you can move into* after the opponent has parried.

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Postby philippe willaume » 07 Feb 2007 14:16

hello, joerg

After reading you, watching the Arma picture, and looking at the picky in Meyer http://schielhau.org/Meyer.p3.html, I am pretty sure that we all agree on that bit.
(I think we can safely assume that the “rigidness” on the arma picture is due to the picture)

And I think that the difference is two fold
One is what is a zornh.
For me if you end up like the picture D in http://schielhau.org/Meyer.p8.html.
It can not be called a Zornh, as far as ringeck is concerned, because you are not ending up in the Zornhott, whether we hit the man or not.
It can not be called a Zornh as far as VD is concerned because we do not end up in the lower hanging regardless if we hit the man ornot. (one could almost said the idea is to set up the thrust)
I do not know Meyer enough but from what Wolfgang said it can be called a Zornh

And the other is that.
Following the cut will give more power to the cut follow through, however the impact and initial part of the cut are almost identical and what you are losing in follow through you are gaining in control to prevent his blade to continue and strike us.
So even if the cut did not do him proper we are in good position to finish him off.
I think it will be enough as a cut to finish the fight, but to fair to Ran it will not be as heavy of a blow and it will cut marginally less than the blow I think he advocates.

Cutting the way Ran describe makes it easier for the right body mechanics to be in place, striking how I strike and how I think at least Wolfgang strike the “weight” of the strike really on les obvious/natural body mechenics. The more you un-roll the strike the more it is
But I do not think Ran has a problem with that type of blow, I think he is complaining about the dropping the hands early in the stike so you do not pass by the lang ort and so you limit the tip veleocity.
To schematise greatly, I think Ran is complaining about Zorn that look like Japanese chop- slice.
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Postby Jörg B. » 07 Feb 2007 15:03

Hi Philippe!

Yup, the fencer on the right of Meyers longsword plate D stands in Wechsel. Wechsel is the guard that the Zornhau ends in, but it's not where the power of the blow is focussed IMO, that would be Langort. According to Meyer, the guards a Zornhau passes through are Zornhut, Langort and Wechsel. But the focus of the blow should be in Langort, because that's where your opponent will be.

And unless I am totally blind, v.Danzig never says that one should strike into a Hengen.

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Postby admin » 07 Feb 2007 15:52

Just for the record, I explain cutting in the same way with reference to Fiore, taking 'Doebringer's' advice that the arms should be extended and the blade move directly to the target - if you miss or he slips out of distance, then I suggest to pull the hands back in to the body (as they should remain in vulnerable hitting distance for as little time as possible) and you settle into whatever guard is appropriate (eg. Denti di Cinghiale, Posta di Frontale etc). Which looks to be exactly the same as described above, just with Italian names.
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

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Postby philippe willaume » 07 Feb 2007 16:41

hello, joerg
About the power of the cut
I do not think that was what Ran was saying. Unless you have info that I do not have (I was not at the WMAW event in October 2006, so.
Basically I think he is making a similar point to yours. He is complaining about people not passing by longenort (or there about) when striking but going directly to plough without the “extension”.

About hangen
Yes Hangen was a bit abusive but it get the message across. A bit like saying that the Zorn end ups in the weschel even when VD ringeck lew and speyer masters do not even mentions that guard.

In a nutshell
VD (ringeck and the ususal suspects) says strike the zorn at his blade and if he weak thrust at him low and if he is strong thrust hat him high.
In fact every pieces from the zornh is based on what the geezer does against that thrust.

It may be an intellectual leap, but it seems that what define a zornh is the ability to deliver that thrust.
A zorn is an oberhaw that enable you to take a position in which you can thrust at his face in peace
If you continue to a weshel (or albert for lack of weshel), you just did a normal oberhaw. you can not make the pieces from the Zornh happens directly from there.

Save for Meyer, where the buck standard oberhaw is the sheitel, and where the Zorhn can and will end in weschel, Saying that the Zorn finishes in a Weschel does not make sense for the Ringeck or VD.
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Postby Randall Pleasant » 07 Feb 2007 16:44

philippe willaume wrote:But I do not think Ran has a problem with that type of blow, I think he is complaining about the dropping the hands early in the stike so you do not pass by the lang ort and so you limit the tip veleocity.
To schematise greatly, I think Ran is complaining about Zorn that look like Japanese chop- slice.


Yes, the type of cut I disagree with is one in which the arms are not extended and the pomel is pulled down - a weak cut with no reach.


Jörg B. wrote:Wechsel is the guard that the Zornhau ends in, but it's not where the power of the blow is focussed IMO, that would be Langort. According to Meyer, the guards a Zornhau passes through are Zornhut, Langort and Wechsel. But the focus of the blow should be in Langort, because that's where your opponent will be.


I am in full agreement with you.


Thanks for the replies,
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Postby Jörg B. » 07 Feb 2007 17:20

philippe willaume wrote:In a nutshell
VD (ringeck and the ususal suspects) says strike the zorn at his blade and if he weak thrust at him low and if he is strong thrust hat him high.


Both thrusts are aimed at the face/upper torso, just the way you get there is different.

And even on danger of repeating myself: *Any* blow ends in a guard other than longpoint does this *only if it misses or is pulled short intentionally*.
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