Question on Meyer's parts of the fight

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Question on Meyer's parts of the fight

Postby Angel S. » 15 Jun 2007 22:19

In reading Meyer, the parts of the fight are Zufechten, Krieg & Abzug and the German school of thought (as I have it understood) seems to really push you to rush into Krieg and fight hardcore. But why?

Why should say, someone like me (all 5’3” & 120 pounds) rush into Krieg with someone who is twice my size? And trust me, nearly everyone I’m fighting is twice my size and twice as strong. Wouldn’t it be wiser for me to keep my distance and try not to go to Krieg if I can help it? Is there something I’m not understanding?

I'd like to hear all opinions on this especially form the instructors on this forum.

Thanks

EDIT: Matt please move this to another section if you think it shouldn't go here.
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Postby Carletto » 15 Jun 2007 22:37

Angel this isn't my field, however, I'm wondering if you're confusing krieg with ringen.
If my understanding is correct, krieg is what you do from crossed blades and can evolve in ringen or not, you can just find yourself using a transport and a plain thrust.
This said, there are more reasons, for a small fencer, to use transports, grips and all, when appropriate than not to do it. When you fight at distance, you fight at the longer guy's distance, or so it's in backsword, therefore you're in danger of baing outreached, pressed on and loose the initiative, having your guards crushed through by an heavier blade and a stronger arm. Once you've crossed blades in a smart way, other techniques, that depend on sensibility can be used that erase the stronger guy's advantage.
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Postby Angel S. » 15 Jun 2007 23:00

Carletto wrote:Angel this isn't my field, however, I'm wondering if you're confusing krieg with ringen.
If my understanding is correct, krieg is what you do from crossed blades and can evolve in ringen or not, you can just find yourself using a transport and a plain thrust.
This said, there are more reasons, for a small fencer, to use transports, grips and all, when appropriate than not to do it. When you fight at distance, you fight at the longer guy's distance, or so it's in backsword, therefore you're in danger of baing outreached, pressed on and loose the initiative, having your guards crushed through by an heavier blade and a stronger arm. Once you've crossed blades in a smart way, other techniques, that depend on sensibility can be used that erase the stronger guy's advantage.


No, I'm talking about the parts of the fight that Meyer describes as Zufechten (the onset), then going to Krieg (bind - grapple) and then Abzug (withdrawl).

I'm just wondering why so much emphasis on going to krieg (the bind) when it's probably better for me to stay fighting in zufechten & abzug.
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Postby zarlor » 16 Jun 2007 00:14

Well, first off I don't think Meyer quite had you in mind, Angel. ;)

But to be honest I find a good bit of this kind of thing in even the Italian manuals, at least in the earlier 16th century ones like Manciolino and Marozzo. In part I'm come to think that part of the reason is cultural. What I mean by that is that in most European cultures of the time, and perhaps especially in those that took heavily to codifying concepts of honor that it was very important to be capable of showing traits that indicated honor, or at least assiduously avoided acts that might appear, if not inherently dishonorable, might be considered to provide opportunity for damage to one's reputation (which in many ways is almost inseparable from honor, anyway.) To be more specific there is a certain amount of admonition for backing away in a fight and while we may think that this is simply a process of maintaining a proper measure, it could also be viewed (or so I think it may be viewed by the Medieval/Renaissance mind) as being a bit cowardly.

Cowardice, of course, showed a very poor character, one who might be unable to fulfill their civic duties to society and a grave insult (one really only trumped by being given the lie itself.) And since a man's (and let's face it these manuals were most likely intended for use by men whose civic duties practically required such knowledge) reputation and honor were part and parcel to their ability to make a living and take care of their family, it was best to keep up appearances. I find many folks today don't really get the concept of just how important the concept of honor really was during these times and as such, while it may seem but a silly reason to jump into a close combat range, the more I read the more I think this may have a definite role in that decision and why so many of the authors of the subject seem to advocate the close play as being held in such high esteem.

That's probably not a very satisfactory response (and being one of those guys whose worked a lot longer from some of the later manuals which seem to have less problems in accepting ranged play I appreciate exactly where you are coming from) but there is little more I can really add. Others with greater experience at the close play will have to offer any of the more practical advice and reasons as to why the close play was so heavily advocated by so many of the authors.
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Postby Fab » 16 Jun 2007 00:40

Well....


Meyer is not my specialty :) , but :

if you stay in the before-fight and after-fight, you just don't fight.

At some point, you'll have to close distance, unless he's able to close distance before you do. What is likely to happen is that you end up either opposed, or opposing.

And if noone is able to make his point, then you withdraw (or he, or both). And then it starts over again.

If you strike and he does nothing, it's not really worht mentioning, is it ? Same if the opposite happens. This 'Krieg' thing is what nowadays we'd call FUT, and that's where things get complicated - and henceforth dealt with extensively in several sources.

Though then again, Meyer is a very, very special animal.


There is a way to coutner size and power, and it is speed and technique BTW :)
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Postby John » 16 Jun 2007 00:43

As Carlo said, considering your size you would seem to gain little from staying at range, as the reach of your opponent is likely to be greater than yours if you are both using the same weapon.
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Postby admin » 16 Jun 2007 11:55

Yes. Short-arses need to close the distance fast.
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Postby Carletto » 16 Jun 2007 14:19

Angel S. wrote:
I'm just wondering why so much emphasis on going to krieg (the bind) when it's probably better for me to stay fighting in zufechten & abzug.


Because it happens, period.

I'm shy myself in going close to wrestle, I just follow another root, which is using close range fencing techniques over wrestling. My best bouts come out this way, no surprise, since I'm squirrel sized. James, who isn't much taller than me and you, is most feared by everyone for his wrestling.

I guess you just have to get used to the idea.
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Postby Anders Linnard » 16 Jun 2007 17:27

Ringeck tells you not to rush into krieg, "which is nothing but the winden" (from my memory). I can't remember at the moment what Meyer says exactly about going into krieg. But as I remember things he leans more towards giving advice on how to enter into the middle of the fight and how to disengage and so on. Not saying that you should run into anything (but please tell me where you read that). And he uses the three themes that runs through all of the Lichty tradition: nach, indes and vor when you decide to do so.

I wouldn't worry too much about advise regarding running into krieg. That is a place where you end up when both people are determined. What you do there is more important than getting there. After all, it's best to kill with the first cut.

/Anders - who is absolutely no Meyer expert in any way
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Postby Rakkasan » 16 Jun 2007 17:55

Okay, so Meyer is actually my strong spot, so here we go...

The best answer I heard above is that Krieg is the only part where you're really fighting, per se. I prefer to think of the phases not as ranges but as stages, each of which is necessary in an engagement. I may use some MMA stuff to describe this, actually.

Zufechten is the entry. It's where you get close enough to hit him. It's when you get inside. It's the hard part, in my opinion. Or, rather, breaking from zufechten into krieg is the hard part. But the whole point of zufechten is to break into krieg. After all, look at the words... zu (to) fechten (fighting).

Krieg is the part where you hit the other guy, and try not to get hit. It's where your winding, snipping, etc., happens. Ringen is only a part of it, really, and probably not a key one at your size (of course that could go both ways...). If you want to hit the guy with more than the very tip as you take a passing step, you'll be attacking him from krieg. As someone (Fab?) said before, this is where you do all your fighting, whether it's at a little longer, safer distance, or right up in his face.

Abzug is the "get the hell out" phase. Unless you're dead, you get to do this every time. I don't think there's many questions on that.

What I see in a lot of sparring, including much of my own, is a lot of dancing around in zufechten, pretending that you're going toward the fight. What's really happening, I think, is that people get about halfway through zufechten and then begin fighting full-time in abzug. They're running away the whole time. Less frequently they're fighting in zufechten all the time, by which I mean they're always running at the other guy, but they're never fighting him.

The other common phenomenon is trying to initiate the krieg at too great a distance, basically skipping zufechten because it's scary, and trying to conduct the fight from afar. This is what I do on my worse sparring days.

So the krieg is the fight. Everything else is either trying to get there or trying to get out of it.

Or that's how I understand Meyer, at least.

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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 16 Jun 2007 18:32

Hello,
Jake is pretty much spot on. The Zufechten is an opening sequence of the fight. It can be explained best with the pieces on the hidden strikes or master strikes as Meyer calls them.
There we have - at least in the older Liechtenauer tradition - the phrase "wann dir einer im zufechten..." or "wenn du im zufechten..." It's just the opening sequence.
Just take the Zornhau - Ort complex for example:
The Zornhau would be the opener, the phase of Zufechten; now if you hit the guy with your first Zornhau - no matter, if as an initiative strike or a counter strike against his Zornhau - he's dead and you've won, huzzah!!
But what if your counter misses and does nothing else but replacing his initial strike? You have created a binding situation from which you're supposed to perform the various pieces in the section: thrust if he's weak in the bind, abnehmen if he's strong in the bind, wind and thrust; maybe a little duplieren? That's the krieg, obviously that all happens in a shorter distance, but it doesn't necessarily mean close range, as suitable for grappling techniques....you could as well rush in and grapple, but you could also simply do a nice and heartwarming Dürer......see plate 54 (I guess) of the Dürer illustrations....
Now, you've been lucky and have thrusted, sliced or whatever the guy, but he's still dangerous, because you've wounded him seriously, but not instanly dead. This is the Abzug, as Jake said: "Get the out of here.....without catching a wound by one of those "with a last attempt before falling dead to the ground, he thrusted towards the face and stuck his blade four inches deep into the skull, thus kiling his opponent as well..."

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Postby Stevie T » 16 Jun 2007 23:52

Perhaps you just need to be a 6ft 2 German for any of the techniques to realy work.

I'm a bit of a short ass and have never really found the german principles to apply to my combatstyle.

Saying that, I always like to respond.
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Postby Rakkasan » 18 Jun 2007 05:28

Well, that would be me. 6'2" and the son of an Austrian Immigrant.

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Postby MugginsToadwort » 18 Jun 2007 09:33

Meyer doesn't necessarily conform to the standard German paradigm in many ways. Since he doesn't thrust (much- but enough), the classical winden-mutieren-duplierien krieg is less important. What is important in the handarbeit (handwork) stage is controlling your opponent's responses. He pushes, you turn his energy. He doesn't push, you use your leverage to force your way in. Being aggressive is not about being strong, it's about not letting him get away. Meyer is not that fond of ringen compared to some texts, and offers you a lot of advice about durchwechseln and other ways of escaping a grapple. The handarbeit is any distance when the opponent can be hit with no step or a short step- I tend to see Krieg as a subset of that, and ringen as a subset again. If you read Meyer's devices, you'll see that he does not advocate wrestling, but movement, and some techniques like the Circle and the Double Round imply enough space to step. Remember, despite your intentions of landing a perfect cut on his noggin, his response and your counter response means that the blades can cross weak on strong, strong on weak, weak on weak, intermediate, and, if you screw up against a bastard like me, strong on strong. Only on the last is ringen an immediate option, and if you are aware, you'll never end up there.

I have a number of short, light girls in my classes, and my advice is the same to all of them- go forward. If you strike and then step back out of range, you give your opponent an opportunity. Strike, step to the side, strike, strike, strike again. If he winds, you wind. If he grapples, you counter by stepping out or by . The whole thing with the Vor in the German sense is not about strength or aggression, it's about dominating space- you must make your opponent uncomfortable and give him no respite. Aggressive swordplay is countered by flowing off and striking sensibly, and there is always someone bigger and stronger than you, so don't use those aspects in a good technical fight. And all it takes is a short stop anyway to create the opening for a strike...

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Postby MugginsToadwort » 18 Jun 2007 09:45

Oh, yes.

We've customarily been a padded weapon bunch here at MACS, and I've never really had problems teaching people to stay in the Krieg/Handarbeit with messer and longsword (the problem is teaching them that getting hit is bad...!). However, one of the problems I encounter teaching my aggressive brand of Italian rapier is that most of my students are unwilling to operate at narrow measure (the rapier equivalent of handarbeit) since we were using steel rapiers. This meant that many of them try moves out of distance (feints and beats especially), and fail to get the moves right. In order to counter this, I have them do a number of drills to get them comfortable at that range, and to get their reflex actions up to speed.

With respect to the longsword stuff, you need to train at the right distance and be comfortable there, same as in rapier. The biggest problem people have is stepping out of distance and trying a move with their arms outstretched (also bad in dagger). The safest place in a fight (besides being three blocks away) is being inside the opponent's point, where he is unable to generate power and where his mistakes lead to his demise. Yes, you need knowledge, confidence and training for this, and yes it takes a while, but therein lies the meaning of fuhlen and indes....

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Postby Angel S. » 18 Jun 2007 20:05

Thanks for the response guys, I'm not ignoring the thread I just have a horrid headache and can't think but I'll be back to this when I feel better.
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Postby Angel S. » 25 Jun 2007 19:07

Rakkasan wrote:Okay, so Meyer is actually my strong spot, so here we go...

The best answer I heard above is that Krieg is the only part where you're really fighting, per se. I prefer to think of the phases not as ranges but as stages, each of which is necessary in an engagement. I may use some MMA stuff to describe this, actually.

Zufechten is the entry. It's where you get close enough to hit him. It's when you get inside. It's the hard part, in my opinion. Or, rather, breaking from zufechten into krieg is the hard part. But the whole point of zufechten is to break into krieg. After all, look at the words... zu (to) fechten (fighting).

Krieg is the part where you hit the other guy, and try not to get hit. It's where your winding, snipping, etc., happens. Ringen is only a part of it, really, and probably not a key one at your size (of course that could go both ways...). If you want to hit the guy with more than the very tip as you take a passing step, you'll be attacking him from krieg. As someone (Fab?) said before, this is where you do all your fighting, whether it's at a little longer, safer distance, or right up in his face.

Abzug is the "get the hell out" phase. Unless you're dead, you get to do this every time. I don't think there's many questions on that.

What I see in a lot of sparring, including much of my own, is a lot of dancing around in zufechten, pretending that you're going toward the fight. What's really happening, I think, is that people get about halfway through zufechten and then begin fighting full-time in abzug. They're running away the whole time. Less frequently they're fighting in zufechten all the time, by which I mean they're always running at the other guy, but they're never fighting him.

The other common phenomenon is trying to initiate the krieg at too great a distance, basically skipping zufechten because it's scary, and trying to conduct the fight from afar. This is what I do on my worse sparring days.

So the krieg is the fight. Everything else is either trying to get there or trying to get out of it.

Or that's how I understand Meyer, at least.

Jake


Ahh ok I get what you're saying. I was seeing Zufechten as being from onset to just before the close bind but still hitting if you get what I mean. I was seeing krieg as the bind to grapple.
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Postby Angel S. » 25 Jun 2007 19:16

Rakkasan wrote:Well, that would be me. 6'2" and the son of an Austrian Immigrant.

Jake


Can I interest you in beating the crap out of me one day till I get it right? I think it would do me good to fight someone of the "appropriate" size who knows what they're doing. Keep me posted if you do any events in Europe.
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Postby Angel S. » 25 Jun 2007 19:24

Brilliant, thanks for all the help, esp. Jake, Wolfgang & James Roberts.
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Postby bigdummy » 25 Jun 2007 19:31

I don't know Meyer either and I'm frankly not much of a HEMA scholar. I have done tons of sparring though so maybe I can comment from that point of view.

I see this question as not so much whether or not to fight in krieg, which as has been pointed out is the only place you can fight by definition, but as to whether to fight closer in (i.e. stay in krieg longer, get closer in krieg)

As you get closer, the reaction time is less, strikes come faster. krieg is dangerous. You don't want to be in krieg unless you are in control.

I believe Meyer does say no more than 4-6 exchanges in Krieg (6 seems like a lot to me!) if you haven't killed the guy after that, back out and start over.

I agree with Jake and Wolfgang here:

Get the out of here.....without catching a wound by one of those "with a last attempt before falling dead to the ground, he thrusted towards the face and stuck his blade four inches deep into the skull, thus kiling his opponent as well..."


I think fighting more 'deeply in krieg' if you will, is actually a way to fight safer, given certain caveats.

What I notice is that a lot of the time, people who fight on the edge of krieg, moving in for a sniping cut or a jab and then moving right back out again, tend to be more succeptible to mutual kills. You get a lot of cautious sniping, then gradually more aggression as frustration or eagerness for a kill mounts, usually from both sides simultaneously, they try riskier things, but from further out both guys can see attacks coming sooner and react quicker, both guys often end up taking a risky opportunity and get each other. No good.


You can't always be aggressive, a lot depends on your opponent and on your own limitations, there is no such thing really as a 'typical fight'. You have to be able to do the sniping and 'outside' fight if the situaion calls for it, just like an MMA fighter has to have a ground game even if he's principally a striker. But when you see the opportunity to sieze the initiative, you should go to krieg and finish them there. This requires discipline, decisiveness, and realistic thinking. Thats something you learn from being in a lot of bar fights.

I think ringen is more random, and I think further out on the fringe is more random.


Part of this is also about pain and fear. We do very hard full-contact and getting hit closer in often means getting hit harder. You get flinchy if you think about it too much. But i've learned it's actually safer to go in and control the fight and kill them, to "own" them to use modern parlance. If you can safely incorporate a throw or a disarm all the better, those aren't for show, they allow you to control your opponent even more completely, and therby reduce the chances a 'post-mortem' strike. Many duelists were killed by a mortally wounded opponent.

If you charge in to krieg without having your opportunity you are obviously going to die. But I think the essense of the German, or at least Lichtenauer tradition is about siezing control and taking out the other guy in this way. I think thats something a lot of people from the Fiore school don't seem to grasp about Lichtenauer et al, simplifying it into "never parry".

BD
Last edited by bigdummy on 26 Jun 2007 06:23, edited 4 times in total.
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