Gripping the longsword in Liechtenauer lineage?

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Gripping the longsword in Liechtenauer lineage?

Postby admin » 18 Oct 2007 18:06

I am aware that 'Doebringer' says not to grip the pommel, whilst Talhoffer, Kal and others clearly do. Is it possible to make a list of which German masters held the sword in which way? Clearly there was a difference of opinion.
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Postby T.L. Johnson » 18 Oct 2007 18:59

I wonder how much of an impact the pommel-form had on various masters' preferences. You have to figure that some shapes and grip lengths were more popular at certain times and in certain regions, and the forms most popular to the contemporary master may or may not have suited that master's decisions.
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Postby bigdummy » 18 Oct 2007 19:06

I really don't grasp how you can have one way of gripping a sword, do you mean while standing in a guard?

I also agree whether or not you want to hold a pommel, and how you hold it, depends very much on the sword and what kind of pommel it has, as well as how long the grip is, how heavy the sword is, what the balance point is, whether it's good for thrusting or is more of a dedicated cutter, etc.

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Postby Martin Wallgren » 18 Oct 2007 19:07

It seems mostly the early masters had oppinions on how to grip the sword. And as L.T.J. said the sentstopper pommel and simmilar became popular the furter into the 15:c...
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Postby bigdummy » 18 Oct 2007 19:16

A wheel pommel, a fishtail pommel, or a scent stopper would definately affect the way I would normally hold a sword, as would the length of the grip - one of those really long gripped swords like you see in J. Meyer would feel odd to me holding the pommel.

But moving through a zucken in a true-edge / false-edge transition my hand will move all around the pommel. Or in a thrust I'll usually push the pommel (I think scent stopper types are better for this).

Some people who like wheel pommels prefer to have a hand to help feel their edge alignment. That hasn't been an issue for me.

Not sure how that jibes with what the individual masters had to say on the subject.

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Postby Claus Sørensen » 18 Oct 2007 20:57

Hello!

Hs.3227a is the only german manual that tells us how to "grip" the sword! And that is between the crossguard and the pommel!

There are plenty of illustrations from other manuals where we can see how it was done with both the hands between the pommel or with one hand on the pommel, but there is only one manual where it is mentionend as part of the text(Hs.3227a.).

(please let me know if i've overlooked one?) :)

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Postby admin » 18 Oct 2007 23:39

T.L. Johnson wrote:I wonder how much of an impact the pommel-form had on various masters' preferences. You have to figure that some shapes and grip lengths were more popular at certain times and in certain regions, and the forms most popular to the contemporary master may or may not have suited that master's decisions.


The chicken and the egg... did the pommel affect the grip or the grip affect the pommel... I think it must have gone both directions on a case by case basis.
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Postby admin » 18 Oct 2007 23:42

Claus Sørensen wrote:Hello!

Hs.3227a is the only german manual that tells us how to "grip" the sword! And that is between the crossguard and the pommel!

There are plenty of illustrations from other manuals where we can see how it was done with both the hands between the pommel or with one hand on the pommel, but there is only one manual where it is mentionend as part of the text(Hs.3227a.).

(please let me know if i've overlooked one?) :)


I think you're right - it's the only German one I know of. The only medieval non-German one I know of is Vadi, sort of, as he says your pommel should be a shape that is comfortable to grip.
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Postby bigdummy » 19 Oct 2007 00:44

admin wrote:
T.L. Johnson wrote:I wonder how much of an impact the pommel-form had on various masters' preferences. You have to figure that some shapes and grip lengths were more popular at certain times and in certain regions, and the forms most popular to the contemporary master may or may not have suited that master's decisions.


The chicken and the egg... did the pommel affect the grip or the grip affect the pommel... I think it must have gone both directions on a case by case basis.


Maybe the different pommel types just represent various gradual region specialization in fencing styles.
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Postby admin » 19 Oct 2007 11:32

I very much doubt it, as you can see all types of pommels from all places at a given time. Just look at a mid-15thC German or Flemish painting where you'll see 2,3,4 or 5 different pommel types all next to each other.
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 19 Oct 2007 11:39

admin wrote:
Claus Sørensen wrote:Hello!

Hs.3227a is the only german manual that tells us how to "grip" the sword! And that is between the crossguard and the pommel!

There are plenty of illustrations from other manuals where we can see how it was done with both the hands between the pommel or with one hand on the pommel, but there is only one manual where it is mentionend as part of the text(Hs.3227a.).

(please let me know if i've overlooked one?) :)


I think you're right - it's the only German one I know of. The only medieval non-German one I know of is Vadi, sort of, as he says your pommel should be a shape that is comfortable to grip.

I agree, AFAIK only ms. 3227a strongly advises how to grip.
None of the other Liechtenauer-ms tell advises that in such a clear and strong manner.
The only possibility check seems to be the illustrations:
Ringeck has none, nor does the Hans von Speyer ms from 1491;
von Danzig shows illustrations of the four Guards: Ochs, vom Tag and Pflug show the "ms3227a"-grip, Alber seems to be gripped around the pommel.
Talhoffer shows both, if I'm not mistaken (IIRC Talhoffer actually grips from behind around the pommel to push the sword for some thrusting actions from Ochs-position).
The later 16th century manuscripts show pommel-grips (even if Meyer is not really Liechtenauerian any longer....)
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 19 Oct 2007 12:54

Just for clarification: gripping the "ms-3227a"-style - between cross and pommel - does of course NOT necessarily mean gripping with both hands close together.
It seems to me, that there is a significant difference in the length of the handles of longswords in the manuals compared to those in period paintings/illustrations etc. = the fencing manuscripts seem to prefer a longer handle in general compared to period "average daywork" pictures.

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Postby Hans Heim » 19 Oct 2007 15:49

Hi everybody, I am very happy that I finally discoverd this nice forum and here is my first post: :D

If you take a look at the MS 3227a:

"Auch wisse das eyn guter fechter sol vor allen sachen syn swert gewisse und sicher fueren und fassen mit beiden henden / czwischen gehilcze und klos / wen alzo helt her das swert vil sicher / den das hers bey dem klosse vasset mit eyner hant / Und slet auch vil harter und suerer / alzo / wen der klos oeber wirft sich und swenkt sich noch dem slage das der slag vil harter / dar kumpt / den das her das swert mit dem klosse vasset "

The author toled us that you can hit harder and saver if you grip the sword between the cross and the pommel. If you have an closer look to pictures of decapitating you will notice, that the decapitator always (at least at the pictures I have seen until now) grip the sword between the cross and the pommel.

The decapitator has only to cut (or he should only cut once) one cut, there is no need for him to manipulate the sword in such an way we have to in fighting, he only has to cut as hard and as save (in the way of hitting in the right place) as he can. So he does not grip the pommel, he grips between the cross and the pommel.

If we want to do other things with the sword, like: "Winden", "Verzucken", "Fehlen", "Krumphau", "Zwerchhau", we have to grip the sword in a different way as an decapitator.

So, different ways of gripping in different situations. It is the same as there is not only "ONE" "Oberhau", there are different "Oberhaus" for different situations. This has been not an easy realization for me, because if you want to train a big group only one interpretation is easier to teach.

Servus,

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Postby bigdummy » 19 Oct 2007 15:55

Hi Hans, welcome

Hans Heim wrote:So, different ways of gripping in different situations. It is the same as there is not only "ONE" "Oberhau", there are different "Oberhaus" for different situations. This has been not an easy realization for me, because if you want to train a big group only one interpretation is easier to teach.

Servus,

Hans Heim


I would agree with this 100%

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Postby Randall Pleasant » 19 Oct 2007 22:34

Hans Heim wrote:So, different ways of gripping in different situations. It is the same as there is not only "ONE" "Oberhau", there are different "Oberhaus" for different situations.
Hans

Agree. My understanding is that the reasoning behind Doebringer saying not to grip the pommel during a Oberhau is because the farther apart the hands are the harder it is to properly torque the hilt during the cut. Holding the pommel during a cut leads one to cut by pulling the pommel down, thus decreasing both the reach and power of the cut. In sparring my left hand moves back and forth from the hilt to the pommel.
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Postby Harry » 21 Oct 2007 18:30

one thing is for sure.... former masters had all their different style and more important preferences for holding their swords. you can see nicely, that the later the manuals are, the longer ist the grip, the less is the need of holding it ON the pommel.

the rest hans explained quite good.
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Postby bigdummy » 21 Oct 2007 22:50

There is another issue, do people here agree that the training swords, the featherswords you see in J. Meyer for example, seem to tend to have longer handles than the actual combat swords?

We've been thinking about that lately as we construct sparring weapons. What are the advantages / disadvantages of a longer handle? (I have some ideas but would like to hear others opinion first)
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Postby Fab » 21 Oct 2007 22:54

bigdummy wrote:There is another issue, do people here agree that the training swords, the featherswords you see in J. Meyer for example, seem to tend to have longer handles than the actual combat swords?

We've been thinking about that lately as we construct sparring weapons. What are the advantages / disadvantages of a longer handle? (I have some ideas but would like to hear others opinion first)


Hm might be irrelevant but Meyer is very, very late compared to the 'main' Liechtenauer glossators - and by his time, not only swords, but ways of fencing, had changed.
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Postby Harry » 22 Oct 2007 00:45

bigdummy wrote:There is another issue, do people here agree that the training swords, the featherswords you see in J. Meyer for example, seem to tend to have longer handles than the actual combat swords?

We've been thinking about that lately as we construct sparring weapons. What are the advantages / disadvantages of a longer handle? (I have some ideas but would like to hear others opinion first)


absolutely not! in the rüstkammer in vienna we have swords (battleswords from maximillian I.) with grips far over 300 mm. the longest grip I measured is around 360 mm which is relly looooooooooooooooooong :)
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Postby bigdummy » 22 Oct 2007 01:52

Harry wrote:
bigdummy wrote:There is another issue, do people here agree that the training swords, the featherswords you see in J. Meyer for example, seem to tend to have longer handles than the actual combat swords?

We've been thinking about that lately as we construct sparring weapons. What are the advantages / disadvantages of a longer handle? (I have some ideas but would like to hear others opinion first)


absolutely not! in the rüstkammer in vienna we have swords (battleswords from maximillian I.) with grips far over 300 mm. the longest grip I measured is around 360 mm which is relly looooooooooooooooooong :)


Do you mean dopplehander / zweihander types or longswords?
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