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Help me understanding it

Postby Carletto » 28 Oct 2007 20:29

So, from what I read about the German longsword, people seem to say that there are

Guards

Blows

They also seem to say that there are blowstm that break guardstm, not just that, they break them for sure.
They also seem to say that people, while knowing that, kept using the same guardstm.
I don't understand.
Is the German system codified with a set of rules that obliges fencers to use specific guards and not others?

I mean, the outside guard has been in use for a lot of time and so the inside, a sure way to break either is either missing or I have missed it in the treatises.
It is my opinion that, if either could be surely broken a specific way, they would have changed it.

What's the point?
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Postby bigdummy » 28 Oct 2007 21:39

Certain guards can be broken by certain cuts, but it's hard to throw certain cuts from certain other guards, so it's a bit of a paper scissors rock thing.

The system does actually work, you can put it to the test, we have many many times against all comers. They may not have had toilet paper in those days but they knew how to fight, that is for sure.


That said as you surmise it is not as hard and fast as some people would suggest. Each guard can, generally speaking, be broken by one or more strikes, but technique doesn't automatically trump skill, speed, timing, strength, confidence etc.

For example, a krumphau, regardless of which version, won't 'break' an ox if your opponent in the ox out-times you and thrusts their point into your head in the Vor, i.e. before you strike. Or if they disengage / step back out of range as you strike ("indes") preventing contact.

Or if they anticipate your strike and simply step off-line and transition into a zucken (twitch) to the other side as a nachriesen i.e. 'travelling after' right as you expect to make contact with their blade (or step out of range and then back in with a thrust before you react).


The strikes which 'break' each guard can be thought of a relatively safe opening attack against a given guard, but success, i.e. killing with one stroke or even gaining initiative, is not guaranteed by any means.. (nor is survival for that matter!). Once you are in 'krieg' range the fight becomes largely a matter of reading your opponents transition (whether it's a strike or a defensive guard, or both simultaneously) quicker than they read yours and react with the best attack against that transition, or to just out-time them.


To really simplify it you could put it like this, a weapon held low defends better against low or middle attacks, a weapon held high defends best against high and middle attacks. Or guards on one side defend against attacks better on that side etc.

Then more specific examples ,like an oberhau (downward cut,) can be defeated pretty consistently with a zwerchau (high side cut, usually with the false edge). You can test this out for yourself.


Anyway probably a lot more than you wanted to hear, as I suspect your question was at least partially rhetorical. ;)

BD
Last edited by bigdummy on 28 Oct 2007 21:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Carletto » 28 Oct 2007 21:43

BD wrote:Each guard can, generally speaking, be broken by one or more strikes, but ...


Thanks BD, this makes much sense
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Postby Harry » 28 Oct 2007 22:06

hi cap,

we have 4 guards....

alber (fool), pflug (plow), ochs (ox) and vom tag (from day??? )

then you have some sideguards....

this are the four main guards, against these you have specific techniques...

against ALBER = scheitelhau
against PFLUG = schielhau
against OCHS = krumphau
against VOM TAG = zwerchhau.

these are the blows which are described for breaking those 4 guards...

this means NOT that you can only break this guards with especially these attacks, but it is usefull.

soooooooooo.... the questions now is, WHEN you break those guards... a lot sparring tests showed up, that it is nearly impossible to break a guard during he is holding the position!

so you have to break when he is leaving it OR come into it!
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Postby Claus Sørensen » 28 Oct 2007 22:46

Hello Carletto!

How should one understand the breaking of the four guards?

A very good question and one that I will bet that you will get many different answers on! :)

According to me it is important to understand that it is not the guard as a "term" that is broken!
You want to break the direct offensive possibilities of the "temporary position" of your opponent! :)

But I do also believe that one should not focus on the guards! This is according to me perhaps some of the best advise given in Hs.3227a. People tend to focus on the guards as "resting" places and thereby making them static. I do believe that they should be considered dynamic, meaning that once the battle is underway you should never settle in one! You move through them!

But there are different ways of looking at this!

Example one:

One way is to attack a person moving into the guard in question with the speciffic strike that breaks the guard. A person e.g. moving into ochs can be attacked in a safe way by the krumhau. It is very important here that your opponent are moving "into" it. Thereby implying that he is in motion, not settled in the guard!

Example two:

If your opponent strikes at you from the guard in question. Implying that has already arrived in the guard. If e.g a person thrusts against you from ochs, a krumhau can also be used to break this attack.

It is the strikes that count, not restingplaces, which can be analyzed by your opponent!

Constant movement is alpha/omega here! If you settle in a guard, you let your opponent get the time to analyze your next direct attack and break it!

You here need to force your opponent to react from the guard and it is this reaction that you breake!

Best wishes

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Postby Carletto » 29 Oct 2007 14:20

Thanks for the answers.
I need to meditate on your posts before i say "understood"
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 29 Oct 2007 15:48

Hi,
the guards are clearly of some importance, but they do not define the system.
We tend to define someone "does Liechtenauer", because we see him/her moving to a certain guard that seems well-known and does not appear in Fiore etc.
Nevertheless the guards are only tools to train the different techniques/stages etc of a fight. The guards are nothing else but starting, transitional and ending points of all the stuff Liechtenauer advises you to do to get your opponent down.
Its easier to recognize familiar positions in certain actions when you've learned them already as a certain guard. For example the concept of winding or for setting thrusts aside is a lot easier to manage when you already know the guards. Its about memorizing just a couple of different positions so that you are able to strip down a flow of actions to some basic well-known positions where you just have to slightly alter or adjust the position or movement to keep going....

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Postby bigdummy » 29 Oct 2007 16:17

I agree the guards are fundamentally fluid, but you can much more safely 'wait' in the four primary guards than in all the others.
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Postby Bill Grandy » 29 Oct 2007 16:19

Claus Sørensen wrote:You want to break the direct offensive possibilities of the "temporary position" of your opponent! :)


Well said, Claus.

To add to this statement, here's an example: The zwerchhau is the strike that breaks vom tag. Technically, any strike can hit a person in vom tag, but the zwerchhau specifically closes off the line in such a way that it is very difficult for the opponent to counterattack in tempo. The common counters against a zwerchhau while in vom tag involves defending first.
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Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 29 Oct 2007 16:44

bigdummy wrote:I agree the guards are fundamentally fluid, but you can much more safely 'wait' in the four primary guards than in all the others.
Okay, but that's very much depending on your strategy. Although I'm not at all into that "Liechtenauerians attack all the time without any hesitation", there is some danger in awaiting the opponent. If I get into a fighting distance I prefer to maintain a certain flow of moves, because I feel this to be both safe and provoking a certain action to which I can immediately respond.

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Postby Harry » 31 Oct 2007 21:32

Bill Grandy wrote:
Claus Sørensen wrote:You want to break the direct offensive possibilities of the "temporary position" of your opponent! :)


Well said, Claus.

To add to this statement, here's an example: The zwerchhau is the strike that breaks vom tag. Technically, any strike can hit a person in vom tag, but the zwerchhau specifically closes off the line in such a way that it is very difficult for the opponent to counterattack in tempo. The common counters against a zwerchhau while in vom tag involves defending first.


hehehehe... and it comes the braingame... I know, that he knows that I know etc.


If I standing in vom tag, I wait that my opponent will enter with a zwerchhau, so I normally attack from von tag with a high Unterhau to his hands/arms.

this is the big problem of this "dogma", or the way we understand it.
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Postby bigdummy » 31 Oct 2007 21:52

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:Okay, but that's very much depending on your strategy. Although I'm not at all into that "Liechtenauerians attack all the time without any hesitation", there is some danger in awaiting the opponent. If I get into a fighting distance I prefer to maintain a certain flow of moves, because I feel this to be both safe and provoking a certain action to which I can immediately respond.

Regards
Wolfgang


Of course, you must react instantly to a change in the situation. There will be moments however when you are in a guard which is difficult to attack from the guard your opponent is in, and / or you are hoping they will make an attack which is easy to counter from your current guard.

Some strikes or thrusts are harder to execute from one guard than another.

Like I might wait in pflug if my opponent is in tail guard, because I know I can counter anything he is likely to try from there from above or below. If he switches to another guard I will likely switch also, sometimes as an attack to catch him as he transitions, sometimes into a different defensive guard or to back-out / abzug.

There is also the opening / onset, when you are both in basic guards, sometimes the same guard, and out of zufechten range.

I agree as a general rule though it's dangerous to 'wait' in one guard, much more so if your opponent is changing his own guards.


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Postby Claus Sørensen » 31 Oct 2007 23:07

Attacking von tag with a "conventional" zwerch! :)

As Harry said earlier: What happens if your opponent strikes an unterhau against your zwerch.

And I will add to that: What happens if your opponent throws a high sheitelhau against your zwerch. With prober steps and an angle this becomes very dangerous to you. It goes over your hilt and is very hard to guard against!

And what happens if two persons throw a zwerch from von tag at the same time?

Something to think about! :lol:

well I am of to swordfish! "see" you next week!

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Postby Brian Hunt » 03 Nov 2007 22:32

What happens if you defend against the zwerch by doing what Mair advises and fall on it with your long edge then zwerch to the other side? :lol:

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Postby Jeffrey Hull » 03 Nov 2007 23:19

Well, you & foe both get totally "zwerched" then, if you get my meaning. :wink:
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Postby Bill Grandy » 04 Nov 2007 03:54

Brian Hunt wrote:What happens if you defend against the zwerch by doing what Mair advises and fall on it with your long edge then zwerch to the other side? :lol:

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Zwerch under the opponent's zwerch. ;)

Actually, that counter isn't just in Mair, it's in most of the compendia-styled treatises (from von Danzig to Ringeck). And it's a good one, too! :)
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Zwerg

Postby Jeffrey Hull » 04 Nov 2007 17:40

Bill Grandy wrote:Zwerch under the opponent's zwerch. ;)


Ideally, then, a Zwerg would do that Zwerch. :wink:

Anyway, here is that play via Von Danzig :arrow:

(19r) Hie merck die pruch wider den twer haw

/ Merck / wenn du gegen ym stest in der hůt vom tag / So haw ym kunlich oben ein zů dem kopff springt er denn auß dem haw / und maint er wöll vor kümen mit dem twer haw / und slecht dir do mit zů deiner lincken seitten zů dem kopff / So val ym mit der langen schneid auff daß swert / Slecht er denn mit (19v) der twer aber umb dir zů der anderen seitten / So kum du Indeß vor auch mit der twer vorne fur under seinen swert im an den halß / So slecht er sich selber mit deinem swert


Transcription courtesy of Grzegorz Żabiński of ARMA-Poland :arrow:
http://www.arma.lh.pl/zrodla/traktaty/v ... chten.html
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Postby Bill » 20 Nov 2007 17:54

Harry wrote
"PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:06 pm Post subject:
hi cap,

we have 4 guards....

alber (fool), pflug (plow), ochs (ox) and vom tag (from day??? )

then you have some sideguards....

this are the four main guards, against these you have specific techniques...

against ALBER = scheitelhau
against PFLUG = schielhau
against OCHS = krumphau
against VOM TAG = zwerchhau.

these are the blows which are described for breaking those 4 guards...

this means NOT that you can only break this guards with especially these attacks, but it is usefull.

soooooooooo.... the questions now is, WHEN you break those guards... a lot sparring tests showed up, that it is nearly impossible to break a guard during he is holding the position!

so you have to break when he is leaving it OR come into it!"

Is that not the idea in using the Meisterhau? When using them to counter the guards you force your opponent to react. Thus causing him to move and "break" his guard.
I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. ukn

What hurts.....Teaches German poverb

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Postby David Kite » 20 Nov 2007 21:00

Bill wrote:
so you have to break when he is leaving it OR come into it!"

Is that not the idea in using the Meisterhau? When using them to counter the guards you force your opponent to react. Thus causing him to move and "break" his guard.


Sooo. . .just to play a bit of devil's advocate, and because my practice partner and I have been struggling with the same question: what exactly makes the master strikes special about breaking guards? Done in proper time (among other elements), a Zornhau could break Pflug, Schielhau could break vom Tag, Zwerchhau could break Ochs.

Also, if simply making my opponent react is all that is required to "break" a guard, then I could do that with effectively anything.

So perhaps we also need to reexamine exactly what it means to "break" a guard.

just some thoughts
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Postby Harry » 21 Nov 2007 01:40

folks.... don't mix up the word "meisterhau" with the content of breaking the guards, because, ringeck says in this case, that we are talking about the

4 versatzungen (don't ask me for the english word)

this 4 versatzungen ARE also meisterhaue!!! BUT a meisterhau is just a cut like ohters, but a "Versatzung" is a principle!!!

no we have find out WHEN you have to use this principle!!!!

bill the meaning of the meisterhau is not breaking a guard!!! the meaning of the meisterhau is hitting the opponent whilst you are in a good coverage!

the versatzung is used to break the guard and now find out how!!!

it depends on so many things.... distance, your speed, the speed of your opponent, how tired you are etc. etc. etc.

for example if you are slower than your oppoenent, but stronger, it could be a good way to break his guards not with a typical "versatzung", but to hit into his guard as hard as possible, normally your oppoenent is not dealing with raw power. it works not often, but it works at least once or twice and more trys you should not need.

other example... by stepping around and changing the guards you find out, the your distance closed up a liitle, so why using a zwerch to break a "vom tag"? why you don't rush in and beat the shit out of him.

other example... you are to far away.... well if you are too far away you won't use a zwerch for breaking a possible "vom tag" I guess you will try to force him to further movements (steps, guards etc.) to close up to him to the perfect distance. for this you could use just a "zornhau"... it is fast and he will be never able to rush in during a zornhau...

I hope my meanings are clear enough, because I hate such discussion in a foreign language :)
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