We've been a bit slack about blog updates, but we've welcomed a couple of new fencers (and welcomed back and old friend), so there's been a bit of repetition.
But this week we moved on to looking at some examples of Handtarbeit (Handwork) from Meyer.
- Nachreisen (Chasing) - Meyer's instruction is to cut at where the opponent moves their sword from. His examples: if the opponent is in Right Ochs, attack the upper right opening as soon as he moves his sword; if the opponent is a lower guard, then attack under the sword with the long edge (i.e. an Unterhau) when he lifts his.
- Schneiden (Slicing) - Place the edge of your sword on your opponent's forearms and push. Meyer says, "...when your opponent rushes upon you with quick and swift devices, you can stop and hinder him with no other technique better than with the slice,..."
- Umbschlagen (Striking Around) - One of the most basic follow-ups to any cut. Remove your sword from the bind and cut on the other side.
- Ablauffen (Running Off) - Lift and reverse hands, i.e. lift them so that the knuckles (or long edge) are up, short edge down. As a consequence, the hilt should be up and the point down. The opponent's sword should thus slide down your long edge.
- Verfliegen (Flitting) - When you see that your opponent is cutting not at you, but at your sword, then do not let them connect but rather pull the cut and attack on the other side.
- Absetzen (Setting Off) - The "true parrying" where you deflect the opponent's sword and attack them at the same time. The basic cut and counter-cut is an example of this, but Meyer also provides this example, starting in right Wechsel, "...he cuts at you from above, then go up with the long edge against his stroke and step the same time with your right foot toward his left and set him off; then...turn the short edge and flick it at his head." The result seems to be a form of Schielhau.
- Zucken (Pulling) - Pull up as if to Umbschlagen, but rather cut back in on the same side but with the short edge.
- Doplieren (Doubling) - Double the cut, first with the long edge, then with the short. The example Meyer gives opens the line, "Cut first from your right to his ear;...push your pommel through under your right arm", but if the short edge cut is horizontal it will double as a short-edge beat. Performing the cut with a triangle step will also provide some void.
- Verkehren (Reversing) - Similar to Doplieren, but rather than cutting the short edge at the opponent, push the short edge down on the opponent's sword or arms. Meyer's instruction to "withdraw your head well from his stroke to your right" is important, as it prevents the opponent hitting you by mirror your attack (winding his short edge against yours and trying to strike you above your sword).
The basic opening to combat is a cut and a counter-cut. Assuming both combatants know what they are doing and neither has a particular advantage, this leads to a bind. The above devices are all answers to: is there a way to avoid the bind? or: what do I do once I'm in the bind.
Many techniques at the bind depend on Fuelen (Feeling): sensing your opponent's actions by blade pressure using that to time your devices. Ringeck cites the rule "Meet strength with weakness and weakness with strength", but devices that do not close the line require the opponent to be soft at the bind.
Thought: Do devices like Umbschlagen and Zucken assume Ochs as an intermediate position?