Longsword practice 7/20/2010

Working zwerchau attacks after quick review of zornhau responses

Zornhau review

Winner initiates with #1 attack from right von tag, passing (slope) step. Loser responds with same and offers the following pressure progression:

  1. Late/weak parry: winner stabs
  2. Light crossing parry: winner snaps tip up and back to clear sword, then cuts down to head (abnehmen)
  3. Medium crossing parry: winner steps with left foot, releases and strikes around to right side of opponent’s head (zucken)
  4. Stronger crossing parry, pressing down: winner pushes pommel toward opponent, allowing blade to come parallel so that it snaps free, then cuts (schnappen)
  5. Strong crossing parry directed at the tip: winner withdraws blade, releases and cuts down
  6. Good parry with blade threatening: winner winds into ochs and stabs
  7. Same as above but loser responds to ochs attack by winding to ochs as well.  Winner moves forward and stabs lower.

Zwerchau attacks

  1. Practice dry the zwerchau from both sides. When hitting from right you end up with a false edge slash. When attacking from left you cross your arms and do a long edge slash.
  2. Loser initiates attack #1 zornhau with passing step. Winner slope-steps and strikes zwerchau. Three wounders possibilities:
    • Hau: blow to side of head.
    • Stecken: stabbing to face
    • Schnitt: Drawing sword forward and/or backward across neck
  3. If loser’s parry is in time but crossways, winner slope steps with left foot and swings around to the other side zwerch
  4. If loser’s parry is on time and strong/focused, winner explosively knocks blade to side with the crossguard and swings around to other side zwerch. This with a left passing step and wind the right foot back around a bit to take it out of reach.
  5. If you end up too tight you can do the same as above, but go to a halfswording tactic

The crossguard blow is dramatic but tricky. If the wrist has not been sufficiently curled around, or if the blow is not directed perpendicular to the opponent’s blade, the impact can be taken on the fingers, which (a) hurts and (b) is not very effective. When done correctly it is possible to obtain a very strong percussive shock against the opponent’s blade which should discombobulate them long enough to carry out the remainder of the attack. Eric was experimenting with directionality of this “pop”. Staying in the Latosa mindset, he wanted to direct the impact toward the defender.

All of the above from the relevant chapter of Christian Tobler’s Fighting with the German Longsword

A link to the czech guys working this: Zwerchhau, absetzen, nachreissen – longsword techniques training

A link to the same group’s ad for their sparring hoods: New leather mask and shoulders protector

Link to EW’s journal entry about this session: log entry

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