Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Liechtenauer lineage and related sources (eg. Sigmund Ringeck, Peter von Danzig, Paulus Kal, Hans Talhoffer), interpretation and practice. Open to public view.

Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 03 Aug 2011 17:39

I think it's more adequate to discuss this here:

Questions, then:

1. Does the German school in fact think in terms of simultaneous counter-attack rather than parry ?
2. If so, does it work ?

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1. First of all, there is no german school.
There is Lichtenauer, i.e. his commentators like in the 3227a ms in the Nuremberg housebook, the various authors in the Peter von Danzig fencing bookk, Paulus Kal, Sigmund Ringeck etc. Even Talhofer obviously started as a Lichtenauerian but then altered the teachings to his sort of own brand.
Then we have various manuals that have a different approach - for example the Gladiatoria group.
Although german by language, a different brand in soime regards to Lichternauer's style.

But that's just on a sidenote.
To answer your question in regard of the Lichtenauer commentaries:
Lichtenauers approach is to have the initiative in the fight. Therefore he advocates to put the opponent under pressure and force him to make mistakes. The idea is that a parry is always a reaction upon an attack. Being reactive means that you will always be that glimpse of a moment late, which gives the ione in action an advantage.
Therefore he advocates the idea of maintaining or regaining the initiative of the fight. Now a simultaneous counter-attack as you called it, is one possibility. The Zwerchhau is a good example for that, as it covers a line against an incoming attack, but simultaniously threatens the opponent with your point.

BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT LICHTENAUER KEEPS ATTACKING ALL THE TIME. This is still one of the major misconceptions abouit Lichtenauer. What he says is to attack with commitment once you're attacking. BUt that doesn't mean he advocates attacking all the time for the sake of attacking.
In fact, there are several situations where it is clearly stated that those who attack by pure force only or rely on strength only, will be put to shame. This is what Lichtenauer calls a "Büffel" = a buffalo, a fnecer with pure strength, but no eye for the tempo, distance, opening, behaviour of the opponent etc.

2. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
Have a look at what is actually described in the manuals: they describe what to do next, when your initial move fails or when you were to slow and your opponent attacks first etc.
Of course it's the ideal if your Zornhau counterstrike immediately hits your opponent while his strike misses.
BUt most of the times it doesn't work, therefore the "Zornhau with it's plays" or the "Zwerchhau with it's plays" etc. You have that all the time in the manuals: the "Zufechten" = the initial attack, delivered by an opponent, then what to do against that, than a break for that action, than a counter to the that, than you get into a close distance and start wrestling on the sword where there are locks and counters ahgainst them etc.
Lichtenauer or his interpreters back then obviously were aware of the fact they have to teach more than jsut the five hidden strikes to be prepared against all sorts of attacks.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 03 Aug 2011 21:05

Most helpful, thanks. I had always thought that Lichtenauer, to all intents, was the fountainhead of a unitary German school. Is he, nonetheless, the most important figure, in your view ?

Would it be fair to say that the Lichtenauer tradition places initative and aggression as the basic tenet, from which everything else flows ? (e.g. don't defend, counter attack)-- whereas Fiore places reactiveness at the centre ?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Bulot » 03 Aug 2011 21:19

whereas Fiore places reactiveness at the centre ?


I may be wrong, but I never read such a thing in his treatise. Fiore shows how to react and parry a strike, he does not advocate any passive attitude, and surely gives as much importance to initiative and tempo as Liechtenauer, though it is not as clearly expressed.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Michael Chidester » 03 Aug 2011 22:54

Thearos wrote:Most helpful, thanks. I had always thought that Lichtenauer, to all intents, was the fountainhead of a unitary German school. Is he, nonetheless, the most important figure, in your view ?

Paulus Kal offers a list in ca.1470 of seventeen masters who he calls the "Society of Liechtenauer". These include most of the known German authors from the 15th century. Likewise, most of the prominent German authors thereafter either mention Liechtenauer or refrence his verse. However, at best perhaps 75% of the German fencing manuals are connected to Liechtenauer. There are plenty of non-Liechtenauer sources to choose from as well.

See this article for more information: http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Johannes_Liechtenauer
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 04 Aug 2011 00:01

What do the Liechtenauer-connected sources and the non-Lichtenauer sources have in common ? Do the latter silently draw on L., do they draw on a common, pre-L. tradition, or are they genuinely independent ?

For instance, two sub-questions

-the flail and sickle etc in Paulus Mair: does this represent an independent tradition ?

-some people use Liechtenauer terminology to explain or describe wards in I. 33, as if this was all a common tradition (halbschilt or whatever it is is "like Alber") Is this a good idea ?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 04 Aug 2011 00:32

Thearos: initiative and aggression don't necessarilely be the same. If I'm doing a parry and riposte I'm still supposed to perform my action with intent, dedication etc. I don't see a contradiction here.

Flail and sickle are just weapons why should they represent a style?
Mair was hugely interested in collecting as much as possible. Even odd stuff. His work is more a bit like a lexikon, he has some of the Lichtenauer stuff, but then as well a lot more...
The principles are nevertheless the same, you have things like Nachreisen, single-time counters etc.

I wouldn't use Lichtenauer terms for I.33. There is no obvious connection, in fact I.33 has its own terminology, why mix it up with a different style? Actually I find it rather flawed to mix it.

Speaking about the differences between the various manuals i.e. Trditions: we are talking about something like 50 manuls. Sorry, but first start reading some of i, try to work your way through it and then try comparing the stuff - no offence, but this question is like "explain the 20th century but in less than 3 sentences"......
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 04 Aug 2011 08:28

You're right, of course. Especially about reading primary sources-- I realize, in the end, that a lot of my questions are based on secondary sources such as essays or interpretations.

But I like to ask people who know things to summarize knowledge: life is short, and this forum seems to be full of intelligent peple who have knowledge and opinions.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Colin F. » 04 Aug 2011 08:36

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:but this question is like "explain the 20th century but in less than 3 sentences"......


Using the wonderful German language, I'm pretty sure that might actually be possible... :D
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 04 Aug 2011 08:46

Some more:
(halbschilt or whatever it is is "like Alber")
halpschilt is niot a term in the lichtenauer terminology - it's just a german term which is not too strange given the fact that the manual is supposed having been written in a franconian monastery porbablby somewhere in the Würzburg area.
You're refering to the "albersleiben", which contains the word "alber".
The alber is onbe of the main guards in Lichtenauer terminology, but apart from that, it is also a common word of the german language at that time (= the fool). It may have some similar meaning in I.33 compared to Lichtenauer.
But then again, it's one word or to be more exact: part of a word. That's damn thin for relating I.33 to Lichtenauer's teaching.

Regarding the importance and/or influence of Lichtenauer:
He may be reference for a lot of the surviving manuscripts.
But that's exactly the problem: the surviving manuscripts or surviving data-records.
We are talking about a period of something like at least 300 years were we know that fencing schools and fenciong systematisations existed. We have no real evidence if not other contemporary masters were more prominent than Lichtenauer and his strange posse of 16 Interpreters......take Fiore or the italian masters in genreal: why do we have ONLY Fiore for quite an amount of time? Was there nothing else but his works until Vadi made his effort?
Waht about Spain, Portugal? AFAIK the oldest known manuals date to the 16th century (IIRC there is something about riding from around the 1440ies, but I don't think it contains actual fencing techniques). Were all the contemporaary portuguese or spanish fencing teachers either Lichtenauer or Fiore?
Lichtenauer - besides Talhofer - may now be the best known master's name, but we can't prove that around the active time of Lichtenauer or shortly after his death - we are talking about the 14th century, probably the second half - the majority of fencers in the Holy Roman Empire praised someoine else.

I second Bulot about Fiore and the "reactiveness" of his style. I can't find that in his manuals.
There are some distinctive differences between F. and L.; there are already threads about that here in the Forum. But that'S nothing unusual, there is no one generic system, working for all and anytime.
The differences between F. and L. can be explained from the system itself. Yet still both systems have stand some proof of time and practicability, as we have record of people successfully fencing in Fiore style and his work obviously being a strong basis for Vadi and his treatise decades later.
Same with Lichtenauer.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 04 Aug 2011 08:49

Colin F. wrote:
Wolfgang Ritter wrote:but this question is like "explain the 20th century but in less than 3 sentences"......


Using the wonderful German language, I'm pretty sure that might actually be possible... :D
Hail the Schachtelsatz!!!!
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 04 Aug 2011 14:52

Many thanks indeed. I was unclear earlier. I read an interpretation of I.33, in which the various wards were "translated" into Lichtenauer-speak, and in fact constantly referred to that way rather than "custodia prima" etc. The justification was the claim that a certain I.33 ward was, in effect, the equivalent of "vom Tag". I suppose this was done because it was assumed that the reader was familiar with the Lichtenauer guards, but your reply shows that this does not rest on any historical connection.

When you watch sparring or competitions at meets, can you usually tell if someone is using a particular system ? Do most people work within a system, or do they mix and match ?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 04 Aug 2011 16:32

Thearos wrote:Many thanks indeed. I was unclear earlier. I read an interpretation of I.33, in which the various wards were "translated" into Lichtenauer-speak, and in fact constantly referred to that way rather than "custodia prima" etc. The justification was the claim that a certain I.33 ward was, in effect, the equivalent of "vom Tag". I suppose this was done because it was assumed that the reader was familiar with the Lichtenauer guards, but your reply shows that this does not rest on any historical connection.

When you watch sparring or competitions at meets, can you usually tell if someone is using a particular system ? Do most people work within a system, or do they mix and match ?

Hmm, sounds strange, what I.33 should resemble "vom Tag") Fourth ward, second or third?
We have no valid data linking I.33 and Lichtenauer together.
Second problem is that we have rather general descriptions of the ward by the Lcihtenauer authors. The few illustrations show quite a variety of vom Tag held over the head in the middle, on the right side above shoulder level, right shoulder sort iof resting the blade on the shoulder etc.

I think I can tell Lichtenauerians from Fiorista. same with sword & buckler. I certainly briung elements of I.33 into my sword & buckler style; I wuldn't say so concerning long sword. But this cpuld b due to the fact, that I'm not really firm with Fiore.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 04 Aug 2011 16:55

I must be quite muddled, then. Does Liegnitzer expressly use "Ochs, vom Tag", etc, Lichtenauerian names for the various wards with sword and buckler ?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 04 Aug 2011 17:04

Thearos wrote:I must be quite muddled, then. Does Liegnitzer expressly use "Ochs, vom Tag", etc, Lichtenauerian names for the various wards with sword and buckler ?
No, he doesn't. But if you stick to the Lichtenauer teachings it'sd fairly esasy to find the resemblance in Lignitzer's s&b plays.
Some are a bit more tricky to find, for example L. himself doesn't mention the Wechsel, same with the Aufstreichen. But both are mentioned to some extant in Ringeck - who happens to have the 6 s&b plays word by word; he just names himself the author whereas it can be doubted...anyway he explains both in his lngsword teachings, this can be transferred to the s&b peices to make them work rather closely fitting into the Lichtenauer system.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 04 Aug 2011 17:15

I think (and again I'm hope I'm not offending the author by posting this) I meant this page:

http://www.thehaca.com/essays/LeignitzerSandB.htm

Which uses Liegnitzer, Lichtenauer and I.33 a bit interchangeably
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 05 Aug 2011 09:28

Thearos wrote:I think (and again I'm hope I'm not offending the author by posting this) I meant this page:

http://www.thehaca.com/essays/LeignitzerSandB.htm

Which uses Liegnitzer, Lichtenauer and I.33 a bit interchangeably
Oh I see, let's say it's....outdated. IIRC it's about at least 5 or 6 years old.
Some of his reconstructions of the Lignitzer plays are correct, others wrong (in my interpretation).

His introduction about the guards is - sorry for being harsh - utter crap. He takes illustrations from several sources and mashes that into the guards as pronounced in the Lichtenauer teaching. What's even more absurd is the fact that he states at the beginning that Lignitzer doesn't name any guards....

The "wild boar" is from where exactly? Nowhere in long sword, sword and buckler in the Lichtenauer lineage a "wild boar" guard appears. I think it occurs somewhere in one of the messer treatise, maybe Leckküchner, but I'm not familiar with messer. J. Meyer has the "boar" as a guard in his dussack section.
That's it.
To place it into sword and buckler plays "after Liechtenauer" is wrong.
By the way:
This is actually a guard from the I.33.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Where the f... does I.33 mention a guard called "wild boar".

He takes illustrations, finds similarities and therefore links different systems together. That's scientificely invalid, if not to say blatantly ignorant - but sadly not umcommon.
Petre Coza did that decades ago when he took Lichtenauer stuff and italian rapier stuff and put it all into the melting pot to create his Coza-brand. Clements does that as well, if you look at his videos (do consider the fact, that his ADHD driven presentation makes it nearly unbearable to follow his videos); Hand & Wagner did it in their book on I.33 as well, glueing italian terminology into their explanations.

His interpretation of the "zweyen schilten" - paired shields is wrong. And he finishes cutting to the right leg, wrong and contradicting the source which states an attack against the left leg - wrong
As is his interpretation of the 3rd play.
Not to mention that he appears to be standing still all the time, wrong. Shows me a a lack of practical testing.

To quote Dark Willow: "Bored now".
Really, Thearos, do me a favor and try to read the original sources first. There are some english translations out there already. Then try the reconstruction out by your own, that is with a HEMA club or partners in crime. And then compare it to the second level sources/interpretations of others.
I mean, come on:
I must be quite muddled, then. Does Liegnitzer expressly use "Ochs, vom Tag", etc, Lichtenauerian names for the various wards with sword and buckler ?
Even Mr. Myers says that Lignitzer didn't name any guards, why then ask? Timewaste.

P.S.: Some editing done.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby CaptainAbrecan » 05 Aug 2011 13:14

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:He takes illustrations, finds similarities and therefore links different systems together. That's scientificely invalid, if not to say blatantly ignorant - but sadly not umcommon.


Absolutely.

Unless said person believes there was a pan-european martial art. I have noticed that HEMA is prejudiced against people who believe so. Damn shame about that latter lot, but some citizens are shallow and superficial. Can't very well do without them, I suppose.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Thearos » 05 Aug 2011 14:18

The problem I see is that you can read primary sources, but they are hard and baffling; or you can turn to modern guides, but they are many, opinionated, and contradictory. And of course, you can turn to forums like this one for intelligent and informed discussion.

I've read Anglo, Martial Arts. I've looked at I.33. I know German, a bit of Swiss German, Latin. I find I. 33 difficult to understand. I bought two bucklers and two swords to try to understand, in my own body, which bit goes where. Bin so klug als wie zuvor.

I look on the web and at books, and see lots of contradictory interpretations, and /Besserwisserei/; I see purists and people who simplify to produce their own brands for their own fencing-salles.

I haven't looked at Lichtenauer; my experience with Fiore is comparable to my experience with I. 33.

So... I like to strike conversations with people who know and who've thought about things: I'm not a philologist or a specialist, just interested, when I'm idle.
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 05 Aug 2011 15:37

CaptainAbrecan wrote:
Wolfgang Ritter wrote:He takes illustrations, finds similarities and therefore links different systems together. That's scientificely invalid, if not to say blatantly ignorant - but sadly not umcommon.


Absolutely.

Unless said person believes there was a pan-european martial art. I have noticed that HEMA is prejudiced against people who believe so. Damn shame about that latter lot, but some citizens are shallow and superficial. Can't very well do without them, I suppose.

Hmm, I'm not sure I understand you.
"Pan-european martial art" what does that mean, a generic european fighting systrem, compared to what? Asian, arabic or INdian systems?

I have to confess that I oppose that, I find the similarities of - for example - Fiore and Lichtenauer (being developed in Europe at slightly the same timeframe, originally directed at a homogenous group of practitioners, covering the same weaponry) not enough to state a pan-european system. SImply as there are vital differences between both;

You seem to believe in a pan-european system, what is it, that makes it pan-european?
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Re: Counter attack vs parry/riposte - moved from Fiore

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 05 Aug 2011 16:07

@Thearos: it' absolutely okay to question stuff that's presented to you, that's why I started to read the manuscripts myself pretty early after starting with HEMA.
If you can read german, good, there's a lot to read out there.
Nevertheless you need to practice with others - do you actually have a club or some buddies to train with?
If you don't get a training group together or join a club, you'll probably fail, sorry, martial arts have to be practised.
There are a couple of HEMA events around, have you been to some? Shame if not, even more if you lack other aficionados.....there should be something near you, at least if your in England, where there are quite a number of clubs.
Good luck.
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