Zwerchau

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

Zwerchau

Postby Hugh » 26 Nov 2011 18:02

Apologies if this is "thread necromancy" but I was hoping to get people's opinions on a few aspects of the technique.

I'm sure there's no "one, definite correct way" but I'm just looking for your opinions and experiences.

- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?

- Secondly, do you (ideally) aim to deflect their attack off to the side? sidestep to totally void their attack? catch their blade on your crossguard?

- Thirdly, timing. Do you find it works noticeably better if performed Vor? Indes? Nach? Are you particularly vulnerable at any time?

These are just a few questions I'm musing over at the moment and would love to read people thoughts on the matter.
Thanks :-)
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Nov 2011 18:26

Hugh wrote:- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?


Pretty much always. It simply helps the wrist twist properly, making the technique easier and faster, and allows for better power generation.

Hugh wrote:- Secondly, do you (ideally) aim to deflect their attack off to the side? sidestep to totally void their attack? catch their blade on your crossguard?


Personally I step straight forward into the incoming strike, catching it on the "flat of my strong", and instantly winding round to complete the strike with a little redirection of my step so that I go out to the right. Done as a single movement it flows very nicely and keeps me safe, and with a single foot movement I end up diagonally forward and right of where I started. It fits with some descriptions of the techniques from the sources (although our descriptions conflict; there is no single method as described in the sources) and very importantly manages to keep me safe. It defends my hands, my fingers and my head, and lands an effective cut as it completes.

Hugh wrote:- Thirdly, timing. Do you find it works noticeably better if performed Vor? Indes? Nach? Are you particularly vulnerable at any time?


If I perform it in the Vor then it works well, and defends me against a retaliatory Oberhau from the right or from above. If I perform it Indes then it works well, protecting me from the strike as it happens and landing my own strike as my opponent completes his. In the Nach.... Well, if I react in the Nach as opposed to Indes then I'm probably going to wear my opponent's strike, or I might be lucky and simply knock it away from me with the Zwerchau. If you mean that something else has happened Vor or Indes, and I *then* use the Zwerchau in the Nach as a follow up strike, then I find it works reasonably well, although I do need to practice this more often with drilling and exercises so that it flows better in sparring.

Hope my thoughts can help :)
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 26 Nov 2011 18:55

Hugh wrote:- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?

Always! You have more stability, reach and a better blade alignment. Always!


Hugh wrote:- Secondly, do you (ideally) aim to deflect their attack off to the side? sidestep to totally void their attack? catch their blade on your crossguard?

Yes, yes and yes. It depends on when and why you use the Zwerchhau.
If you attack, I step slightly offline, prepared for a counter.
If I react with a Zwerchhau, I deflect the incoming blade strongly to the side.
If want to perform a Fehler, I step outside strongly to lure the opponent into the movement I want.
And then of course you mix it up altogether according to situation.

Hugh wrote:- Thirdly, timing. Do you find it works noticeably better if performed Vor? Indes? Nach? Are you particularly vulnerable at any time?

That again depends on your intent. You can use the Zwerchhau as an offensive, defensive and tactical technique. Timing has to be done accordingly. There is no hard and fast rule.
If you attack - obviously in the for
If you defend - obviously in the index
the rest depends…

Hope I could help. Would be easier to explain blade in hand.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Harry » 28 Nov 2011 12:32

hold of the sword: Thumbhold is recommended

how to do: the twerhau is two time action...

you have the "vorschlag" which is the "parry" or better said, the closing the line action against the oberhau
then you have the "nachschlag" which is the attack to the head of your opponent.

normally you do the nachschlag with a step of your right foot to his left side. Peter Falkner is doing the nachschlag with a step of the right foot to his right side (cross stepping).

the vorschlag and the nachschlag are two seperate actions but must be done as one, so you have a two time action done a single time.

timing: this is selfexplaining... isn't it?

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Hugh » 28 Nov 2011 17:00

I too use the thumbgrip almost exclusively and tend to step forward and offline to my right.

Thanks, Harry, for that Vorschlag / Nachschlag description - it explains very well the timing you use.
One problem I find is that if the attacker has a good long extension (and thus a very straight line from shoulders to point of sword), my fingers are at risk if I catch his attack on my crossguard.
Just my timing being off I think. Need to make sure I'm defending properly before worrying about landing a hit.
I'll try breaking it down a bit into two stages - it may keep my fingers safer to think of it as a defence followed by an attack ;-)

Thanks guys. Looks like everyone's pretty much on the same page.


Anyone out there do their Zwerchs without using a thumbgrip?
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Ran Pleasant » 28 Nov 2011 18:33

Hugh wrote:- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?

A Zwerchau is still the same cut whither or not one puts their thumb on the grib/blade and regardless of what edge one uses. If I cut a short edge Zwerchau on the right I almost always place my thumb on the grip but of course I can't do so if I cut a long edge Zwerchau on the right.

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Ivan » 28 Nov 2011 22:23

The thumb grip - always. It aligns your blade better, straightens your wrist, and allows you for a faster zwerch to the other side/opening with the other edge. Also, if he defends, you're in a better position to wind/duplier/etc.
What I found out what helps regarding the fingers, and the power of the attack, and to some extend, helps with landing a follow-up Zwerch on the other side is extreme distance closing.
Meaning, I like to go directly into my opponent's attack, catching the blade on my strong/guard, while his sword still hasn't reached full extension/power. I had good results with that kind of execution:
- the sword is easier to catch, especially if you catch it before the 45° angle into the cut, while also giving you considerable leverage so he can't displace as easily.
- you have a very good chance to hit him on the head, even when he's retreating, because of the extra blade extension (last third), instead of ending in ochs with the point in front of his face
- If you catch his sword while the tip still hasn't dropped considerably, you won't get hit in the fingers, no matter how high you raise your hands (which doesn't help a lot since you have to angle the tip downwards to his head a couple of degrees, again revealing the fingers)
- If you are so close to him, and he displaces, doing a Zwerch while leaping to his right won't give him as much time to deflect, and you may even hit him on the back of the head.

Just my two cents.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Harry » 29 Nov 2011 08:16

Hugh wrote:I too use the thumbgrip almost exclusively and tend to step forward and offline to my right.

Thanks, Harry, for that Vorschlag / Nachschlag description - it explains very well the timing you use.
One problem I find is that if the attacker has a good long extension (and thus a very straight line from shoulders to point of sword), my fingers are at risk if I catch his attack on my crossguard.
Just my timing being off I think. Need to make sure I'm defending properly before worrying about landing a hit.
I'll try breaking it down a bit into two stages - it may keep my fingers safer to think of it as a defence followed by an attack ;-)



especially while using the thumbhold, you can easily slide a little bit backwards while doing the twerhau, this should protect your fingers.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Hugh » 29 Nov 2011 17:55

Thanks.

@Ran: I've seen it done using a standard grip and have tried it and it works ok (for me) in some circumstances - I personally prefer the thumbgrip though, as it allows the grip to be held higher up comfortably and allows a very quick second Zwerchau to the other side (as Ivan mentioned). Do you find that a long edge Zwerchau on the right needs to be lower down?

@ Harry: I presume you mean having your hands slightly further back along the grip? My new sword has a nice long grip so that's a good option. I'll give it a go.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Motley » 29 Nov 2011 18:09

Ran Pleasant wrote:
Hugh wrote:- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?

A Zwerchau is still the same cut whither or not one puts their thumb on the grib/blade and regardless of what edge one uses. If I cut a short edge Zwerchau on the right I almost always place my thumb on the grip but of course I can't do so if I cut a long edge Zwerchau on the right.

Ran


I thought by definition a zwerchau (on the right) was with the short edge? otherwise it is just a horizontal cut?

Any Leichty guys care to comment?
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 29 Nov 2011 18:32

Motley wrote:
Ran Pleasant wrote:
Hugh wrote:- Firstly, do you use the thumb grip? Always? Never? Or just use the thumb grip if you need a higher angle of attack? In your opinion, is it still a zwerchau if you don't?

A Zwerchau is still the same cut whither or not one puts their thumb on the grib/blade and regardless of what edge one uses. If I cut a short edge Zwerchau on the right I almost always place my thumb on the grip but of course I can't do so if I cut a long edge Zwerchau on the right.

Ran


I thought by definition a zwerchau (on the right) was with the short edge? otherwise it is just a horizontal cut?

Any Leichty guys care to comment?
If you follow the manuals in lichtenauer lineage, yes, a Zwerchhau from your right side against the opponents left side is performed with the short edge, not the long edge.

Zwerch or as in 3227a /twer" in a general sense can mean horizontal; of course a horizontal cut - or a "Mittelhau" as in Meyer - can be performed with the long edge from the right; but it's not the hidden strike described in Lichtenauer. The Zwerchhau as one of the five hidden strikes or master strikes, doesn't make a lot of sense if performed with the long edge from the right. The body mechanics is completely different, performing a Zwerch with the long edge and lifting your arms high result in a rather unstable position.
Apart from that, what Harry, Herbert, Ivan and Keith wrote!
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Herbert » 29 Nov 2011 19:26

Motley wrote:I thought by definition a zwerchau (on the right) was with the short edge? otherwise it is just a horizontal cut?

Any Leichty guys care to comment?

A Zwerchhau from the right is done with the short edge, from the left with the long edge. Both times you have your thumb on the underside of the blade.

Just as Wolfgang wrote, really…

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Motley » 29 Nov 2011 19:40

Herbert wrote:
Motley wrote:I thought by definition a zwerchau (on the right) was with the short edge? otherwise it is just a horizontal cut?

Any Leichty guys care to comment?

A Zwerchhau from the right is done with the short edge, from the left with the long edge. Both times you have your thumb on the underside of the blade.

Just as Wolfgang wrote, really…

Herbert


That is what I thought, I just wanted to confirm that though as I have only read a smattering of the Liechty sources so I wanted to make sure there was not something I was missing.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Michael Chidester » 29 Nov 2011 21:18

Herbert wrote:A Zwerchhau from the right is done with the short edge, from the left with the long edge. Both times you have your thumb on the underside of the blade.

Is there a source that tells you to strike with the long edge from the left? All I can think of is the 3227a, which says (rather unhelpfully) that you can do it with either edge from either side. The other sources seem to imply that it's a short-edge cut from both sides.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 29 Nov 2011 22:17

Michael Chidester wrote:
Herbert wrote:A Zwerchhau from the right is done with the short edge, from the left with the long edge. Both times you have your thumb on the underside of the blade.

Is there a source that tells you to strike with the long edge from the left? All I can think of is the 3227a, which says (rather unhelpfully) that you can do it with either edge from either side. The other sources seem to imply that it's a short-edge cut from both sides.
The idea is that left zwerchhau with long edge mirrors the explicitly described Zwerchhau from the right. Same movement, same body mechanics. Why change the simple movement to have the short edge with the left zwerchhau?

Apart from that I can't see the implication for short edge in other sources?
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Michael Chidester » 29 Nov 2011 22:28

I don't switch edges with the Zornhaw or any other mastercut, so I don't see why I'd want to with the Zwerhaw. Which is what I meant by implication--if it doesn't say to change edges, then I assume it doesn't want me to.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Ran Pleasant » 29 Nov 2011 23:57

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:...doesn't make a lot of sense if performed with the long edge from the right. The body mechanics is completely different, performing a Zwerch with the long edge and lifting your arms high result in a rather unstable position.


The body mechanics are not really that different and not hard to perform with practice, nor result in any unstable body position, and the blade travels through the same space in the same time frame. Your adversary probably wouldn't even notice the difference. :wink:

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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Wolfgang Ritter » 30 Nov 2011 01:07

Ran Pleasant wrote:
Wolfgang Ritter wrote:...doesn't make a lot of sense if performed with the long edge from the right. The body mechanics is completely different, performing a Zwerch with the long edge and lifting your arms high result in a rather unstable position.


The body mechanics are not really that different and not hard to perform with practice, nor result in any unstable body position, and the blade travels through the same space in the same time frame. Your adversary probably wouldn't even notice the difference. :wink:

Ran
Well, I'm afraid I simply do have a different opinion on that. The position of your wrists is different to that with a Zwerch with the short edge. Given the fact that one aim is to cover your left upper opening against an attack it is of signifant difference. I think it's way easier to perform the rotation of the blade around the right wrist with the short edge instead of the long edge. The latter leaving my wrists in a rather weak - as I think - overstretch.
Apart from that the Lichtenauer sources describe it with the short edge from the right.
So this is somehow out of question for me - we might argue about the left Zwerchhau, but certainly not about the right.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Ran Pleasant » 30 Nov 2011 06:00

Wolfgang Ritter wrote:Well, I'm afraid I simply do have a different opinion on that.


Different opinions are cool.
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Re: Zwerchau

Postby Harry » 30 Nov 2011 08:04

Michael Chidester wrote:
Herbert wrote:A Zwerchhau from the right is done with the short edge, from the left with the long edge. Both times you have your thumb on the underside of the blade.

Is there a source that tells you to strike with the long edge from the left? All I can think of is the 3227a, which says (rather unhelpfully) that you can do it with either edge from either side. The other sources seem to imply that it's a short-edge cut from both sides.



not directly, but quite... it is written, make the zwerch from the right with UNcrossed arms, from left with crossed ones.

so you can hit from the left with crossed arms if you hit him with the true edge :)


(**** EDIT BECAUSE I AM STUPID TO TRANSLATE SIMPLE PHRASES ***** )
Last edited by Harry on 30 Nov 2011 09:11, edited 1 time in total.
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