Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Ran Pleasant » 23 Sep 2013 05:53

Barca wrote:Many versions of the schielhau and zwerchhau we still see today in tournaments and YT instructional videos don't keep the hands safe at all.


Respectfully,

That reason to question parts of these interpretations. We all know that a Zwerchhau is a high horizontal cut with either edge and that a Schielhau is a downward false edge cut. But interpretations must both match the historical texts and be martially sound. If the hands are not safe at all then the interpretation is not martially sound.

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Barca » 23 Sep 2013 07:19

Ran Pleasant wrote:
Barca wrote:Many versions of the schielhau and zwerchhau we still see today in tournaments and YT instructional videos don't keep the hands safe at all.


Respectfully,

That reason to question parts of these interpretations.


Certainly, which is what I said. We need to keep pressure testing and refining interpretations to ensure maximum efficiency at the dual task of staying protected while wounding the opponent. Hands getting hit fails the 'staying protected' part of the test.

We all know that a Zwerchhau is a high horizontal cut with either edge


If you mean short edge is used from the right side and long edge is used from the left side, I agree. But I think a long edge horizontal blow from a right handed fencer's right side is just an ordinary mittelhau, not a zwerchhau IMO.

If the hands are not safe at all then the interpretation is not martially sound.


I agree.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby peterdk » 23 Sep 2013 09:00

you could also reverse the question by asking" why are so many starting the attack line with a vom tag technique"
the posta breve (left foot forward) is a very good starting posistion for blocking a attack coming from above and counter very fast afterwards with a stab or short cut to the head or upper torso.

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 23 Sep 2013 10:41

Barca wrote:Yet people managed just fine without complex hilts for centuries.


I think the main point you mentioned is:
As soon as swords started being carried in large numbers by civilian populations, the complex hilt was developed and spread very quickly.

Medieval swords are either designed to be used in war with gauntlets or with a shield/buckler, which protects the hands. Medieval swords were war weapons, not designed to be carried with frequency by unarmoured civilians.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 23 Sep 2013 10:46

Ran Pleasant wrote:If the hands are not safe at all then the interpretation is not martially sound.


I have to throw in what I think is an important caveat here: It does not necessarily mean the interpretation is bad, it can just mean the execution is bad! Everyone knows how to 'exchange thrusts' in Fiore, but if you do it badly you can certainly get killed!
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 23 Sep 2013 10:54

peterdk wrote:the posta breve (left foot forward) is a very good starting posistion for blocking a attack coming from above and counter very fast afterwards with a stab or short cut to the head or upper torso.


It's not really in the Liechtenauer lineage though.....
Posta Breve is really quite different to Pflug. At least according to how most German sources show it.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Ran Pleasant » 23 Sep 2013 14:23

admin wrote:
Ran Pleasant wrote:If the hands are not safe at all then the interpretation is not martially sound.


I have to throw in what I think is an important caveat here: It does not necessarily mean the interpretation is bad, it can just mean the execution is bad! Everyone knows how to 'exchange thrusts' in Fiore, but if you do it badly you can certainly get killed!


Good point!

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby peterdk » 23 Sep 2013 15:21

admin wrote:
peterdk wrote:the posta breve (left foot forward) is a very good starting posistion for blocking a attack coming from above and counter very fast afterwards with a stab or short cut to the head or upper torso.


It's not really in the Liechtenauer lineage though.....
Posta Breve is really quite different to Pflug. At least according to how most German sources show it.

i will take your word on it :)

we dont spend much time with fiore or any of the later manuals yet, we do spend a lot of time with bodymechanics and early manuels to what works for us and what wont, and since a lot of actions with the longsword fixes the line of bodymovement, we work a lot with counterblocks and attacks while stepping into or slightly off the line.

i love the manuals but do consider them as starting points to work from to adapt individual styles and individual bodymechanics into each persons array of strikes and guards.

BR

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Motley » 23 Sep 2013 18:29

I saw this video last week and have been wanting to get time to make a post about it since, nice to see there is already a thread on it.

I agree with you 100% Matt, it is something I rant on about to people irl occasionally, but I am usually much less diplomatic than you were in the video. A lot of people try and use it as a default position and so all kinds of things from it but really all Fiore says is that it can thrust and it is a bit sh!t is your are not wearing armour. So I find it amusing when people say they use it because they think it is safer :-)
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 24 Sep 2013 09:50

peterdk wrote:we dont spend much time with fiore or any of the later manuals yet


FYI, Fiore dei Liberi's Fior di Battaglia is the second earliest treatise with longsword (1410) after so-called Doebringer (1389). Fiore was most active in the 1380's, so he was one of the longsword pioneers, as the weapon really only became popular from the 1360's.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 24 Sep 2013 09:51

Motley wrote:I agree with you 100% Matt, it is something I rant on about to people irl occasionally, but I am usually much less diplomatic than you were in the video. A lot of people try and use it as a default position and so all kinds of things from it but really all Fiore says is that it can thrust and it is a bit sh!t is your are not wearing armour. So I find it amusing when people say they use it because they think it is safer :-)


I think in current tournament conditions it works well.. but I sure as hell would not want to use it much with sharp swords and no gloves!
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Ran Pleasant » 30 Sep 2013 09:09

I see people are also relying too much on a right foot forward Posta Breve like position even in sword & buckler fighting. The following videos the fighters almost exclusively use a right foot forward position similar to Posta Breve. The fighting in both videos look nothing like the fighting taught in I.33 or later documents. There is no binding and their bucklers play almost no role in the fights.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIxQIj6mKGM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RVPd66ktB0


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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby admin » 30 Sep 2013 12:38



Yep. That's a pretty classic example IMHO of two people with no concern of getting hit in the sword hands - as a result and perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks most like Highland basket-hilt broadsword and targe fighting as described by Page in 1746... (where the basket-hilt dictates the manner of use)

In my view, one of the biggest causes of this style of tournament fighting is that most hand hits which would wound or even disable with bare hands and sharps are getting missed in tournaments. That is not a criticism of the judges, as I know it is incredibly hard to spot incidental hand hits. It is a criticism of the fighters though, because they aren't really doing historical fencing.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Michael Chidester » 30 Sep 2013 16:17

My impression from having judged a variety of tournaments in the past year is that this is a phenomenon most often seen in intermediate-level "attribute fighters"--those who rely primarily on their athleticism and instinct and are only adept at using such historical techniques as are optimized for their particular attributes. These fighters are quite skilled at parrying and finding openings, but they often seem to march out in the ring without even adopting a guard position at all--which generally looks like assuming a loose position vaguely resembling either vom Tag or Posta Breve. (This is even more evident in fights with single-hand weapons, where they'll sometimes approach their opponent with the sword literally hanging at their side until they get into striking distance.) Beginner-level fighters sometimes do this as well, but fortunately all of the advanced fencers I've watched seem to have grown out of it and use proper guards as proficiently as they do proper strikes.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby MEversbergII » 30 Sep 2013 21:18

I've also seen that kind of fighting around in the tournament and freeplay stuff I've watched in the past. With pretty much any sword bouts I've seen, most real blows come from fighters who plant their feet and bend outwards from the waist. This appears to be extremely effective, because it's faster and gives you a lot of extra reach. It also works really well when you attack their leg. Pretty generally people seem to have a problem with getting that out of the way in time.

This is basically a meta-game approach. Form looks good, but in reality almost everything I've seen just ends up resembling a flailing match anyways, if it lasts longer than a single blow per "approach". I can't quantify who is and is not "advanced" but I've seen some (and been part of some) bouts where the "flailer" guy pretty consistently wins out against the "technique" guy. Back when I did longsword, the "bend from the waist blow" should have been easily countered by winding into ox against it, or krumping against it or some variantion thereof, but they'll always have a speed advantage in recovery since the defender now has to take an extra step to overcome that additional reach the "bend from the waist cut" has. Leaves me feeling kind of jaded, seeing the techniques not quite work against this. Sure, it could be that I simply lack a certain spark, but damn, I thought the purpose of technique was overcoming just raw "go".

Or maybe my brain's rotting. I've not been doing a lot of HTH stuff since my club fell apart.

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Barca » 01 Oct 2013 03:55

MEversbergII wrote:I've also seen that kind of fighting around in the tournament and freeplay stuff I've watched in the past. With pretty much any sword bouts I've seen, most real blows come from fighters who plant their feet and bend outwards from the waist. This appears to be extremely effective, because it's faster and gives you a lot of extra reach. It also works really well when you attack their leg. Pretty generally people seem to have a problem with getting that out of the way in time.


Are you referring to cuts where the fencer bends heavily forward to extend their reach instead of cutting with the spine straight and upright?

Back when I did longsword, the "bend from the waist blow" should have been easily countered by winding into ox against it, or krumping against it or some variantion thereof, but they'll always have a speed advantage in recovery since the defender now has to take an extra step to overcome that additional reach the "bend from the waist cut" has. Leaves me feeling kind of jaded, seeing the techniques not quite work against this. Sure, it could be that I simply lack a certain spark, but damn, I thought the purpose of technique was overcoming just raw "go".


I think this is a legitimate observation. Body lean is certainly featured in some systems (I.33, Meyer for e.g.) and has the advantage of maximising combative reach while keeping the torso and lower body as far away from danger as possible, but in other systems (e.g. Fiore, Vadi, early Liechtenauer, Bolognese, Silver etc) there seems to be a preference for a more upright posture before, during and after the cuts. This shortens the absolute reach in relation to where the feet are, but it does help maintain balance and would be essential in armour or with really heavy weapons (leaning the torso deeply into blows with two-handed swords or quarterstaves for e.g. is generally a bad idea and slows recovery).

It comes down to remembering the context. In an unarmoured sporting context on nice, even ground indoors with fairly light simulators, leaning deeply into the blows for maximum reach (and hitting with the weapon’s tip) is probably fine. Whereas in the context of fighting on uneven and treacherous ground outdoors, wearing a certain amount of armour and intending on cutting effectively with the sword’s COP, a more upright posture is probably preferable.

That might not be much consolation for losing tournament matches due to maintaining a more upright and stable posture (or other ‘martial’ but not as ‘tournament effective’ things like cutting by molinello, cutting at the COP etc), but it is important to remember the limitations of tournaments and their context. They can be a useful thing to all HEMAists but the emphasis will vary depending on individual motivations: for some sport minded people tournaments are an end in themselves, whilst for others they are more like a laboratory for the martial side of the art.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby MEversbergII » 03 Oct 2013 00:18

Spoke about this with someone I know and I began to wonder if HEMA will one day feature 3 basic flavors:

* All out sparring with modernized training equipment (the holed and grooved wasters mentioned above) designed to maximize speed and efficiency, with technique being like we see in those vids above

* Artistic approach, with a focus on doing our interpretation of "perfect" forms solo or against a partner, who is to comply with the play

* Middle ground with restrictive rules to enforce "proper" technique against a live, non compliant opponent.

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When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Barca » 03 Oct 2013 01:22

MEversbergII wrote:Spoke about this with someone I know and I began to wonder if HEMA will one day feature 3 basic flavors:

* All out sparring with modernized training equipment (the holed and grooved wasters mentioned above) designed to maximize speed and efficiency, with technique being like we see in those vids above


At that point you have a new 'sport' that is rapidly going the way of modern sport fencing. Nothing wrong with it, but not something I have much interest in. Actually, this might be a positive development in a way, as it will provide an outlet for the fencers who just want to do a competitive 'sport' without the need to alter other streams of HEMA.

* Artistic approach, with a focus on doing our interpretation of "perfect" forms solo or against a partner, who is to comply with the play


Not a bad idea either. This would be akin to the kind of practice that occurs in many Japanese koryu which are designed to preserve their system's teachings across centuries. A little combative reality check is lost without any free play though, so it would be good if such groups included at least a bit of free play. Even many of the very traditional Japanese koryu that mostly focus on kata still have more open or free 'randori' with a partner to introduce some pressure and unpredictability.

* Middle ground with restrictive rules to enforce "proper" technique against a live, non compliant opponent.


I think this is where I would reside. I want the benefits of both the competitive and artistic approaches. I know all-out tournament free play will never be an ideal 'test environment' for fully martial approaches to HEMA (more difficult 'martial' techniques tend to be left out while easier 'high percentage' techniques are over-emphasized).

To help counter this, I'm supportive of very specific (and varying) rule sets that try to isolate and either reward or penalise different aspects to help elicit the kind of fencing we want to see. It's part of the overall triangulation. You can, with a few choice rules, genuinely alter the way free fencing plays out.
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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby MEversbergII » 03 Oct 2013 20:19

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC1O2zoc2II

Good example of "bent waist strikes" in longsword. Also features floor lunging and what almost looks like fleche.

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When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Why so much Posta Breve in HEMA tournaments?

Postby Andy Fraser » 06 Mar 2014 10:25

Hi there,

I understand that I'm late to this party, but I remember watching the video last year, and recently discussing this with some HEMA friends.

While I'm not a HEMA practitioner (only as the nearest club is not close enough at the moment) I do try to study what I can, watch available videos etc to help me with my hand and a half usage. I do however practice in mail, with mail covered reinforced gloves, and full length sleeves (right I admit, I'm a reenactor, but that's a different discussion).

Anyway, what we talked about was why this position is naturally used. HEMA friends both believed that the guards Matt talks about were better to use. And I agreed with them, in the scenario that I was unarmoured and my hands unprotected.

More debate on the matter ensued. Now, my friends have been practicing at a HEMA club for 3 years, so I tried an evening at their place as a taster session (just a shame it's too expensive to get to at the moment!) and I had a great time. A calm and patient instructor, who forgave me my sword swinging past, friendly people who made us feel welcome. And lots of people out of breath and grasping aching muscles... Except that I wasn't. I'm not silly, I know this was just a microcosm of Hema and wasn't entirely representative. I more than held my own with regards to fitness, speed and control however.

So, a few days later at our club, my friends don my armour. They spar. They then said how much the weight affected their choice of guard, how a low guard was a lot easier at conserving energy. The high guards were great, but they just couldn't hold the weight, and then retain enough in their muscles to fight effectively.

Now I'm in no way saying we are the same fitness and strength level of people from 700 years ago. But we have a focus on stamina and strength as part of our training, which may be missing for some HEMA participants, hence leading to a low guard, as it's easier on tired and aching arms.
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