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[personal profile] fredrikegerman
We were supposed to launch our thing today at work, involving actual PR folks doing actual PR and a full-court press with an industry group. But that's been pushed back two weeks as the industry group needs to get its act together. The joys of trying to cooperate rather than just go it alone. Meanwhile we've started planning the next really complicated bit.

Meanwhile I'm trying to beat myself back into some semblance of physical shape, hampered by not getting enough running in lately and missing basically all the Wednesday sword practices. I'm finally getting my low stance back. I've also been working on my Schielhau, and it's gotten miles better.

Let me tell you about Schielhau, because it's such a big part of the sword work I do.

The Liechtenauer longsword system from the 1400's tries to keep things radically simple – four basic guards and five strikes. (Contrast this to later humanist-era masters who build ever more elaborate taxonomies of guards and strikes. If you've read Rabelais you know where this sort of thing ends up.) You'll immediately recognize two of the guards: Zornhut Guard of Wrath) is the "Ogg crush" guard where you hold the sword high over your head or shoulder ready to chop the heck out of any bastard who gets in your way, probably with a Zornhau (Wrath Hew) which is the giant diagonalish cut you'd do if you held a sword like that and I told you to swing it. Pflug (plow) is the guard where you hold your hands at your waist with your sword pointing at your opponent's face or chest. Schielhau (Squinting Hew) is designed to break Pflug by cutting downwards with the false edge (two edges are much better than one), thus putting your sword definitively between your opponent's sword and your body as you chop them. If you can't chop them, you're generally in a good place to either stab them through the torso or binding with their sword. Binding is good, because from then on you know exactly where your opponent's sword is and have a lot of control over where it is going.

I started working on this with Eddy, probably the fittest and fastest member of our club – he has a very low stance and is able to quickly come around the sword if you don't deal with him properly. I couldn't figure out what what I was doing wrong and went off to think about it for a week. The following Sunday I ended up working on it with Andy and Matt. It turns out I was too worried about binding the sword and not worried about chopping the opponent. I was also obsessed with stepping off line to get a nice sideways line of attack – this is all well and good, but Schielhau actually works better if you go straight in or actually step off line towards your opponent's sword, because then you're effectively pinning it down as you cut in. If you try to go around it, you actually leave them open to bring their sword around and back into you.

I seemed to be doing much better on this count when sparring with Eddy this week. Which isn't to say he didn't make short work of me in most other important respects...
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fredrikegerman

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