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German Longsword

Longsword Terms and Definitions

German Long Sword TermsDefinition:
Absetzen setting aside, the principle of timed counter attack to deflect a thrust or parry a cut, also used to signify a trapping move where the sword is hooked over the opponent's and forced downwards, it can also mean a parry, generally followed by a thrust
Abwenden ward off, such as with a deflecting parrying action
Am Schwert on the sword, attacks made while maintaining constant pressure on the opposing blade, also known as the Winden (winding or turning)
Binden a bind, or trapping action by pressing blade upon blade (usually edge on edge at the ricasso)
Drey Wunder three wonders - thrust, the cut, and Schnitt (a slicing or drawing cut), they taught the thrust was used primarily at longer range, the cut at medium range, and the slice more at closer range
Durchwechseln changing through - the move of evading contact with the opponent’s blade as you strike (e.g., changing line of attack)
Durchführen disengage under - in close-combat leading your point under their sword to thrust at the opening on the other side.
Abschneiden cutting aside, short drawing cuts known also as Schnitt ("slices"), used at closer distances against the opponent’s forearms and hands, they can be made with both the lead and the back edges
Fechtbuch fight book or fencing book, a German manual on fighting techniques and methods, particularly swordsmanship
Fechtmeister Fight Master
Fechtschule A German Medieval or Renaissance fencing school or public fighting exhibition and competition
Fuehlen gauging of an opponent's "feeling" or pressure
The Four Openings areas to aim at in combat, the first opening is the opponent's right side, the second opening is their left side above the belt, the other openings are their right and left sides below the belt.
Gleich Fechten attacking at the same time as the opponent or In des Fechten (as opposed to Nach Reissen and Vor Fechten)
Halb Schwert half-sword, techniques of gripping the middle of the blade itself with the second hand (often by gloves or armored gauntlets). Also called Halt-Schwert, they allow a wide range of offensive and defensive striking and deflecting actions as well as thrusts
Krieg handwork, also called war, the phase of combat once swords have crossed and the distance has been closed
Hengen hanging guard/stance, called the Ochs ("ox") stance in the German schools (for resemblance to the sloping horns of an ox
Hard and Soft The idea when ever contact is made of gauging the pressure the opponent places upon you blade (either strong or weak), oppose strength with weakness and weakness with strength to control and exploit
Von Tag from the roof
Oberhut upper guard
In Des Fechten attacking in the middle of the adversary’s own attack, one of the three ways of overcoming an opponent’s attack along with Gleich Fechten and Nachreissen
Hangentorte hanging point, and possibly even Wechsel (meaning "change"), a position with the blade horizontal pointing forward and the hilt pulled in close, used for warding, thrusting and parrying
Kampfplatz an enclosed area where judicial duels and some foot challenges took place, it was an open made up of a square wooden barrier or "ring"
Kron "crown", one German name for the Middle guard, also a type of Halb Schwert (half-sword) parry against a vertical downwards cut with the sword held point forward over the head
Short Edge Back or "false" edge of the sword, opposite of the Long edge (Lange or "true" edge)
Long Edge Forward or true edge of the sword, opposite of the Short edge (back or "false" edge)
Langortt or Langer Ort, meaning "long point", a limited defensive thrusting position with the blade horizontal and arms extended straight forward more, ideal for warding and making stabbing attacks or stop-thrusts
Alber Low guard or Fool’s guard, apparently since it was thought foolish to rely only on defense
Mittlehut middle guard, the blade is held centered out from the lower abdomen at a 45-degree angle aimed at the opponent’s chest, throat or face, see "Pflug"
Pflug plow, for its resemblance to the position of plowing behind a yoke, the blade is held centered out from the lower abdomen at a 45-degree angle aimed at the opponent’s chest, throat or face, see "Mittlehut"
Meisterhau master cuts, prized techniques described by the grand-master Liechtenauer in which the swordsman strikes in a manner so that his sword deflects the incoming blow while simultaneously hitting the opponent
Mittelhau a horizontal left-to-right cross-cut
Mordschlag death blow, a type of rare Halb Schwert blow made by holding the sword blade itself with both hands and striking with the pommel or guard, used to slam a foe in heavy armor, aslo called Morteschlag
Nach the defensive or countering principle of fighting, opposite of Vor ("before"), Nach und Vor are two important concepts in the Fechtschulen
Nachreissen traveling after, attacking immediately after the adversary’s own attack, one of the three ways of overcoming an opponent’s attack
Obere Ansetzen techniques delivered over or above the opponent’s guard (opposite of Untere Ansetzen)
Oberhau over cuts, or strikes above the waist, either diagonal (Zornhau) or vertical (Scheitelhau)
Ort German for the point of the sword
Pressing-the-hands a move to push your blade in against the opponent’s forearms or hands just as they lift to strike or just as they lower to strike, one form of this cut was called the Krumphau
Ringen Am Schwert wrestling at the sword, sometimes called Ringkunst, also involving Schwertnemen ("sword-taking") close in disarming moves and grappling (ground-fighting or Unterhalten, "holding down")
Rota a countering technique described by Filippo Vadi (c. 1480) wherein the back edge is quickly raised to smack or deflect an opposing blade prior to an immediate descending cut with the forward edge
Schielhau a sideways cut with the back or short edge (Kurze Schneide) of the blade, delivered with only one eye on your opponent (perhaps also called the "squinting cut")
Scheitelhau a vertical cut, delivered either Oberhau (above the waist) or Unterhau (below the waist)
Schwech weak, German masters divided the long-sword into two portions, the weaker section of blade from middle to point was known as Schwech (or Schwäche), used for most thrusting and slicing
Schwertnemen sword taking, close-in disarming or trapping actions
Stark strong, German masters referred to the long-sword in two portions, the strong section of blade from middle to hilt was known as Stark, used for most parrying and cutting (equivalent to the Forte of later renaissance fencing), opposite of Schwech
Stuck und Bruch technique and counter, the idea that every technique has a counter and every counter has a technique, two major components of the German systems of swordsmanship
Throwing-the-point A German technique of turning a false cutting blow into a sudden straight thrust
Ueberlauffen overrunning, the concept of timed counter-attack by outreaching the adversary just as they attack, you move into or out of their action and strike their closer targets exposed by their own attack
Versetzen literally displacement or to displace, a defensive action to put off an attack by a deflecting blow or counter strike as opposed to an opposition block, employed with evasive stepping (Versatzungen or the "displacements" are four of these cuts)
Von Fechten attacking before, one of the three ways of overcoming an opponent’s attack
Vor the offensive principle of fighting, aggressively taking the initiative, opposite of Nach
Winden the "Winding" or turning, close binding actions to maintain pressure and dominate the opposing blade to get in and use either edge to slice (also allows you to close and seize)
Zornhau a diagonal cut, delivered either Oberhau (above the waist) or Unterhau (below the waist)
Zornhut "guard of wrath" or "rage guard" sparingly used vulnerable posture with the weapon pulled all the way point down behind the back, but which allows the most powerful blows
Zwerchhau slanting cut, a horizontal right-to-left cross cut (also called Geschrenckt Ort)
Zuefechten one of the two phases of combat where the combatants are closing together and their weapons make contact (prior to Anbinden or Handarbeit)
Abnemen To free yourself from the bind or to make an attack from the bind
Abschneiden To cut over the arms from below or from above, usually done with the long edge
Duplieren To instantly follow up a parried long-edge strike with a strike through a swift crossing over of the arms
Einlauffen Running in. To duck in under the opposing weapon or employ closing and entering techniques
Fehler Feint. To feint a strike at a high opening and change to another, usually lower, opening in the strike. Luring your opponent to commit to defending one opening and striking another.
Hende Trucken Pressing the hands.
Created by: Marsman