GERMAN LONGSWORD COURSE 2/10 – THE ORT

Please find below the source reference for the class:

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At first learn and know that the Ort (The Point) of the sword is the centre and the means and the core of the sword. All techniques start and end with the Ort, thus the Hängen and Winden are the begin and the turnings around the centre and many good fencing techniques stem from this.
These have been invented so that a fencer, who immediately strikes at the Ort and yet does not hit instantly, may employ the before mentioned Techniques in combination with strikes thrusts and cuts, with stepping off or in, and with stepping around or jumping, in order to hit his adversary. And if someone has shot his Ort out too far, by thrusting or lunging, he can recover or shorten it by employing the Winden or stepping off, so that he again may use those appropriate techniques and principles of fencing. From there he again may strike thrust or cut, because according to Liechtenauers art, strikes thrusts and cuts stem from all fencing techniques and principles. And later you will hear, how one technique and principle stems from the other and how they can be used in succession, so that if one method is being defended, the other hits and succeeds.
(…) Also know and learn, by the verse beginning with “If you want to show art etc” it is meant that an artful fencer should place his left foot in front and strike from the right side directly to the man, and with threatening strikes just as long as he sees where he may hit him and reach him with his stepping. And when he says “if you intend to fence strongly” so he says that you should fence upwards from the left side with the whole body and with all strength, to the head or to the body wherever he may hit. And never strike to the sword but just work like would not have a weapon or if you don´t see it, and should not avoid Zeckrühr or taps, and permanently be in motion, work and contact, so the opponent may not come to strikes.
(…) Also he means that one should not follow or step right after the strikes but always a little sideways and in a slope around, so that he gets to his flank. There he will get him much easier with any method compared to confronting him directly. Whatever he strikes to thrusts at his opponent, it will not be defended by any Durchwechsel or other techniques, if the strikes or thrusts are directed at the man and at the openings, to the head or to the body, with stepping around or other footwork.
(…) Now if it happens that the opponent does stay at the sword after he displaced, and now it comes that he also stays at the sword – not having done the Nachschlag yet – so he shall wind and stand at the sword, and he should note and feel if the adversary is weak or strong at the sword. And if he now feels that the opponent is strong, hard and rigid at the sword and only plans to press into him with his sword, so he should become weak and soft and completely give up his strength against the opponent. And thus he should let go of the opponent´s sword, so it may whip and move off with the pressure. And now he can slide and pull off his sword quickly and then go for the opponents openings quickly and nimbly, to the head or to the body, with strikes, thrusts and cuts, wherever he may hit surest and most direct.
Because the harder the opponent presses with the sword, the more far his sword is flung aside when he suddenly becomes soft and lets the sword slide off. So the opponent will be left open so that he can touch or hit as he wishes before the opponent may recover and come to his own strike or thrust.
If the opponent now is weak and soft at the sword and he feels and notices this, so he should be strong and hard at the sword and should rush in quickly forcefully at the sword, directly and frontal to the next best accessible opening. Just like as a string would be attached to the point which would pull and turn his point to the nearest opening, as to achieve the thrust.
Now if the opponent is strong and defends the thrust and displaces it by becoming strong at the sword, so that the opponent presses into the sword again, so again he should become weak and soft and let his sword slide off. And in this evading he should seek the openings quickly with strikes thrusts or cuts, as he wishes. And this is what Liechtenauer means with the words “weich und hart” “soft and hard”.
And this concept is from the auctoritas when Aristoteles says in the book Peyarmenias: “Oppositions shine more clearly if placed next to each other then directly opposing them (conflicting) Weak against strong, hard against weak and vice versa.” If it should be only strong against strong, the stronger will always win. That is the reason why Liechtenauers fencing ist real and correct art, so that a weak man can win with his art and wits in the same manner a strong man can do with his strength and it would be no art otherwise.

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Taken from the Nuremberg Hausbuch (MS 3227a), a German commonplace book thought to have been created some time between 1389 and 1494.

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Nuremberg_Hausbuch_(MS_3227a)

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