Codex Wallerstein Longsword – Plate 6

The first play in the longsword section is titled “Reach”. It begins with the bind, so let us start there.

In German longsword, most actions start with a high cut from vom Tag or a similar guard. This is done at wide measure and are used primarily to gain the initiative. Unless the opponent is completely asleep, they should be able to easily counter the initial cut with a block, deflection, or other type of parry. Often this will result in the sword crossed as shown below:


This is the bind, from which the handwork that defines the middle part of the begins.

Returning to plate 6, shown below, you can see the fencer on the left has “wound” his sword so that the short or false edge is down. According to the text, you are to “strike at his face with the point and wind with the short edge in his face”.


In this case, winding with the short edge probably means to turn the sword counter-clockwise so that the short edge remains in contact with the opponent’s blade.

Notice how the left hand is turned around backwards? This happens because you need to release the left hand when rotating counter-clockwise at face level.  If you wish to keep both hands on the sword you need to raise your arms above the head, which would reduce your reach.

Note that a step is taken with this action. While the text is unclear, one could imagine our fencer driving the point into the opponent’s face using his left hand while simultaneously taking a step.

The text continues, “so you my hit him with the pommel or thrust at his face halfway along his sword.”

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