Practice Notes–Attack your Foe, not his Sword

Once again I tried to use Schielhauw, the Squinting Cut, and once again I failed. After much discussion we came the conclusion that my fundamental problem is that I was attacking the sword.

If I throw the squinting cut with a proper off-line step at his opening, one of two things will happen:

  1. He won’t react properly and I’ll land a solid blow on his arm or shoulder.
  2. He will react and move his sword into mine, ending the action like the pictures.

If I aim for his sword and he reacts, our swords will cross in the wrong place and I will neither a solid attack nor a solid defense.

Parallels in Rapier

What makes this revelation particularly annoying is that this is exactly the same lesson that I always teach novice fencers when introducing the counter-thrust. If they think about the parry, they invariably chase the sword and end up in absurdly wide guards. But if they instead concentrate on landing a good thrust to the face, the sword will naturally be in the right position to defend them. The only concern is the correct rotation of the wrist.

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