That’s not vom Tag!

I’ve been playing at German longsword for nearly as long as I’ve been playing at rapier. But only last night did I come to the realization that I, and everyone who taught me or trained with me, has been doing vom Tag wrong.

Look at Danzing, then look at everybody else.

Peter Von Danzig

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Hans Talhoffer

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Jakob Sutor

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Joachim Meyer

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Paulus Hector Mair

image image

Solothurner

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Conan the Barbarian

Ok, so there is one person besides Danzig uses vom Tag on the right.

Danzig and I Got It All Wrong

Until now I haven’t properly considered using the center vom Tag. I even thought that is was an inferior position, used by people who didn’t know what they were doing or were forced into it by circumstances.

Now I’m pretty sure I’ve got it all backwards. Experience tells me that I can defeat von Tag on the right in numerous ways with hardly any effort. It is just begging for a short edge to the left forearm (not long edge, you want your right hand tucked safely under the handle) or a Zwerch across the shoulder/throat. If I’m fully awake I can easily deceive it by feinting said cuts.

Meanwhile my pell work has thus far led to stronger and more elegant cuts. I have no yet confirmed those cuts from center vom Tag will actually be effective in free sparing, but I’m hopeful.

Or Maybe We Didn’t

I was just about to post this piece when I was reintroduced to a few more images of vom Tag including one with matching text.

Paulus Kal

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Pseudo-Danzig

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Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck

The fourth guard. From the Roof.

Hold it like this: stand with the left foot forwards, and hold your sword at your right shoulder. Or hold it with outstretched arms above your head. And how you shall fence from these guards, you will find described in this book.

image

Conclusion

If you consult nine experts and seven of them say “Do A” and two say “Do Y”, logic dictates that you focus on A first. So while I won’t gainsay anyone who uses the Ringeck/Danzing version, I’ve only got so much room in my toolbox. So for now going to go replace vom Tag on the right with vom Tag in the center.

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15 Responses to That’s not vom Tag!

  1. B. Krustev says:

    So your theory is based on the idea that Kal and Ringeck are doing it wrong? Or just that their variation is not of such use and importance as the ones Sutor and Meyer have?

    To clarify – I am not saying that the high Vom Tag is not a good and valid variation. I see a continuation of the single sword work – as we see in I.33 there is a shoulder guard and a high guard – second and fourth.

    But there are a few problems with just saying “More masters show high than low”. First, it is not entirely true – Mair also shows a shoulder VT – http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/0000/bsb00006570/images/index.html?fip=193.174.98.30&id=00006570&seite=53 , Talhoffer’s plate is clearly stating that this is an image of a cut being thrown, not a guard.

    On the other hand, I see the high guard used more in later MSs, and Danzig and Ringeck, which are the earlier ones, obviously prefer the lower. Draw out of that what you want.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      It is a mistake to say Ringeck preferred right vom Tag over center vom Tag. He mentions them both, but never says one if better than the other.

  2. B. Krustev says:

    oder halt es mit auß gestrackten armen vber dein hãubt
    Or hold it with ourstretched hands over your head

    He describes the shoulder one as the basic, and the high one as a variation. And the illustrations shows just the shoulder one.

    What I really worry about in your interpretation is that you are equalizing all 9 experts, like they are talking in the general and identical context – which is obviously not the case.

  3. Edward says:

    The talhoffer one isof an oberhau, says so just to the left of where its cut off

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Oberhau is the type of cut he is about the throw, vom Tag is the name of the position he is standing in.

      • Edward says:

        He’s not standing, his foot is in the air. vom tag may have been the guard he WAS standing in before the oberhau.

      • Grauenwolf says:

        Illustrations don’t usually depict someone mid-step. And if it were, then he’s stepping before the cut, which is generally a bad idea. So I’m more inclined to believe that he just has a wide stance.

      • Edward says:

        Last point: one doesn’t usually stand with one’s toes off the ground. So I would suggest that he’s at least shifting his weight into a hew if not stepping, otherwise he’s standing in a bowl

      • Grauenwolf says:

        I was taught to read that as the foot is turned out, not on its toe.

        Which would make sense if one is preparing for a strike.

      • Edward says:

        so you’ve conceded that it’s an illustration of a strike, while it may have started from the center vom tag, there’s no way to tell for sure. here’s another to the side

        from andre paurnfeyndt
        and another mair:

        not to mention your own post about the zwerch (which you tout as begged for against a right side vom tag,) you quote johachm meyer on how to perform it “hold your sword on your right shoulder, as if intended to deliver a wrath cut” which sounds like a vom tag on the right

  4. edward says:


    you can believe whatever you want, but it says oberhow right next to it.

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