Longsword: Cuts from Alber

I’ve been working through my German Longsword workbook and have come to the realization that cuts from Alber can actually be quite fast.

The trick is in how you prepare for the cut. It is tempting to completely leave Alber by pulling back with both hands into something resembling Pflug or vom Tag. Not only is this slow, it also removes your defenses.

To keep my sword in front of me, I instead push my left hand while keeping my right hand in place. Depending on which line I want to cut, the push will be to the left, right, or downwards.

Then in one fluid motion, I raise my right hand to the proper height while jerking my left hand back to give power to the cut. Some of the cuts will look like a Molinello, while others are more like a quick snap. Footwork is of course important for both positioning and power generation.

I still need to experiment with a partner, but it seems that even the master cuts can be effectively thrown this way. I worry about speed though, as there may not be enough time to use this defensively.

Another interesting facet is that the preparation itself doesn’t telegraph where you are going. If push the pommel left, I could step right with a quick snap. But I could also circle around for a long-edge Zwerch along G/H while stepping to the left.

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1 Response to Longsword: Cuts from Alber

  1. Dean says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    I simply wanted to encourage you to keep thinking for yourself.
    Challenge the accepted, and don’t get fooled by the appeals to authorities.
    A couple of (perhaps) useful pointers.
    1. Unless the manual/treatise specifies it as a single tempo move, it does not mean all moves(techniques) are single time.
    2.Take the time to understand how the human brain reacts to threats etc.
    For example, Silver warns about “the time of the hand”, this is because the brain is slow to perceive a threat from a hand motion alone.
    The brain has a ladder of priority, and yes, the brain is the top of the list. Therefore the brain reacts faster to threats to the head, than say threats to the hand. Therefore most ‘guards’ are either close to the head, or torso (second priority).
    An attack to the head will be given top priority, and therefore it is the best place to open the attack to (assuming you want the opponent to defend, rather than counter attack).
    When retreating, the brain changes priority to the arms (hands), and therefore attacks to the hands are good option if they slip back etc, for example the krump-hau (crumple hew).

    I hope that is helpful, but there are many others.

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