And then, if he manages to get to him, and he knows the measure and thinks the adversary can and will reach him now, so he should hurry to him without fear, quickly and nimbly, going for the head or body, not caring if he hits or misses. So he should win the Vorschlag and not let the adversary come to his own fencing. About this you will learn more in the general teachings.
Here learn the frequens motus which paralyses your adversary in begin, medium and end of all fencing according to this art and teaching. You should execute begin, medium and end in one rush without break and without being stifled by your adversary and under no circumstances let him gain the opportunity to strike. This is the meaning of the two words vor and nach, which means Vorschlag und Nachschlag, striking him just like one. And this should fool him prior I even have to move.
I don’t think it is an earnest attack at all. I’m told it translates as “before strike”, so I think it means a testing strike. An attack to establish control of the center line, to put your opponent on the defensive, and to safely enter measure.
If you wait until you are already in wide measure (where you can hit with a single step), and you don’t already control the fight then you can be in for some serious trouble. Even if your opponent doesn’t have control, you are still basically in a race. This usually ends with both people getting hit.
The Vorschlag isn’t necessarily an attack against their sword, but it could be. It can also be a swing in the air, a way of saying, “keep back, this is my space”. If your opponent tries to parry this fruitless blow, all the better. You can use fulen techniques to know exactly where his blade is and thus launch your earnest attack.
The Vorschlag can’t be just a single swing though, that leaves you exposed to a nachreisen (following after attack). Your opponent has to believe that a second and third swing are on the way and that he needs to defend against them. You need to put him into obedience, to put him into the nach.
The Vorschlag has a name because it is hard to do. You can’t just wildly swing your sword around in the air, you have to control it and make sure it flows continuously from attack to attack. If you pause for even a moment then your opponent can gain control of the fight. But you also have to vary your speed, alternating between slow and fast attacks so he can’t predict your rhythm. The Vorschlag isn’t just “dhurr, I swing first”, it is complex topic dealing with how to enter measure (attack range) with safety.