You’ve just been hit, what do you do next?

So you’ve found yourself in an unexpected fight. Sure you have your sword with you, but no armor to speak of. One miscalculation later and you find an inch deep gash running the length of your left shoulder.

What do you do next?

You are not dead. And though the wound looks bad and will need many stiches, the pain hasn’t set in so your arm isn’t completely useless yet. So you stand there, lower your weapon, and wait for your opponent to back up and reset for the next pass. But being rude in addition to being a murderous thug intent on robbing and killing you, he then buries his sword in the right side of your neck and then slices it open.

Hmm, that doesn’t sound right. Let’s try again.

You are not dead. And though the wound looks bad and will need many stiches, the pain hasn’t set in so your arm isn’t completely useless yet. So you extend your sword. Even if you don’t have a viable thrust you want to interfere with his next arrack.

In defending his person, a man must always hold his arms well extended, not only so that he will come to drive the blows of the enemy to the outside at a distance from his body, but it also makes him stronger and swifter in striking. – Manciolino

After that, cut away. Don’t just step back, exit measure while presenting a threat. Meyer often uses a Zwerch or two for this.

Another option, also from Meyer, is to use a slice on the arms to interrupt the device.

How to Train for This

Change your sparring rules. Don’t shout “Halt!” or “Good!” the moment a blow lands. Wait until measure is broken and the engagement ended to congratulate your partner for a clean blow.

And if you are on the offensive, finish your device. If you can land two or three blows then by all means do so. Keep your opponent honest; don’t let him slack off just because he has a (imaginary) bleeding head wound. Then cut away and give him some time to catch his breath.

This is aided by a change in scoring. Count all of the blows, not just the first to land. If you are playing to five points and someone can hit the head twice in a single pass, count it as a win. If you both receive the requisite number of blows, then you both lose.

This does require a certain degree of restraint and awareness. If you find yourself in the vor, and are not in Battle of Nations, don’t just start clubbing on the guy until he falls to the ground. If he is struggling, back off. If he is significantly less experienced than you, stick to simple attacks rather than combos so at least he has a chance.

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