There is a lot going on in this device, so I don’t want to rush through it. This device is different than the ones we’ve seen before. So much so that Meyer writes of it,
This is indeed quite a serious and strong device, that no one will be able to ward off once you have the Vor.
Before we get into the opening sequence, let’s talk about what’s not there.
- There are no provocations.
- There are no threats with the point.
- There are no feints.
- There are no master cuts.
Instead of complexity and trickery, you are relying on speed, precision, and sheer force of personality to maintain control of the fight. This is not a subtle device; this is is pure testosterone.
The context is as with the other devices, which is to say you have both come into Tag and one fencer hesitates just long enough for the other to start his device.
Opening Sequence: Three Long Cuts to the Head and Neck
You begin this sequence with a long, horizontal cut to the left neck or temple. As soon as it clashes, immediately flow into a long horizontal cut to the right neck or temple. When that clashes, follow with a long cut to the top of the head.
All three cuts have to be done in one continuous action with no hesitation. Don’t recover to a guard when performing these, make sure each attack immediately flows to the next in one continuous motion.
Something to note is that the horizontal cuts with the long/true edge are unusual, especially in German longsword with its slightly rising and descending Zwerch.
Theory: Vor and Headshots
Part of my theory about Vor and Nach is the psychological aspect. It is not just enough to the constantly attacking, that just leads to inartful flailing. By specifically targeting the head and neck the opponent constantly sees the blade flashing before his eyes, triggering the fear response that interferes with more sophisticated counters.
And then there is the concussion. Even if they are wearing a helmet, three strong whacks to the head in different directions can’t be good for the brain.
Stop and Practice
Usually I try to present the whole device in one go, but I don’t think that is appropriate here. Before we move on to the second half of the device, I need to get to the point where I am consistently offering one attack with three cuts. Not just against a pell, but also in drills and light sparring.
The second half of this device uses a clearing action to make room for yet more cuts to the head.