Open Session – Broadsword
Some of us were looking at “Anti-Pugilism or the Science of Defence Exemplified in Short and Easy Lessons for the practice of the Broad Sword and Single Stick”. This book is available in the codex “Highland Broadsword”, compiled by Wagner and Rector. Craig Gemeiner from The Australian Savate Homepage has also made it available as a word document.
We started with Lesson 1, how to hold the sword. An interesting feature is how the thumb is stretched about an inch from the shell when you are intending to lunge. Another feature is how the hand grips the bottom of the handle, not the top.
Lesson 1 – Of holding the Sword, or Stick
It is requisite, in order to hold a sword well, that the hilt be flat in your hand, observing that it be directly perpendicular with the right knee; and, when you lunge, your thumb stretched at about an inch distance from the shell: when you do not intend to lunge, lay it across the knuckles as in doubling the fist. The pummel close to, and under the wrist. Keep it flexible, and loose in the hand; but when you mean to parry, thrust, or cut, it must be gripped with strength, in order to throw your adversary out of the line, or conduct your blow with force and precision. By continually having the hand fast clenched you will soon tire, as the muscle of the thumb will grow stiff, and subject you to the cramp
In order to practice this grip, we used the Sword Dance or “Circling the Numbers”. This is our term for a drill taught to us by Scott Brown.
Open Session – Meyer’s Halberd
Using a pair of Talhoffer Axes by Revival (no long available), the rest of the group worked through the first three devices for straight parrying. We filmed a draft, but our lead researcher on the topic would like to review and rerecord it before sharing outside our club.
We opened with the aforementioned sword dance using the 1-2, 1-2 … 1-8 pattern and the 2-1, 2-2 … 2-8 pattern.
Then we worked on combinations in the air using the same pattern. The focus was on keeping the weapon in front of the face for protection and flowing from one cut to the next. This was done both right and left handed.
Up next was Stepping into the Guards with the Dussack. This drill teaches the basic postures in a way that shows how they can flow from one guard to the next.
After that we looked at hand positions. If you look closely, you’ll see that several of the high guards also have the left hand high. Why is that? We think that it helps in grappling. Here is a short video showing a grapple from Stier (Steer), and the counter in Eber (Boar).
After touching on the difference between straight parrying and longpoint, we ran out of time.
Again we opened with the sword dance, using the same two patterns that we used for the Dussack. Then we divided the class into two groups, each working with their respective longsword study guides.
By this time of night only one initiate remained, the rest being out of town or so annoyed by the bugs that they left early. In the Ochs chapter we mention what binding is without much detail. He wanted to learn more, so we left the script and focused on that.
Terminology for the day:
- Anbinden – Binding
- Fülen – Feeling
- Verkehren – Reversing
- Ausreissen – Wrenching
- Doplieren – Doubling
- Hendtrucken – Pressing Hands
- Umbschlagen – Striking Around
This was presented as a decision tree, which I will post separately.
The scholars began their work with three rounds of sparring to five points each.
From our level 2 study guide, they then selected Chapter 10, Pattern 7. This is a reversing and wrenching drill that overlaps what the initiate was working on, it will be part of the same post.
Here is a video showing our interpretation from last year. The main problem with it is the lack of a step during the reversing and wrenching. To make this work against an opponent who is resisting, you need to compass the rear foot behind so that your body rather than just your arms perform the wrench.
We hope to refilm this technique with our improved understanding in the near future.
Then we previewed Chapter 10, Pattern 9 (Ch. 5 Exercise 8 in our study guide). This is a difficult pattern that will probably take several sessions to even have a basic understanding of the elements involved. Here is a video of my preliminary interpretation: