KSSGTR 15 May 2008

Began with a footwork exercise showing how basic footwork (double, compass and cross steps) can be used to void a vertical oberhau. The oberhau provides a small amount of pressure on the ‘stepper’ to get out of the way quickly enough, whilst trying to perform a certain type of footwork. This will often show up flaws in footwork such as superfluous shuffles and changes in weight distribution, which the ‘oberhauer’ can easily spot. These observations, on what are essentially telegraphing motions, can be fed back to the ‘stepper’ to improve their footwork, and also allow the ‘oberhauer’ to recognise movements that may give away their opponent’s intentions.

Second was the dagger plays from Jay Vail’s medieval dagger book. We revised the two dagger plays from last week and then went over next two.

Before the Longsword session, I decided to rant on about the OODA loop and how it relates to fencing. There is lots of information on the OODA loop online (I’ll post links at the end), but wikipedia gives an ok overview of it. The OODA loop is a decision cycle that a fencer goes through when fencing. The four phases are observe, orient, decide and act.

(Taken from http://www.oodacycle.com)

Here is an example of an OODA loop a liechtenauer fencer (LF) may go through.

Observe- The LF observes the attacker launching a diagonal oberhau at their left shoulder with a passing step.

Orient- The LF now orients his head around this. They use their prior knowledge and experience of fencing (e.g. Is it in range? Is it a threat?) and any knowledge of opponent (e.g. are they known to throw oberhau feints?)

Decide- The LF decides that the zornhau is the best course of action. (NB. if LF is well trained, this decide phase is bypassed by LF’s implicit or ‘automatic reaction’)

Act- The LF carries out the zornhau

The loop then goes around again- observing the success of the zornhau and so on. The loop theory is simple a way to understand the underlying processes of a fight. Ideally you want a shorter OODA loop so as to get inside your opponent’s loop, allowing you to control the fight. Through understanding the process of how you and an opponent makes fencing decisions, you can develop ways to get inside your opponent’s loop. This can be long term, such as regular training to sharpen your observe phase, speed up your orient phase, improve (or even eliminate the need for) your decision phase and hone your act phase (allowing you to act in true ‘indes’); or it can be short term, such as seizing the vor in a fight and overwhelming your opponent with attacks- drawing out their OODA loop and allowing you to defeat them.

I also talked a little about PISSR – Penetrate, isolate, subdue, subvert, re-harmonise (another of Boyd’s theories). It seems to have relevance to fencing- e.g Penetrate into distance, isolate an opening, subdue/subvert it, then reharmonise to move onto the next move.

The longsword session consisted of zornhau plays. During my HEMA journey, my interpretation of zornhau has jumped around like a kookaburra with its pants on fire. But I am now happy with what have. It is essentially the same as espoused by C. Tobler, B. Grandy and T. Stoeppler in these threads- Thread1 Thread2.

The attacker comes in with an oberhau to your left side (could also be vertical). (From Right Vom Tag) You step around with your right foot but keep some weight on the back leg (a kind of compass/slope step hybrid). This aligns your body to allow your cut to close off the line safely, whilst maintaining a good distance to counter-attack. The cut is thrown out, passing into langen-ort, where it will clash with the attackers sword. From here you immediatley thrust with zornhau-ort. (Unless you have hit them in single time). I find this works really well, and you end up like the fencer on the left of this picture of a zornhau-ort play (Paulas Kal manuscript).

So the longsword session had-

  • Zornhau vs. an oberhau:
    • Zornhau and zornhau-ort thrust when the opponent is weak in the bind.
      • Opponent deflects zornhau-ort and their tip is not threatening – Abnehmen.
        • Counter to abnehmen by cutting/pressing with the long edge to the ‘abnehmener’s’ head.

I was very pleased with how this went- although people did modify their initial attacks at times, tending to cut over my head, rather than at it.

Messer session-

  • Quick review of the Wecker (krumphau), Entruesthau (zwerchau), and the Lemstuck (snipe to the hands).
  • Zornhau vs. an oberhau
    • Zornhau-ort.
      • Zornhau-ort deflected thus going into auswinden.
        • Deflection travels further back, stopping the auswinden, thus changing through underneath.
          • The counter for this changing through.

The zornhau plays were a revision of what we did last week. They went well and it was pleasing for all to see that we had retained something.

  • Bogen- revision.

This system of repetition of a certain principle/technique is working well.

Boyd links for future Boyd fanboys/girls.





~ by Magnus on 16 May, 2008.

One Response to “KSSGTR 15 May 2008”

  1. Great post mate. It is great to seem others applying Boyd to HEMA. He has a lots to say about decision making of all kinds

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