Staying safe in the thrust

Discussion in 'Historical European Swords and Sword Arts' started by lklawson, Mar 31, 2009.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,457
    Likes Received:
    757
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    Rapier, Saber, etc. are chock full of different schools and methods all with variations on strategy and technique based on weapon and lineage (such as to moulinet from the wrist or from the elbow).

    The thrust, and especially the lunge, is one of the most visible and noted attack methods of the post-Renaissance methods of Western swordsmanship. It is noted for lighting quick delivery, deadly accuracy, and mortal penetration. Yet it also commits the fencer and sword to a specific movement which is difficult to defend from and offers little in the way innate protection.

    Against another trained fencer, the "protection" you have in a thrust is that the other fencer is neither suicidal nor stupid and so will attempt a parry or some other defense on his part. This has even been codified in modern sport Fencing as the Right of Way rule.

    However, historically, a swordsman might not be able to count on his opponent being neither suicidal nor stupid. He might be what was sometimes referred to as the "vulgar" fencer (an untrained goob who picked up a sword yesterday or someone who, for some other reason, lacks the good sense God gave a door-knob). These opponents might not recognize your thrust or might think "hey, he's opened his line!" and simo thrust or cut. A double hit/mutual kill isn't a good outcome.

    What methods do you use to stay safe during a thrust when you cannot count on the other party to defend against it?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk

     
  2. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    There are any number of ways.

    First of all, the best thrust is from the bind. You've controlled his weapon so that a thrust is as safe to do as anything else.

    Alternatively, you thrust if your opponent cocks back his sword to thrust. That way your sword is going forward as his is chambering backwards, making sure you get there in plenty of time. This among the "Nachreissen" (Following After) techniques in German Longsword.

    You thrust when an opponent tries to beat away your cut without threatening you. Let your point sink and thrust to the other side. This is called "Durchwechseln" (Changing Through).

    Don't thrust out in the open against an opponent who seems twitchy or nervous, especially if he's got a rapier. He just might thrust randomly.

    Thrust from Longpoint (your sword extended in front, point as your enemy's face). He needs two fencing times to get to you, allowing you to gauge his intentions, and apply the changing through and whatnot. If he lets you get too close, throw a quick jab to his face... you just might hit.

    How's that for starters?

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  3. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    4,380
    Likes Received:
    235
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Orygun
    I'm assuming you mean the thrust rather than the lunge here.

    There's a number of them, some useful for the knife, others for the short sword or longer weapons. Here is a few. I'm at work and can't really spend too much time on this, so please forgive the brevity.

    1. Body Position "The True Times are the Hand, the Foot and the Body and the Hand, the Body and the Foot". You can rotate around your pole without breaking good body alignment as you thrust.
    2. Footwork Same as above but using the entire body. Further props to Master Silver and the Spanish Masters here. If you are off his line you can steal the extra quarter or half step to get proper distance while putting him off line.
    3. The Off Hand If you have a second weapon or some other protection for your hand and arm this is the time to use it either to take care of incoming or to make way for the thrust.
    4. A Personal Favorite Go from quarte to a bind in seconde pulling his blade around and out of line. Angle up as you enter
    5. Attack on His Retraction Like attack on preparation but more effective. It takes time for the brain to switch from moving backwards to moving forwards.
    6. Change Levels The pasatta sotto is more applicable to the duelling ground or fights than the battlefield. It still has its place. The human brain deals well with horizons and things moving in a plane. Dropping or rising as you enter can do interesting and productive things to the opponent's perceptions.
    7. Cut the Line Start your attack from a line that will intersect his lines. If he doesn't attack, nothing lost. If he does you have an integral defense.
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,457
    Likes Received:
    757
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    I would love an opponent who would do this.

    Pretty good. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

    • Advisor
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Messages:
    3,457
    Likes Received:
    757
    Trophy Points:
    213
    Location:
    Huber Heights, OH
    Well, I mentioned both. That's because, in my estimation, a lunge is just a special version of the thrust. And it's even more "vulnerable" to "the vulgar."

    Forgive me, but I thought that the True Times were about order of body movement (hand before foot, etc.) and understanding proper Measure in the context of the weapon you are using.

    This is also a personal favorite of mine. Primarily because it's a "universal principle." It works with Boxing, Bowie Knife, etc. Conceptually, it even works in grappling.

    I've had better luck with the Pasatta Sotto using Bowies but have (on rare occasion) made it fly when Singlesticking. I still say that Hutton's "Under Stop Thrust" looks suicidal though. ;-)

    This one seems easier said. I do it sometimes but don't seem to get very far with it most times. Maybe my opponents are just too wary or maybe I'm not good enough at "selling" it. Any suggestions?

    Bear in mind that I'm not trying to be argumentative, merely trying to bolster discussion and tease out ideas that I (or someone else) may not have seen yet or given enough consideration before.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  6. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    324
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Calgary, AB, Canada
    For rapier fencing, be sure to use your contraguardia, which are similar in purpose to the longsword's Master Strikes.

    For example, the opponent is in Prima. I approach in Quarta, closing my inside line. I can now thrust in relative safety if he does not change his guard, once I make or approach blade contact.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  7. Jeff Richardson

    Jeff Richardson Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Location:
    Milwaukie Oregon
    You need to find the opponents weapon before thrusting. Bind with your strong against his weak and then thrust maintaining the engagement. Or, counterthrust into an engagement using counter time.
     

Share This Page