Monday, April 21, 2008

A Correction To My Book: "Fencing With Spear And Sword"

I've been refining my Gladiatoria Fechtbuch translation in preparation for trying to find a publisher, and in so doing I've discovered an error that I made both in my translation and in the interpretation of the play I put into my book Fencing With Spear And Sword.

This is the plate: fol. 8r

The text says:
Merckh den anfang des stuckhs das auch get aus den vir huetten wenn du wilt das enthafft treyben So setz für den rechten füesz vnd cher den knopff fur sich gegen seinem gesicht So pewtstu Im dy plosz mit deinem rechten vgsen ob er dy ploz wolt trayben oder suchen mit sterckh seins stichs vnd So slach vnttersich mit chrefft deins ortt swertz So weysstu Im aus den stich vnd greyff mit dem ortt ausserhalb in sein tenckhe knyepueg als du es auff der andern seytten gemalt sichst

Which I now translate as:
Note the beginning of the technique that also derives from the four guards. When you want to do this seriously move your right foot forward and turn your pommel forward towards his face, thus you offer him an opening at your right armpit. If he means to seek or exploit your opening with a strong thrust then stab down with strength with your sword’s point. So you displace his thrust, and grab with the point from the outside in his left hollow of knee like you see it in the next picture. [Continued on fol. 8v]

Originally, I translated the text to mean Ralph (i.e., the figure on the right) steps forward with his right foot and moved his pommel forward to void Larry's (i.e., the figure on the left) thrust; the idea was that Larry makes a thrust from below at Ralph's left armpit (which is exposed when he's in the upper guard) so Ralph steps in while changing the side that’s forward in order to make Larry's attack miss.

In re-examining my translation, I now see that the text really says Ralph switches to the right-leg lead shown in the plate to invite an attack to his right armpit so he is better set up for a leg hook. The leg hook itself is then shown in the subsequent plate, fol. 8v.

You can see this play in my Fencing With Spear And Sword book on p. 76: "Left Knee Lift Counter to an Unterstich".

My motions are still exactly correct, it's just that I should change feet before the thrust rather than in response to it.

My sincere thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng for the patiently-given insights that helped with this correction.

I'm sorry for any judicial combats you have lost as a result of reading my book and doing this technique incorrectly.

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