Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Halbschwert Ort Breaks Winden

There is a technique in Codex Wallerstein, folio 11 recto, seen here:
in which you bind, then your opponent tries to take control of the bind with a Winden, and you counter the Winden by lifting your blade over his and going to a halfsword grip on the other side of his blade so you can set aside his thrust with a halfsword thrust. You can see my video interpretation of this technique here:

If you look closely, you will see that my version differs slightly from what we appear to be seeing in Codex Wallerstein: Specifically, I push Matthew’s sword off to my right side, whereas in Codex Wallerstein, Rudolph’s sword point appears to be on Ludwig’s *left* side. I believe the way it seems to be shown is very dangerous, because you can easily be sliced by your opponent’s sword if you let it stay on your left where it is virtually in contact with your body.

Because of this, I believe that the picture in Codex Wallerstein is actually poorly drawn, and that the sword is not fully depicted; in other words, I believe the sword is supposed to be on Ludwig’s right side, but the artist made a mistake of some sort. Possibly he might simply have made Rudolph’s sword too short, in which case we are not supposed to be seeing it on Ludwig’s left side at all. Until now, however, this has remained pure speculation.

If you have a copy of my longsword book, which is available here:
you can read a more detailed discussion of this issue on pages 128-130.

In looking at the so-called “Rast Fechtbuch” (Reichsstadt Sch├Ątze Nr. 82) I now believe I see support for my position. Folio 53 recto, shown here:
shows a much better-defined image, and clearly shows Rudolph’s sword to be off to Ludwig’s right side, just as I demonstrate it in the video linked above.

Since this portion of the Rast Fechtbuch is probably just a copy of part of Codex Wallerstein we cannot take this plate as positive proof of my position because we cannot know whether the Wallerstein artist got it right and the Rast artist got it wrong by miscopying the earlier work. Alternatively, the anonymous master who wrote Codex Wallerstein may have intended it to be as shown in that book, but later masters may have disagreed with his interpretation for the reasons I give above, and the Rast depiction would then represent a newer version of the technique. Either way, I feel much more comfortable with my interpretation now, and feel that it is, at least, arguable.