Hard and Soft
Often related to being Strong or Weak, Hard and Soft typically refer to the general pressure of the blade in a bind or cut.
To be "Hard" at the sword can have a number of meanings. Typically it means that the fencer is applying excessive strength to their blade in an attempt to push one's own blade aside, though it can also mean rigid and unsupple in the bind. To be "Soft" by comparison is typically because fencer is applying insufficient strength to their blade and is easily pushed aside or displaced.
The interplay of hard and soft is important; soft can be used to counter hard, and hard to counter soft, specifically:
- Often someone hard in the bind over-commits their techniques; we counter this by yielding and being weak, overcoming them with techniques such as Abnehmen, Ablauffen, or Durchwechseln.
- Often someone soft in the bind fails to cover their line with enough force; we counter this by applying a hard bind, setting them aside with techniques such as Absetzen or wrenching.
Sometimes being Hard is conflated with being Strong in the bind while Soft is conflated with Weak, though this is often a misattribution of terminology. Strong and Weak are typically used to refer to mechanical advantage due to blade position, and while there is a relationship with Hard and Soft, the two are not necessarily the same.