Strong and Weak

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Sterck & Swech

As described in the Basic Information section the strong typically refers to the bottom half of the blade including the Schilt, sometimes translated as "forte". The weak refers to the top half of the blade, and is sometimes described as the foible.

The strong of the blade is slow moving but has great mechanical advantage while the weak of the blade is fast moving but has little leverage or force in the bind. Strong and weak are neither positive nor negative traits, they are simply a fact of the physics of swords.

The strong of the sword is slow moving compared to the tip. If we imagine the sword as the spoke of a wheel it is easy to see that the tip travels a much greater diameter in the same time interval as the schilt, and this is reflected in the agility of the strong. The strong effectively moves close to the speed of the hands, but at the same time, being so close to the hands and body it can be used with great strength. By comparison the tip of the sword moves very swiftly when we swing the sword, making it the best part to cut. It is also quick to move around; a small movement of the hilt results in a large motion of the point, so we can use the point deceptively.

When using the weak we should consider these traits to make the most of our techniques. Typically, for example, we parry with the Strong, as well as carry out wrenching techniques, while we deceive and change through with the weak.

Strong and weak are natural oppositions - I can displace the weak of my opponents attack with the strong, or I can avoid his strong by manipulating my weak. These oppositions are at the heart of many of the techniques of the longsword

Related to strong and weak is the concept of being Hard and Soft in the bind.

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