Liechtenauer's system advocates seizing the initiative (Vor) to prosecute attacks decisively wherever possible, with many of the cuts ending in an on-point position (see Cutting Mechanics) rather than following all the way through as we see in some of the 16th century techniques. The reasoning here is that from the on-point position we can transform cuts in to thrusts, or slices to the arms etc.
When our opponent attacks we are admonished to avoid the use of parrying in the simple "blocking incoming strikes" sense of the word, but rather to use parries which simultaneously stop the attack and respond with an attack of our own.
Despite this there are still numerous canoncial techniques within the system which rely directly on parrying without a simultaneous counter in the same movement.
Attacking the Openings
On of the most characteristic sections of the Liechtenauer glosses is the specifics on how we should approach the attacking of the four openings:
"Four Openings know; Aim so you hit knowingly In all driving, Without confusion for how he acts."
From these verses the Glosses admonish us to search the openings in two primary "drivings":
- First we do so with Nachreisen and shooting in the long-point (see Vier Ansetzen).
- Second we search with the eight Winden.
In the first instance we're told to aim to the openings boldly without fear using cutting or thrusting, and to pay no attention to what he drives against us, such that we force him to parry.
Once he has parried we remain on his sword and attack with the Winden as we set upon the openings with slices, cuts, and thrusts. The early sections of the text discuss the idea of Winding like movements in specific circumstances when describing the Krieg as well as Duplieren and Mutieren. These can be taken to be exemplars for specific circumstances which are later generalised.