The longsword is the subject of the majority of historical fencing manuals from the medieval/high medieval period. While many of the texts also describe other weapons, the longsword provides a common thread throughout. Meyer also uses many of the lessons from the longsword as a basis for his other weapon treatises.
From its earliest days the longsword was a battlefield weapon and remained in use as such through the 14th and 15th centuries, eventually fading into disuse as a common battlefield weapon at the close of the 16th century. During this period, however, it also became the weapon of choice for judicial duels, as well as one of the central weapons in competitive schulefechten. This last application became the central focus of the longsword during the 16th century with the rise in popularity of fencing as a sport amongst the citizens of German towns and cities.
This section covers the early use of the longsword according to glosses of Liechtenauer's Markverse including:
- Pseudo von Danzig
- The Four Openings
- Before and After
- Indes (in the moment)
- Strong and Weak
The Five Hews
- CUT 1: Zornhau (wrath cut)
- CUT 2: Zwerchau (thwart cut)
- CUT 3: Krumphau (crooked cut)
- CUT 4: Schielhau (glancing/squinting cut)
- CUT 5: Scheitelhau (parting/scalp cut)
There are a number of miscellaneous additional movements associated with the five strikes:
- Abnehmen/Oben ab Genomen (taking away [above])
- Krieg (the War)
- Duplieren (doubling)
- Mutieren (mutating)
- Kurtzhau (short cut)
- Schnit (slice)
- Veler (failer)
- Verkerer (inverter)
The Canonical 'Stuck' (Techniques)
TECHNIQUE 1: The Four Guards (Vier Leger)
The glosses recommend that these guards should be known to you. Implicitly this means you should know how to use the guard positions yourself, as well as knowing what attack come from those positions of your opponent.
Thes guards are mentioned in the glosses, but lie outside those specified in the Vier Leger.
TECHNIQUE 2: The Vier Versetzen (Four Displacements)
The breaking of the guards, specifically:
- Krumphauw breaks Ochs
- Zwerchauw breaks Vom Tag
- Schielhauw breaks Pflug
- Scheitelhau breaks Alber
This section also contains advice on parrying and on being parried.
Vier Ansetzen (Four On-settings)
Not a numbered Stuck, but an important elemet bridging the Versetzen and Nachreissen.
TECHNIQUE 3: Nachreisen (Chasing/travelling after)
TECHNIQUE 4: Oberlauffen (Overrunning)
TECHNIQUE 5: Absetzen (Off Setting)
TECHNIQUE 6: Durchwechseln] (Changing Through)
TECHNIQUE 7: Zucken (Pulling)
TECHNIQUE 8: Durchlauffen (Running Through)
This section includes:
- Running through
- Grappling the arms
- Wrestling at the sword
TECHNIQUE 9: Abschneiden (Slicing Off)
TECHNIQUE 10: Hentdrucken (Hand Pressing)
TECHNIQUE 11: Hengen (Hanging)
The Sprechfenster (Speaking Window)
Not a numbered Stuck, however this brings together the principles to this point.