2018: Sparring with Federico Malagutti at Borgosesia

Filming by Elisa Zanoli; editing by Federico Malagutti.

While attending the Borgosesia Historical Fencing Meeting 2018 in the north of Italy, I enjoyed some sparring with Federico Malagutti in the very beautiful surroundings of a village in the hills. Although it was an exhibition bout for video, we pushed ourselves and challenged ourselves to demonstrate our arts as well as we possibly could.

My approach

I wanted to showcase a 15th century style of fighting, following the core Liechtenauer texts of the Nuremberg Hausbuch and the glosses of Ringeck, Lew, and pseudo-Danzig – I allowed a little Talhoffer and Codex Wallerstein in my fencing, but tried to concentrate on the style from the main glosses. I tried to avoid letting any of the 16th century styles (Kolner Fechtbuch, Mair, Meyer, etc.) bleed into the fight, but several times I was unable to restrain the Flugelhaw!

In this description, I’m going to use Liechtenauer’s terminology for both of our actions. Liechtenauer doesn’t really care if the opponent is in full iron gate, middle iron gate, boar’s tooth, long guard, whatever; he just deems it Alber in order to simplify your thought process in terms of how to approach it and break it. Therefore, I’m going to follow that same method, and consider both of our actions according to the terminology that Liechtenauer would use to describe the fight.

My general approach was to showcase Liechtenauer’s five words and the Haüptstucke as successfully as possible, because these are at the heart of his system. By trying to make sure the main building blocks of my performance could be described in these terms, I think my fencing looks quite stylistically like what is described by the 15th century Liechtenauer source material.

Federico is quite a lot taller than me, and can reach much further with his sword than I can. This meant that I had to be very active with my feet so that I could dictate distance, otherwise I would always be playing in Federico’s preferred distance and would find myself unable to do anything useful. This meant that regardless of whether I managed to take the Vor or ended up in the Nach, I still had to be the person causing exchanges to happen at the angles and distances that would leave me with options.

For the first few minutes, and for the last few minutes, I do a much better job of taking the Vor and being decisive. In the middle of the fight, my ability to take the initiative is clearly waning a little, and I start to be a little more passive – I continue to move in and cause the exchange to happen, but in the middle of the fight I usually allow Federico to take the Vor and make the first action more often than I should. However, towards the end of the fight I get a “second wind” and manage to take the initiative a little more often again.

I believe strongly that everything I do in fencing should be as functional and correct as possible. I should maintain good cutting mechanics throughout the fight (because if my techniques can’t cut, what use are they?), and I should maintain good structure throughout the fight (because if I compromise my body, then my actions are necessarily deficient). Since I do a lot of test cutting on a regular basis, I know for a fact that my short range cuts can work perfectly well with a sharp sword against milk bottles, tatami, plasticine, and cardboard mailing tubes, therefore I feel quite comfortable in my expectation that even my short range cuts will work well for me, without needing to make bigger actions.

Although taking the Vor is an important part of Liechtenauer’s art, not getting hit is important to me. I don’t particularly enjoy being hit, so I am quite happy to cede the Vor and work in the Nach if it means I can avoid taking a hit. In doing so, of course, I work to manage the Nach intelligently, and look for opportunities to win from the Nach directly, or at least to get back into the Vor so that I’m calling the shorts and dictating the fight.

My final goal is to make the fencing look good and to enjoy myself. I want to express myself and showcase a variety of skills, rather than doubling down on one or two actions on repeat. I want to engineer a variety of different situations so that I can play with them and learn something. Rather than treating the fight as a competition bout and trying to maximise my point scoring, I prefer to approach is as an exhibition bout where I challenge myself to display as much of my system as possible, as correctly as possible, within the limitations of my current skills and understanding.

Technical and concepts shown in this fight

I think that in this sparring match, I managed to showcase many of the techniques and concepts of the Liechtenauer tradition. Of course, my interpretation of many of these techniques and concepts is probably different from the interpretation of other people, so viewers may disagree with me about what a technique in the video should actually be called or how it should be classified. For this article, I will of course use my own interpretation, and will name and classify things according to how I understand a system; but I’m quite aware that others may disagree with me due to differences in our interpretations.

HaüptstuckeAttempted or Successful
ZornhawUsed successfully several times in defence, including the attempted Ort, although the Ort rarely hit.
KrumphawAttempted both to the blade and to the hands, but don’t quite manage to hit him in the hands with it.
ZwerhawI land both the long and short edge versions to his head, and also manage to take away his Oberhaw with the crossed-wrist version.
SchilhawI land it as a Vorschlag, covering against his counter-cut in the process.
SchaitelhawI don’t need to use the full version, because he usually raises his point from Alber whenever I make a motion from Vom Tag to Lang Ort against him.
Vier LegerI use all of the Vier Leger myself, and I treat all his various Fiore positions as examples of the Vier Leger so that I can approach them with Liechtenauer techniques and tactics.
Vier VersetzenBecause he has a much greater reach than me, I don’t attempt all of the Vier Verseten against his Leger. I bring him out of Alber regularly (albeit without needing the Schaitelhaw to do so), and I do attempt the Schilhaw and the Krumphaw against his Leger. I don’t attempt the Zwerhaw against his Vom Tag, because he cuts from the shoulder with his hands very low, and therefore the Zwerhaw would be more of a liability to me than an asset.
NachreissenI do use Nachreissen several times, attacking into the space that his sword just vacated.
UberlauffenSeveral times in the bind I endeavour to get my sword on top of his and push some kind of Winden action through the bind with this advantage. It often works well for me, and either results in a hit or forces him to make a fast parry or retreat.
AbsetzenI make several defences with Pflug and push out a thrust quickly from this position, which can be one understanding of Absetzen. I don’t attempt a “single time” version of the action, because I’m simply giving away too much reach, and he rarely gives me a good opportunity for this sort of thing. Usually, he parries the thrust, but it does hit on at least one occasion.
DurchwechselnI do attempt to change through to the other side to gain advantages in the bind, and once or twice to attempt a thrust. However, I rarely get the chance to take these home and land them, because he is usually too swift to cut at me, and so I prefer to abort my attack and cover against his.
ZuckenI use this regularly when he leaves his hands or arms exposed in Lang Ort. I rarely get the chance to use it after my first Oberhaw, because he has a very quick riposte from his parries, so I prefer to cover against his attack rather than to pursue my own.
DurchlauffenI don’t attempt it because we are fencing on gravel and I don’t particularly want to throw him on the ground.
AbschneidenI attempt it a couple of times, but I’m not successful.
Hende DruckenI don’t attempt it, because my attempts at the initial Abschneiden fail.
HengenI use all four Hengen inside and outside his sword in the bind.
WindenI attempt Winden with thrusts and Winden with cuts, and even a Winden with a dragging slice. Each of these lands successfully at least once.
Five WordsAttempted or Successful
VorI always endeavour to enter the exchange on my own terms, so that he cannot dictate the space and time of the engagement. I try to take the fight to him with the first action, because it is safer to act and elicit a reaction than to be defensive, but due to his reach, he is often able to push his attack before I can quite close into distance to make my own.
NachI work quite actively with the Nach. I move first and am usually the person to close the distance, so I cause the exchanges to happen; however, I’m quite aware that in many situations it will be my opponent who attacks first, and so I cause the situations to happen with the expectation that I will have to manage the Nach before I can make my own attacks.
SwecheI do bear on his weak several times, in order to gain advantage in the bind, but only ever manage to make a successful action by going up with my hands – I never manage to take his weak and go lower, such as with a Mutieren.
SterkI work quite actively with my strong, keeping it in front of my sternum whenever I want to perform a technique. I sometimes abandon this structure when I make a close parry to my side in Pflug, but I typically push my strong straight back in front of my sternum in order to work with it usefully again.
IndesSeveral times I work in the bind to gain the advantage, and there are several examples of moments where I realise that I do have the advantage and so can push through the bind at him with a Winden technique (sometimes a thrust, sometimes a cut, and once or twice even a dragging slice).

Blow by blow description

0:17

I move in with an overhead Vom Tag and throw a (somewhat hands-low) Schaitelhaw to draw Federico away from Alber. I do Bleiben upon his blade to see what happens; he disengages. I stay safe.

I take a Schrankhut, tempting him to attack the hands so I can make a Krumphaw. He doesn’t take the bait, so I move back.

0:27

Using right Pflug, I touch at his blade, trying to get him to take his point away from dead-centre, so that I can make an attack. I try a couple of other touches.

0:32

I step out to the side to try to get around his point. Federico reorients, but then he parries the cut at his blade, and makes a riposte. I parry his attack and make a swift and successful cut to his hands, covering against a potential afterblow to the other side.

We step back to begin the new exchange.

0:37

Federico is in Vom Tag and steps closer. I move up to overhead Vom Tag, and draw out his twitch by moving to Lang Ort. As he begins to move back, I shuffle forward and compel him (Zwingen) to deal with my point.

He hangs under my blade for a moment (would have been a perfect opportunity for a Mutieren if I had been more on the ball) and then disengages. Because his point is now free and is therefore a threat from below, I retract my hands to Pflug to keep them safe. I then back off, because the exchange didn’t go as I had planned.

0:44

We are both in Alber and I want to break him out of it, so I take a left Zornhut which causes him to move off towards his own left. He suddenly comes forward with his blade, so I strike a Zornhaw from the left down onto his blade while re-establishing my distance with a movement of my right foot.

He doesn’t remain strong in the bind, so the swords disengaged a little. I remain close by with my blade, ready to deal with whatever happens next, then press my blade onto his to re-establish the bind.

He goes one-handed and makes a Fiore-style grab at my blade. I lift my point to avoid being grabbed, perform a Durchwechsel to the other side and re-establish the bind, then do Winden upwards to control his sword and thrust to his face. He sets aside my thrust with one hand, then makes a two-handed cut to my head. I parry and cut straight back at him, which he parries. We both move back because the situation was not advantageous for either of us.

0:52

Federico is in the overhead Vom Tag, so I move forward under a Lang Ort to make him do something about it. He lowers his own sword to Pflug, point low and threatening my hands, so I step back to keep my hands safe.

He follows, keeping me under pressure, so I re-establish a right Pflug and keep my distance. As he pauses, I take my chance to re-insert myself, finding his blade with mine, testing to see if I can take advantage of it.

Before I can act, he makes Durchwechsel and pushes his point forward to thrust to me. I retreat to defend by distance; he keeps coming, hands now high in Ochs with his thrust, so I make a Versetzen to push his point to the side. He cuts to my left, although I was expecting a cut to my right; I make as if to parry a right cut in right Ochs, but I observe the cut comes from the left, so I retract my hands to keep them safe and defend by distance. His cut misses my face, so I throw a short edge Zwerhaw back at him in an attempt to re-establish initiative. He parries then ripostes to my left as he steps back – he misses, because I do not step forwards. He keeps retreating to establish more distance.

1:00

I step forwards after him, not letting him escape. I approach in Alber, but he retreats and goes to Vom Tag, then steps forward with a short cut to try to tempt me out. I move back to keep distance.

He sits between Alber and Pflug, so I take a left Schrankhut and try to approach from a new angle. He takes the opportunity to advance closer with his point forwards; I begin to uncross my arms to start a Krumphaw, but he lifts his point, so I merely try to meet his blade with my short edge. He goes even higher, so I lift up and find his blade in my Ochs, but my weak is on his strong, so I can’t thrust. He gives me a little space by withdrawing his sword, then cuts to the left of my head. I parry low, do Winden to bring my short edge to his blade in a lower hanger, and thrust upwards towards his face. He parries upward with a step back, and ripostes to my left. I parry in left Pflug and turn into a right Pflug on top of his blade to cover him while giving me the advantage, but he retreats and breaks contact.

1:15

He is in Vom Tag, so I approach in overhead Vom Tag. I throw a slow cut forward to Lang Ort, which draws his blade down to Alber (and a church bell rings). This wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I step back and try again.

I approach in Alber, move up to Lang Ort, and he makes a long thrust to me from his Alber. I hang under his thrust to cover myself, then step out to the left and hit with a crossed-wrists Zwerhaw to the head before exiting under cover – a perfect example of Talhoffer’s Geschrenckt Ortt technique against the “lang Zorn Ortt”.

1:33

We both step forwards, and I’m in Alber. He doesn’t lift his blade, so I go to Schrankhut to tempt him at my hands. He doesn’t take the bait. He moves to Lang Ort rather than attacking my hands, so I move back and give space.

I come back in under Vom Tag at the shoulder and attempt a Schilhaw against his Lang Ort, but he pulls back his blade and retreats, throwing a quick cut at me. I pull back my Schilhaw to cover my head in Pflug, and don’t advance any further.

He resets in Pflug, I move to Alber, he goes to Lang Ort, I step back to try another plan because this approach hasn’t worked.

1:44

I decide to enter under a right Ochs, which pulls him upward to Vom Tag with a step forward. I step back to maintain distance, then step forward and right to make my entry on my own terms from a new angle.

He pulls down to Pflug as if with a cut, and so I make a Versetzen from right Ochs, which ends up in Pflug because there was nothing to bind against. As soon as I chamber in Pflug, I launch with a thrust at him, which he parries. He ripostes to my hand, landing his hit, and then I make a larger cut at him with a long step. He covers in Ochs and retreats.

1:54

He advances in Alber and I move back to maintain distance. I extend to Lang Ort to engage him but he backs away, so I lower to Alber and do likewise.

It’s better for me to advance than for him to dictate the fight, so I move to Vom Tag and take a step to the right; he tracks me in Lang Ort but then lowers his point and removes the threat to me; I attempt a Krumphaw to the hands. He lifts his point in a parry and ripostes to my forearm. I try to cover, but fail – he lands his hit, then covers in Ochs and retreats.

2:16

He is in Vom Tag, so I take Alber and start moving in forward and left. He steps forward and to the right. I come to Vom Tag under the shoulder with my thumb on the flat of the blade as he lifts his sword to point upward, then I come forward with the short edge to bind onto his blade. He withdraws his sword, then moves the point quickly, so I withdraw my sword to cover. He steps forward, so I retreat in Alber, threatening with the point to prevent him rushing me.

He steps to the left in a half Alber/Pflug position, so I take the overhead Vom Tag. As he steps forward again, with his sword advanced, I bind onto him with my short edge. He cuts to my right arm, I defend with distance, he moves to cover his left and I go to Alber, we both begin to step back. I perceive his backward motion and so stop my own, moving forward after him in Alber.

His sword is in an awkward place and I want him to move it so that I can deal with it more directly, so I lift to left Ochs with a step to the left, but he retreats, so I cover and come to Lang Ort. He allows the bind, so I advance a step to become harder against him. He disengages but doesn’t cover, so I cut a Flugelhaw to his hands, land my hit, then cover with a Hengen Ort against his riposte. (This exchange was a bit more 16th century in flavour than I wanted for this match, but it made sense under the circumstances!)

2:35

We both approach with Alber. I move to overhead Vom Tag and step a little closer. He doesn’t respond, but I’m too far away to make a Schaitelhaw; I step in again and move to the right Ochs. He lifts his sword to bind with me, so I press with crossed wrists onto his blade to hold the centre line against him.

He disengages under, re-establishes the bind on top of my blade with a beat. I lift back into the right Ochs to keep control of my blade after the beat, but this creates an opening for him to hit my on my left arm. He covers under an Ochs and retreats.

2:44

I advance against him, coming into my right Ochs again, with a step off to the right as I come close. I am planning to bind down onto his blade and send the thrust to him directly as soon as I have the centre line; however, he launches a thrust, which lands on my chest before I can bind it down and away. My plan backfires!

2:50

I approach again, this time towards the left, and taking a left Ochs. He stands in Lang Ort against me, so I steal a little distance and come closer, but he doesn’t move. I change from Ochs to Vom Tag and reorient my body towards him, which causes him to prepare to receive a left Oberhaw.

I move from Vom Tag to Lang Ort, drawing up my back leg to meet my front in order to close distance, but he retreats. I stay where I am and pull to Vom Tag again, so he starts to come back towards me, but then retreats again.

I step forward through Lang Ort, drawing out his sword, into Alber, from which I send a thrust towards him. He parries and steps back, and I take my hands up high to avoid a riposte. He settles and then immediately makes a thrust from Alber, causing me to sprint backwards and cover against his attack. I manage to get away faster than he advances, so I establish my distance and throw a cut at his hands. I miss his hands, unfortunately, cutting a bit too low to hit them, meaning that I hit his torso/thigh area and fail to inhibit his arms, resulting in his blade contacting with my shoulder. He quickly cuts to my forearm, then we separate a little sheepishly.

3:06

I approach under a right Ochs. He stays still, so I take a step and turn my sword into a Lang Ort. He backs away, so I go to Alber and then retract my point, tempting him to enter against me. He doesn’t, so I lift into left Ochs while trying to find his blade. He doesn’t let me find it, and instead takes Lang Ort against me, so I back off to try something else.

3:14

I move to Vom Tag at the same time as he takes a step forward; he thrusts and I defend with a Krumphaw to his blade, moving off to my right. We both suspect the other of making a riposte, so we both cover against each other (a moment of Gleich as we both take the Nach against each other), then he steps back and I follow with Alber to keep the pressure on him.

I don’t pressure him very well though, since he just stands there, so I move to Pflug and then to Lang Ort, whereupon he binds with me and makes a short cut to my arms as I try to chamber something, landing his hit on me. I throw a short edge Zwerhaw at his head, which he parries as he escapes.

3:24

He approaches in Vom Tag, so I approach in Alber. I step closer while lifting my hands to tempt him, but he doesn’t take the bait, so I finish my step. He feints to my arms, so I cover in right Pflug, then cuts to the left, so I parry in left Pflug with a step back.

We stand and observe each other. I offer my blade a little forward in case he’d like to bind with me. He doesn’t move, so I step to the left. Hi cuts up with a short edge Underhaw, binding me, then cuts to my left arm, which I parry in left Pflug and respond immediately by pushing my thrust at his face. He parries in Ochs and retreats. I step forward and make a half-hearted left Oberhaw after him, coming into the bind, but he keeps moving backward and away.

I come through Alber, lifting my blade in a long edge Auffstreichen to tempt him to bind with me, but he doesn’t take the bait, offering only a Lang Ort against me. I step back to make distance and to try another approach. He leaves his point out, so I try a touch against it, moving down to Alber. He doesn’t react. I step forward, coming through right Ochs, but he draws his sword up as if to strike, so I cover my left opening and then return to threatening with the point, but he doesn’t move, so I come through Vom Tag and close distance into Lang Ort. He retreats, denying me the right distance to do what I want.

3:46

He is in Alber, I am in Alber, so I move to left Pflug and raise my point. He raises his point, so I back off to avoid any thrusts.

3:50

I try going right, approaching with a very withdrawn Alber, then step further right and expose my body. This draws him towards me with his point leading, so I make a light Krumphaw towards his blade. He does Durchwechsel to avoid my blade and then cuts towards me; I manage to parry with the short edge in a left Pflug and push my hands outwards to create structure. He pushes my sword to the side, not letting me create the structure I want, then makes a quick cut to my forearms. I parry with the short edge in left Pflug again and we both step back.

I step forward under Lang Ort and he offers his blade to bind with me. He steps forward and I press his blade down, so that his hands lift; as he keeps coming forward, I cross my wrists and move them towards where I expect his Oberhaw will come from so that I can make an Abschneiden beneath his arms – but he makes a Mittelhaw to my left instead, catching my head because I cover the wrong side. As I realise my error and turn left, he cuts me to my right and backs away under cover.

4:03

He approaches in Alber, so I come up to overhead Vom Tag and throw an Oberhaw – but pull it short, planning to perform Durchwechsel and thrust to the other side. However, he doesn’t parry to the side to give me the opening and instead keeps his sword on the centre line, then pushes his blade forward at me. I have to leave my Durchwechsel and cover under a Hengen Ort to avoid being hit, then fly out from there with a crossed-wrist Zwerhaw to his head before he can recover. After I hit, I step away to the side and find his blade with mine as I retreat.

4:16

He is in Alber, so I make my approach and suggest a Lang Ort; he taps my blade a couple of times and goes to Vom Tag. I suggest that I might go to right Ochs, and he twitches backward rather than engage me, so I withdraw and try something else.

4:26

I enter under Lang Ort with my point high, hoping to draw an attack. He throws a cut and I bind onto it with my short edge in Pflug, going up with my hands as I step to my right, and stab him in the head with a Winden action that then slides off the side of his mask. Not quite a Zornhaw Ort, but a nice (slow) Absetzen.

4:38

I approach in Vom Tag and he pulls to his shoulder too. I step forward swiftly with my short edge leading and he retreats, so I withdraw my hands; he begins to step forward so I yield space to him and keep myself safe. He goes to his left shoulder and so I take a left-foot-forward Lang Ort to cover against his Oberhaw. He feints with a Mittelhaw and cuts to my left; I defend in left Pflug and making a long edge Winden cut to his head, recovering with my sword in front of me in case of an afterblow.

4:50

I approach slowly in Vom Tag as he moves backward, settling into Alber. I go forward with a cut with my hands low, which draws his blade up into the bind, and so I push a thrust at him. He parries to the side and ripostes to my left shoulder; however, as I feel his pressure go to the side, I am already launching into a Zwerhaw, but do not have the reach to hit him as he steps backward with his riposte.

5:13

He is in Alber, so I advance with the overhead Vom Tag and step from there to Lang Ort, which he beats aside, and he cuts to my left. I cover in left Pflug and push a cut straight back at him, but he retreats and defends with distance, so I step forward again coming into the overhead Vom Tag, but he is reluctant to engage. So, I lower my sword through Lang Ort and withdraw through Alber to try something else, but he takes his opportunity to follow me, so I go back to the overhead position and send my blade towards him. He doesn’t bind strongly with me, and backs off a little, so I return to Vom Tag and threaten a cut, but his point is directly towards me with threat and I don’t have the right grip to attempt a Schilhaw, so I back off as well. He lets me back away, so I move to Alber.

5:30

He approaches in Alber, I move to the right and remain in Alber. He thrusts at me and so I bind with him in defence. He cuts around and I defend with a left Ochs, then I twist around to cut back at him with a crossed-wrist Zwerhaw that catches him lightly on the head (I wasn’t sure that I hit). He steps back with his hands low, so I find his blade and launch an Oberhaw to the front of his head and land another hit (got him this time for certain!) and cover against an afterblow; he retreats and signals that he was hit.

5:38

He moves to the right in Alber, so I reposition into Vom Tag and move my sword towards him from above, which pulls him from Alber into a bind. I give some gentle sideways pressure onto his sword, which he perceives and cuts around to my right. I am expecting this, so I make a quick parry and riposte. He parries swiftly, though, so I cover under an Ochs in case he will make his own attack, but he backs away. I come into Lang Ort and follow him, but nothing decisive happens.

5:52

We both pull into Vom Tag at the same time.

He is bouncing a little, as if he wants to attack, so I stay calm and move my feet, hoping he’ll do something so that I can drop an Oberhaw on top of (and through) it all. He attacks, I make a short Versetzen onto his blade, but he is already cutting around. I parry this and immediately push my sword forward at him, which he parries; I push another quick cut at him, forcing him to parry a second time, allowing me to set up and launch my Zwerhaw around to the other side. He attempts to parry but doesn’t quite make it and my hit lands; nonetheless, I quickly follow it with an Oberhaw to his face, in case it hadn’t landed properly.

5:59

He is in Alber, but I want to tempt him out with something different for a change. I step in with a large Auffstreichen (I know, this is a bit more 16th century in style than I had intended), which pulls him up into Lang Ort as I finish in the overhead Vom Tag. I step in and meet him in the bind, and observe that his arms are exposed, so I make a cut around at his forearm. He retreats and defends with distance.

He takes a left Zornhut against me, so I walk in under a point-up right Pflug, and tempt him with my sword. He takes the bait and swings, leaving his chambered position, but recovers himself into Vom Tag on his right shoulder, ready to go again, so I back off. This encourages him to attack, so I keep myself safe with distance and let him tap my sword; he makes another couple of moves and I stay covered in Lang Ort and Pflug.

I pull back to Vom Tag on my shoulder, then push a cut towards him, which draws out his thrust to my face. My sword turns his thrust aside, and he cuts around to my right immediately; I’m simply too close, and I make the mistake of trying a Hengen Ort parry, so he hits me on my right and again on my left arm.

6:20

He is in Vom Tag, so I approach in Alber and come up to him from beneath. He binds onto me, leaving his hands exposed, so I cut to them, but he retreats and defends with distance. I pull into the overhead Vom Tag, but he doesn’t come any closer; I step forward into Lang Ort and he tries to thrust me in the face, but my Lang Ort structure keeps me safe. He cuts around, I parry it and push a cut straight back at him, which he parries.

I advance some more, in Lang Ort, but retreat when he makes a cut at me. My approach hasn’t gone to plan, so I take myself out of danger and try another approach in Alber.

I step in and lift to Lang Ort with my point threatening him, which draws out his blade. I come around quickly with a Flugelhaw to his hands, but he makes a short Oberhaw onto my hands; unfortunately, I don’t quite protect well enough with my cross and strong, so we suffer a double hit to the hands.

6:52

He stands still, so I take the initiative and move in. He remains still, so I keep moving.

As he lifts into Lang Ort, I move into a left Schrankhut. Since he doesn’t come any closer, I uncross my arms and bind over his blade; there’s no reaction, but his point remains directly at me, so I do Durchwechsel and this causes him to remove his point, so I push a quick cut at him, but he retreats and defends with distance.

I move to the overhead Vom Tag in case he reinserts himself, but he doesn’t, and we are too far away to do anything useful, so I relax and step back.

He follows, maintaining the distance, so I come to my shoulder and observe him. As he moves in, I come to the right Ochs and maintain distance; he pauses, so I come forward slightly and make my entry by finding his sword from above. He doesn’t play my game, so I take my sword overhead, but he still doesn’t play my game and remains in Lang Ort, so I relax and go to Alber.

This causes him to lower his sword and step back, but then he quickly comes forward again, so that no distance is lost. Since the straight-forward approach isn’t working, I go to my right, and come into the right Ochs from that new angle. This time he lets me come closer, so I threaten with my point; he begins to retreat, so I push myself to move forward and keep threatening with my sword. He holds strongly against me in the bind (but perhaps not strongly enough to justify my next action), so I make a Zwerhaw round to the other side; he cuts my arm in the middle of my motion, but this means he cannot parry in time, and so my Zwerhaw lands on his head.

7:22

He takes Vom Tag on his left shoulder and moves to his left. I take Vom Tag on my right shoulder and move forward against him. He comes to and Ochs against me, so I bind onto him in my Lang Ort. He changes to Lang Ort, but I don’t have a good angle to bind with him, so I lower to Alber and retreat a little. I come back in with a slightly better angle, but he retreats.

I advance and meet him in Lang Ort, with my blade on top of and crossing his. I’m not quite able to push a Mutieren over his weak, though, and it looks like he is about to cut around, so I cover my left, but he remains where he is. I cover right and begin to move away from the situation, when he steps and cuts to my left. I defend in Pflug, cover against his low blade, and then back away from a potential thrust. I go to the left, away from his point, to gain a better angle against his torso.

He begins to turn after me, but allows me to steal distance and come closer. He lets me bind with him, then I try a quick cut at his arm, but he defends.

I go forward again, under cover, but pull away from his Lang Ort before binding onto it more advantageously. He disengages under and tries to thrust to my face, so I run away quickly and reset in Alber.

I meet his blade briefly as I draw in my back foot to steal distance, then go up overhead. I advance my front foot to steal more distance as I come into Lang Ort, but then he taps my sword and steps towards me; I retreat a little from the threat and work with Pflug to cover myself, then attempt a cut at his hands. He parries and retreats.

I follow quickly, coming up into Lang Ort and drawing out his blade. I threaten with my sword, still moving forward. He tries an Underhaw to my hands, but I slip them back and defend with distance. He feints to my right, which I parry, and cuts an Oberhaw to my left which I break with a crossed-wrist Zwerhaw (not quite the canonical version, and I don’t quite manage to hit him, unfortunately). He tries another Oberhaw to the same opening, which I defend in Pflug, but as I push a thrust at him he does Uberlauffen over the top of my sword and cuts me in the face.

8:04

He steps towards me, so I come into the right Ochs. However, he doesn’t really do anything, and I’m not in a position to push forward with advantage, so I step back to Vom Tag. I try the same approach again, hoping to eke out some kind of response from him. However, he retreats.

I come into Alber; no response. I come into Ochs; he steps back. I begin to lower my sword and he steps in again, threatening a thrust, which I meet with my blade, and then he throws an Oberhaw, which I parry. I make a quick cut at his hands and then cover against the afterblow; I fall with my blade on his hands again, just to be safe.

8:24

I approach under a right Pflug, edging out to my right away from his point. He lets me steal distance and come a bit closer, so I make a strike to his hands, which he defends with distance.

I keep using my right Pflug, this time putting a little pressure onto his blade. He disengages and beats down on top of my sword, so I lift to a right Ochs to cover against a potential cut, which doesn’t come. Instead, because he perceives my body to be open, he comes up to me with a thrust. I drop my blade down onto his to defend against the cut, stepping back to gain some space. He cuts to my head, which I defend in the right Ochs, and then I throw a quick cut to his hands. He covers in Pflug and throws another cut to my head. I bind with him and do Bleiben, remining on his blade a little, so that he doesn’t have space to cut at me again. He steps back, and I follow him.

I enter with Alber against his Vom Tag. I want to launch a thrust, but he’s too close to the wall of the church, so I step back and allow him to have some space. I don’t particularly want to break an old building during our sparring!

8:44

I try coming into a right Ochs again, and start to make a large cut forward. He attacks into this motion, so I stop the cut and turn it into a defence to my right and to my left, and then I push a thrust straight at his face. He steps back to avoid the thrust and so I step forward after him, trying to maintain the distance, but I don’t quite manage. Since I’m too far away, I step out to my left, coming into a right Pflug against him, closing the distance to be more in my favour. He taps at my sword but doesn’t make a real threat. He taps at my sword again, and now I parry the cut and make a Zuckruhr at his arm, covering myself in a crossed-wrist Hengen Ort against his afterblow (although it seems not quite sufficiently, as he hits my forearm), and then I project another cut straight through the centre line at him just to be sure.

9:00

I advance towards him in Vom Tag, but he stands in Alber against me. I launch an Oberhaw to draw up his sword, which works, but he thrusts as he lifts his sword. I hold against his blade so that his thrust misses, but not with so much pressure that he rides the momentum and strikes around. The Bleiben works, and he gives up the contest and backs off. I stay in Lang Ort near his blade, and then make an Underhaw towards his hand. He tries to parry, but I manage to hit his hand; I come back onto his blade from above, and then make an Oberhaw through his structure to his head to shut down any possible afterblow.

9:14

I enter against him in my right Ochs, but he backs away. I come through Lang Ort, covering myself against any potential cuts. He stops moving; I lift my sword, he lifts his point, and I come into my left Ochs with a slight step forward, stealing distance against him. I step out to the left, coming into a right Pflug; he makes as if to cut me, so I cover left, but he steps back, so I step forward and press him in Alber.

He retreats a bit further than I expected, leaving me out of distance. He circles to his left, slowly closing the distance, which is good for me; I come out of Alber and put my point forward, drawing out his sword even as my back foot comes to meet my front, stealing more distance, and then I step forward to attack him. He steps back, defending with distance, so I stop my right Oberhaw and make a left Oberhaw with a left step instead. He parries and makes a quick riposte to the left side of my head; I had been expecting a cut to my right, so I parry to the wrong side, and get hit.

9:33

I close the distance in Vom Tag and observe that his hands are a little exposed. I attempt a Krumphaw to the hands, with a step out to my right, but he lifts his sword and defends himself quickly enough to stay safe. I walk forward under Lang Ort, but when he starts seeking me with his point I withdraw my sword and try again, but then he thrusts into the opening he perceives. I sprint backward to get away from his thrust, pulling my sword to chamber it near my body and then pushing it out in a Zwerhaw against his blade and to his head. I manage to land the cut to his head, without being hit by his thrust, but then he makes a quick cut to my forearms before I can recover from the Zwerhaw against his afterblow.

9:45

I approach from the left this time, in a right Pflug. Our blades cross but he doesn’t move, and I don’t have a good angle to go forward. I pull back to my shoulder and feint an Oberhaw, to which he begins to retreat, yielding distance to me. I come back to my shoulder, and make to close the distance again by moving into a Lang Ort. This draws out his beat from below, and a hasty cut that lands on my Lang Ort. I push my point forward at his head, but he retreats and defend with distance, so I recover overhead. He is close to the church again, so I don’t push too much further forward, and make a few movements to see if he will come closer to me. He doesn’t come any closer, but then decides to escape out to his right. I stay in the overhead position and pursue him.

He makes a quick cut at my arms, which misses, and so I shoot in with a Zwerhaw towards where his sword had been (Nachreissen!), but he retreats and defends with distance. He is too far away for me to work usefully against him, so I lower my sword and move to a new angle in Alber.

He comes into Lang Ort, so I step in as I bring my point upward towards his sword, binding on the underside of his blade. He naturally moves his point a little away from me to gain the advantage in the bind, allowing me to strike around with a right Oberhaw to his head. This draws a very strong parry, which he follows by moving to an Ochs position as if he will thrust. I cover against this in a left Pflug, but he moves back instead of thrusting, so I cover to my right.

He is at his shoulder, and I move down to Alber. He moves to Alber, and I step in, going to Lang Ort. This draws his sword out to meet mine, and then he cuts at my arm, so I step back and parry, creating space. He follows me this time, so I move through Pflug and Lang Ort and Vom Tag, which prevents him from closing any further, and it allows me to take the initiative and step forward with a cut to Lang Ort. This draws a thrust from him, I bind onto his blade, and as he lifts his arms I make to parry an Oberhaw – but he hits me with something between an Underhaw and Mittelhaw to my arm and then covers against my afterblow.

10:23

He is in Alber, so I come into Vom Tag as I advance. He mirrors me by moving to his shoulder, so I step off to my right for a slightly better angle, and launch from here with a Schilhaw. He reacts by cutting to me, but the Schilhaw suppresses his blade and lands my hit upon him.

10:30

He is in Alber, so I make a slow cut to draw his point upward. As he moves up into Lang Ort, I change the motion of my sword and turn it into a Krumphaw to his hands, but he parries my blade down. I am not in a good position for anything else, so I disengage and move back.

He moves back as well, with his sword high, so I bring my sword low. He comes down to a Lang Ort, and I step in by raising my sword to meet his blade. He does a quick Durchwechsel and takes a better structure on my sword in the bind, so I back off and try another approach.

He stands and observes me, without acting, so I slowly close distance with footwork and then with blade actions. At a certain moment, he perceives enough threat to react, and he pushes a thrust at me. I parry in right Ochs and then use a left Pflug to cover when he cuts around. As I parry, I immediately send a cut through the bind towards his head (a Winden action with a cut rather than a thrust), but he pushes my blade to the side. I re-establish the bind, coming back down onto his sword, but he backs away.

He comes to his shoulder, so I make a left Schrankhut below as I follow him. He feints to my right, which I go to parry, then he cuts to my left, and my parry keeps me safe. Again, I push an attack straight at him after the parry, this time with a thrust that hits him in the face, and then I cover against the afterblow by making a Zwerhaw to his face while binding up his sword.

11:02

I approach in a left Pflug, and I would quite like to stab him in the face. However, he takes positions that make me not want to take the risk of a double hit, so I don’t act. He then cuts at me and I defend with distance, and he comes to Lang Ort to cover against my blade.

I enter against his Lang Ort with my own, and give some pressure onto his blade to move his point aside. He disengages and cuts at my hands, so I pull back and defend them with distance. I push my sword to Lang Ort again, starting an attack, but he cuts around to my right. I parry with right Pflug and then drop an Oberhaw straight down the centre line; I try to do so in such a way that it gives me all the cover I need, but it doesn’t quite work – I hit his arm, and my sword bounces off rather than holding a strong structure, and so his counter-cut lands on my arm because my structure isn’t sufficient to prevent it.

11:15

He comes into Lang Ort, so I approach in left Ochs, but he doesn’t want to bind with me. I pursue him and try a right Ochs, but he threatens my hands and so I pull them back to safety. He is slow to take his own hands away, so I make a quick cut at them and land my hit.

11:27

He is at his shoulder, so I do likewise, but he comes at me before I am quite set. I back off rather than engage unprepared. I enter again under my own terms.

He flicks a cut to my hands, which misses as I try a short edge Krumphaw across his blade. As he edges backward, I come forward into a Lang Ort, then I take my blade away again. I step forward; his blade comes up, so I go out to the side and make a long edge Krumphaw to his blade. He disengages back towards himself, however, and makes a cut to my right. I catch it in a right Ochs, then use a left Pflug to cover against his Mittelhaw. I push a thrust straight at his face, which he guides to the side; he ripostes to my right, which I defend with distance, and then I project a long cut at his face, which he avoids with distance.

I step forward into Pflug to pursue him, then go to Alber. He switches his feet, I move to my left, he pursues me a little, I use Pflug to cover against the thrust he wants to make. I go to my right, he lifts his point, I step towards him and he cuts at my left. I defend by pressing out to Kron and continue to step right. He cuts at my left side and I defend in Pflug, and we both back away from the situation.

He comes forward with his point, I go to meet it with my blade, he makes as if to cut, I take my body out of danger (bending a bit too far at the back, not ideal), he stops his cut, and I project myself into the fight again with a cut of my own at his right arm. He parries downward and across with his blade, so I  disengage upward into a right Ochs. He tries to find my blade again, so I take it away into Vom Tag; as his blade passes and clears the way, I strike with an Oberhaw into the space that was just created (Nachreissen again) and land my cut to his head. His sword doesn’t quite manage to find my body (or, if it does, it is definitely flat). I cover against a potential afterblow to my left and exit to my right.

11:59

We salute and conclude the match.


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