Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Not-So-Universal-Parry?

Gregory Mele has a rather interesting article over at the Freelance Academy Press blog, called The Truly Universal Parry. Give it a read. What's a shame is that the article doesn't go into much detail about why the technique works - how it functions on a mechanical level. It doesn't explain why changing from holding a single-handed sword as-if-it-was-in-its-scabbard to high-on-the-right-with-the-point-extended is structurally strong and a powerful movement, or how stepping allows you to generate more force and stepping off-line changes the nature of the parry. There's also a mechanical difference between it used as a hanging-guard with the point out to the left, as shown in this Talhoffer .gif, and it ending with the point directed at the opponent, as shown in the Fiore .gif.
N.B. The .gifs are pretty massive (about 5-7MB). It may be worth right-clicking on them and opening them alone in a new tab.
An animated .gif of the play from Talhoffer. The parry is made as a hanging cover under the incoming cut - elsewhere it is shown as a displacement up followed by a stab down the centre-line.
A Fiore play, cobbled together haphazardly from Flos duellatorum: Il Fior di battaglia di maestro Fiore dei Liberi da Premariacco by Francesco Novati - a critical edition of Fiore's Flos Duellatorum, Pisani-Dossi MS, Private Collection, Italy, 10 February 1409
Bonus points for why the same parry isn't as prevalent in weapons that require two hands. The equivalent cut in Lichtenauer longsword would be an unterhau from Nebenhut-on-the-left-hand-side to crossed wrists in Ochs-on-the-right-hand-side, using the true edge.
The chap in the bottom-right is in something like I imagine nebenhut-on-the-left-hand-side to be. Mittelalterliche Hausbuch von Schloss Wolfegg, after 1480,  f. 3r; 'Introduction miniature "jugglers and acrobats" (figures in some cases worked by the "people-Four" from the "Great card game of the Master ES of 1463)'. Wikipedia it.
On the other hand a cut up with the false edge from Wechsel into something like Kron or Langort is very strong.
Said cut, cobbled together from Hans Talhoffer's  BSB Cod.icon.394a, f. 2v and  6r.
I have my own explanations or theories as to how it functions, but I'd be interested in hearing other, more experienced peoples'. Who knows, if I have enough time I might write out my own.

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