zaterdag 15 oktober 2016

Vatterstreich

Benedetto Montagna (1481–1558), Sacrificio di Abramo


Vatterstreich / Father's Strike =
Zornhau(w) (Zornhut) / Toornige Houw - Wrath Cut - Wrath Hew - Guard of Wrath - Rage Guard =
Streithau(w) / Strife Cut

"an emotion, strike without thinking about the motion like a peasant using his axe."
(Jens P. Kleinau, Hans Talhoffer, A Historical Martial Arts blog)

"a vulnerable posture but one that allows the most instinctive and powerful blow."
(John Clements, Medieval swordsmanship : illustrated methods and techniques, 1998)



illustratie van (vermoedelijk) een Vatterstreich, Joachim Meyer, Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens, Stasbourg (Thiebolt Berger), 1570, illustrated by Tobias Stimmer’s workshop (inc. Hans Christoffel Stimmer)


"Der Zornhauw ist ein Schlimmer Hauw von deiner rechten Achsel / gegen deines widerparts Lincken ohrs / oder durch sein Gesicht und Brust / Schlims durch wie die zwo Linien / so durch die auffrecht Linien kreutzweiß uber einander sich schrencken anzeigen. Diß ist der sterckest under allen andern / als darinnen alle krafft unnd manligkeit des des Mans gegen seinem feindt im Kempffen unnd Fechten gelegen / darumb er auch von den Alten Streithauw oder Vatterstreich genant unnd geheissen wirt. Von gedachten Lini findestuhernach / rc."
(Joachim Meyer, Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens, Strasbourg, 1570)

“The Wrath Cut is a diagonal cut from your right shoulder at your opponent’s left ear or through his face and chest, diagonally through as shown by the two crossed lines that pass through the vertical line. This is the strongest of all cuts, and embodies all the might and virility of the combatant against his opponent in duelling and combat; therefore it is also called the Strife Cut [Streithauw] or Father Stroke by the combat masters of old. Concerning these lines you will find hereafter, etc.”
(english translation by Jeffrey L. Forgeng, in his book Joachim Meyer, The art of combat : a German martial arts treatise of 1570, London New York (Greenhill Palgrave Macmillan), 2006.



Joachim Meyer, Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens, Stasbourg (Thiebolt Berger), 1570, illustrated by Tobias Stimmer’s workshop (inc. Hans Christoffel Stimmer)


A Foundational Description of the Art of Fencing: A Thorough Description of the Free, Knightly and Noble Art of Fencing, Showing Various Customary Defenses, Affected and Put Forth with Many Handsome and Useful Drawings, is a German fencing manual that was published in 1570. Its author was Joachim Meyer. The manual was made for and was dedicated to Meyer's patron Count Palatine Johann Casimir. This fechtbuch builds on his earlier work, a manuscript written in 1560 - the MS A.4°.2, and presents a complex, multi-weapon treatise. (Wikipedia dd. 30/09/2016)



Germain Hoyau & Mathurin Nicolas, Histoire d'Abraham, 1574 (detail). Bibliothèque National de France (RES. FOL-ED-5 (G))





"So what’s that Vatterstreich, exactly translated as the Father’s Strike?

If someone receives a Vatterstreich it means a child, a son gets a birching with a rod. This is based on the biblical story of Abraham and his son Isaac pictured often with Abraham holding the sword ready for mighty hew to kill his son as a sacrifice to God. Despite the fact, that Abraham used a knife in the book Genesis 22:1-13, the expression “Vaterstreich” was a synonym for a father hitting his son on one hand, and for a devastating killing stroke on the other.

Somebody who may have known what the Vatterstreich is about in fencing is Johann Fischart, who added a interesting Fechtschul passage to the work of Francois Rabelais (see 'A Fechtschule in the works of Francois Rabelais?'). In his Aller Praktik Grossmutter (first pub. 1572) he named the Vatterstreich again:

Des Nili siben gemünd und mund
Fallen mir jetz wohl ein zur stund
Gleich wie dem Predicanten gleich
Die Fechtschul, kreuz und Vatterstreich:
Die sibend zahl ist mächtig gräftig
Wie solchs die Naß beweiset hefftig
Hett er die sieben Mönch bewisen
So wer der Teuffel auch geprisen"


The Vatterstreich and the Creutzhaw are something very special. We get the hint of the meaning by citing the other mentioning of the Vatterstreich “ze. ohn den Vatterstreich/ welchen der Schmidlin in seinen Fechtschulpredigten weißt/ und deß Bawren Speichelhaw.” Adding on the list of a lot of fencing terms are hints to the Lutheran theology. 'Schmidlin' is the nickname of Jakob Andreae (March 25, 1528 – January 7, 1590) an outstanding German theologian of his period. Andreae was the author of so called “Fechtschulpredigten” as Fischart called them. But these Fechtschulpredigten where nothing else than the sermons in which Andrea calls out to battle for their believe and fight against the devil (Sechs Predigten von etlichen der Augsburgischen Confession zugethanen Theologen, 1572, 1580) He calls out to the illiterate laymen Lay to fight, to learn the „Vatterstreich” and that „einer creutzweiß drein hawe und wider den Teuffei nicht vil Fechterbößlein gebraucht” (one should strike firmly crosswise and should not use a lot of fencers charades against the devil).

To make the sign of a cross is called 'Kreuz schlagen' ('becreutzen' modern 'sich bekreuzigen') signing the cross against the devil is one of the meanings of 'creutzhaw' (Kreuzhaw, Cross-strike). Interesting to note, that we find the 'Creutzhaw' in Paulus Hector Mair’s Work as a piece of fencing. 'so tritt mit deinem rechten fuoss zurugk, und haw dich in den Creutzhaw zuo seinem rechten or.' (so step back with your right foot, and strike in the Cross strike at his right ear). But we should look again at Joachim Meyer:

"Kreutzhauw.
Kreutzhauw seind an jhm selber zwen Zornhäuw von beiden seitten / werden volbracht durch die zwo
Schlimm und hangenden Lini / so von beiden seitten schlims durch den Mann streichen"
(Joachim Meyer, Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens, Strasbourg, 1570)


Conclusion

So the Kreutzhau is a doubled Vatterstreich from both sides. And seeing this brings us back to the assumption that Johann Fischart is not only a follower of Luther but a fencer who is common with the terms Joachim Meyer is using, and both living in Straßbourg at the same time. The fencing terms are placed in at least three meanings. The first is the biblical reference, second the Lutheran, third the fencing. Like in many aspects of the late medieval and renaissance times, we see that religious believes touched nearly ever part of life.


Addendum

Using fencing terms in the theological dispute is found often. Another example is the dispute between Hyronymous Emser and Martin Luther where Emser states:

"Vnd demnach ich mit eym szo vormerten vnd geübten fechtmeyster
auff den plan treten, vnnd vnsern heyligen glauben mit der hülff gotes
wider yn vortedigen, Will, ich vor den rechten treffen, vnd ehe dann ich
wort mit wort vorsetz ader sein reformation buch von blat tzu blat
vorlege, vorhin durch disze vorred eyn vngeferlich frey auffheben oder
schulrecht thun, vnd gleich wie man auff der fechtschul nit allwegen
ym schwert sonder auch mitt langen spiessen vnd kurtzen degen tzu samen gehet.

Alszo will ich mich erstlich auff disze dreierley monier auch vorsuchen,
Ob ich Lutern der seyne schirmschleg vnd spiegelfechten alleyn auff list geferlich
vnnd nawe griff, ader tzu letzt auch auff die flucht gestalt hat yndert darnach ein
vorteyl ablauffen möcht."

(Hyronymus Emser, Wider das vnchristeliche buch Martini Luters Augustiners, an den Teutschen Adel aufgangen, 1521)"

(Jens P. Kleinau, Hans Talhoffer, A Historical Martial Arts blog)


Addendum 2

"Wanneer hij slaat van omhoog, houw toornig naar zijn oog.
Wordt hij dat gewaar, Neem boven af zonder gevaar."
(Johannes Liechtenauer (° ca 1320), geciteerd in Bert Gevaert, Te Wapen - Europa's vergeten krijgskunsten, Antwerpen (AUP/Davidsfonds), 2016, p. 82)

"Wanneer je tegenstander van zijn rechterkant slaat naar jou, tref hem dan krachtig met een Toornige Houw vanaf je rechterschouder. Als hij zacht bindt, richt dan je punt voorwaarts naar zijn gezicht en dreig om hem te steken. Wanneer je naar zijn gezicht dreigt te steken vanuit de Toornige Houw en hij merkt dit en verplaatst de steek met kracht, trek dan je zwaard omhoog, weg van het zijne. Houw vervolgens naar zijn hoofd van de andere kant, langs zijn blad."
(Sigmund Ringeck (begin 16de eeuw), geciteerd in Bert Gevaert, Te Wapen - Europa's vergeten krijgskunsten, Antwerpen (AUP/Davidsfonds), 2016, p. 82)

"De Toornige Houw breekt met de punt alle hoge houwen en is toch niets meer dan een simpele boerenslag. Voer hem als volgt uit: wanneer je in het naderen naar hem komt, en hij van zijn rechterzijde boven naar je hoofd slaat, sla jij ook van je rechterzijde van boven zonder enige parering gelijktijdig heftig op zijn zwaard. Is hij dan zwak aan het zwaard, stoot naar hem met je punt rechtstreeks lang en steek hem naar het gezicht of naar de borst. Tref hem zo. [...]
Wanneer je met de Toornige Houw naar hem slaat, stoot hem de punt lang naar het gezicht of naar de borst, zoals boven beschreven. Wordt hij de punt gewaar en pareert hij krachtig, doordat hij je zwaard opzij drukt, ga met je zwaard langs de kling van zijn zwaard hoog en boven weg van zijn zwaard. Sla hem langs de andere zijde wederom langs zijn zwaardkling op zijn hoofd. Dit noemt men 'boven afnemen'.
Breek dit als volgt: wanneer hij boven afneemt, bind met de lange snede krachtig tegen zijn zwaard in de richting van zijn hoofd."
(Peter von Danzig (15de eeuw), geciteerd in Bert Gevaert, Te Wapen - Europa's vergeten krijgskunsten, Antwerpen (AUP/Davidsfonds), 2016, p. 82)



More about the technique:



The Zornhau
PEAMHE (Pôle d’étude d’Arts Martiaux
Historiques Européens)(Paris, France)




The Zornhau
Dreynschlag - HEMA
(Historical European Martial Arts)




The Zornhau
MEMAG (The Medieval
European Martial Arts Guild)



Zornhau, oben abnehmen, duplieren, mutieren




"The “Zornhau-Ort” is one of the essential pieces of fencing from the Liechtenauer system 
[Johannes Liechtenauer (also Lichtnauer, Hans Lichtenawer) was a 14th-century German fencing master who had a great level of influence on the German fencing tradition, Wikipedia dd. 30/09/2016].
It is based on the premise that a fencer hits the other enemy to the head or the opponent’s right shoulder from the right shoulder of the attacker called 'rechter Oberhau' (right strike from above) . The adversary generates a 'Vor' (ahead, before) taking a tactical advantage by being the first who attacks a lethal point. It is in the act itself that the attacked must react in the 'Nach' (after, behind), if he does not want to be seriously injured or killed.

To stop the enemy, he will fight with the same means. That is that the strike from above is answered by a strike from above. And this is done with a great show of force and vigor. Thus this strike is called 'Zornhau'. Joachim Meyer describes in his 1570 book in the chapters on the fencing rapier and Dussak this action as 'Wehrstreich' (armed strike) and gives the 'Zornhau' a slightly different meaning. The principle to answer with same means is included in each book of fencing.


The mechanics of the Zufechten with the Oberhau

The opponent presents a right strike from above against the head or the shoulders. He hopes to hit by chance and luck in the first strike. There are only three way of doing this strike:

1. It is a testing strike to get in contact

Restricted to vision only based reactions for defense is pure horror compared to the contact based reactions. If you are in a binding situation where the blades touch, you always know where the blade of the opponent is. For this a lot of the fencers try to 'catch' the opponents blade in their first strike, making it long and straight. This strike ends in a Langort (long point) position where – if no blade is met – a stirring movement occurs or the fencer is jumping back irritated. The opponent is forced to nothing he can stand there and look amused at the 'sword catcher' because in most cases these strikes are short of distance, or if the measure is correct has a lot of opportunities to answer this flimsy attack.

2. It is a killing strike to be the first to hit heavily

The fencer has the same fear as the one who tries to fetch the opponents blade but uses a very different answer to overcome this fear. He jumps forward and strikes first with a lot of power. He hopes that he hits or the other one will defend himself by just parrying. The opponent is forced to react to this kind of berserk attack, but has a lot of options for it: evade, block, answer with the same etc. He can answer with a variety of actions, but he must change.

3. It is a tactical strike to occupy the territory

Being the first who occupies the middle line while getting into measure is a tactic you find in a lot of fighting systems. From this line you can thrust without any problems and block some actions of the opponent to your body. The opponent is forced to create a matching opposition or will be hit in the following action without having a chance to present a proper answer. He cannot evade, because there is nothing to evade. He cannot hit you on the head or stab you in the chest, because the way is blocked. He cannot stand there amused, because without any recognizable change of the attacker’s posture the strike will mutate into a hit by changing the distance using simple body movement.

There are a variety of striking movements from above the right shoulder. But only few who really aim at the head or body of the opponent. Doing a feint or trick or any other likewise movement is nothing that matters here.

A experienced fencer chooses the tactical strike, he aims ad the opponent’s body without forgetting his own, having his own protection always as priority number one. The simple offensive rule of the tactical strike is: if you do not meet anything get forward and you meet something (“Haw dreyn vnd hurt dar / rawsche hin trif ader la var ” GMN 3227a). If the opponent do not stop your blade, you got the ticket to continue. In the fight-books from the 14th century GMN 3227a to Joachim Meyer we find the recommendation to repeat these kind of strikes for several times until we hit or meet the opponent’s blade (“vnd vmermer eyns noch dem andern treiben / ab ym das erste vele / dacz daz ander das dritte ader daz vierde treffe” GMN 3227a).

As the Zornhau is the first lesson for the fencers, it is aimed to be an answer for all these kind of fencers.

1. Versus a testing strike

The 'sword catcher' will get more that he asked for. The Zornhau is a powerful strike that will destroy every feeling while smashing the blade out of the way.

2. Versus a killing strike

The Zornhau blocks the way by sheer force while it brings the own weapons point into the position for a thrust.

3. Versus a tactical strike

The Zornhau presents a opposition by changing position of the body and bringing the sword between the fencers in a thrusting position (Pflug) or a hanging position (Wechsel, Ochs) depending on the change during the end of the striking movement. Usually the Zornhau creates a hard contact and displaces the other strike by force thus occupying the middle line itself ready for a thrusting movement.

So the Zornhau is the swiss army knife for fencing-beginners even if the Twerhau presents more options and is the better strike (“Hie merke vnd wisse / das of dem ganczen / swerte / keyn haw / als redlich / zo heftik zo vertik vnd zo gut ist als der twerhaw” GMN 3227a). But the Zornhau is the fastest to bring (“zo ist im keyn haw als bereit / als der selbe aberhaw” GMN 3227a) and thus is the best to change from the role of the defender to the role of the attacker. This change is done by the the strike itself using sheer force and by the point.

To become the attacker the defender must bring an immediate threat into the game. Using a great show of force is always a threat and because he is aiming to the head and the shoulders of his attacker, the Zornhau brings the point nearer to the opponents body. If the point is not showing to the opponent at the end of the Zornhau, the Zornhau is parried effectively or not done properly. Ignoring the latter we must know that by parrying the Zornhau effectively the formerly attacker has changed into the role of the defender already and we won this part of the game.

Having the point looking eager to the body of the opponent we should not hesitate to use it. And on this the opponent has to change himself or he will be stabbed. And by using this chain of attacks (strike and thrust) we changed from being the defender to the role of the attacker.

There is a signal that is given us by the authors of the fight-books, so we can recognize if we have successfully become the attacker. It is the lateral pressure of the defending blade simply called 'wert her dir' in the GMN 3227a. In the 44a8 we find 'wirt er denn orts gewar | vnd vor setzt starck | vnd druckt dir dein swert auf die seittñ'. The reason for this explicit naming of a strong displacement and a heavy pressure to the side is the use of the training equipment modernly named 'Federschwert'. In the Messer Master Lecküchner reduced it to 'wirtt er des ortz gewar' again but he uses the Zornhau in combination with a thrust in a different way high above.

But regardless which equipment used, it is the small or big pressure to the side that signals: you just won the tactical game, now make the best out of it. (It can also mean that the opponent just fooled you but this is sophisticated fencing and thus rarely to find). To feel any pressure of the defender there must be a resistance presented by the attacker. This 'resistance' is the pressure done by the attacker. And this must always be directed to the head and body of the opponent ('czu koppe ader czu leibe / vnd mit nichte czum swerte' GMN 3227a). The movement of the Zornhau is supporting this kind of pressure in an excellent way.

Because of the lateral movement of the becoming defenders hand and blade and the crossbar of the weapons handle, the most obvious answer to that movement is moving the own blade upwards until it can switch to the other side of the opponent’s blade and do some harm.


Conclusion

The Zornhau is a tactical move to change from the role of the defender of a strike from above to the one of the attacker with the same strike and a thrust. To be the attacker gives us the advantage that we can hit with a greater chance of success the one who defends and tries to hit while defending.

To become the attacker we have two tools on our side: the show of force in the Zornhau and the point of the Zornhau. So training the Zornhau cannot be done without the show and using of force.

We are told how to recognize if we succeed in this role change by a lateral pressure of the opponents blade we should train to feel. All action followed by this signal is only there to keep this role until we successfully hit the opponent."

(Jens P. Kleinau, Hans Talhoffer, A Historical Martial Arts blog)

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