Training

Counterattacks without opposition

By Kristian Ruokonen
An example of counterattacks without opposition in German longsword is the krumphau on the hands of your opponent as he strikes an oberhau. The krumphau is not my strongest technique, but in this article I will present some ways I get it to work. Counterattacks without opposition are extremely tough to execute successfully and in my experience the most common result of an attempted krumphau to the hands is a double hit.  It is clear that it cannot be done as a reaction to a committed vorschlag that is in measure. If you want to strike a krumphau to the hands safely, I think it should done in such a manner that when you hit his hands, you still have time to parry afterwards so that the initial strike does not reach you. Thus, krumphau is based on a victory in time difference. Your strike has to land clearly before your opponent’s strike even has a chance to hit. I think there are 3 main ways to do this:

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Second intention

By Kristian Ruokonen
Photos by Timo Toropainen

In this post I will examine second intention attacks, and how to deal with them. A second intention attack is an attack consisting of two actions, the second of which is intended to strike the opponent. They can either be preplanned, where you assume or know based on observation that the opponent will parry, or “open-eyes”, where you observe your opponents reaction to the initial feint and then act accordingly. A third category is a so-called switch-over reaction, where you attack in the first intention but change intention during the execution of your attack based on your opponent’s reaction. A simple right oberhau followed by a left oberhau to avoid a parry can fit into any one of these categories; the difference is in initial intention: did you plan all the way to only land the second attack, did you observe his reaction, or did you spontaneously change intention during the action.
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Beginners’ courses in historical fencing

By Eliisa Keskinen

I have attended a decent amount of beginner’s courses as a participant, an assistant and an instructor. The majority of them have covered different types of HEMA but I’ve also taken beginner classes in mixed martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and savate. I’ve developed a good general idea of what makes a good beginner’s course, and I thought it might be worth sharing some ideas. (more…)

Deep and shallow targets

By Kristian Ruokonen

I teach that there are two kinds of targets: shallow and deep. I consider the hands, forearms and legs as shallow targets, and the torso and the head as deep targets. A complete fencer should be able to attack both kinds of targets at will. Attacking only deep targets makes your fencing extremely predictable, and only going for shallow targets will cause your opponent not to respect your attacks. (more…)

When to counterattack?

By Kristian Ruokonen

Counterattacks are a major part of Kunst des Fechtens, and one could even argue that they form the core of it.  However, we do not often see people execute them when fencing. I believe that this is because people don’t understand how they work and in which situations, and how one should set up one’s actions. (more…)