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Pol Hausbuch (MS 3227a)/64r - 65r
Here the plays and the prescriptions of the unarmored fencing of Master Liechtenauer are recapped and elaborated differently with shorter and simpler speech so as to grant greater and better understanding and comprehension than as it was written before in the rhymes and glosses, unclearly and incomprehensibly. Thus with this short conversation, that will be overcome.
First note and know that Liechtenauer's fencing lays entirely upon the five words: Before, After, Weak, Strong, Within. These are the foundation, the core and fundamentals of all fencing. And however much one is able to fence, if he doesn't know about the fundamentals, he will often be shamed by his art. And these same words were often explained before. At that moment, they were just getting at someone being in constant motion and to not celebrate nor idle so that the opponent cannot come to blows. Because before and after signify 'forestrike' and 'afterstrike' as was often written before.
And this gets to that which is called 'start and finish', 'beginning and end'. Because a good, earnest fencer fences with someone such that he will slay them with his art and not become struck and this cannot be done without 'beginning and end'. If he will subsequently begin well, then he will ensure that he always has and wins the forestrike and not the opponent. Because the one who strikes at their opponent, they are always surer and better prepared by reason that the opponent must take heed of and watch out for your strike.
When he subsequently executes and wins the forestrike, whether he hits or misses, he shall then immediately and without pause in that same rush, execute the afterstrike. That is, the second, the third, the fourth or fifth strikes, be it hew or stab in such a way that he is always in motion and executes one after another without pause so that he does not allow them to ever come to blows.
Liechtenauer says about this: I say to you truthfully, no one defends themselves without danger (and without harm). If you have understood this, he can hardly come to blows. Just do as was often written before and be in motion.
The word Within gets at the words before, after because when one executes the forestrike and the opponent wards it, 'within' and during the moment that opponent wards it and defends themselves, they can come to the afterstrike well.
It also gets at the words 'weak', 'strong'. These here signify 'the feeling' because when one is on the sword with their opponent, and feels whether they are strong or weak. Thereafter they then execute according to the often written lessons.
And the fundamentals will have these principles in all confrontations: Speed, audacity, prudence, astuteness and ingenuity, etc. And also measure in all things.
Now if he wins the forestrike, then he shall not do it so entirely forceful so that he cannot recover himself for the good of the afterstrike and shall also not step too wide so that he can recover himself for the good of another step forwards or backwards, if it bears itself.
As Liechtenauer spoke: Thereupon you hold, all things have length and measure. Therefore one shall not be hasty and shall think through ahead for themselves what they will execute and then shall bravely execute and driving that swiftly to the head or to the body and never to the sword.
Because if one quite wisely hews that at the head or at the body, that is, to the four openings; they nevertheless often comes to the sword without permission. If the opponent defends themselves such that he defends themselves with the sword, then in this way it comes to the sword.
Liechtenauer says about this:
- latin: dampno => damno => harm
- »Nicht« appears in the margin, but its proper placement is unclear.