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Chapter 11

How one shall fence to the four openings


Four are the cuts, with two below and two above

Know the four cuts, the first being the two above to know to drive against the fencer that would slash well over from the displacement or from the bind of the sword to the other side with the thwart or similar. To break this, when he binds on your sword to your left side and soon slashes with it around again with the left foot on his right side, then drop with the long edge above over both his arms and punch the edge away from you. This you should always drive to both sides when he slashes around or strikes off the sword from the displacement.

Now you shall know

That the plough on both sides comprises the lower two hangings, when you stand therein or will fence from it, thus you shall drive four windings from the left and right sides with all your drives, as was done from the upper hangings, to make the windings eight. Moreover, especially mark as often as you wind to think in each winding of the strike, the stab and the cut. Thus twenty-four elements come out of the eight windings, you shall find how you drive these twenty-four elements written before in the analyses.

Here listen very well

That you don't want to drive the eight windings right, it is then with striding from both sides and above all testing not more than the two forces that are there when he binds on your sword, if he is weak or hard in his drive. First when you have found this then wind and work to the four openings as was written before, and know that all fencers who wind on the sword and do not know to feel, they will be hit by winding on the sword. Onward thus, be diligent that you mark well the feeling and the words Just As from these two things comes all the arts of fencing.

Of the four Openings

Know four openings, roam, thus you hit wisely, on all drives be twofold as he is wary.


If one wants to be a master of the sword, he should know how to artfully break the four openings, and then he will fence properly and wisely. The first opening is the right side, the second the left, both above the belt, the other two are on the left and right side, both under the belt. One should seek the openings by driving on to two from the pre-fencing by following after and shooting with the long point. The second time one should seek with the eight windings, when one binds from one to another on the sword, this you should also understand when you come to him in pre-fencing that you should always drive to all as best one can with a strike or a stab into the four openings and pay no attention to what he drives or fences against you. Thus you will swing to your opponent so that he must displace and, when he has displaced, then seek quickly for the next opening by winding in the displacement on the sword, and thus always roam to his openings and fence not to his sword, in this part you will thus achieve placement to the four ends, stay there and therewith end the lesson.

How one shall break the four openings

If you will reckon to break the four openings, double above, transform below right. I say to you be aware onward, you shoot no man without driving, if you've reached, make a close hit, he won't advance


When you have struck a first, if you then reckon to wind artfully to his four openings, that he must let you strike as you please, then drive a double against the strong of his sword and then transform when he is weak at the sword, thus I say onward be aware that he won't be able to shoot in the before as he wants, and thereby not come to strike.

How you shall drive the Doubling to both sides

Mark when he strikes high to you from his right shoulder, then also strike similarly strong and high from your right to his head, if he displaces and stays strong on the sword, then drive on Just Then with your arms and thrust your sword's pommel under your right arm with your left hand, and with crossed arms strike the long edge behind his sword's blade onto his head.


If he strikes high to your head with the long edge from his left shoulder, then do the same, onward if he then stays strong on the sword, then drive your arms quickly and strike with the short edge behind his sword's blade to his head

This is a meaningful lesson in the hanging and the winding of the sword, which you shall raise and judge so that you can nimbly lead and thus break against one's opponent fencer's elements rightly, driving against him artfully. The hangings are four, the Ox above on both sides, these are the upper two hangings, and the plough below on both sides, these are the lower two hangings. From the four hangings you shall bring eight windings, four from the Ox and four from the Plough, and these same eight windings should you go on, thus consider and judge that you shall drive the three wisdoms from every winding, that is one strike, one stab, one cut.

How one shall drive the four windings from the two upper hangings that is the Ox from both sides.

 How you drive the first two windings from the Ox only on the right side is thus:

When you come to him in pre-fencing, then stand with the left foot forward and hold your sword before your head to your right side in the Ox. If he strikes one high to you from his right side, then wind the short edge on his sword to your left side in his strike into the Ox and stab him one high to the face, that is one winding. If he then displaces the stab with strength and forces your sword to the side, then stay on the sword and wind again to your right side into the Ox and stab him high to the face. These are the two windings on the sword from the one high hanging on the right side.

Following are the other two windings from the Ox, on the left side, thus:

When you come to him with pre-fencing then stand in the guard of the Ox on the left side, if he strikes one high to you from his left side then wind against his strike with the long edge to your right side on his sword and stab him one high to his face, this is one winding. If he displaces the stab and punches the sword to the side, then stay on the sword and wind the long edge to your left side into the Ox on his sword and stab him one high to the face. These are the four windings from the two upper hangings on the left and right side.


Tafel 14

The two lower openings.

These two fencers both seem to have twitched to the other side of the bind while stepping forward. Now both are aiming for the lower openings in a close bind.



While up until now, artful reader, my attentive clarification of all serviceable elements of sword fighting, such that each would be seriously raised by diligent practice, will be sufficient guide to understand all parts set after here, therefore I will now go forward to show, in one Stance after another, how one will behave therein and also how all fencing from it shall be. While forward you will come to judge all your strikes and actions from or against Man's four divisions, following on you must similarly be prepared to address the four openings, necessary to go on to the onset of Fencing from the stances. That I properly report on this part, I will now set out and give the following example:

In the pre-fencing when you come near to your opponent, then strike out in front of him from your right, through his face one time, twice, thrice, so that in the third strike before him (see that you keep your left foot forward) come into the long point, from there let the forward part of your blade flow off to your left, and just then with your blade level and sinking below you, pull back under it with your grip above you, step and strike first from your right against his left ear, as soon as the strike hits on, then quickly twitch to fly off again, and strike the second from below diagonally against his right arm, however in this strike keep your cross high over your head, and step to him with your left foot a little to his right together with your strike from below, and hit on with this as well, should you nimbly move your sword over you to your right, and thus from your right strike to his lower left opening, as the right is pulled or hit then twitch off again to over your head, and strike the fourth seriously against his right ear, from then traverse over and pull out. The first four Strikes shall be nimble and quick from one opening to another for your steps to be successful.

However while in the onset there are three ways for your Sword or sword's blade to hit and move, firstly with the Long edge as was already taught, then with the Short, and lastly with the flat, therefore observe that you can also slash handily to all four openings with the short edge as well as you did before with the long, then still at the last with the flat, and similarly to what was shown before now with the half edge, fly freely from one opening to another, namely with the inwinding flat to the right, and slash with the outwinding (that is with level or even flat to his left).

However if you would become practiced in this, then you shall always change with the first strike, and when you first strike to his upper left opening, and then the second is to his lower right opening, and then further as taught above (as is shown by the outer digits in the printed figure), then you shall again strike first to his lower left, then a second to his upper right, and then further as the second set of digits in the previous figure show. The next strike is first struck to his upper right then to his lower left, then further as shown by the third set. The last strike is first struck to his right, then further as is shown by the inner digits, and first learn this as instructed with the long then with the half edge, then lastly with the flat as judged into the work. When you can do such, then follow ahead to the next part, namely that you must understand the four openings before the strikes just taught can be retained, or onward your sword's blade will be held off and you will be repulsed with better countering strikes, these are thus the two Main Elements of Fencing, the Origins from which all other elements flow forth, onward follows the third, a large element which is and is named the Practice. One comes to the Practice thus: when you can lead your strikes from the stances to all of Man's divisions, which in the First part of fencing must be taken in the Before thus into the work, and yet your opponent is the same, and is also nimble in the Second stage of displacing, working off or stopping you and your strikes, so that you cannot reach your chosen destination for your strikes, then we come thus to the Third part which is the Practice, which is the most cunning, and teach it as you did the strikes where you were aware, that while every point can be futile or pointless, twitch off closely and nimbly from there to strike again onward, or feint over to let it go off and then lead on to another opening. When he also displaces himself, then twitch off yourself as well, and thus let fly from one opening to another so long and much as you are able to reach to a hit. However, so that such lessons will be marked and understood , I will demonstrate with a few good examples so that my objective will be simply and distinctly taught, presented, and set out, with which the goodly Reader will sufficiently judge all secondary and ongoing elements, and thus can take understanding from it in the Middle work thus:

When you have struck as taught above in the Pre-Fencing, and have closed in the strike, then let the first and second hit on hard as above, then don't let the third hit on, but twitch nimbly then hit off again in a backward flight, so that the fourth can thus hit on quickly.

Note: hit the first and twitch the second and the third in a quick flight, and let the fourth hit, still likewise launch the first and second bites to the Openings, and indeed twitch them off again and then lead into the next target, in this disengagement you can and also should attack with the first, changing off to things taught before in the numbered lessons, namely that you now twitch and feint from this then to another, and meanwhile still have care and attention where he would engage your own openings, that you then soon be on his sword with a bind, from this twitching now move farther on to Flowing Off and Missing and the like. Thus when you would lead a strike to the man's now known sections, and yet then take care that he displaces such strikes, then don't twitch off again, but (in that he is unaware of your observance) then close by the same side miss to let it fully flow off on over and strike nimbly to another opening, being first on the outside right (what you led with). Example:

As you have rebounded through the offstriking to the strikes as was taught above, then step and strike high from your right against his left ear, as soon as he clears this, nimbly let your blade sink below you with the half edge near your left side, and then pull your pommel and grip above you, and nimbly strike to his right ear with the short edge, so that your hands become crossed in this strike.

Note: let the first hit hard against his left ear, nimbly let the second flow off missing near his right as instructed before, and hit deep to his left ear, thus onto it nimbly (whereas you hit the first hard unto him) as well, letting it flow off to both sides, and still attack on to the next target as it opens, all these diagonally and with crossed arms as was taught, also against each other single and double, judged in the work against your need and opportunity. Then farther, as was taught, drive the blade in the full work first with the long edge then with the short, and also with the flat, against his sides in full flight to the high and low openings.

In the first attack strike a long downstrike to his left ear, just as he glides then twitch both hands above you, so that your pommel will be under your right arm as you thrust through to him above you, and strike handily from below with the long edge to his left, just then step to him with your left foot behind your right and come through this strike to bring your grip high over your head. Onward again first strike an understrike with the long edge to his low opening while advancing your right foot, twitch handily near your right above you again, and strike the second from above also to his left while backstepping with your left behind your right as before, from which you will stand guarded behind your blade.

Note: twitch with a high strike from the right with the half edge to his left, but in the air cross over your hands and slash with the half edge to his left ear, as is shown by the top two figures in illustration C, twitch your hands again thus crosswise over you, and slash again with a traverse from below to his left ear, then again onward strike the traverse from below to his left with an advance step, twitch nimbly near your left above you, and thrust through in this off-twitch with your pommel under your right arm, and quickly again with crossed arms from your high right into his left, in this way slash with the flat below and above on the one side, that goes to both sides, and mark when you will slash to the lower right opening, which will be with the flat, long or short, then your hands will cross, but when you slash to his high right opening, then your hands will not always be crossed, from here mark the following example:

Thus in advancing shoot through before him and slash with the half edge from your left to his right ear, without crossing your hands, but with your pommel staying out toward your left, twitch nimbly overhead to your right, and crossing your hands over in the air, slash with crossed hands to his lower right opening from your left, in all moves keep your pommel full behind your blade, stepping double steps out to your right, thus you can both slash with the short and with the long edge, from below and above, near your right, as I taught you before, that you shall twitch and turn the strikes from one opening to another, thus you shall twitch and address both high and low openings on one side. Basically, when you drive a strike to his high openings, and notice that he does not strike, but your sword drives on to engage, see that you then not let your strike hit on, but lead your strike to his low opening, but where he does get under the strike, then drive your strike ahead against the strong of his blade. From this work grows winding at the Sword, namely when you have bound onto his sword from your right against his left, then stay hard on his blade, thrust your pommel through under your right arm unseen to him, stay thus forward on his sword, and then pull your pommel out again and wind your short edge out to his head. Thus you again find three edges and flat, namely the outwinding and inwinding long edge, also the outwinding and inwinding short edge, and similarly the inwinding and outwinding flat, all on both sides.

Thus you understand that the third part of fencing is nothing other than the right Practice, as was reported above, the first two Lead parts in fencing, which will be taught though Practice, where you change at every opportunity, namely in the first Lead Part with the stances and strikes, flowing off, changing through, flying off, and letting miss. That such strikes can be trapped with displacement and clearing, likewise in the second Lead Part, displacement, teach the Practice of how you displace, follow after him, cut, punch, etc. Therewith you will end the strikes that he sends to you, or at the least prevent them from reaching their intended destination. And that is the sum of all Practice, namely that you firstly engage your opposing fencer through the stances, with manly strikes and without damage to your target, by showing cunning and agile misleading as can be shown, and after you then engage him to break through with the obligatory or similar handwork, from which you either securely withdraw at your pleasure, or where he must retreat from you and you follow ahead after him. Since going forward such Practice will be needed and extended in many arts to be the same both in name and in fencing, as you found fully described before here in the handwork chapter, I will now drive further to describe fencing from the stances.

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