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Chapter 11

How one shall fence to the four openings

Goliath:

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.

Analysis

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

Analysis

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.

Another

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.

Talhoffer:

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.

Meyer:

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:

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).

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.