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Chapter 5

Before, After, and Just as




Motion/movement [Motus], note that word

well, it is to the fencing a heart and a crown,

it is the very matter of fencing. All that it

contains and all the fundamentals will be

mentioned by name and made well understood

hereafter. When you fence with another,

then in this you are well taught, and

remain fast in movement, and do not tarry

when he starts to fence with you.

Then make without limit and end that

which is skillfull. Be quick and steady

without faltering, at once so that he cannot

strike. That is fortunate and he will be hurt,

when he cannot strike away, as the other

cannot part without being beaten. And after

the teaching that is here described, I say

truly, that the other cannot defend without

danger. If you have understood this he

will not come to strikes. Here note that

constant motion [Frequens motus] holds

the beginning, middle and the end of all

fencing according to this art and teaching.

That is you should quickly do the beginning,

the middle and the end without delay

and without any hindrances from the opponent

and not letting him strike at you.

That concept comes from the two words

before [Vor] and after [Nach], that is the

first strike [Vorschlag] and the after strike

[Nachschlag], in the middle



Also note and know what he says here, before

[Vor], after [Nach], the two things do,

he names the five words; Before [Vor], After

[Nach], Weak [Weich], Strong [Hart], in

that instant/just as [Indes]. On these words

hinge the whole art of Liechtenauer, and

they are the foundation and cornerstone

of all fencing on foot or on horseback, in

armour [Harnusche] or without [Blos]. Regardless

if you hit or miss, as Liechtenauer

says, strike and rush in and then follow no

matter if you hit or miss. The word before

[Vor] means that a good fencer will always

win the first strike [Vorschlag]. When you

step or leap in to close with the opponent

as soon as you see that you can reach him

with step or leap, then you shall close with

strikes to the openings [Blossen] and fence

at the head or the body without any fear

at all as you will surely win against him.

Therefore when you win the first strike

[Vorschlag] then it is no matter if it is good

or painful for the opponent, and you will

also be sure in your steps and should do

them well measured neither too long nor

too short. When you now do the first strike

[Vorschlag] if you hit then follow up the

hit quickly,



but if the other defends against the first

strike [Vorschlag] whether it was a strike

or a thrust and turns it away and leads

with his sword, then you shall remain on

the sword if you were deflected from the

opening and feel if the opponent is hard

[Hart] or soft [Weich] and strong [Stark]

or weak [Swach] on the sword. And when

you notice this, then be hard or soft against

the opponent as he defends himself. And

then in an instant [Indes] should you do the

after strike [Nachschlag] before the opponent

has a chance to come to blows, that is

as soon as the opponent defends against the

first strike [Vorschlag] as you do that, attack

other openings [Blossen] with other techniques

speedily. And always be in motion,

this will force the opponent to be on the

defence and not be able to come to blows

himself. For he who defends against strikes

is always in greater danger than the one

who strikes, since he must either defend

or allow himself to be hit if he is to have a

chance to strike a blow himself. That is why

Liechtenauer says; “I say truthfully, no man

can defend without danger”. If you have

understood this he will not come to blows,

and you already know the five words that

this art consists of. Therefore in all swordplay

someone who strikes will often defeat a

Master if he is bold and gain the first strike

[Vorschlag] according to this teaching.



With the word before [Vor] as has been told

before, he [Liechtenauer] means that you

with a good first strike [Vorschlag] shall

close in without fear or hesitation and strike

at the openings [Blossen], to the head and

to the body, regardless whether you hit or

miss you will confuse the opponent and put

fear into him, so that the he does not know

what to do against you. Then before the opponent

can gather himself and come back,

you shall do the after strike [Nachschlag]

so that he will have to defend yet again and

not be able to strike himself. Thus when

you strike the first strike [Vorschlag] and

the opponent defends against this, in the

defence you will always be first to reach the

after strike [Nachschlag] before the opponent.

As soon as you can you should go with

the pommel to the head or come in with

the cross strike [Zwerchhaw] that is always

good to do, or you can throw the sword

forward crosswise in and by that enter into

other techniques. You can also initiate other

good moves since the opponent will not

be able to strike. You shall hear how you

do one thing from another so that the opponent

cannot come at you without being

struck, if you act according to this teaching.

You shall do with one mind and one

strike the first strike [Vorschlag] and the

after strike [Nachschlag] quickly one after

the other, and when it happens that the opponent

defends against the strike, then he

will do this with his sword and you will be

on his sword. And when the opponent is

slow and late then you can remain on his

sword and right away turn [Wind] and note

and feel [Fulen] if the other gathers himself

in order to move away or not. If he moves

off when you have come on the sword in

front of one another and extend the points

at one another to the openings [Blossen],

then you shall –before the opponent has

time to gather himself in order to strike or




follow him with the point and do a good

thrust to the chest or something like that

as quickly and directly as you can. That is

you should not let him escape unharmed

from the sword. Since you know at once

that you have a shorter way to the opponent

since you already have your point on the

[his] sword, as close and as short as possible.

Then if you move away to do another strike

or thrust and you do a wide movement, then

the opponent will always be able to beat you

to the [Nachschlag] with a strike or thrust,

then he can hit you with the first strike

[Vorschlag]. And this is what Liechtenauer

means with the word [Nach]. When you

have done the first strike [Vorschlag] then

you shall without any delay do the [Nachschlag]

and you should also stay in motion

and do one thing after another. If the first

[attack] does not work then the second, the

third or the fourth will hit, and you shall

not let the opponent come to blows. Since

no one has greater advantage than he who

fights according to the teaching of the five

words. But if it is so that the opponent remains

on the sword after his defence and is

on the sword, and it has occurred that you

remain with him on the sword and he has

not done the [Nachschlag] then you shall

turn [Wind] and remain with him on the

sword. And you shall notice straight away

if the opponent is weak [Swach] or strong

[Stark]. If it is so that you feel and notice

that the opponent is strong [Stark] and hard

[Herte] and firm [Veste] on the sword and

intends to push your sword away, then you

shall be weak [Swach] and yielding [Weich]

and give way to his strength and let the opponent

push his sword to the side and go

with this. You shall then leave his sword

quickly and speedily and



move away and go at his openings [Blossen]

to the head and the body with strikes

and thrusts or with cuts, in the simplest and

shortest way that you can.


Note: Above all other things, you must understand the principles of "before" (Vor) and "after" (Nach), because the entire art of fencing is based upon it. "Before" means, pre-empting him with a blow or a thrust against an opening before he can hit you, so he must defend/displace (Versetzen). So, be flexible in your defense and aim with your sword at one opening after the other, so he cannot get through with his own techniques. But, if he rushes in, start wrestling.

"After" means: If you do not succeed with the "before", wait for the "after". These are the defenses against all techniques he uses against you. So, if you have to displace him, make the displacement ‘simultaneously" (Indes) and from the bind, strike immediately at his nearest opening. So you win the "before" and he remains in the "after". Also, you should –during the "before" and "after" –notice ‘simultaneously" (Indes) how you can "work" against the strong or the weak of his sword.


The "Fühlen" ("feeling") and the word "Indes" ("while" or "during")

You shall learn and understand both the word "Fühlen" and the word "Indes", because these two belong together and together they account for the greatest art and skill in fencing. Therefore remember: if one binds against the others sword, you shall notice –right in the moment when the blades make contact- whether he has bound hard or soft. Moreover, as soon as you have noticed this, remember the word "Indes": this means that you should attack the next opening immediately and nimbly, hard or soft. Therefore, he will be defeated before he knows it himself.

Likewise, you shall remember the word "Indes" during all binds at the sword, because "Indes" dupliert" and "Indes" mutiert, "Indes" rushes through and "Indes" takes the 'Schnitt', "Indes" wrestles and "Indes" disarms him, "Indes" –in the art of fencing- does, what your heart desires.

"Indes" is a sharp word, which cuts all fencers, that don't know anything about it. Moreover, "Indes is the key, which unlocks the art of fencing



Before and After, the two things, all arts are from one spring. Weak and Strong, "Just As" these words do mark, thus you will learn with Art work and defense, know well that no fencing is never learned


You should first of all rightly undertake and understand two things, that is the Before and the After, and thereafter the weak and strong of the sword and then the words Just As. From here grows the whole foundation of all fencing arts. When you undertake and understand these things rightly and not forget the words Just As in all parts, you will drive. Thus will you be a good master of the sword and can learn nobly and deeply, and with what proper art of the sword one would choose to best fight and in earnest.

What the Before is

That is that you shall always come before, be it with the strike or with the stab, as when you come to him with a strike or otherwise so that he must displace you, Just Then work ahead nimbly with the sword in the displacement or else with other parts, that he can come to no work.

What the After is

Is to break all parts again, and strike to drive the opponent from you, And to take this on even as he comes with the strike, so you must displace. Just then nimbly work to the next opening and thus break his Before with your After.

Of the Weak and Strong of the Sword Weak and Strong are taken thus, on the sword from the hilt to the middle of the blade, this is the strong of the sword, and farther past the middle to the point is the weak, and how you shall work with the weak and strong of the sword shall be clarified afterward.

Teach the feeling. The words "Just As" cut sharply.

When you come to him in pre-fencing and one or another has bound on the sword, then you should, just as the swords glide together, feel by hand if he has bound soft or hard and, as soon as you have determined this, then think of the words "Just As" in that by them you will find how you will work nimbly on the sword so that he is hit even as he would be wary.

Mark that feeling and the words Just As are one thing and one is not taken without the other when you bind on his sword. Thus take full to hand the words Just As, if he is soft or hard and when you have felt this then you must yet work against the soft and against the hard at the sword. Thus when both are not one thing, the words Just As are foremost of all elements and use these thus: Just As doubles, Just As transforms, Just As changes through, Just As charges through, Just As gains the cut, Just as gains the grapple, Just As takes the sword, Just As does what your heart desires, Just As is a sharp expression that cuts all masters of the sword, the words are not attained without knowing, this is the key to the art



Thus because of this pay attention in all three parts to all things, namely in pre-fencing or the onset, in the middle or handwork, and following thereafter in withdrawing, to the Before, Same, After, and Just As, which if not heeded will be of no help in fencing.

The Before is so named as you first take on the opponent with your strikes, and then drive forward that he cannot come to his intended target, so you must displace with care, as he wants to shoot before you.

The same is when both you and your opponent bring forth your strikes at the same time, which is also a part of the expression "Just As".

The After is, however, when you withdraw from your opponent as was outlined above, where you cannot accomplish your objective, in that between Before and After a stand off changes and ends, so that soon your opponent and soon again you, become the same. Whichever is in the After, that is striving so that he always must displace, shall think of the words "Just As", and thereon not forget, that through them the Before will again be achieved, that he then can withdraw without damage, however he who does not pay attention to this, if he too soon undertakes to strive to you, will indeed never learn to fence well.


Just As

The expression "Just As" has much meaning in that its origin is from the Latin word

"Intus" and is taken into fencing as such, which is applied in the Winding and similar work, however that this seem not only thus, you must hear what follows.

The expression "Intus" and what it means I will let remain Latin, however the expression

"Indes" (Just As) is a good German expression and has in itself an important meaning to handy application, that one always and quickly take care, as in when you at first slash to the left, to then at the same time observe the opening to the right, then thirdly on to make sure that you attain the observed opening, where or with what actions you want to come unto it, that you don't then make openings for your opponent and take damage. Thus retain the meaning of "Just As" so that you observe sharply, which can be much observing and undertaking, also seek to learn faking to your opponent sufficiently, since he needs to have senses in his part, and similarly what Openings you will bring, and where you will be open. Then in all these things to which the expression "Just As" have meaning, stands the whole art of fencing (as Liechtenauer said) and where you don't undertake such to carefully and securely drive all strikes, will you advance lightly to your damage, as then all fencers will observe, which one thus overpowers and (as one said) tops out and nullifies as wanted.


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