It seems clear that the techniques are an expression of those principles, and I see no reason to go past them.Roger Norling wrote:Reading the manuscripts I am mostly interested in understanding the principles and how they were "embodied" and applied through techniques. I respect your stance here, but I myself see no problem in practicing with a broader picture in mind, since I believe that the principles of combat are the most important, not necessarily the specific techniques, although they of course are vital in combat.
Those who make such arguments do so without evidence to support their belief, and without evidence, their arguments have no weight whatsoever.Focusing only on the techniques described in the manuscripts can just as well give us a very false picture of how real combat was performed during the Middle ages. Some argue that the longsword was only used in halfsword against armour, and some argue that all the regular longsword techniques were used alongside of the halfsword techniques and there are numerous other topics like this.
What do we call that? Bad technique contrary to the instruction of the masters. A bad technique that lands through luck isn't an example of a good technique, it's an example of luck or of bad technique on the part of the victim.Also, in free play there are many cuts and techniques that happen naturally but really aren't specified in fechtbuchen. A cut inbetween a zornhau and a mittelhau, for instance. What do we call that? A cut inbetween a schielhau and a zwerhau?
Since we can't accurately experiment with such ideas I would argue that we have no basis for these beliefs. How can we know which longsword techniques work better against sword and shield when the subject isn't ever discussed by the only people who can truly know? Our experiments aren't accurate enough to tell us anything meaningful. At best, we can only hope to make our experiments accurate enough to understand the principles we have been expressly given.Personally, I believe that we need to use your understanding of fighting principles and techniques and constantly adapt to the situation we are facing; types of armour and weapons, the environment, physical and mental characteristics of our opponent etc. Some longsword techniques work better against a shield and sword, some against a spear etc. I believe this was also the case when this was done "for real".
I see mistakes arising from this kind of thought process all the time. For example, one widely-read author talks about how to make a sword cut work better so that it can be used to cut through armor. That's pure nonsense, swords *didn't* cut through armor, so his attempts to develop a style of swordsmanship well suited for doing so are *inherently* flawed. There are just too many variables for us to think we can recreate real combat well enough to find new truths, so we should stick to recreating what the experts told us.
I think there are some things that are unclear, but most answers at this level are quite easy: We do what we can document because that's all we're justified in doing. I recognize, however, that people don't want to do this, so I won't continue to press the point.It is an interesting discussion, really and no easy answers...