Technika: Schiller
Anton Kohutovič, 3 weeks ago

Long Point and Middle Positions

As mentioned in historical sources, Schiller is a handy technique for situations where your opponent stands in position with stretched arms against my chest or face; position called long point. There is one very easy and safe version of Schiller which (so easy it can even be applied in tournament:)) aims for hands. The second solutions is a bit more difficult and it hits the opponent into his chest, neck or face.

Unfortunately, we cannot find an exact description of long point position in earlier sources. The only mentions note that it has to aim your chest or face. GNM 3227a makes a strange association to Vom Tag (and there can be found some logic but not an implicit one) with no apparent connection to the later interpretation of this position. The other glossators mention the long point in chapter Sprechfenster. According to it: “Sprechfenster is also a guard that you may well stand in, and the guard that is called the long point is the noblest and the best ward with the sword. Who correctly fences therefrom can force the man that he must let you strike as you desire, and may himself not come to strikes and stabs before the point.” We can stand in this position and wait for Nach. (Although Wer noch get hewen der darf sich kunst kleyne frewen discourage this :)) Sprechfenster, in my opinion, is not a position alone but a complete tactical system of reactions to opponent stimuli. Something similar now a core teaching in modern sport fencing and I would consider Sprechfenster chapter to be on of most underrated texts in the Zettel.  

Mörck, ee wenn du mitt dem zůfechen zů nahent an jn kümst, So secze dinen lincken fůß vor vnd halt jm den ort auß gerächten [123r] armen lang gegen dem gesicht oder der brust. Hawt er denn dir oben nider zů dem kopffe So wind mitt dem schwert gegen sinen haw vnd stich im zů dem gesicht. Oder hawt er von oben nider oder von vnden auff dir zů dem schwert vnd will dier den ort wegk schlachen So wechsel durch vnd stich im zů der anderen sytten zů der blöß. Oder trifft er dir mitt dem haw dz schwert mitt störcke so lauß din schwert vmb schnappen. So triffest du in zů dem kopff. Laufft er dir ein So tryb die ringen oder den schnitt. 

For illustration purposes Langort from Joachim Meyer 1570, image A.

It’s not very easy to find an opening if your opponent holds his sword in the long point or any middle position. No body part can be hit by a direct attack safely. The opponent is can easily keep me out of the reach and all target are too far except his hands. Another advantage of the long point is, that it’s much harder to bind a blade in direct link position than to bind a blade at an angle when the weak part of the blade is exposed. In case of a bind, it’s very easy to disengage and do a durchweseln with an attack into opponents tempo.

On the other side, the long point has own disadvantages. If my opponent stays in long point I know exactly what’s his reach. He cannot extend his reach otherwise than by step or movement of his whole body because his arms are already extended. Therefore his attacking speed is limited by the speed of his step/lunge and as we already know steps are twice so slow than arms.

Schillhaw breaks plow position and most of the middle positions. (i.e. positions lower than long point but with  point against chest or head) There are 2 exceptions where I would be extremely cautious.

I found statical right plow a bit risky because it’s almost impossible to cover opponents shortened blade in the angle. Against such retracted plow (to his right hip) I prefer the Schiller analogy from the left side.

Similarly risky would be to cut Schiller against middle position where the point aims belly or lower when the blade makes a link at waist levels. In this situation, it is not possible to avoid durchwechselns or thrust into the hands. Point is too low to be controlled by Schiller. I would advise not to use Schiller unless you provoke the opponent to lift his point upwards or avoid Schiller at all.

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