Fundamentals Course Syllabus

Liberty Sword CLub’s Fundamentals course is designed to give students a solid grounding in movement and technique, as well as an introduction to the tactical reasoning used in the German fencing system that we train here. 

Week 1:

Week One begins with an overview of the context of the Kunst des Fechtens of Johannes Liechtenauer, its context, an intruduction to the sword, and an introduction to the proprioceptive systems that underlie movement with the sword. We will get familiar with and become conscious of scapular engagement, open hips, centering, and maintaining straight wrists through a brief exploration of grip.

We will connect this to the thrust (schiessen: “shooting”), and apply it to the practice of subjecting our opponent’s blade. This will teach us the position, Langort (Long-Point)

We will also learn to use passing steps

Week 2: 

Having learned the basic ideas of subjection, we will “shorten” these positions and explore what it means when, from here, the sword is closer to the body. This will teach us the positions Ochs (Ox) and Pflug (Plow)

Using our thrusting mechanics from Week One, we will learn to shoot from this expanded range of motion and practice transitioning between and attacking from Ochs and Pflug.

For footwork, we will learn shuffle steps

Week 3:

In Week Three, we will begin to connect our understanding of movement to Oberhaw (Over-hew). This will teach us the first (high) iteration of another guard, Vom Tag (From The Falcon’s Perch. Most translations call this “Fron The Roof” or “From The Day”). In doing so, we will learn the moving parts that work together to make a cut happen with the sword. In the process, we will also find Liechtenauer’s fourth main position, Alber (Translation unclear; Normally translated as “Fool” or “Poplar Tree”)

For footwork, we will learn springen (springing)

Week 4:

Continuing from our study on Oberhaw, we will lower the sword to the “low” variant of Vom Tag and use all of the footwork we’ve so far learned to expand on our practice with Oberhaw

We will also learn the difference between cutting “short” and cutting “long,” as well as explore this cut from other positions. What does it take to give an oberhaw from Ochs? Langort? Alber? Pflug?

For footwork, we will learn Gather-Steps

Week 5: 

In this class on the last of our offensive actions, we will learn unterhaw (under-hew). This will expand on our understanding of Alber as we change its angle to allow us to make this new cut.

Like in the previous class, we will also explore how to make this cut from any of the positions we’ve already learned. 

Week 6:

***Week Six will be our first class that involves blade contact between students. It is requested that each student acquire a fencing mask. If this is not feasible for financial reasons, please reach out and a loaner mask will be arranged.***

Week Six will begin with Sterck (strong; hard; driving forth; unyielding) and learn our first basic “hard” parry.

We will learn about Liechtenauer’s first piece of fencing advice to us:

Haw drein und hurrt dar

Rausch hin, trifft, oder la farn’

In a nutshell, this is “Get in, do what you can, get out.”

And will learn to apply this to our fencing. 

We will discuss what sparring is, what it means to our practice, and how to get the most out of your sparring time.

The last segment of the class will consist of some sparring bouts with the instructor.

Week 7:

This class will be all about Schwach (soft, weak, yielding, evading). This class will be similar to Week 6, but with “soft” parries

Week 8:

In this last class of the Fundamentals course, we will focus on falling. We’ll go through a series of exercises designed to get us used to falling  and how to do so in a way that won’t injure us. Ringen (wrestling) is a big part of the art, and we focus exclusively on wrestling approximately one class per month 

***NOTE: Monthly ringen class is currently suspended due to COVID-19. We will, however, still be doing falling drills in our warmups.***