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The following markverses Hans Talhoffer placed in his 1459 book, that is now part of  collection of the Royal Library in Copenhagen and filed under Thott 290 2°. In this article I explain the markverses on the pages 1r and 1v. You find the transcription in the following posting: Hans Talhoffers Fencing Poem, transcription and translation from Thott 290 2°

Zorn ort Der brust zu bort Wrath Point drilling to the breastA part of drilling is turning the tool you are drilling with. So if the Zorn Ort is drilling towards the breast it is done by turning and this is an aspect of winding. So winding is a part of the Zornhau Ort (Wrath Strike & Point) complex as we all know already.
zu baiden siten vber schiessen To both sides shooting overBut if drilling is not needed, shooting in is the easiest way to score with a thrust. The aim of the Wrath Strike is to bring the Ort into a killing position. The Wrath Strike targets the opponent mostly for this reason. A coincidently score with the strike is welcomed but unlikely. Talhoffer changes the rules of the Zornhau Ort complex by adding the Shooting-In to both sides and underlines the vertical relative positioning of the blades by the word “über”/”over”. This implies that if you are able to create an engagement of the blades where your blade lies over his (in the strong of his blade), always try to shoot the point at his face. This implies to modify your “oben/unten abnehmen” which are another thing you learn in the Zornhau Ort complex to provide fast thrusts if your strike fails to score.

 

Wecker wil stan Waking Strike wants to stay             This has nothing to do with the footwork. Footwork is to maintain the correct distance and relative position, so you always have to move or not. In the Waking Strike you create a binding and you keep it.
tr{e}ib[e]n str{e}ichen wil gan Chasing, Sweeping will go  In the Chasing and in the Sweeping you traverse the engagement and the sword does not stay in the binding.
In Der rosen Im rädlin The roses in the (small) wheelAs Joachim Meyer states: get through the roses in a circle to circumvent the displacement.
zuck Die treffen gi{b}t gu[o]te sinn Twitch the hits (contacts) gives good senseWell known from the Liechtenauer books. If you sword is just about to make a contact with his blade or his body (where you do not think it will do much harm) twitch back and attack another opening. Your opponent tries to protect his opening and by trying it, he will open another.
Krump how dem mu[e]l zu Crook Strike towards the mouthThis verse may have two meanings. The first and simple is the doubling of the Crook Strike. If you do a Crook Strike that ends up against the opponent’s blade, you can take the bouncing and the backlash to cut with the short edge in his mouth.
The second meaning is that if somebody is doing a Crook Strike at the strength of your blade (what is stupid enough but happens very often) you give way  (be soft) with your hands and lift your point towards his face by thrusting forward to his mouth, using his power at the rotating point of your weapon.

 

Im eyn flechten hab nit ru[o] In the Braiding-In do not restWinding is something that works as the balancing of the opponent’s pressure, without an opponent being weak and trying to be strong there is no winding. This is what is meant by telling us “do not be greedy in the Winding/War. But “Einflechten” is different, you do it on purpose. Is it you that presses on the opponent by trying constantly to stab him and always stay in the binding to keep the contact and control. For this you must be agile and brave. Do not give him the moment to twitch back and cut you. Never rest.

 

Im krieg so machstu griffen In the War you may grabIn the War you may also “Hend drücken”. If the opponent reacts of your thrusting attempt with a pressure of the sword to any side away from you, you are free to let the swords got and grab him with one hand or both. Any wrestling is allowed.
ochß pflug Darinn du nit wyche{n} Ox, Plough, in them yieldTalhoffer is talking about the “Sprechfenster” as a result of the displacement in Ox and Plough. He sees a Sprechfenster in an upper and lower variation. If you give way in these displacements you are opening a window over your bend arms to be stabbed immediately.

 

Mit dem Reiß ort schertz With the Tearing Point / Riding Point be follyThis line is quite obscure. The Reißen translated as Tearing is not connected with the Point usually but as the meaning is unclear, the translation is still feasible. On the other hand is Riding (as the most common form of traveling = Reisen) probable in connection with “folly”. This is compatible to the next line because with the crossed arms in the Barrier Point you are not able to be agile as in the Riding Point. So the Riding Point could be the simple extracting of the arms in which you can Durchwechsel, Einschießen etc. You can provoke or feint with the Point riding from one opening to the other.

 

Im schra{n}ck ort hab ain hertz In the Barrier Point have a heartThe Barrier Point is usually a result from a Zwerch Hau (Cross Strike) to the left side of the opponent. It ends in crossed arms that are very stable against pressure from above or the side. This is done by Talhoffer against a strike from above and a thrust in the Long Point. That has to be done with bravery.

 

Im ysen {p}ort v[er]wend In the Iron Gate rotate/twistThe Iron Gate is in Talhoffers book a done with the point looking down, so the twisting of the Iron Guard brings the point up to the breast and face of the opponent and displaces a possible thrust of him.

 

ain biffler tu[e] fälen biß{t} behend A buffalo you chop if you are agileIf somebody is very strong, be weak and agile. This is as simple written down as it is hard to accomplish.

 

E komen nach reissen ist d[er] sitt Earlier coming, Thereafter Riding is customIf he is in the „Vor” and faster than you, then do Thereafter Riding, ride in the shadow of his strike to find the opening.
Schnellen vber louffen und den schnit Schnellen, Running Over and the cutThe verse contains three different techniques.- Schnellen and Zeckruhr are fast and mostly not lethal ways to draw blood or to provoke a displacement (which is the victim of Zucken).
– Running Over is based on the principle that the blade lying over the other has the longer reach because it has the smaller angle to the horizontal longest range.
– The cuts are delivered out of a binding and are part of the so called Wounder.

 

Daz ist ain gemaine lere That is the fundamental loreThe lore is for all kind of sword like objects the basic stuff you should know.
Daran Dich kere To this you turn          No explanation needed.
Daz tun{d} die wysen That is done by the wise       This could be translated as well with “That do they know”.
Die kunst kunden brysen Who praise announcing the artThe ones who survived could still praise this lore.
Wiltu Dich kunst fräwen If you want to be pleased with the artNo explanation needed.

 

So lern Die toplirten höwen So learn the Doubled StrikesIf you double a strike you do another strike that uses the power of the first one without any backswing. You use the bouncing or the backslash of the contact to produce a fast strike at the opponents face or arm (or any other opening) and cut. This is done with or without turning on the edge axis of the weapon. For the doubling of the strike it is of no meaning if you strike again with the same or the other edge of the weapon.

 

wer nach gaut slechten höwen Who follows simple strikesThe variation of the Liechtenauer verse has the word “slechten” added. It seems that Talhoffer had no problem if you follow complex strikes.  But if you walk in the same direction as your simple strike from above or below, you will get stabbed or beaten by the Doubled Strikes.

 

Der mag sich kunst wenig fröwen Will not be happy in the artNo explanation needed.

 

Auch so sind vier leger And there are four guardsThis is the same as Liechtenauer counts the guards.

 

Die soltu mercken eben Which you should keep in mindLiechtenauer told us, that there are four notable at all: Ochs, Pflug, Alber, vom Tage

 

tu[e] Dar In nit starck vallen Do not fall in them too strongTo fall in a guard means: to stand steady in a guard and await the attack. This is not recommended.

 

od[er] er laut darüber schallen Or he will bang loudly over themA guard is always broken with a strong strike, because of the physical facts that a force with a momentum is stronger than a force without a momentum.

 

wa{s] ma[n] {Dir} anbind[en] will {Dir} On what one wants to bind on youSome fencers love to seek the binding, they do not try to cut you in the first place but seek to get contact. By doing so, they neglect the necessity that only a strike brings the point in the position that is needed for a thrust. In seeking the bind, the point is often looking away from the target.

 

So wind die kurtz schnid für So wind the short edge in frontBy winding the short edge in front you lift any binding, that is not exactly targeted at you, so that the point is up in the air or is pointing to the side. From this position you can cut thrust or strike.

 

Wiltu Daz Dirß fechten glück If you want to succeed in fencingNo explanation needed.

 

biß{t} frisch v[er]halt nit lang Die stück Be fresh do not restrain long in piecesDo something unexpected, do not follow a given procedure or dance.

 

Darzu[o] hypschlich lachen In addition a handsome laughBe self-confident or show some.

 

und Die ernstlichen machen But wholeheartedly actBe fully concentrated.

 

Daz tr[u]w im Schwert That do in the swordNo explanation needed.

 

Die Der talhofer lert As Talhoffer teachesNo explanation needed.

 

Im Schwert soltu nyeman tr[u]wen noch geloub[e]n In the sword nobody you should trust or believe The only thing that you can rely on is you.

 

So Rint Dir Daz blut nit vber die ougen [etc] So no blood runs over your eyesNo explanation needed.

 


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Note: This is a not proofread, uncorrected version. My first draft. If you have any recommendations, corrections, or annotations that will improve the content on this page, please help me by commenting.

Remarks: the translation of “Zucken” to “twitching” is not exactly matching. It is a small backward or forward movement with the blade. There is no perfect translation to that word. On one hand it means “withdrawing” the blade a bit, on the other hand it means to threaten with the weapon. 

Transcription Rules

The transcription is created to make the text readable. So the abbreviations and errors are resolved and marked:

[ ] Square Brackets: resolved abbreviation.
{ } Curved Brackets: added missing or corrected words or letters

See the Glossary of translated terms for more information.

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