The understanding of the terms “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” in the teaching of Johannes Liechtenauer is widely based on the interpretations done in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The early reception of the texts had been flavored by the modern understanding of 16th century fightbooks like those of Joachim Meyer. While Joachim Meyer himself never mentioned both terms in his books, it is assumed and interpreted, that he thought of the “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” if he talks about the tactics especially in “Zufechten”. This creates a chain reaction of “misunderstanding” because of Meyer’s different perception of the underlying terms “Vor”, “Nach”, and “Indes” in comparison to their original medieval meaning. But what seems logical and good caused is in fact a misreading of the chaotic flood of relative clauses, unresolved medieval words, and unstructured text in the original manuscript.
In this article I will provide a deep analysis of the concept of Vorschlag and Nachschlag, based on correct transcription and translation. It will put a light of the idea of time and measure connected with those terms by reading the book paragraph by paragraph. Furthermore I will explain that the concept of “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” is incomplete without the term “zu Hand”. If you want to skip that all, scroll down to the summary, but you will miss a lot of good stuff.
The origin of the concept
The manuscript we talk about here is identified by 3227a, Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nuremberg, Germany, commonly known as the Döbringer fightbook. The terms “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” happen to be at this manuscript only, they are singletons even if they appear at the folios 13v – 17v, the folios 20r-21r, the folio 32r, the folios 38r-38v, and the folios 64r-64v with some useful context. Further placement of the term “Vorschlag” on the folios 27v, 29v, and 52v refer to the terms without adding further information.
The naming of the term “Vorschlag” on the folio 52v is part of the teaching of the “other masters” namely Hans Döbringer, Jobs von der Nissen, and Nicklass Preußen. If we compare the teaching of the “other masters” which are found in the Nuremberg 3227a and in the fencing book in the R. L. Scott Collection of the Glasgow Museums identified as MS E.1939.65.341, we find that the part with the both terms had not been copied to the book. It is legit to assume that both books had similar sources and that the author of the Nuremberg book added (like he did often) his own glosses and thoughts to the original writings while copying.
The logical conclusion is here, that the terms “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” are either inventions of the author of the Nuremberg manuscript or those terms belonged to a very close community of fencers. Deducing the “true meaning” of such terms, so rarely used in only one manuscript is an impossible task. There is not enough data for it. There is no chance to fully understand the intention of the author using those words.
The fact that we cannot fully understand the terms is met with wide ignorance in the community of historical martial arts. One must not seek far to see the excuse for rushing into a fight nearly uncontrolled by willingly misunderstanding those lines. But this is not a rant about bad fighting habits but an informational article about the terms. So how could we come to a better understanding of the meaning? We first must try to understand the paragraphs in the manuscript. I’m using an edited transcription of Dierk Hagedorn of the manuscript for this difficult task.
As I mentioned before the original has a very chaotic chain of relative clauses, that is not easy resolved because punctuation wasn’t invented yet and relative clauses and relations to other parts of sentences had not been done the same way as we do today. Furthermore words had different meanings and some words are lost today and we have to look them up. Looking up the terms itself is the first step to do here.
The meaning of the terms in everyday use in medieval times
In the dictionary Deutsche Wörterbuch by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm we find several explanations of the term “Vorschlag” (Bd. 26, Sp. 1470 bis 1477) and “Nachschlag” (Bd. 13, Sp. 112 bis 115). Some are fast dismissed like a proposition made by someone. Another meaning is in regard of fighting and determins the “Vorschlag” as an advantage for the attacker (“vorteil des angreifers”) as being something won that creates a negative effect on the one being attacked.
But one meaning of the “Vorschlag” which was called by the authors in the 19th century as the “original meaning” is more interesting. The authors provided us with some examples.
First sample found here is explained by the work of a smith hitting with the hammer, some strong strikes land on the hot iron, and lighter ones land on the anvil. If you asks smiths why they do so, they explain it as follows: This is done in two situations. First if the smith wants to stay in rhythm and strikes blank while turning the iron. The second situation is that the smith works together with one ore more assistants using the so called “Vorschlaghammer” and the smith signals the assistants with a light hammer on the anvil to go on hitting the iron in a certain rythm. So the assistants with the “Vorschlaghammer” hit once or twice and than the smith signals his “turn” in which he in fact may move (turn) the iron. This way of cooperation is part of our everyday language.
Another sample very similar to the latter situation is the flailing of corn, in which one worker does the “Vorschlag” and all the others follow with the “Nachschlag” to create a clear rhythm in which only the corn is hit and not a worker.
So the general understanding of “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” was that there are at least two participants communicating by hitting something. One creates the first part of th rhythm by doing the “Vorschlag” and the other one is doing the “Nachschlag” as an answer.
In the following chapters I will discuss the certain parts in which the terms are used to come to a better understanding, even if the true understanding will probably not found even by such a deep analysis.
In the folios 13v – 17v the author names the term “Vorschlag” four times and the term “Nachschlag” one time. The first naming of the “Vorschlag” is reflexive to what had been written in the paragraph before, but at the same time promises that the term will be explained later on.
14v “wen der vorslag / eyn gros vorteil ist / of deme vechten / als du es als hernoch wirst hören yn dem texte /”
14v “Since the Vorschlag is a great advantage in fencing, as you will hear later on in the text”.
The paragraph before is about motions done without any use in fencing. It is about being effective. The author names especially those fencers who do a few strikes to various directions before they do the real strike with the intention to attack (“hindersich / ader neben sich”, “ader vil hewe / das mit eyme möchte enden / mit deme her sich zümet vnd last”). The author names the main problem that comes with such behavior: the fencer may miss to protect himself because of bad timing (” das her dy schantcze vorsleft”). To do it right, he recommends to do one true strike properly done in speed and intention to the nearest available target (opening) instead of doing four or six attempts to targets harder easier to defend by the opponent.
something that can be won
16r “vnd sal io den vorslag gewynnen”
16r “and he shall really try to win the Vorschlag”
This is the first time that the author introduces the Vorschlag as something that can be won. And if it is something that can be won, it can be lost as well. The small paragraph is not explaining the Vorschlag, but again has the promise in it, that it is explained later on in the common teaching of the sword (“als du bas hernoch wirst hören yn der gemeynen lere”).
The small paragraph itself is about distance and timing in a situation in which the opponent is approaching. The author recommends that if the opponent gets near and may think of himself that next he will be in the distance to attack the fencer, the fencer should not hesitate but step in and strike to an opening at the opponent. Here we meet the term “hurten” which created some trouble in translation. The word “hurten” stems from the tournament, it’s the expression for stepping in and doing a thrust or cut (“hurten unde stôʒen, Albr. 9,35; hurten und slahen, Bit. 9134.”; Lexer dictionary). The word “hurry” has something to do with this term in the original meaning, but the today meaning is not the same. In the term of fighting and jousting it is doing the step into hitting measure before the opponent does it. The modern perception created a race for being the fastest, but this is not intended here. It is a tactical advice of keeping the control of the distance and not letting the opponent control time and distance. Thus the author does not care if the strike done hereby hits or not (“her treffe ader vele”). As long as the strike creates a safety distance and therefore let the fencer still be in control of the distance, the deed is done and the “Vorschlag” (whatever it is) can be won.
a sign of being right
16v “her tut was her sal / wen her künlich dar hort vnd rawscht / mit dem vorslage / als man das hernach oft wirt horen /”
16v “He does what is right to do, because he steps in and charges with the Vorschlag (of which you will hear often later on)”
This paragraph is commonly completely misunderstood in modern reception as an advice for fencing. It could not be farther away from the truth. Again we have the promise here, that the “Vorschlag” will be explained later on. Again we may see a result of the “Vorschlag” but still we don’t know what it is. The context of the paragraph is a judicial duel or a similar situation in which the outcome is in the hand of god. The author advices to apply a fighting technique in such situation that is simple, right and just (nothing tricky and complicated). To take such right thing in the mind and do it without fear and in time. There are two reasons for such advice. The first one is that such fight must be done with the aid of God. Therefore any tricky things are unjust and what is rightly done will not fail here. The second reason is not in the text but deducible from the context. Even if the fighter loses the fight and dies, his soul depends on his doings. He will have received the blessings before the fight and therefore will be free of his former sins, but if he is unjust in the fight, his soul will be dammed. Furthermore his name and his family will suffer from bad behavior if he loses the fight. So being right and fighting rightly is linked in such situation directly. The usage of the Vorschlag seems to be something that is a sign of acting rightfully and enables the fencer to win the fight.
Linked to the two Opposites “Vor” and “Nach”
17v ” wen of das gent dy czwey wörter / vor / noch / das ist / vorslag vnd nochslag / Inmediate / in una hora / quasi unum post in aliquam sine aliquo medio”
17v „Since this is based on the two words VOR / NACH, this is the Vorschlag and Nachschlag. Immediate, in one time, practically one after the other without anything inbetween”
This sentence is one of the most difficult to transcribe in the whole manuscript. The latin part is nearly unreadable and uses abbreviations heavily. Even with the handbooks at hand it took me three years looking at it again and again to get it right in 2010. But still it is questionable especially the “aliquam“ has some question mark on it (what would not change the meaning). So while we find the “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” together in the paragraph, we find them linked to the concept of “Vor” and “Nach” as the basis of the concept of Vor- and Nachschlag. It is a derivation or a usage of the concept founded in the two words Vor and Nach. But they are not identical.
The paragraph in which we find these lines as a kind of summary is about staying always in motion while being aware of the rules named together with “Vor” and “Nach”. The often issued understanding that this means to put always pressure on the opponent is not covered by the text (otherwise the use of the term “Nach” would be useless). The meaning is, that by applying the so called “frequens motus” the opponent will not be able to land a hit, because of the fencer controlling the time (“begynnis / mittel vnd ende /”). So when the opponent is pausing or simply not attacking, the fencer should not rest but act. It is nothing said about what to do when the opponent attacks. But this is absolutely understandable because if the opponent attacks, the opponent controls time.
Folios 20r – 21v
The following paragraphs are now explaining in great length the concept of the “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag”. Sadly it is hardly understandable. Two of the terms often misinterpreted are “hurten und rauschen”. Hurten was explained above and rauschen is also part of the tournament language and means charging. So “hurten and rauschen” means nothing else than step and attack with the flavor of a knight in a tournament.
Vor and Nach, Zu Hand, those three words remember
29v “fficht io mit synnen / und allemal den vorslag gewynne / her treffe ader vele / mit dem nochslage czu hant reme”
29v “fence using the senses / and always win the Vorschlag / he may hit or fail / strive [for the openings] at hand with the Nachschlag”
52v “das du den vorslag gewynnest / und als bald du den tust / zo tu czu hant den nochslag dornach”
52v “that you win the Vorschlag / and when you done so / so do at hand hence the Nachschlag”
One keyword is also easy to misinterpret:”czu hant” (“zu hand” – “at hand”). It has nothing to do with the hand itself or doing something fast. It simply means doing the next (nearest) thing now (and nothing else in between). It can be translated as “as soon as possible” or “foremost next” or simply “at hand”. In the manuscript it has the same meaning as the word “Indes” but there is a enormous difference. Every use of “Indes” has something to do with a physical contact between the fighters by the blade or other means. Thus the use of “Indes” implicates a certain situation, while the expression of “zu hand” means a immediate action following a previous action.
In conclusion we can say that the author uses the term “zu hant” to create a similar term like “indes”. He creates a “indes” substitute for situations in which no contact exists. He solves the puzzle by the same method Joachim Meyer did in his book by using the term “gleich” (regardless that Meyer had a different understanding of the words “Vor/Nach, Indes” than the author). And like Joachim Meyer the author steps in the same trap by using an expression that is so common place, that he uses it at places in which he does not mean to refer to the “indes” substitute, but in the common meaning.
A tactical tool for time and measure
20r “haw dreyn und hurt dar / rawsche hin trif ader la var”
20r “strike here and step there / charge to him, hit or move on”
A common understanding of this sentence is that you strike quickly and hurry at him, and rush in, not caring if you hit or miss. But this is not correct and very stupid. The true translation makes more sense. The first part is an advice often found in this book. It says that you shall not follow your strikes, but step in a way that you do not endanger yourself. The second part is about attacking but if the attack fails you dismiss immediately the attack and get away again. So this sentence has all the advices needed to apply correct measures while attacking.
20r “Mit deme worte vor / meynt her das eyn itzlicher guter fechter sal allemal den vorslag haben und gewinnen”
20r “By the word ‘Vor’ he [Liechtenauer] means that any good fencer should always try to have and win the Vorschlag”
How to have and win the Vorschlag is explained in this paragraph. After a short introduction creating a scenario in which the fencer attacks the author explains how this is done in the summary “in synen schreten” by applying the correct footwork to take use of the knowledge of measure. The scenario the author uses is the one in which the fencer does the steps to get into the measure. But we know by the folio 16r that the opponent can be the one doing the change of distance and still the fencer can win the Vorschlag. So to be the one changing the distance is not mandatory, it is only a scenario illustrating the principle.
In summary the fencer has (owns) the Vorschlag if he applies measure and strikes for an opening. But did he win the Vorschlag by this?
The author creates two scenarios here following the concept of Liechtenauer. In the first scenario the Vorschlag hits the target, everything is fine. In the second the opponent does something to prevent being hit by the sword. This is the situation in which the other three of the five words jump in to allow a good judgement of the situation. But we ignore that here in detail because it does not matter. More interesting is what comes next.
20r “das iener czu keyme slage kome”
20r “that the other one does not get the chance to have a strike”
While the translation sounds ugly, it covers exactly what it means. There are two strikes “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag”. So this part of a sentence means that the opponent will not get to own any of them. This is done because of the fencer uses his knowledge of measures. Every time the opponent attacks the fencer intercepts by a strike, or he outsteps the attack, and every time the fencer attacks he gets contact or steps away again. This way the opponent is never able to put pressure on the fencer. The means to do that are listed:
- “her czu haut / dy weile sich iener schuetzt und sich des vorslags weret” – he shall strike at him, while he protects himself and while he defends the Vorschlag
- “is sy haw ader stich zo sal her ander gefechte und stoecke hervoersuechen / mit den her aber czu synen bloessen hurt und rawschet ” – if the opponent strikes or thrusts the fencer shall use matching techniques to threaten the openings by stepping and attacking
- “das her umbermer in bewegunge und in beruerunge sy” – the fencer shall always move and try to create contact
- “das her ienen als irre / vnd berawbet mache” – the fencer shall irritate and fool his opponent
In result the opponent should be occupied with the actions of the fencer and start to get in a defensive position, of which the fencer shall find his advantage.
the opponent Does the Nachschlag
While that all above is a good advice and gives some information on the application of the Vorschlag, it still does not explain what Vorschlag and Nachschlag is. The folio 21r gives us an explaining stressing the attack scenario again. The following in italic letters is a free translation of that chapter. Free because a 1:1 translation would be of no big use in making it understandable.
21r “As it is said already in regard of the word “before” (Vor), Liechtenauer advices, that with a good Vorschlag or with the first strike a fencer should bravely, without any fear step in or charge, aiming for the openings at the head or body. The fencer may hit or fail to hit”.
The author does not declare the Vorschlag as the first strike, it can be the first, but must not. From the tactical meaning of the Vorschlag it does not matter if it his or not.
21r “The idea at hand is that he dazzles and frightens the opponent. Such that the opponent doesn’t know what to bring up against the fencer; and such that the opponent cannot recover [from the Vorschlag] or come to his senses and does [himself] at hand the Nachschlag.”
Finally the Nachschlag is explained as a answer that follows the Vorschlag. A definition entirely matching the common medieval understanding. In the following paragraph we learn that the Nachschlag can not only be done by the opponent but that the opponent is faster than the fencer in answering the fencer’s strike.
21r “The fencer must keep his opponent busy with displacing and protecting [himself against the fencer], such that the opponent will not get a chance to fight back. Because if the fencer does the first strike (the Vorschlag) and the opponent can fend it off, by defending and protecting the opponent will definitively do the Nachschlag faster, as the fencer who had the first strike. Because the opponent may foremost next [to the Vorschlag] move in with the pommel, or may use the Twerhau (which are very good), or the opponent may just throw forward the sword crossways, by which he will start other techniques, or the opponent will begin anything else before the fencer gets the chance to fight on. You will later learn how one technique results [smoothly] from another, such that the opponent will not get away unbeaten, as long as the fencer follows what is taught here.”
I.33 9v “Nota quod hoc idem potest facere aduersarius licet obsessessor ad hoc prius sit paratus”
I.33 9v “Mark that the opponent may do the same, but the one occupying the line will be the first to be ready.”
We have a great similarity of this idea in the manuscript I.33 in the Royal Armouries at Leeds. Here it is remarked that in a situation in which the defender puts his blade in the line of attack and therefore is the first to be ready for doing an action that will threaten the other. Therefore winning the Vorschlag is simply not enough, the fencer must take care of the Nachschlag as well.
By one idea
21r “For he should do the Vorschlag and the Nachschlag in one idea and seemingly like in one strike, swiftly and fast, one following the other.”
In a later added side-note the author emphasis that the Vorschlag and Nachschlag are linked together, directly without anything in-between. So the fencer should always have the Vorschlag and the Nachschlag in mind as a union and not as separated thing. Preferable the fencer wins the Vorschlag and let the Nachschlag immediately follow. But this is only the best case scenario. The second half of the page folio 21r and the first half of folio 21v are about situations in which the opponent defends himself using his blade and may win the Nachschlag, and how this must be avoided by doing the Nachschlag oneself.
From opening to opening
Essential in the whole concept of Vorschlag and Nachschlag is that an action only counts as valid if it is directed to the next available opening. After the Vorschlag is won and the opponent defends himself with the blade we have the binding situation in which both blades have contact to each other. If the opponent tries to leave the bind the fencer should instantly attack the next opening. If the blades get contact and the opponent prefers to keep contact the fencer shall attack always the opening that is nearest to his blade, preferable to the point.
21v “wo her in am schiresten vnd nehesten getreffen mag / alzo das im ienen mit nichte / ane schaden von dem swerte mag komen”
21v “The point where he may get him closest and nearest, such that he can’t get away from the blade without being harmed”
This is an essential rule and the author describes next what happens if the fencer does not do so. As long as the threat exists the opponent is not free to act, but if the threat ceases to exists, even for just a moment, the opponent will be the one doing the Nachschlag.
21v “Vnd das mey~t lichtnaw° mit dem worte / noch / wen eyner im den vorslag hat getan / zo sal her czu hant an vnderloz / of der selben vart den nochslag / tuen”
21v “And this is what Liechtenauer means with the word ‘Nach’: when one had done the Vorschlag, he shall foremost next without stopping in the same momentum do the Nachschlag”
Similar to the side-note on folio 21r the author recommends to let the never get the opponent the chance to do the Nachschlag. But to understand the sentence we must put it into the context of the whole paragraph, that is pestered by relational chaos. The paragraph still talks about the situation in which blade contact exists or shortly had exists (and the opponent flees the binding). In this situation the author brings in the authority of Liechtenauer and the five words ( Vor/Nach, Indes, Stark/Schwach – Before/After, In-Between, Strong/Weak). And he does it rightfully because it is exactly the situation the words had been created for.
Summary – explaining the Vorschlag and Nachschlag
So finally we came to a definition of the Vorschlag and the Nachschlag, which incorporates the five words of Liechtenauer. But primarily we must define some other terms. No worries, the whole definition process is really a quick thing as long as we are needfully a bit tolerant in details.
- A fight is between two or more opponents capable of fighting.
- The fight is parted in exchanges.
- An exchange starts by getting in measure and ends when leaving measure or (1.) is not met.
- Measure is defined by the capability of one fighter to harm an opponent without doing a step.
- A strike/thrust is defined as the actuality of the capability above, meaning a motion that will surely harm an opponent because it is directed to an opening.
- An opening is an unprotected part of the body.
- The motion matching (5) and (6) is named the Vorschlag.
- Any directly following motion matching (5) and (6) is named Nachschlag.
Beginn, Mittel, Ende
In 29v we find “den vorslag gewynne / her treffe ader vele / mit dem nochslage czu hant”. But we know already that there is no Vorschlag won, if the fencer fails to hit. Because if he fails, there is no threat and without a threat for an opening there is nothing won, especially not the “Vorschlag”. The reason why the sentence “her treffe ader vele” is to find in the middle is the sorting in order of “/ begynnes / mittel und ende” which we read already in the folio 17v on the chapter on frequens motus. The “Vorschlag” belongs to the Begin, the “treffe ader vele” to the Middle, and the “Nachschlag” to the end (if it is the last action in the exchange as it should be).
I wrote some examples to illustrate the definitions above and added the famous “Beginn, Mittel, Ende” (begin, middle, end):
a) The fighter steps into measure while he attacks (Beginn) and fails to hit an opening (Mittel), so he flees measure (Ende).
b) The fighter steps into measure while he attacks (Beginn) an opening and hits. He wins the Vorschlag by a hit (Mittel). He steps aside and let another attack follow (Mittel). He steps out (Ende).
Here we get the first problem in the definition of the Nachschlag. While the Liechtenauer definition needs an “Indes”, the author used the “zu Hand” to extend the case. So in the understanding of the author the second attack, if done fluently together with the first, it would be a Nachschlag. If it is done with another step, it is just a second attack. So a successful attack winning Vorschlag and Nachschlag without an “indes” situation would look as follows in (c).
c) The fighter steps into measure while he attacks (Beginn) an opening and hits. He wins the Vorschlag by a hit (Mittel). He let another strike follow in the same motion (Mittel) and wins the Nachschlag, with the end of the motion of the Nachschlag he steps out of measure (Ende).
But success is not guaranteed. It is the opponent who can do the Nachschlag first.
d) The fighter steps into measure while he attacks (Beginn) an opening. He wins the Vorschlag but is displaced (Mittel). The opponent is perfectly aligned and strikes back to an opening in the nearest motion following his defense (Mittel) and wins the Nachschlag. With the end of the motion of the Nachschlag the opponent steps out of measure (Ende).
Because of this danger, the author is very strict and emphasis this enormous: No action is allowed to be between the Vorschlag and the Nachschlag. It must be done as described in example (c). Otherwise it is a new attack and a new Vorschlag must be won (for such situations the author recommends to stay in the bind but quickly step out of measure, and by this start a new exchange).
There is one situation we must still cover before we can continue with the conclusion of the analysis:
e) The opponent steps into measure while he attacks (Beginn). The fighter steps out of the the attack or intercepts it and answers in the same motion with an own attack (Beginn) to an opening. The fighter wins the Vorschlag.
This covers the interception of an attack by the use of time. It could be continued by the Mittel and End, but we had this already in the samples (a) to (d).
The author of the GMN 3227a uses the common terms of “Vorschlag” and “Nachschlag” to illustrate tactical situations, which seemed not to be covered by the definition of the terms “Vor/Nach,Indes”. He saw that the full five words could be used to describe any situation in which a contact between the opponents by sword or unarmed could be created. In those situations the five words are the perfect toolset to assess the situation and act accordingly. But he founds that there is no tactical toolset to work with in the so called “Zufechten” part of the fight, the situation before a contact could be created. Therefore he extended the toolset by three terms “Vorschlag”, “Nachschlag”, and “zu Hand”.
By the “Vorschlag” he explained how to attack by using measure and time. He recommends not to waist anything of it but to attack only if there is really a chance to threaten an opening. In this regard he names multiple options for working with tempo and distance. He recomends often to step out of measure again if the attack fails. The footwork takes care not to follow the strike of the attack in a direct line. The “Vorschlag” is won if the opponent is hit, or defends it.
After the “Vorschlag” is won, the tactical situation separates in two situations: hit or defended with the blade. There is no fail here. The opponent must defend or get hit. If the Vorschlag hits the author prefers the option to move on but not without taking further means like the Nachschlag or stepping out of measure (running through the opponent or stepping into wrestling measure are also valid options).
The Nachschlag is the direct action that threatens an opening by a hit. This must be done very fluently and quick if the attacker wants to win the Nachschlag as well. If the Vorschlag hits, this cannot be done due to the fact that the weapon may be stuck, so the author emphasis swift and good footwork here.
But the one who won the Vorschlag is not the only one who can do the Nachschlag. Acutally the defender, if the Vorschlag is defended by the blade, is more ready to do so. Therefore the author promises to explain later how the Vorschlag is done such that the Nachschlag may smoothly follow.
There is no recommendation in this book to jump forward betting all on speed and explosive power to be the first to land a blow. To the contrary the concept of Vorschlag and Nachschlag incorporates not only the five words of Liechtenauer but a situative handling of fencing tempo and distance. It extended the original toolset for the assessment of fighting situations. Wether there had been a true need for this extension or not may be disputeable. For the modern reader even this concept seems to be hard to grasp. I sincerly hope that this article will help to get a better understanding of the thre words “Vorschlag/Nachschlag, Zu Hand” in cooperation with the five words “Vor/Nach,Indes, Stark/Schwach”.