Just as a note, some of the questions I've asked and will be asking are purely meant to further discussion as they're things I'm thinking about. They're not necessarily things I'm set in believing.
Michael Edelson wrote:I'm with Cory on this, and this is also why when I'm teaching or explaining the art I'm always careful to point out that the manuals should not be used in isolation to reconstruct the basics of the system--they are simply not enough, nor were they meant to be. These manuals were written for people who already knew how to use a sword (we are told this very clearly), and a downward diagonal cut is as basic a strike as you can get. There would be zero need to mention it in the manuals except how it used within the system to work in the bind.
This makes sense and I know it's the same logic we use for things like footwork and general body mechanics, but another extremely simple cut is explained. Scheitelhau is specifically explained as a vertical cut aimed at the head or chest. Surely if zornhau is simple enough to just start explaining what to do from a bind, then scheitelhau should present a similar situation?
In fact, all of the starting advise about the 5 master cuts tell you where to aim the sword at the onset and how it will end up hitting him. The zornhau follows the same convention in telling the reader that it is a counterstrike to an oberhau followed by a thrust to the face.
Bill Carew wrote:
The zorn as described in the early sources is, as already noted, called out as a response to a general oberhau thrown at us. Despite the fact we are not told to aim the hew at the opponent, I belive it is entirely in keeping with Liechtenauer's system to strike the hew at the man, just with the point infront of his face rather than edge at his ear. All of the 5 hews, as I understand them, can and should be aimed at the body of the opponent (the only exception off the top of my head is striking the krump to the flat of the blade against a master). Thus, the 5 hews are *always* a threat and always have the potential to wound/disable/stop the opponent in a single action.
As to the other question, would we ever strike zorn in the vor as the opening attack? Sure, why not? We're never told not to are we?
Bill - When I questioned if it is struck at the man or not I didn't mean is it struck with the point way offline or not. I meant it in the sense of 'if you don't end up bound, will your edge strike the man'. In how I explained in the original post, it wouldn't. Striking in such a way that you have the least movement required to sink the tip is great.
Sure, you're not told not to... but the thread has establish that some simple things are implied in the manuals. As was noted above, the zornhau is called 'a simple peasant's strike'. Except when used as the manual describes it, a counterstrike to an oberhau followed by a thrust, it would seem like they viewed it as less than ideal. You are not told not to do a lot of things in the manuals.