RJ McKeehan wrote:More specifically I was the one who was wondering this. I see great merit in placing the thumb on the blade for greater control in some situations, however I feel it greatly reduces the strength of standard oberhauen to be gripping the sword in this way. I would be curious to see what your viewpoint is on this is.
Your thumb doesn't contribute much anyway ideally. You should be able to strike "well enough", if not perfectly using only the bottom two fingers of each hand. If your grip is solid, it doesn't matter so much whether you're in thumb grip or not. After all, it's the hips that power the cuts. If you take say, a basic horse stance and cut standing still for about 20 minutes (1000 cuts or so, with a cut and reverse cut back the same way counting as "1"), through all angles and krumps, your arms will eventually give out, leaving only the hips to move it. It's especially noticeable with say a diagonal oberhau followed by a rising unterhau along the same line with the long edge for both cuts. That's a good thing, too. Arms tire more easily than core muscles, so if you have to gas your arms out to engage the hips, then do it. It really works wonders. Also, make sure you're using the left hand (assuming you fence right handed) to provide any hand power. The right just guides the sword into the target. If you're using your right for power and then yanking on the pommel with the left, it creates a fulcrum for the sword to wobble on, making the tip wobble, ruining the edge alignment and therefore the cut. If you cut from the left hand, the tip will go smoothly and directly into the target, thumb grip or no.