The combatant in the foreground (Blue) has just converted the sword
fight into a wrestling match against his opponent (Black). One of the techniques
the medieval German longsword tradition is closing the distance between
combatants in order to grapple.
The photo shows a position from a combat sequence in Joachim
Meyer's 1570 fight manual. This particular sequence teaches grappling techniques
with a longsword.
Earlier in the sequence, Black delivered a horizontal cut from his
left. Blue ducked under the cut and stepped right up to Black, under Black's
attacking blade. At the same time, Blue released his left hand from the pommel
and grabbed the blade of his sword to use the "half-sword" technique. As Black
finished his cut, Blue pressed the flat of his sword blade against Black's arms,
both trapping Black's arms and forcing him off balance.
At this point in the
sequence, Black has few options. He can't use his sword because his arms are
trapped, and he can't step backward without Blue's pressure pushing him off his
feet. Black is still set up for combat at a distance, while Blue is at grappling
distance with his sword set for close work.
Blue can continue the attack by bringing his point around to the
right side of Black's head or neck. This target would be especially
attractive if the combatants were wearing armor, since there would be a weak
spot between shoulder and neck through which Blue could stab.
But Meyer suggests ways that Black can escape, illustrated in a later photo
Meyer's description of this exchange is:
as the blow has hit, at once pull your blade directly up away, and remain thus
with your hands up over your head, but let the blade then sink downward by your
left side for a Low Blow against his right arm; then lower yourself down quickly
with the upper body, and at the same time release your left hand from the haft
and grip your sword's blade in the middle with it; thus go at his arms quickly
up from below while he is up with his arms to parry the first stroke; when you
now have thus caught his arms between your hands with the true edge of your
sword, then wind powerfully with the point in over his arms.
Translation ©2001-2009 Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng