Friday, April 12, 2019

GloPoWriMo Day 8: The Knightly Art of Combat


I'm a HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) practitioner, studying German longsword with occasional forays into rapier and side-sword. Tonight, we were revising concepts and terms for a level assessment next week, and the subject of fühlen, or 'feeling', came up. It also found its way into my technical jargon poem for the night, since I was way too tired to do more than grab the first thing that swam into my run-over brain and try and write something out of it.

THE KNIGHTLY ART OF COMBAT

It’s all in the fühlen, my longsword instructor tells us.
Fühlen - feeling. The first thing you learn, the last thing you master.
Two swords clash - when steel meets steel
You know: whether to press in, whether to disengage
How to counter, how not to counter, will you be vor or will you be indes
Steel transmits intent, a metallic telepath which only experience
Can teach you to read.

Here we are, bandying invisible word-shaped swords:
A stab forward  You never listen to what I tell you -
A quick feint – If you didn’t always nag I wouldn’t shut off all the time
In the clash, words against words in a bind
It’s fühlen which dictates the next move:
To be vor might cause injury to one party
In indes, no one has the superior attack

I disengage.
There is too much at stake.
I lay down my arms and call truce
For us to find common ground.

**Vor: German, meaning ‘before’, a longsword term denoting first initiative for the attack, taking the offense.
***Indes: German, meaning ‘in between’ where an action is executed the same time as the opponent’s action and neither fighter has the offensive or strong attack.

2 comments:

Merril D. Smtih said...

Excellent. Swords--fencing/fighting--make for such great metaphors, but the jargon adds an extra touch (feint, thrust) to it!

Kerfe said...

I like the way the structural leads into the personal. Words can pierce as truly as steel. And to learn when and how to disengage and diffuse the battle is an art.