Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

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Sean C
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Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Sean C » Sun May 15, 2011 6:08 pm

We talk about "plays", a series of movements/techniques by fencers. For example, "Here are four plays by Talhoffer..." I am curious if there were synonymous words used in the different fight manuals for this or if that's just something modern translators use to group techniques together. And if so, why "play"?

Jonathan had an answer for me already:

I don't know offhand all of the words that are commonly translated as "play." Fiore uses "zogho." He also refers to fencers as zugadores -- "players." Meyer often uses "stucke," which those of us who play classical music recognize as "piece" or "section." "Stucke" in Meyer is usually translated as "play," and I don't know why but I doubt it's because of the Italians. I know that I've read "play" in the original of at least one English manual, but I'm not sure which one or whether there were several.


More discussion would be appreciated.

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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Michael Chidester » Mon May 16, 2011 5:19 am

I prefer Forgeng's translation of Stuck as "device".
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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Jake Norwood » Mon May 16, 2011 5:31 am

I've actually always wondered why Forgeng used "Device." Stueck means "piece" or "section," as Sean noted, or "element or artifice." Same in Polish, which took it from German. In English, we have it through "Schtick," which is why you see it sometimes translated as "Trick." I'm not saying Forgeng is wrong--my German's not good enough--but I do wonder.

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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Michael Chidester » Mon May 16, 2011 5:34 am

I believe he means "device" as in "left to one's own devices". A legitimate translation, and it has a certain ring to it.
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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Jake Norwood » Mon May 16, 2011 5:36 am

Hmm, yeah, I see how the meaning works in that context, as in "something that one has devised." I'm not sure how that connects to the word stueck, but I agree that I like the term in that usage.

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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Jeffrey Hull » Mon May 16, 2011 2:41 pm

I have always despised, and shall always despise, Forgeng's choice of "device". It just smacks of utter academic conceit.

Hell, I would prefer "unit" or even "trick" to "device". :|

Translation of "play" is proper & familiar in the sense that each is a miniature & brief drama. :idea:

That said, if someone does not like "play" then why not just call it "move"? That says it all - they are each moves, after all, are they not? :?:

Or back to play idea - why not "scenario"? That seems acceptable too. :idea:

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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby william_cain_iii » Mon May 16, 2011 4:35 pm

I'm no scholar, nor do I pretend to be one on tv, but to inject just a bit more muddledness into the mess:

While studying my copy of LOTEL and the text, it came to me that the seventh 'chase' in the Ledall manuscript (I think that's the one, may I be beat about the head for heresy if not) is essentially identical to what the Ringeck and Von Danzig books (yes I'm aware they're not sole authors) call the first zornhau play. Is there a case for stucke or play to also mean chase?
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Michael Chidester
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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby Michael Chidester » Mon May 16, 2011 5:05 pm

I find that translating it as a mundane term like "technique" is less useful. First, "technique" in particular is confusing because it has so many meanings--your cutting technique could be the way you extend and snap, or the device of the zornhau you're using, or a number of other things. Imprecision is the bane of conversation. "Device", conversely, is always understood as meaning one thing and one thing only: a specific recorded technique from a manual.

Second, Forging is probably the best source from which to construct a common lexicon for German texts, since Meyer unifies Liechtenauer, Syber, and Paurnfeyndt. Thus, using his translations when discussing any of these teachings allows for easy understanding. I can't speak to how accurate his etymology is, I just know that his work is the only one that fills that niche.

In my writings, I try to be consistent about using "device" for German stuff and "play" for Italian stuff.
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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby steve hick » Wed May 18, 2011 8:21 am

Sean C wrote:We talk about "plays", a series of movements/techniques by fencers. For example, "Here are four plays by Talhoffer..." I am curious if there were synonymous words used in the different fight manuals for this or if that's just something modern translators use to group techniques together. And if so, why "play"?

Jonathan had an answer for me already:

I don't know offhand all of the words that are commonly translated as "play." Fiore uses "zogho." He also refers to fencers as zugadores -- "players." Meyer often uses "stucke," which those of us who play classical music recognize as "piece" or "section." "Stucke" in Meyer is usually translated as "play," and I don't know why but I doubt it's because of the Italians. I know that I've read "play" in the original of at least one English manual, but I'm not sure which one or whether there were several.


More discussion would be appreciated.


Michael, the Iberians have two sets of terms, they have reglas/regras (rules) which mostly seem to reflect one person training, and tretas (tricks) that require two persons. Steve

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Re: Play, Stucke, Stück, Zogho

Postby RJ McKeehan » Wed May 18, 2011 9:09 am

Jeffrey Hull wrote:That said, if someone does not like "play" then why not just call it "move"? That says it all - they are each moves, after all, are they not? :?:


I was always under the impression that a "play" was a collection of the attacks and responses that go together, where as a "move" would be just one thing like doing A zornhau.
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