Richard Marsden wrote:Engstrom knows his Swedish manuals inside and out, I wonder what he knows.
Edit = At which point is slipping of the leg in saber seen as a technique, rather than as a rare thing? Clearly, its not unheard of. So, now is the debate really just a matter of what is rare, common, uncommon?
Thanks for the vote of confidence
The leg slip isn't explicitly advocated in my sources, most likely since attacking the legs isn't advocated. Why this is, I honestly don't know. These are military manuals, they generally don't give reasons for things, they just tell you what to do.
However, applying the instructions for a "blind parry" (that is, taking advantage of the opponent overcommitting to an attack which is also at the edge of his measure by voiding and attacking when the blade has passed by) works beautifully as a leg slip since one generally takes a "half-march" back (retracting the front foot and setting it down about a foot's length behind the rear foot) and at the same time raises the point and retracts the sabre to deny him blade contact. This gives a wonderful opportunity to cut his arm or head from above. And it works even better when his attack was aimed at the leg.
My personal experience is (and it's also what I teach) that attacking the knee/thigh is a very good thing in some circumstances (I do it frequently) but as an initial attack from wide measure it's completely suicidal. I also teach to counter it with the above blind parry with a half-march back followed by a return cut to the arm or head.
Any attack to the leg must IMO be a second intention attack, followup or a return cut to be feasible. Possibly this is part of the reason it wasn't included in the manuals; it may have been deemed too advanced and thus not included in the basic instruction for recruits. Another reason may be that it was deemed "ungentlemanly" in some respect. In both cases I'm quite convinced that, like some grappling and other "un-sanctioned" stuff, it was probably taught "off-curriculum" anyway.