The Sieniawski family have this to say-
Let's take a bit of a closer look, now that we have video and text.
The phrase cross-cutting is in the sources, but not described well.
So, the sources below are neat- but note the years.
“The fencing art, the cross-cutting art, the art of cutting in a cross, kreuzhiebe der fechter; The Fencer needs to be teaching his student to fence, to perform thrusts, and parry for as long as it takes for the student himself to become the master and be able to teach his former teacher a lesson or two. . . . Damn him to the gallows, he’s cutting in such a flurry, likely in the style of the cross-cutting art.” (Słownik języka polskiego, tom 5 M. Samuela Bogumiła Linde, Lwów 1859 [Dictionary of Polish, vol. 5 by M.
“In the old days, Poles, who used only such weapons as are designed for cutting, had tremendous skill both on the battlefield, and in individual combat, which so often occurred at gatherings and brawls during various diets, and hardly ever did they go into such subtle techniques as the Germans do, instead basing their entire fencing art on the art of cross-cutting, that is on two quick successive cuts that went in a cross-wise fashion, from left diagonally to the right, and the other way round.” (Encyklopedia Powszechna Tom ósmy S. Orgelbrand Warszawa 1861 [General Encyclopaedia, vol. 8, by S. Orgelbrand, Warsaw 1861])
“The Cross-cutting art – this is how the nobles of Old Poland named the skillful cuts with a saber. (…) Anyone who knew the cross-cutting art well was esteemed and respected by his fellow noblemen: the skill and agility of those fierce fighters was always something to be admired. Often, if two such formidable fencers stood back to back and defended against the oncoming rabble, they could fight their way through the throng, and escape with little harm to themselves. The tradition of the cross-cutting art, which was known even not so long ago amongst the legionnaires who served in the army of the Duchy of Warsaw, is now entirely lost.” (Encyklopedia Powszechna Tom szesnasty S. Orgelbrand Warszawa 1864, [General Encyclopaedia, vol. 16, by S. Orgelbrand, Warsaw 1864) (Note the last line)
“Fencing, from German fechten ‘to fight’, in Polish szermierka. After the curved saber became widespread in Poland, we developed a style of fencing that was the most famous style in the world. Poles became so incredibly skilled at fencing with a curved saber that no other nation in the world could match them in this art. They called it the cross-cutting art because cuts and parries were formed in the shape of the cross.” (“Encyklopedia Staropolska”, Zygmunt Gloger, Warszawa 1900-1903)[Old Polish Encyclopaedia, Zygmunt Gloger, Warsaw 1900-1900])
And so on. The snippets are all 19th and 20th (just barely) comments- with one going so far as to say the art is lost at the time of the writing. I don't want to outright discount them- but like with Starzewski's material, I take it with a grain of salt. Additionally, according to Norman Davies, the Polish histories of the 19th century are nationalistic and romanticized- as were so many other nationalities' works during that period.
The only near-period comment is this- which I love because it has lots of saber clues in one shot!
Father Jezierski from the 18th century:
“It seems that, just as merriment has its own outward ways of expression, where the national character is exhibited in various dances, so the movements resulting from anger influence the ways one uses steel. The Hungarian cuts from the left, the Muscovite from above, the Turk towards himself, and the Pole uses cross-cuts.”
So far, this isn't much to go on. Marcelli has some saber comments, but they are in reference to the rapier. When he says 'sword' he means rapier according to translator Carlo Parisi.
The Sieniawski family think the cuts are
During the strike, the curvature of the saber makes the strike become a slice or a draw, which increases the effectiveness of cutting.
The movement of the arm must be broad enough for the blade to go fully through the target. If the cut is too shallow, the main property of a curved blade won’t be used, that is increasing the power of the cut through slicing or drawing.
The weight of the saber means that the shoulder and wrist need to cooperate. The elbow is almost entirely straight when executing the cut, which means that the shoulder joint takes most of the load. Whilst the shoulder gives the cut its strength, the wrist is responsible for speed and direction.
In order for the weapon to have the appropriate energy, you need to take a swing and align the edge on an appropriate plane. In a correct cut, the blade should inscribe a circle that passes through the axis of the body and returns to the starting position. In some cut combinations the blade, after passing the axis of the body, goes behind the back, gaining the energy necessary for a second cut.
Bartoz goes on to say this is the only way to perform a strong cut and use the curve of the blade. If you watch the video, you can see they try to keep a rock-solid elbow.
So, we've been far more open as to what cuts and blows are available in 17th century Polish saber duels. Pasek, in his 17th century memoirs cuts people, but not into pieces and when trying to finish people off- tended to stab them. Kitowicz's early 18th century account notes in personal duels, people were not cut in half, but a fellow might lose a hand, have his head dented, or get cut on the cheek. Starzewski noted the hand is targeted in practice, while the core in earnest in his 19th century material. (He also favored wrist-powered cuts)
There is a LOT of room for interpretation here, so now it's time for the dedicated researchers and dreamers to comment as best they can. I'll be taking relevant notes!