Should people doing "KDF" just ignore your opponents actions?

You sometimes come across the view that a principle of "kdf" is that you should just ignore your opponent's actions. A classic example from Facebook:

"if you purport to be fighting using KdF, there is a reason a principle is to ignore your opponent and their actions."

Ignoring for a second that the phrase "ignore what your opponent is doing" is generally the basis of all Bullshido martial arts, I was wondering what the basis for this was in the sources. For this I'm using the Hagedorn / Chidester version of the Liechtenauer recital from Wiktenauer. 

The highest basis, I think, in the treatise is from the four openings:

"Vier plössen wisse, Reme so schlestu gewisse, An alle vare, An zweÿfel wie er eparr"

Which is translated with a Wiktenaur gold star rating to:

"Four openings know, aim: so you hit certainly, without any danger, without regard for how he acts."

Which seems pretty conclusive: you attack ignoring your opponent's actions. Ok.

But, firstly, I think that all translation is less certain than we'd like to believe. So it's best to treat one-off statements like this as guidelines subject to the context of the whole treatise. There are always alternative views among translators, as you can see here where the author highlights the uncertainty of translations in general and then translates the above key phrase to the very opposite meaning:

"be wary of how he behaves"

Therefore, it's important to look at the context from the whole source. 

Well, taking a look at the context from the text I'd note that whole concept of "openings" or plossen (which means "uncovered" or "bare") implies that you're looking where the other guy is covered and then hitting him where he is uncovered. In short, it means you have to know where he is parrying to find your next opening.

This is backed up within the recital in a range of places where you are instructed to pay attention to what the other guy is up to before you do your thing:

"The Thwart Stroke takes whatever comes from the roof." - how do I know he's attacking from the roof if I'm ignoring his actions?

The Squinter breaks into whatever a buffalo strikes or thrusts.- how do I know he's a buffalo if I'm ignoring his actions? 

Do the Speaking Window, stand blithely and look at his actions - why would I do that if I was ignoring him?

Which is not to mention Nach Raisen. Which again: how do you travel after the other guy if you're not paying attention to what the other guy is doing...

etc, etc.

So, this four openings statement could be better understood to mean "if you've read the body mechanics correctly you can attack without regard for his last response within the tempo of your next action," Which is my personal belief as the most likely interpretation, as per:



"when the fencer executes the first strike or the fore-strike and the opponent then wards him, in the same warding and defending, the fencer then always comes earlier into the after-strike than the opponent into the first."

To summarise:

"when someone has done the fore-strike, so shall he immediately without pause upon the same drive execute the after-strike and shall always be in motion and in contact and always conduct one after the other. If the first fails him, then the second, the third or the fourth hits and continually does not allow the opponent to come to any blows."

Long story short, you aren't ignoring the guy as a general principle so much as:

  • provided you are in measure
  • provided that you have the initiative
  • provide you are hitting to openings
Then:
  • you can ignore the other guy's parries because he's acting after you to parry your last action. 
  • This creates a "safe time" whereby you can move to the next opening 

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