I often see the crooked strike performed as two cuts. First the krump itself onto the sword, then a follow up strike. The problem with that is it leaves a sword blade near your leg, free to do all kinds of mischief.
I also see it as a single cut to the hands or arm. This works great is the arm is handing out there in a bad place, say after a cut or thrust has already missed. But against an incoming zornhau the results are mixed. I’ve seen it land right on the wrist, but in such a way that the zornhau also lands.
Working through Mair’s second longsword play, I think we found a better way.
When you come to the closing with the opponent, set the left foot forward and hold your sword with the point at your right side and remain hence standing in the Krumphaw (Crooked/Off-line strike). If he then strikes you from above to an opening, step outward with your right foot and give him a Krump to his right side and strike him at the nearest opening.
Please note that this illustration is slightly wrong. The footwork is right, but the blade prepped for a krumphau from the left and you want it on the right.
For the sake of clarity I’m going to use the other name for this guard, Nebenhut.
Solo Drill: Getting the Power Right
Grab a synthetic sword, or one you really don’t like, and from right Nebenhut throw a krump at the ground. Cut in an arc directly to the left while stepping directly to the right. Hit the ground as hard as you can. If you don’t hear the sound echoing off the walls, you aren’t swinging it hard enough.
First Partner Drill
As your opponent pulls his sword into vom Tag, pull your sword into right Nebenhut. As he swings, krump hard against his blade. Here are some rules:
- The strong of your sword should hit the strong of his, preferably a hand’s width above the hilt.
- Don’t attack the weak of his sword, he’ll just skip the blade.
- Make sure you step wide, this cannot be overlooked.
- Drive his sword down, don’t just slap it.
- Don’t try to do a follow-up attack, keep your sword on his.
Second Partner Drill
Repeat the first drill, but this time drive his sword into his right side. Stop when your sword is against his upper thigh, hip, or waist. His sword will be trapped against his side.
This is not a cut; you aren’t going to wound anyone this way. But you are perfectly positioned to slice open his side.