Talhoffer 1467, Plate 2 Left


This guard appears to be Ochs or Ox.  Shown below are Meyer, Solothurner, and two from Mair.

image   imageimageimage

According to Talhoffer’s caption, this guard is used to throw a Plunging Cut or Sturtzhauw. Meyer describes the Sturtzhauw as,

Although this cut is a High Cut, and so considered because there is not much difference between the two, yet this is called the Plunge Cut because in cutting through, it always plunges over above, so that the point comes against the opponent’s face in the Ox; and it is most used in the Approach or Onset.

At first glance I assumed that this cut comes from vom Tag and is turned over so that it becomes a short-edge cut. In theory one could use it that way, but it feels awkward. I’ll need to try it with opposition in order to understand the mechanics.


Another possibility that has been suggested to me is that it is used for deflecting a cut. This makes a lot more sense to me. I imagine the play looks something like this:

  1. At wide measure, the active begins a high cut from vom Tag.
  2. The patient also throws a high cut. But rather than bind, which is the usual response, he instead turns the cut to strike against the flat of the active’s blade.
  3. With the active’s blade knocked wide, the patient can immediately follow with an unopposed thrust.

In my mind this has just gone from an awkward trick to an elegant technique for stealing the initiative.

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2 Responses to Talhoffer 1467, Plate 2 Left

  1. Jon Makar says:

    I must say that, as a beginner, this was my first impression of the Sturtzhau! When the opponent cuts from the right, throw your Sturtzhau toward their upper right opening, hitting their blade aside, on the flat, where their blade is easier to set aside, and then winding into the left Ochs to thrust. Even if your blade gets there first, you can yield your point, allowing their blade to slide off to their right, and then you can wind into the Ochs if they attempt a high short edge Schnappen, or into the Pflug if they attempt a low attack.

    I also always felt like I could aim the Sturtzhau at the upper right opening in the event of an opponent’s left Oberhau as sort of the opposite of a Vier Versetzen type of Shielhau, where my sword comes under the opponent’s sword against the left side of their neck or head, with me ending in the Ochs.

    It is also nice in the Zufechten, as Meyer mentions. From the Nebenhut, it can be used just to get that surprise factor of apparently having extra range on the attack. I even like to lean onto my back foot in the Nebenhut, just before I strike, to make it seem like I’m even further away, so that I can draw the opponent closer. I found this could make the Sturtzhau easier to cut with.


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