Meyer’s Longsword – The Four Straight Cuts

There are four straight cuts, all performed with outstretched arms and the long edge of the sword: High, Wrath, Middle, and Low. In the headings below you will see several different terms for each of these cuts.

Meyer also names 12 derivate cuts, so called because they arise from the four basic cuts. These cuts are performed with the short edge, flat, or some angle and are thus known as the reverse cuts. We will look at these later.

Of these cuts, five are considered “master cuts”. While all should be learned, these five are the most important: Wrath, Crooked, Thwart, Squinting, and Scalp.

Oberhauw – High Cut, Scheidelhauw – Scalp Cut

The high cut is a straight cut from above generally aimed at the head towards the scalp.

Meyer also uses Oberhauw to refer to any high cut.

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Zornhau – Wrath Cut, Streithauw – Strife Cut, Vatterstreich – Father Stroke

This is a diagonal, downward strike from the right. It is the most powerful cut and is often used to being engagements.

Mittel – Middle, Überzwerchhauw – Horizontal Cutz

This horizontal cut is used more in Dusack than in longsword.

A common mistake is to believe that the middle cut goes though the middle of the opponent, attacking the chest or belly. While it certainly can, it is usually more effective to aim for the middle of the head.

Underhauw – Under Cut

This is commonly translated as the “low cut” but I think a more accurate description is “under cut”. In the text Meyer describes the underhauw as a rising cut from Ochs on the right that targets the opponent’s right arm. As Ochs is certainly not a low guard and the blade only drops far enough to go beneath the outreached arm, it is misleading to call this a low cut.

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One Response to Meyer’s Longsword – The Four Straight Cuts

  1. Grauenwolf says:

    According to this chapter Meyer says that the scalp cut is the last of the five master cuts. In Liechtenauer’s tradition the fifth master cut is Scheitelhau, the parting cut. Since Scheitelhau is a type of high cut and high cuts are called scalp cuts by Meyer, this is not entirely contradictory.

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