Practice Notes: Scheitelhau, the Parting Strike, with Broken Steps

Scheitelhau, or the Parting Cut, is the last of the five Master Cuts. Like the other master cuts it begins with the Zornhau, which the ancients call the Father Stroke. And like any other cut, it it to be performed with a step.

The trick here is that step is broken. Meyer writes,

Thirdly there are the broken or stolen steps, which are done thus: act as if you intend to step forward with the one foot, and before you set it down, step backwards with it behind the other foot. Since these properly belong in the rapier I swill save it for there.

I have to admit I discovered this by accident. As I started my Zornhau I thought, “Ha! You’ve over-reached and I can void your pitiful cut by aborting my step.” While I focused on that, my Zornhau was left to its own devices. Without my body supporting it, the Zornhau landed more vertical than diagonal. As my hips flew back to buy an extra inch or two of safety, that energy transferred to the sword and the Scheitelhau was thus completed.

Note that I didn’t begin this with a static bait. I threw the first cut and remained in the Vor the entire time. With Indes I realized that I could foil his parry with superior footwork.

Forgive me for crowing, but I’m rather excited to have used this successfully for the first time. Moreover, it fits nicely into the “father stroke” theory of German longsword that I’ve been developing.

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One Response to Practice Notes: Scheitelhau, the Parting Strike, with Broken Steps

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