Practice Notes: Flat Ochs vs Angled Ochs

I arrived late at practice to find a lesson already in progress. Lessons are rare at my Wednesday night practice, and longsword lessons even rarer, so naturally I accepted the vorfechter’s offer to join in.

The drill was simple enough. I attack with a thrust and he parries by means of a krumphauw at my hands or wrists. The drill worked beautifully with all the other students, but always failed against me. Sometimes he would take a wrist, and a few times he took both, but invariably it ended the point of my sword in his chest. Stepping narrow or wide, left or right, nothing seemed to help.

Switching roles, I didn’t reasonably well using his technique. So what was wrong?

Like the other winkelfechters, I was originally taught that Ochs was flat, with the quillons horizontal and the thumb under the flat of the blade. You can see this in Bill Grandy’s drawing.

But lately I’ve adopted Meyer’s stances. This includes putting an angle on the ochs.


Just an eighth of a turn made all the difference. Like a homing missile my point stayed online no matter where he moved. And the range as extended by a good three or four inches.

At practice we were calling it Meyer’s ochs versus Ringeck’s ochs, but that was not correct. Ringeck not only has an angle, that angle is practically vertical.


This allows my thrust, which originally threatened the neck, to smoothly drop to the upper chest as if that were the plan all along. We think this is what prevented the wrist strike from landing in time.

Through experimentation we found that the proper way to defeat this ochs was not to go low at the wrists but instead go high at the hands while passing back. It is still a krumphauw but it is a much safer one.

So where did the flat ochs come from?

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5 Responses to Practice Notes: Flat Ochs vs Angled Ochs

  1. Please remove the copyrighted image that was taken from immediately. Thank you. Our copyright notice can be found here:

    Here is the image in question:

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Setting aside this clearly falls under fair use in the US, I have to wonder why you are so concerned about a shrunken and clipped thumbnail of a drawing of an improper stance. This kind of ham-fisted overreaction certainly won’t make you any friends in the community. And I for one will stop directing people to your site.

      In the end it isn’t worth my time to argue about. I’ll remove the image. But you really, really need to get a lawyer to review that copyright notice. Practically all of it screams “I don’t understand the law”.

  2. Your response is extremely disappointing and unprofessional. How could you possibly be upset by somebody asking you to remove an image from your site that you do not own? Since 2003, I’ve purchased the usage rights to several hundred images to be used on my site. I’ve also had requests from content owners to remove content from my site and responded professionally to such requests. This is he nature of having a web site that publishes content.

    We spend a lot of time and money creating that content. We publish it for an audience for no compensation. We value our work product and hope that others do as well. When it is stolen and used for other people’s purposes it diminishes our efforts. When this is done within the same small community, it is especially disrespectful.

    The concept of Fair Use is misunderstood by many. This does not fall under fair use. Fair use would be if you were featuring a review or some other critique of our article or site itself. In discussing our work product, you would be allowed by law to feature images and excerpts to provide context. An example of this would be the use of a manufacturer’s photo of a computer in a product review of that computer system. An example of a misunderstanding of fair use would be the use of the same photo is a general article about computers. One cannot use another entity’s property for whatever purpose he wishes and call it fair use. This would intellectual property theft and/or copyright infringement.

    Saving images from sites and using them in your own publishing efforts is not absolutely NOT allowed by fair use.

    I understand IP law very well, as I have been a content creator for 20+ years and have had to navigate the tricky waters the entire time. My attorney, and that of my firm, have both taught me a great deal over the decades.

    This isn’t a ham-fisted overreaction. We have a clearly posted copyright notice and you ignored it, took the image, and posted it for your own purpose. It’s not you who should be upset, but me. I’m not upset, however, as I’m a reasonable person and simply posted a matter-of-fact statement to remove the image and linked to the copyright notice that provides further context. This is very reasonable. Your initial act and especially your follow-up comments are not reasonable nor professional at all.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      > Fair use would be if you were featuring a review or some other critique of our article or site itself.

      It is a critique of the article, specifically of the stance Bill portrays in the drawing.

      As for being professional, you’re the one arguing with a kid about a blog with roughly 50 readers. And it wasn’t even the whole image, it was a fragment.

      A sensible person would have insisted on including the full title of Bill’s article and a link back to the site that hosts it. Granted we are only talking about potentially 50 more eyes on your site, but that sure beats having stupid arguments like this.

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