What exactly is Kron? I thought it was pretty well established, but that question recently came up in a few forum discussions lately. This leads me to believe that there is actually a lot less certainty that I was lead to believe.
This video shows what appears to be the current consensus:
And here are some of the descriptions:
Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck
When you cut in against him from above with the Scheitelhau, if he defends himself with the hilt over his head: this defense is called the Crown. And with that he can rush in close to you.
This is executed thus: when you stand in the Plow or else lay on up from below from some posture (concerning which I have spoken in the previous chapter), and your opponent cuts at you from above, then go up with horizontal quillons and catch his stroke in the air on your shield or quillon bar; and as soon as it clashes, push the pommel quickly upward and strike him with the short edge behind his blade on his head; thus have you correctly executed the Crown Cut.
Horizontal quillons? Well that sounds a lot like Guardia di Testa from Marozzo:
So what can you do from this guard? Plenty, Marozzo often returns to it in his assaults. But to start lets look at this passage. (Guardia d’intrare is shown below.)
Immediately go into the guardia di testa and make a falso dritto that goes into the guardia d’intrare and promptly find your enemy with a mandritto tondo to the leg but make that mandritto as your defense and enter stepping with the left leg in a gran passo to the enemy’s right side.
A key difference between what we saw in the video and what Marozzo is doing in this passage is how the short edge cut is performed. In the video we see a wheeling action that ends with crossed arms, essentially ochs on the right. Marozzo, in this passage, ends in a guard that resembles an extended ochs on the left.
If you’ll forgive me, I’m going to take another detour into the world of the single handed sword. Here is Marozzo’s Guardia di Testa.
As you can see, this offers the same defense against high cuts that our theoretical kron and the two-handed Guardia di Testa. But the interesting thing in my mind is that his successor, dall’Agocchie’s, has Guardia di Testa formed with the point down.
The second is called guardia di testa, which is when one holds the arm well extended toward the enemy’s face, and the sword on the diagonal, that is, so that its point goes toward your left side, and somewhat towards the ground, and it is called that because it protects the upper parts.
Until very recently I just assumed that dall’Agocchie had better hand protection than Marozzo (i.e. a complex hilt), which made raising the hand safer. But when working with it for the last couple of weeks I found that it tended to work somewhat better if we did it like the video of kron. That is to say, we parry with the point up, and in a second tempo drop the point for the thrust by winding into first or fifth*. If we rushed to get into a point-down guardia di testa before the parry it would defend, but the follow up attack required a lot more effort.
As we continued to work through these something happened. We started turning into point-down guardia di testa as the blades clashed. Not before nor not immediately after, our blade was rotating as the attack landed. In doing so there was no pause for the follow-up attack, we just flowed right into the thrust or a pair of tramazzonie.
As I write this, I now think of the squinter, a technique that has recently become very effective for me. When I throw it from below it starts as a thrust than ends with a cut to the right shoulder, which is basically Kronhauw as described by Meyer with a slightly different target. (From above it is a long edge cut that turns into a short edge cut, landing in the same place.)
I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m not saying that the video is wrong to do the wheeling cuts from the clash, but rather that is is only one of several options available in the family of actions known as the Kronhauw.
* Fifth: If you are familiar with the rapier terms first through fourth to describe the rotation of the hand, consider fifth to simply be the next quarter turn from fourth so that the true edge is up.