Mair’s Longsword – Krumphau from Both Sides

When you come to the closing with the opponent, set the left foot forward and hold your sword with the point at your right side and remain hence standing in the Krumphaw (Crooked/Off-line strike). If he then strikes you from above to an opening, step outward with your right foot and give him a Krump to his right side and strike him at the nearest opening.

This play begins with an invitation. When you stand in Nebenhut (side guard), which Mair refers to as the “Krumphaw”, you can sink down on your left knee to expose the head. From this stance, you can use the Krumphau (crooked strike) against a head strike at any angle.

The illustration is somewhat annoying because Mair wants you to be in right Nebenhut but the illustration clearly has the blade on the left side.


Leaving the feet unchanged, reverse the sword so that you are holding “your sword with the point at your right side”.

The Krumphau as a Parry

When you throw the Krumphau as a parry the point is going to travel in an arc over your head. This is what allows it to deflect attacks from either diagonal. Step wide with the right foot so that your body moves away from the incoming blow. Meanwhile your arms are going to extended to the left to ensure you’ve pushed his attack off line.

The next part is critical. Step forward with the right foot while using his sword as a leverage point to cut to the head with the short edge. You’ll drive your hilt forward and down to maintain control of his sword as you do this. If he resists then he’ll just throw your blade into his head the much faster.

Alternately you can step in with both feet while pinning his sword against his body. From there you have a grappling situation. 

What you don’t want to do is leave his sword. A krunphau is not a beat, it won’t knock his sword sufficiently to the side to allow you to attack without risking a cut to the leg or a thrust to the belly. Even if your opponent goes down with that first strike to the head, he may fall forward with a point to your gut.

Displacing with Weakness

If he gives you a Krump like this and you stand with your right foot forward likewise in the Krumphaw, then step in with your left leg and displace his strike with your long edge. Then immediately follow outward with the right foot and drop a Krump onto his sword with your short edge and with that cut through his head.

If you know that your opponent is throwing a krumphau, you can displace it with weakness. As the blades clash, offer only the minimum of resistance. As he drives his hilt into yours you’ll turn your long edge up and let the point fall so that he’ll find nothing to support him and he’ll fall forward.

At this point you could grapple, using the left hand on his head or shoulder to throw him to the ground. But if that doesn’t please you, then follow with your own krumphau.

Krumphau as an Attack

As soon as your point clears his blade, spin it around in an arc so that the short edge strikes the head. Were you to cut through his head, the short edge would then land on the arm.

When I perform this cut I think of it as the wheel on a paddleboat. The arc is to my right side such that my opponent is on one side of my blade and his sword on the other. (It’s always fun when your blade is between him and his blade.)

This krumphau may be what Jobst refers to as the Krieghau (War Strike), a master strike that will “therewith rise to the Krumphau”.

Don’t Forget the Footwork

It is easy to forget to step in with the left foot, especially if you’ve spent the last few months (years) listening to people always insisting that you step offline. But in this one case you really do need to step directly forward. If you step wide then you will leave your opponent enough room to do something annoying like cut your leg. By stepping into him, you unbalance him and don’t leave enough room for power generation.

Now I will admit that I don’t time the footwork exactly like the translation. I step in with the left during the krumphau. My outward step to the right is done with a long edge strike just in case my opponent didn’t get the message.

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