If someone is transitioning into Alber or Mittelhut it is trivial matter to safely strike at their head. But if they are already resting in that position then you need some guile. Even if you strike to their head lands, there is no guarantee that they won’t cut you at the same time. Or, in the case of Alber, simply fall forward with the point going up into your gut.
To safely break Alber, you need to offer a creditable threat while not putting yourself in danger. To do this you use the Scheitelhauw or Scalp Cut. The Scheitelhauw isn’t thrown with the shoulders like a normal Oberhau. Once your right hand reaches the height shown in the illustration below you throw a wrist cut by pulling up with the left hand.
Notice how the hilt and point of the sword both lie between the left and right fencer’s face. By placing it there your opponent cannot help but be concerned about the threat.
When you throw this cut, don’t immediately step all the way forward. Only step so your right foot meets the left, then pause for a moment to see what he does. If he does nothing, thrust as per the illustration. You’ll strike his face before he has time to react and his subsequent action will be ineffectual.
If instead he cuts at your hands counter-cut at his. You can drop down on him with a small off-line step or you can circle your point to the right and then cut upwards with the long edge.
Of course Mair offers a counter to this, a counter to the counter, and a further frustration still. More on that tomorrow.