Meyer Longsword – This is not a Kurtzhauw (Short cut)

It was recently pointed out to me that this illustration does not depict a Kurtzhauw (Short cut).


To understand my mistake, consider this passage:

This is a stealthy action that goes through against your opponent, and is done thus: When your opponent cuts at you from above, then act as if you intended to bind on his sword with the Crooked Cut, that is with the short edge; but forego this, and quickly go through under his sword; strike with the short edge and crossed arms over his right arm at his head; thus you have caught his sword with the long edge and executed the Short Cut, and you stand at the end of it as shown by the figure on the right in the small scene on the upper left in Image B.

It sure sounds like the Kurtzhauw is what’s being shown, but also consider this passage from the beginning of chapter 5:

The other cuts with which one neither parries nor hits, such as the Short Cut and Failer, etc. are nor a core component of combat but only allowed per accidens or circumstantially, to deceive the opponent, provoke him, make him angry, and to drive him out of his advantage, which generally does not happen without risk, since they do not incorporate any parrying.

If the Kurtzhauw “neither parries nor hits”, then the Kurtzhauw is actually when you perform this part of the passage: “act as if you intended to bind on his sword with the Crooked Cut, that is with the short edge; but forego this, and quickly go through under his sword”. Which means the illustration shows the next step after the Kurtzhauw.

This brings us back to one of the fundamental problems with interpreting Meyer’s text. It often appears as if it is giving us definitions when in fact he is giving us examples.

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4 Responses to Meyer Longsword – This is not a Kurtzhauw (Short cut)

  1. alanwest02 says:

    I don’t think you have adequately proven that the figure in question is not performing a short cut. You can perform the krump-like maneuver and short cut and end up in that position, however the cut shown in the picture may not have actually struck the opponent. The short cutters hands are on the right side of his body, he is trapping the blow with the long edge (as described in the text), but his tip is passing outside to the left of his attackers head, rather than coming down as a blow. This figure could just be a “snap shot” of a longer action, since as I describe it, he is well set up for a circling action to bring his blade around to the opponents opposite side (I don’t have the text on me, but I believe a technique of this sort is described in the third part of his longsword section). This is also consistent with the ideas described in the second passage in which is is compared with the failer, since any hit you get would be purely incidental since your primary intention is to offset your opponent and gain an advantage elsewhere.

    So I see it as this: Opponent attacks with over head blow. You perform a krump-like move, but rather than striking down on the forte of his sword/hands with the short edge, you let your blade come under his and catch his blow on your true edge. As soon as the blades connect (the moment you see in the figure, and not really a parry), you use that momentum to circle the blade around (the tip passing to the right hand side of the opponent), and come around and above his sword to deliver with a suitable strike, maintaining opposition the whole way.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      I don’t buy it.

      For that argument to work all three of these must be true:

      * Meyer ended an example without landing a blow or breaking measure
      * Meyer doesn’t consider the blade contact to be a parry
      * Despite instructing us to strike at the head, he intends the second cut to actually not make contact

      One, maybe two, I could accept. But all three is too much. My friend’s argument still sounds better to me.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Another translation:

      > Short Strike
      > This is a secretive attack, and is described thus: when your opponent strikes you from above, stand as if you would respond with a Arc Strike, that is to bind his sword with the half edge, but let it fall and drive through under his sword, strike with the half edge and crossed arms over his right arm to hit his head, thus you have closed off his sword with the long edge, and accomplished the Short Strike, and stand as is shown by the smaller figure (mid background) on the left of illustration B fighting against the right.

      Again, it says plainly that you are to “hit his head”, not to pass to the right hand side of the opponent.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Here is RIngeck’s version:

      > Gloss. This is when he wishes to cleave-in above from his right shoulder: so you act as if you will bind onto his sword with the crooked-hew, and [then] short-hew and drive-through under his sword with the point, and wind your hilt to your right side above your head and thrust him to the face (as stands pictured here), and this play breaks it [the crooked-hew].

      Again we have our fencer acting as if he were going to bind to the sword, but instead of completing that he drops under the sword and lands a blow, in this case a thrust.

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