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Crooked Strike

One of the five meisterhau, krumphauw is used to defeat cuts from above, and the ochs guard.


For a basic Zornhauw we can do it this way:

Waiting in a right Zornhut, when the opponent cuts an Oberhauw/Zornhauw we cut with crossed hands, bringing the sword over in a descending arc something like a Zwerch cut on the vertical instead of (approximately) horizontal plane, taking out their blade with our long edge on their flat.

With this movement we spring to the right and somewhat forward.

The movement is often followed with a reversing over and barring ([Sperren]) movement so that we end in the position seen below.


In application as a cut (rather than a parry) it is useful to note that angling the blade forward, leaving the point more or less online with the opponent, rather than using the often seen "windscreen wiper" action.

One interesting point taking this approach of a vertical Zwerch like cut is that we are breaking our usual agreement of foot and hand movement.

Consider a cut from the right shoulder, starting with the left foot forward. The Krumphauw movement we're performing with our hands is similar to a Zwerch action that would usually be accompanied by a left step forward, whereas we're performing it with a right step.

There is also a great deal of flexibility as to when to intercept the opponent's blade. It can fall over "behind" their blade/arms, but can also strike out the flat to deflect them perpendicular to their line of motion.

Meyer's krumphauw is a single instance of a generalisation he makes for all "crooked" cuts, which in his system includes zwerchs, shielhauws, and other strikes.

Generally if you hit the blade you should follow on the pressing the hands, wrencing, winding, or some other work immediately.

Meyer describes the technique with hands held high in the cut, though this can be adjusted as required.


The krumphauw can be used to parry incoming blows by deflecting or redirecting them. It can also be used to attack in a number of ways and indeed Meyer tells us that there are many secondary cuts which are simply variations on the basic crooked strike - the Sturtzhauw, for example is a high krumphauw facing out to the side.

The krumphauw can also be used from the bind; when you bind them from the right a krumphauw without taking your sword from theirs can set their sword aside, or fall down on it to bar it (Sperren).

Fencers should be wary using the krumphauw (especially in the bind) as the opponent can change through against them (Durchwechseln).

Application Example

In which the 'student' demonstrates their knowledge to the 'teacher'.

Application 1: Krumphauw Versetzen (Parrying)

In this application the cut is being used as a Hitter in the Onset. In this case the fencer is acting in the Nach.

Teacher Student
Vom tag, left leg forward Nebenhut, left leg forward
Passing Step with the right foot, Oberhauw Passing Step forward right with the right foot, Krumphauw to the opponent's blade to bind it above (or the hands if possible).
Triangle Step to the right with the rear (left) foot, move the blade to the arms and press the hands with the strong.
Withdraw (Abzug) with a Zwerch

Perform this on the opposite side.

Related Applications

The following applications are related to, or derive from, this strike.

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