Lines 37-38

From The Third Book: Lines 31-32 of Meyer’s Zettel:

“When you deliver a Krumphau, go up quickly; cast the point crosswise on his hands.”

Meyer gives us an example earlier in (1.12v.1) his Kunst des Fechtens, in fact it should be noted that 19 lines of the Zettel are concerning the Krump. I have never had any real confusion of what a Krumphau was or was not, I did not even realize there was a bit of a stir in the HEMA world about it. That is, in reference to those who had or still do believe the examples of Krumpauwen are the way, and are (rigidly) a Krumphau. My lack of confusion comes from reading, because;

Meyer Explains:

“…Krumphäuwen are many, and that all cuts that are done with hands put crosswise or crossed, will be known as Krumphäuwen… and it applies equally to the long or short edges, thus it is a Krumphau when you hold your hands crosswise.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12rvBut I can understand confusion. Like they say krumping ain’t easy.

“This is how you shall strike the Krumphau against the hands;

When he cuts from his right side against an opening with an Oberhau or Underhau, take a step well to his left side with your right foot, away from the strike and cut with crossed arms with the point to his hands. And even try this technique against him when he stands against you in the Ochs guard.” – Anon (1504-19) Gloss of Liechtenauer’s Bloßfechten, MS Dresd. C.487, 25r

“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. 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. 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.” – Mair (1542) “Opus Amplissimum de Arte Athletica” (MS Dresd.C.93/C.94), 22v

Never you mind good reader. We learn with and through working Stucken, and we have a great many to work. Per the norm we have:

Stucken from Guards,

Stucken with Something (a cut or handwork)

Stuck from Nebenhut [1.40r]

From Nebenhut you shall especially execute the Krumphäuwen . For example:

If your opponent cuts at your opening when you stand in the right Nebenhut, then spring well away from his cut with your right foot to his left, and cut with crossed hands above and behind his blade at his head. If you do not wish to wrench toward your left (Ausreißen), pull quickly up with crossed hands, and strike with the outside flat strongly around from below at his left ear.

Video Example

1st Stuck with Krumphau 

And firstly when one will cut straight to your head, from his right, thus step with your right foot well out from his strike, to his left, so that you avoid his strike with a spring to his left and likewise cut from your right with crossed hands, against his cut, thus you come with your blade between his head and sword, on his short edge, which is facing him, and when it connects, then step further around to his left side with your right foot, and displace or transfer your sword’s blade from his, onto his arm, between his head and sword,in this you will have seen the opening, to which the you may cut and see that you don’t wait long but rather allow your cuts to fly quickly to the openings. – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12r

Video Example

2nd Stuck with Krumphau
…in the Zufechten when you come to your opponent, then see when he pulls his arms up for the stroke, and at that moment cross your hands in the air, and cast the point, that is the weak or furthest part of your blade, on his hands or arms. And note that this shall take place as he draws up for the stroke, as I have said; and before he is ready with it you shall already be back on his blade with a Zwerchau; for these techniques shall take place flyingly and quickly. [1.47v]
Video Example

Lines 35-36

From The Third Book: Lines 35-36 of Meyer’s Zettel:

Send your cuts powerfully from your body, carry out your work to the four openings

Master Meyer explains:

“In this rhyme two things are realized; firstly to the cutting, secondly to the four openings of the Man, to which the cuts will be struck and note that you cut all cuts with outstretched arms, and with this reach far to the man, also as soon as a cut from one side fails, thus you should quickly cut to the opposite side.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12v

“These verses teach how you shall send your cuts powerfully and long, flying fluidly to all four targets, that is to all four openings, along with the body, which shall fully follow the cuts as I have said.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”,1.46r

Lines 33-34

From The Third Book: Lines 33-34 of Meyer’s Zettel:
No posture will come to you that is so good; in the Nach you will hit him with free mettle.

Master Meyer explains:

“Concerning this you shall note, although there are many good postures…you learn from these verses that it is always better not to entirely settle into a posture, since from the postures your opponent can easily deduce what kind of stück you have in mind to execute, something that cannot be deduced from the cuts.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.46r

This is why we move about; transitioning in the Zufechten through many guards. This is the chess match of fencing and why we do not linger overlong in any particular guard. It is also why it looks silly to view a fencing match where one or both fencers stabilize in a guard, Tag for example, and inch forward, tipy-toeing into Kreig distance to engage in a sad shootfighting, strike fest version of HEMA.

Master Meyer explains further:

“Also you learn from these verses how, when an opponent stands in front of you in a posture, you shall hit him or come to the opening, which may be accomplished through the Nach. Understand this thus: if your opponent stands in a posture, then cut opposite it to the other opening…” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.46r

“…it is always better to not settle into a guard. It guards you not at all, to show someone with your guard, what you will do amid the fight, that may your cutting through not be brought so far. In this, learn from the rhyme, when you should do it. Namely in the Nach that is when you should take him, when he keeps his guard, or stays in a guard, then cut him to the opposite opening, as soon as he goes towards your strike with his displacing, and is out of his Guard, and whether it connects or doesn’t connect, then pull around your head and strike, especially to the part or quarter Line from where he has struck from.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.11v

Lines 31-32

From The Third Book: Lines 31-32 of Meyer’s Zettel:

Pay heed to Indes, understand me rightly, hit him before he adopts his  posture.

Master Meyer explains further:

“…when you are in the Zufechten, and he acts as if he will adopt a posture, then do no let him be in peace or come to it, but always attack first; and as he is choosing a posture, lay on at once to the nearest opening, and act as if you intended to cut strongly; but let it fehlen, or Verfliegen, and attack to another opening; then as soon as you have come halfway in or onto his sword with your blade, then do not be idle, but deliver a Zwerchau, or Umbschlagen, or Ausreißen, or Schnitt, or Winden, or do whatever work may most properly come to hand for you.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.45v – 1.46r

“Many have believed that the word Indes has its origin from the Latin word intus, and indicates the inside combat, which arises from the Winden and similar work; but you will hear now that this is not true. I leave the meaning of the word intus to the Latinists, but the word Indes is a good German word, and embodies a serious exhortation to quick judgment, so that one should be constantly swift of mind.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.25r

“Thus you should respond Indes quickly with convenient work, with this, you are strongest on his Stücken, when you lay on with your work in the Vor, and in this you are crowded so that you must displace him after, thus is a constant changing with the Vor and Nach, now you have it, then he does, But he who does not pay attention to it, he will nonetheless never learn to fence.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.6r


More on Indes from the German tradition of with Ringeck:

“You shall learn and understand both the word “Fühlen” and the word “Indes”, because these two belong together and together they account for the greatest art and skill in fencing.”
“Indes” is a sharp word, which cuts all fencers, that don’t know anything about it. Moreover, “Indes is the key, which unlocks the Art of fencing”
This is a difficult time to describe and from what I understand even the translation does not do it justice, because its meaning is quite a bit deeper than the simple English translation of Just As. Indes describes the time of the moment of decision. It is often used to gain back the initiative from an opponent who has gained the Vor.
A bit from Mike:
“It is done in the moment as you move or strike or even sometimes defend. It can be likened to the concept of double time where Vor, Nach and Abzug represent single time. “ – Cartier (2005) “The Art and Practice of Longsword Combat according to Joachim Meyer, Free Fencer” pg 20


Lines 29-30

From The Third Book: Lines 29-30 of Meyer’s Zettel:

See that you are the first on the field; before your opponent adopts a posture, lay on against him.

Master Meyer explains further:

“… so that you can act in a timely manner in your intended stücken; then you shall be so persistent against him with cuts and steps that he can have neither time nor space to choose a posture or stück, and you shall thus rush upon him with sudden steps before he realizes it.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.45v

Meyer is talking about seizing and maintaining the Vor.

Meyer speaks further of the Vor, that is the act of having the initiative.

“The Vor is when you drive with your stücken so that he cannot come to his senses, especially by positioning yourself close, and how he defends before your stücken and these same would like to break and bar, with this, he runs off the Vor to you.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.6r

“It is called Vor when you attack your opponent with your cutting first in the Zufechten , and further drive on, so that he cannot come to his undertaking or stücken, but must restrict himself to parrying so that he may defend himself from you.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.24r

More on Vor from those predating Meyer in the Kunst des Fechten:

“With the word Vor as has been told before, he [Liechtenauer] means that you, with a good Vorschlag, shall close in without fear or hesitation and strike at the Blossen; to the head and to the body, regardless whether you hit or miss you will confuse the opponent and put fear into him, so that the he does not know what to do against you. Then before the opponent can gather himself and come back, you shall do the Nachschlag so that he will have to defend yet again and not be able to strike himself.” – Anonymous (1389)

“Vor” means, preempting him with a blow or a thrust against an Blossen before he can hit you, so he must defend/displace. So, be flexible in your defense and aim with your sword at one opening after the other, so he cannot get through with his own techniques.” – Ringeck (MS Dresd.C.487; 15v

“What the Vor is that is that you shall always come before, be it with the strike or with the stab, as when you come to him with a strike or otherwise so that he must displace you, Indes, work ahead nimbly with the sword in the displacement or else with other parts, that he can come to no work.” – Anonymous “Pseudo-Peter von Danzig” (pre 1452)

A bit from Mike:

“He who maintains the initiative forces the opponent to react to defend themselves giving up the control of the fight to the man in the Vor. The German school often advocates a flurry of strikes (Meyer mentions four strikes as his preferred combination number) to gain and deftly exploit the Vor, keeping up a relentless pressure of attacks to limit the opponents ability to counter.” – Cartier (2005) “The Art and Practice of Longsword Combat according to Joachim Meyer, Free Fencer” pg 20

First Stück from Tag

The First Stück of vom Tag  (1.31v.1)

When you meet your opponent and are coming up in the air with your schwert (to Tag) by Auffstreichen or else by drawing up for an Oberhau, and he cuts in the mean time against the left side of your head,

then spring well around and out from his cut toward his left and somewhat towards him, and at the same time as this stepping strike with your outside flat (auswendige Flech) against his incoming stroke (Prellhau), hitting the Sterck of his Schwert so strongly that the Schwech of your blade swings in over his Langschwert at his head,  which will surely hit if you strike at the same time as him and come with your schwert over his.

After this cut, whether it has hit or not; pull your Schwert back up away, and cut diagonally opposite to it, from below (Unterhau) at his right arm;

in this cut, step (left foot) well out toward his right, and lean your head right behind your blade.

From there pull quickly back up and nip (winken) at his left ear with the Kurz-Schneid;

if you perceive that he slips after it, then do not let it hit, but let it Ablauffen without hitting,

and at once cross your hands in the air (the right over the left) and strike with the Kurz-Schneid deep at his right ear (Glützhau);

at once deliver a Zwerchau around and Abzug.

And note here, if he pursues you so quickly after the Unterhau you have just been taught,  and will be so promptly in Tag, that you cannot come to the Ablauffen; then take heed when he pulls away from your Schwert, and pursue him with the Schnitt on his arms, etc.

Notes, Zettel, Stuck & Such

I am going to start posting a lot of my notes.  Actually I am going to transcribe them, attempt to edit them for Human consumption and then post them.

Some items  may be a help to others, so enjoy.


Just to clarify:

  • working notes on Stuck (I will add videos)
  • notes on Meyer’s Zettel & advice,  contextual history bits and what not (1540-75)
  • notes and commentary on Warrior Culture and Character