Oberhauw

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Over Strike or High Cut

AKA Scheitelhauw - Scalp Strike, and Brain Blow (rappier)

Longsword

The Oberhauw is a vertical strike from above accompanied with a passing step and is one of Meyer's principal strikes. It is also one of the meisterhauw (historically referred to as a scheitelhauw in this context).

OberhauLine.png

Summary

  • Vertically downward cut
  • Guard transitions: Vom taglangortalber
  • Advantages: The oberhauw has the longest range of any cut, the motion is the same no matter which leg is forward at the start. Comes in from a high position so can be cut “over” other the opponent’s cut.
  • Disadvantages: The vertical line makes the blade easy to evade or to deflect to either side

Execution

The canonical strike described in Meyer is carried out as follows:

Full Cut
  • Begin in vom tag with an orthodox pommel grip.
  • Casts the tip of the blade out and forward, making sure they don’t throw their hands too far out in front of themselves as they do so. The lead hand acts as the pivot while the left hand draws the pommel around, both of the hands structured “behind” the hilt as the blade moves forward for maximum control and edge alignment as we learned in the section on gripping the sword.
  • As the blade passes overhead and moves out in front of the fencer, they take a passing step forward.
  • The blade passes through the position of langort.
  • The blade continues its motion down, stopping with the point toward the ground in the guard alber.

To cut again the fencer can now slash the blade up to vom tag again and cut with a step on the alternate leg.

Abbreviated Cut

Notice that it is possible to stop the cut at long point instead of following through to alber, though for beginners this cut through is beneficial.

  • Begin in langort with an orthodox pommel grip.
  • Drop the tip of the sword and lift the pommel through hangetort.
  • Let the blade tip continue around behind, keeping the hands overheard.
  • As the blade passes overhead and moves out in front of the fencer, they take a passing step forward.
  • The blade passes through the position of langort around the same time as the passing step lands

To cut again the fencer need only drop the top to the same side as their lead leg, and cut over in a circle (zirckel) with another cut to longpoint with a step.

Notes

While landing the step just as the long-point is reached ensures the strike has the maximum possible reach is achieved it may land slightly before or after depending on the needs of the fencer (an earlier landing, for example, allows for blade control if the fencer wishes to arrest the motion in long-point and carry on to other works.

Throughout the course of the cut the hips and shoulders should be aligned toward the target and the step should be smooth and without bobbing. The spine should be straight with the body upright or tilted forward. Any tilting or bending of the spine, or hunching of the shoulders in the cut is to be discouraged as it leads to poor cutting form and can put the fencer out of balance. The elbows should not be pointing out to the sides during the cut; they should be kept in and behind the blade.

Notice that this cut doesn’t follow a strictly circular arc; in fact the arc is slightly elliptical because of the “casting forward” motion of the blade which places the blade at maximum speed and extension at langort.

While the canonical description of the oberhauw ends in alber it is possible instead to bring the blade back to an on point position in pflug, or (as is more often the case in Meyer's treatises) to flow off from langort to one side or another only to cut around at a different opening.

Application

Aside from its use as a simple cut, Meyer favours the oberhauw for setting aside incoming blows of all kinds; a kind of generic cutting parry which can oppose strikes, deflect them, or redirect them along the axis of their movement.

Application 1 - Oberhauw Entry

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

Teacher Student
Vom tag, left leg forward Vom tag, left leg forward, out of distance
Gathering Step forward slowly As soon as the opponent is within range, Passing Step forward and to the right, Oberhauw
Withdraw (Abzug) with a defensive high cut or guard.

Application 2 - Oberhauw Versetzen (Parrying) with Umbschnappen (Snapping around)

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

This application also demonstrates Umbschnappen from the over-bind.

Teacher Student
Vom tag, left leg forward Vom tag, left leg forward
Passing Step Zornhauw to the upper left opening. Passing Step back and to the right, Oberhauw to his strong to parry the blade away
Gathering Step forward right with the lead leg, Umbschnappen from the over-bind to the nearest opening.
Withdraw (Abzug) with a defensive high cut or guard.

Perform this also from the opposite side.

Related Applications

The following applications are derived from the Oberhauw but have specific sections describing them.

Dussack

One of the principal cuts of the dussack, it is a straight vertical strike to the scalp cutting straight down in the same way as the longsword.

Rappier

The Oberhauw is a vertical strike from above accompanied with a step and is the first strike described by Meyer for the rappier. It is one of the four principal cutting types and from it are derived various other high cuts including the Schielhauw and the Dempffhauww.

The execution of this cut is fundamentally similar to the longsword and dussack descriptions of the cuts.

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