I was doing some cutting practice today with my group, and (for the first time) I tried cutting with some of the meisterhau other than just the zornhau.
Some of our members have been taught by other HEMA groups to perform the krumphau with very high hands, so I tested that against our plastic milk bottle filled with water. We were using a sharp Albion Count, and the krumphau with high hands bounced off the bottle causing only a little cut. Perhaps I was not doing it quite correctly, but when I tried mimicking the way you cut your tatami mat with lower hands (lower being a term relative to hands held at head height or above when delivering this strike) I went right through the bottle with a very clean cut.
Whenever any of us threw a zwerchau from right to left, striking with the false edge, the blade cut cleanly through the milk bottle at whatever angle, diagonally up or down, or horizontal. However, every time a left to right zwerchau with the true edge was tried, the blade rebounded from the bottle, again causing only a little damage instead of a proper cut. Perhaps our technique isn't quite right with this one; I train this technique every day and can land a lot of power with it against a pell, but apparently I have difficulty cutting with it. Looks like I need a lot more milk bottles and a free afternoon to see how best I can throw one of these strikes to cut the target effectively!
Learning points from today's cutting practice:
- the krumphau works better with the hands held lower than other HEMA groups have taught some of our members
- the schielhau with lower hands works very nicely, this clean cut (again with hands lower than have otherwise been taught to some of our members by other HEMA groups...) surprised quite a few people with its effectiveness
- the false edge zwerchau works a charm
- the true edge zwerchau needs a lot of practice!
We also have a couple of the sharp winged Viking spears from BattleMerchant, and one of the "safe for re-enactment" halberds from GDFB. Let's just say the halberd would quite happily go through any of the plate harnesses owned by anyone I have ever met, it is not in the least "battle ready", and the winged spears were even more devastating than the halberd against the poor milk bottles! It was interesting to see the effect of a sharp spear on the target, I have never had the chance to actually stab things with a sharp spear head before. Our spears now scare me....