Lets move to a new play with Ludwig (left) and Richard (right). Here Ludwig is doing something very stupid: he is cutting thin air. Liechtenauer told him always to go for the head and body of his opponent but he did not listen. we will see, that this is the beginning of his end. The man on the left can reach his opponent in the illustrated situation, but only because Richard allows it. If Richard would not be leaning forward (as he is doing here), but just leans backward a little bit, there is no danger for him. So if somebody puts himself in range, that should tell us something.

Some people think that Richard is doing a funny kind of Krump/Unterhau with the blade rotating in front of the own body. But they are wrong. If Talhoffer would have Richard do an Unterhau here, it would look like that or like the first play (if the opponent would not be so stupid as displayed here). You can easily imagine the thrust from the winding done by Richard next.
Others think that he is defending with the Nagel, nail,  from below, like the action as described in Codex Wallerstein “Item vichstu mit ainem mit dem messer haut er dir oben ein so versechcz mit deinem messer aussen mit der flach auf den nagel…” or “Item, fight-you with one with the messer, hews he you above, so parry with your messer outside with the flat on the nail (protrusion on outside flat of hilt).” But this thinking is based on an misunderstanding. Wallerstein displaces a well positioned hew on the outside in the folio 29r. so the binding on the other side. Wallerstein wrote “aussen mit der flach” (outside with the flat) not “mit der flach aussen” (with the outside of the flat). Talhoffer displaces inside – Wallerstein outside.

Look at Ludwig. He is leaning forward, his body nearly out of balance. pressing and pushing forward with his upper body but his right leg is offline. He obviously missjuged the distance. His line is telling you “Der howt Fry von dach” – “he is hewing Free from Tag/Dach” – to “hew free” may be seen in the context of the “freifechter”, early sportfencers. He is just trying to reach out and hit without any hint of art or respect of a sharp blade. He uses only the basic guards, stances and hews everybody learned and even uneducated people woud use.

Richard too is leaning forward but is supported by his right leg. He has turned his upper body to the left but left his right hip behind, stopped by his right leg. We shall ask us why he did so? Richards lines are “Der hatt versetzt mit gewenter hand vnd wyl für tretten vnd Ryssen” – “He had displaced with reversed hand and means to step forward and tear”. And again we have one action finished an another beginning. the free hew was displaced, and it was done with the short edge by turning the hand leading the messer.

Clever Richard had done a Mixture between “Zwinger” and “Entrüsthau” as Lecküchner named them. Some cousins of the Schielhau and Twerhau. This starts as a Oberhau from the Luginsland or high Tag/Dach and twists the wrist in the instance the contact is made.
And see how this hew would have hurt Ludwig. And do you see now why Ludwig is pressing and pushing: he did not want that pointy thing in his eyeball.

Richard never believed to get Ludwig with that hew, he planned his next step already. Ludwig did some basic footwork by the triangle to his right side. Richard crossed his right leg but kept his weight back, so that the body is out of reach but the distance is gained. Ludwig is feeling a lot of pressure now with the point coming near his face. He instantly reacts in a protective way by pushing to his left, and this is what Richard was waiting for as you can see easily in the next plate.

For his following action Richard must force Ludwig to press to Richards right side (fat blue arrow), so that Richard can savely snap to the outside (his left side). If Ludwig’s force is directed at Richards spine or to Richards left shoulder (red arrow), Richard would get hurt. To get someone pressing or pushing in one direction, you just have to give him some impulse in the opposite direction (thin blue arrow). So that is the main reason why Richard is hewing like described two pictures before. Richard never believed to win with this hew. But he threatens Ludwig with the point and led him to direct his force to the side.

So it is Ludwig with his sidewise pushing who triggers the turning and snapping to the other side, but it is Richard who has to do the footwork properly. And there is a small problem. The usual movement of turning on the foot loaded with the complete body weight is rotating on first half of the foot as the center of a circle, the radius of the circle is defined by the stance. If you connect your circular movement with the ending position you will soon see that the frontleg of your opponent is a irritating barrier for the direct way to get there. Moving the left feet from the outside to the inside is not recommended in this case. So you have to move the left feet inside first and press it to the outside after you passed your own and the opponents leg. There are two ways to do this. The first one is roughly documented in the red lines (dark red foot, light red knee). The foot is drawn back under the body, the body turns, the foot is placed so that the opponents knee is blocked. The foot stays low and draws more or less in a “S” on the floor. The second option (blue lines) redraws not the foot but the knee to the body. Tt raises the knee at least high enough to enable a kick to the kneecap of the opponent. Then the foot is stomped down to add a momentum to the movement of the body and to place a knee blow on the opponents kneecap (so that he will instantly draw the knee inside). I don’t know what clever Richard did to get there. I do know that Richards aim is to destroy Ludwig entirely. And I know that kicking a kneecap is not a bad idea. But I leave it to Richard and to the reader to decide for one good reason: everybody is diffrent and kicking affords a a lot of agility and a good balance.

>> Continue with the next plate.


Note: The speculative interpretation here was created to inspire an open minded martial artist to have a second and deeper look on the plates of that manual. The author of this article has the opinion that during the creation of the book the illustrator and the author had some misunderstanding. It seems that some of the illustrations had been created and afterwards commented for whatever reasons with a different matching story than the original planned one.