On strikes in medieval German fight books

Hans Talhoffer

Q: Master Talhoffer, what is the trick to do a perfect strike?
A: You strike without wanting to hit.
Q: You mean to strike without wanting to hurt somebody?
A: No, you just strike, hitting is no matter
Q: But if he strikes at me too. What is than to do?
A: You strike, the opponen’ts sword does not matter.
Q: But what matters?
A: The strike. And because of the strike being all that matters, you must choose carefully which strike you do.

In medieval German fight books you will find the term “Hau” for some defined movements armed with a sword, single or two handed, or unarmed. This raises the question if the term is defined or at least understood in a certain way, that we can deduce today. The following article looks at the understanding of the term translated here as “strike” into modern English.

A Strike Is A…

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