Mair’s Peasant Flail 6: Ratio Superni Ictus Contra Medium   Leave a comment


From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

Translation by Rachel Barkley

Reckoning of a High Blow against the Middle 

You will accustom yourself to a fight of this kind: Put forward the left foot, grasp the body of the flail with both hands from your right flank[1] against your enemy, from this position thence you will direct the hanging part of the flail against the left flank of your enemy, you turning from the middle the blow by striking the intestines.[2]

But if he will have attacked you by the same reckoning, you putting your right foot forward, lift the flail with both hands against your adversary, then you will turn the flail-body downwards, and if, you having turned his blow to your right flank, will have avoided the blow of his, you will strike the head of the enemy with the hanging part of the flail. [3]

If your adversary will attempt the same, you will draw back the left foot, and you will repel the blow of his on the left flank with your flail raised, and you will proceed again with the same, you will strike the left flank of the enemy’s neck, and you will withdraw from this position.

[1] The description likely means a high guard on the right side, but could also imply a “tail guard” position, with the head back and low, staff parallel to the ground.  An opening strike to the head would have to go through high guard to arrive, making the use of the tail guard pointless.  But given the play opens with a mittelhau, either opening guard is usable.  High guard provides gravity to assist the opening strike, but requires more effort to hold up than the tail guard. Tail shifts easily to Scales as well.
[2] Quassando Ilia – literally striking the intestines, a gut-level blow. This blow also makes use of the flexibility of the flail head to land on the left side of the opponent’s body and wrap around to finish the blow on the other side of the body.
[3] The illustration here shows Patiente holding the staff with an over-over grip.  Unlike the other instance of an over-over grip, this seems to be a valid technique: the resulting blow to Agente’s head becomes a hockey-style cross-check instead of a blow that describes 3/4ths of a vertical circle to strike.

Interpretation by Owen Townes



Left foot forward
Medium grip
High guard to right side or Tail guard to right side

Right foot forward,
middle grip,
high guard


Onside mittelhau

Deflect with staff to right-side Scales
Switch to over-over grip
Onside oberhau

Step back with left foot
Block with left-side Scales
Step in with left foot, deliver onside oberhau and withdraw



The use of the static block by Agente in the re-counter shows one of the few exceptions to the preference for deflection.  The step backward with the left foot increases the likelihood that the incoming flail-head can be blocked (as the staff is now where Agente’s head was, and therefore where Patiente’s flail-head expects to be) and also voids the left side away from the strike.

And who doesn’t love the opportunity to cross-check their enemy in a complete period fashion?

Posted October 27, 2011 by wistric in German HMA

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