Meyer’s Dussack Drills

While I haven’t finished with Henri de Sainct Didier yet, I’ve started reading the dussack chapter of Joachim Meyer’s Art of Combat. It starts with a brilliant series of exercises which can be applied to any single-handed cutting sword technique. These are my notes on the drills with all the original terms retained. If you can, get a copy of the text and practice this stuff.

Drill 1: One Line – Half and Full Cuts

Version A: Half cut into Longpoint while stepping forward with right foot. Gather left foot while transitioning through hanging guard to cut again. Do this forward and back working through each of the four lines on the right (2.4v1).

Version B: Same exercise but using full cuts rather than cutting into Longpoint only (2.5v1-2).

Drill 2: The Reverse Line – Full Cuts

Same as Drill 1B above but that you make a full cut ending in the Left Steer posture then cut back along the same line through the Plunge posture into the Right Steer posture (2.6r). Do this for all four lines on the right.

Drill 3: The Reverse Line – Half Cuts

Similar to Drill 2 except that instead of making full cuts you make a half cut and pull the dusack back into the Left Steer posture before cutting along the opposite line.

“This pulling is the beginning of all deceit” (2.6v3).

Drill 4: Changing Lines

Same as Drill 3 except that instead of cutting back along the opposite line you follow a diagonal cut (whether from above or below) with a horizontal cut and vice versa. Meyer gives two examples of its use (2.6v4-2.8r1):

The six cut drill:

  • right wrath cut,
  • left middle cut,
  • right low cut,
  • left low cut,
  • right middle cut,
  • left wrath cut.

The cross/middle drill:

  • right wrath cut,
  • left wrath cut,
  • right middle cut,
  • left wrath cut,
  • right wrath cut,
  • left middle cut.

Drill 5: Cross Cuts

Make a full right wrath cut then cut back along the same line with the short edge. Follow this immediately with a full left wrath cut and cut back along the same line with the short edge.

“Do this once to three or four times, at your will, forcefully through your opponent’s face” (2.8r2-2.8v).