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joachim meyer Archive

  • <p>I’ve been reviewing my notes on both the sidesword and dusack techniques shown in Joachim Meyer‘s Art of Combat and a couple of key principles stand out. Master these and you’ve got the core of the single sword style he taught. This post outlines the core principles in a format from which a lesson plan could be developed.</p>
Core Principles
<p>Forget all the talk about the multitude of postures and cuts. The key is that you cut to attack and, for the most part, cut to defend.</p>
<p>Cuts are either vertical, horizontal or diagonal whether from above or below. When  […]</p>

    Learning Sidesword Fundamentals

    I’ve been reviewing my notes on both the sidesword and dusack techniques shown in Joachim Meyer‘s Art of Combat and a couple of key principles stand out. Master these and you’ve got the core of the single sword style he taught. This post outlines the core principles in a format from which a lesson plan could be developed.

    Core Principles

    Forget all the talk about the multitude of postures and cuts. The key is that you cut to attack and, for the most part, cut to defend.

    Cuts are either vertical, horizontal or diagonal whether from above or below. When […]

  • <p>I’m really beginning to like the dussack and reckon that Joachim Meyer has got it right when he says that it’s the basis of all single-handed sword styles. It’s an unforgiving weapon which is blade-heavy, unweildy yet strangely elegant. If you can make this thing work, you can master any cutting weapon.</p>
<p><em>(Gratuitous self-promotion: I make dussacks that seem to work well in sparring. Email me for details.)</em></p>
<p>The one thing the dussack does is to teach you how to move with the weapon. Being so unbalanced, it is impossible to control in a nice manner. You need to step  […]</p>

    A Little Dussack Lovin’

    I’m really beginning to like the dussack and reckon that Joachim Meyer has got it right when he says that it’s the basis of all single-handed sword styles. It’s an unforgiving weapon which is blade-heavy, unweildy yet strangely elegant. If you can make this thing work, you can master any cutting weapon.

    (Gratuitous self-promotion: I make dussacks that seem to work well in sparring. Email me for details.)

    The one thing the dussack does is to teach you how to move with the weapon. Being so unbalanced, it is impossible to control in a nice manner. You need to step […]

  • <p>At the end of Giovanni Dall’Agocchie’s <strong>On The Art of Fencing</strong> (1572), there’s a wonderful aside in which he explains the basics techniques he’d teach a complete fencing newbie who must fight a duel of honour in thirty days. In this post, I want to point out the similarities with the single sword system of Dall’Agocchie’s contemporary, Joachim Meyer, whose <strong>Art of Combat</strong> (1570) includes an extensive chapter on use of the rapier.</p>
<p>I can’t summarise Dall’Agochhie’s essential actions better than has already been done by Steve Reich (Nova Assalto).</p>
<p>Dall’Agocchie proposes to teach the prospective duellist only one of  […]</p>

    Dall’Agocchie’s Essential Actions

    At the end of Giovanni Dall’Agocchie’s On The Art of Fencing (1572), there’s a wonderful aside in which he explains the basics techniques he’d teach a complete fencing newbie who must fight a duel of honour in thirty days. In this post, I want to point out the similarities with the single sword system of Dall’Agocchie’s contemporary, Joachim Meyer, whose Art of Combat (1570) includes an extensive chapter on use of the rapier.

    I can’t summarise Dall’Agochhie’s essential actions better than has already been done by Steve Reich (Nova Assalto).

    Dall’Agocchie proposes to teach the prospective duellist only one of […]

  • I've finally come to the end of my explorations of the rapier chapter of Joachim Meyer's Art of Combat (1570). I'm presenting here my notes on Meyer's rapier system (PDF) for public appraisal. Maybe I've learned something new about his rappers technique. Maybe I'm on the wrong track entirely. Thoughts, comments and criticism is, as always, greatly appreciated.

    Summary of Meyer’s Rapier System

    I've finally come to the end of my explorations of the rapier chapter of Joachim Meyer's Art of Combat (1570). I'm presenting here my notes on Meyer's rapier system (PDF) for public appraisal. Maybe I've learned something new about his rappers technique. Maybe I'm on the wrong track entirely. Thoughts, comments and criticism is, as always, greatly appreciated.
  • <p>In his Art of Combat (1570), Joachim Meyer unifies feints, parries and strikes and thrusts into a schema inherited from his version of Leichtenauer’s longsword practice. He calls these actions either provokers (feints), takers (parries) and hitters (cuts and thrusts). This schema provides a very useful mental framework for thinking about how and why you act in a bout, regardless of the weapon being used.</p>
<p>As we’ve all discovered, attacking someone standing in a solid guard position is a sure way to get hit. The best you can hope for is that you both hit each other. To the problem  […]</p>

    Meyer’s Rapier: Provoker, Taker, Hitter

    In his Art of Combat (1570), Joachim Meyer unifies feints, parries and strikes and thrusts into a schema inherited from his version of Leichtenauer’s longsword practice. He calls these actions either provokers (feints), takers (parries) and hitters (cuts and thrusts). This schema provides a very useful mental framework for thinking about how and why you act in a bout, regardless of the weapon being used.

    As we’ve all discovered, attacking someone standing in a solid guard position is a sure way to get hit. The best you can hope for is that you both hit each other. To the problem […]

  • <p>The chapter on the rapier in Joachim Meyer’s The Art of Combat lists parrying technique after parrying technique without ever clearly articulating the basic principles which underlie them. At best (or worse) he says “we’ve already covered this in the section on the longsword so I won’t explain it here.” This post reduces the multitude of parrying techniques he describes to their basic principles in order to discover the secrets of his art.</p>
<p>Combat, he says, is based on two elements: the cuts used to overcome an opponent and the parries used to bear off the opponent’s attacks. (1.15v). All  […]</p>

    Meyer’s Rapier Parries

    The chapter on the rapier in Joachim Meyer’s The Art of Combat lists parrying technique after parrying technique without ever clearly articulating the basic principles which underlie them. At best (or worse) he says “we’ve already covered this in the section on the longsword so I won’t explain it here.” This post reduces the multitude of parrying techniques he describes to their basic principles in order to discover the secrets of his art.

    Combat, he says, is based on two elements: the cuts used to overcome an opponent and the parries used to bear off the opponent’s attacks. (1.15v). All […]

  • <p>One recent development has been playing on my mind of late: the height of pedestal on which we place the masters of the various historical fencing techniques we study. In our collective hero-worship no one seems to have considered that the masters’ techniques either just plain don’t work or work only in a limited set of circumstances. This type of hagiography does not to advance our understanding of historical swordplay nor does it provide a useful basis for the future of the sport.</p>
<p>The context in which a particular master wrote is the key piece of information missing from the  […]</p>

    On the Sanctity of the Masters

    One recent development has been playing on my mind of late: the height of pedestal on which we place the masters of the various historical fencing techniques we study. In our collective hero-worship no one seems to have considered that the masters’ techniques either just plain don’t work or work only in a limited set of circumstances. This type of hagiography does not to advance our understanding of historical swordplay nor does it provide a useful basis for the future of the sport.

    The context in which a particular master wrote is the key piece of information missing from the […]

  • <p>What happens when you face an opponent who read my last post and is standing in front of you in Straight Parrying or, to a much lesser extent, Iron Gate? What do you do?</p>
<p>Meyer is not particularly clear on this point but, as he says, he gives a range of examples from which the reader is supposed to deduce the principles at work, many of which will be familiar from the section on the longsword or from other schools of rapier play. He says in general that “ you should not go out more than a hand’s breadth to  […]</p>

    Meyer’s Rapier: Attacking the Straight Parry

    What happens when you face an opponent who read my last post and is standing in front of you in Straight Parrying or, to a much lesser extent, Iron Gate? What do you do?

    Meyer is not particularly clear on this point but, as he says, he gives a range of examples from which the reader is supposed to deduce the principles at work, many of which will be familiar from the section on the longsword or from other schools of rapier play. He says in general that “ you should not go out more than a hand’s breadth to […]

  • <p>What advice does Joachim Meyer give about how to come on guard and start laying into the other guy? More technically, how should one approach the Onset?</p>
<p>While he doesn’t clearly spell this out for rapier, the sheer weight of text suggests Iron Gate or Straight Parrying. This idea is backed up in the section on the Dusack, to which he continually refers the reader of the rapier section. In the rapier section he explain the entire fight from Straight Parrying before going on to outline specific techniques from the other guards.</p>
<p><em>“I consider this posture [Straight Parrying] the best </em> […]</p>

    Meyer’s Rapier: In the Onset

    What advice does Joachim Meyer give about how to come on guard and start laying into the other guy? More technically, how should one approach the Onset?

    While he doesn’t clearly spell this out for rapier, the sheer weight of text suggests Iron Gate or Straight Parrying. This idea is backed up in the section on the Dusack, to which he continually refers the reader of the rapier section. In the rapier section he explain the entire fight from Straight Parrying before going on to outline specific techniques from the other guards.

    “I consider this posture [Straight Parrying] the best […]

  • <p>This post is part of my continuing efforts to understand the rapier techniques expounded by Joachim Meyer in his Art of Combat (1570). I’ll summarise forty-odd pages of text into one(-ish). It covers his sword alone techniques. I’ll look at sword and dagger another time.</p>
<p><strong>Stance</strong></p>
<p>Meyer insists on keeping the right foot forward (for the right-handed swordsman) and the stance is very forward weighted. This makes the front foot a pivot point around which the rear foot moves, generally off-line in the opposition direction to that from which an attack is received.</p>
<p><strong>Postures</strong></p>
<p>There are three types of posture.  […]</p>

    Meyer’s Rapier in One Post

    This post is part of my continuing efforts to understand the rapier techniques expounded by Joachim Meyer in his Art of Combat (1570). I’ll summarise forty-odd pages of text into one(-ish). It covers his sword alone techniques. I’ll look at sword and dagger another time.

    Stance

    Meyer insists on keeping the right foot forward (for the right-handed swordsman) and the stance is very forward weighted. This makes the front foot a pivot point around which the rear foot moves, generally off-line in the opposition direction to that from which an attack is received.

    Postures

    There are three types of posture. […]

  • <p>I’ve been trying to find a framework into which I can fit the various techniques <strong>Joachim Meyer</strong> discusses in his chapter on rapier combat in his The Art of Combat. The chapter is filled with individual techniques and plays and it’s only at the very end of the chapter that he talks about rapier fencing in general.</p>
<p><strong>On Defense</strong>:</p>
<p><em>“From whichever side he sends in his cut, catch and parry his cut, and cut or thrust in at him to the same side from which he has sent his cut, before he has entirely finished it, or at least </em> […]</p>

    Tactical Advice in Meyer’s Rapier

    I’ve been trying to find a framework into which I can fit the various techniques Joachim Meyer discusses in his chapter on rapier combat in his The Art of Combat. The chapter is filled with individual techniques and plays and it’s only at the very end of the chapter that he talks about rapier fencing in general.

    On Defense:

    “From whichever side he sends in his cut, catch and parry his cut, and cut or thrust in at him to the same side from which he has sent his cut, before he has entirely finished it, or at least […]