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! <p>Figures</p>
 
! <p>Figures</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|C|Draft Translation (from the 1570)}}<br/>by [[Mike Rasmusson]]</p>
 
! <p>{{rating|C|Draft Translation (from the 1570)}}<br/>by [[Mike Rasmusson]]</p>
! <p>[[Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meyer)|1570 Transcription]]{{edit index|Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf}}</p>
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! <p>[[Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meyer)|1570 Transcription]]{{edit index|Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf}}<br/>by [[Michael Chidester]]</p>
  
 
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<p>Now we will clarify this and why it is done in fencing, namely how one or another are like the parts of one’s body which one strikes away from in knightly fashion or accordingly defend them at need. Just like the parts of the human are quickly understood, so it’s again apparent from noting why and how certain relative parts of the sword work against others to bring success, and similarly how you should know these labels or overviews before you try yourself likewise, so thus onward from nothing else than your Sword shall you cause communication, and meanwhile have wisdom not in only one device, but also shortly know cuts with the short edge, then with the long, then with the strong, and with the weak, then will you charge on to success from the Sword’s necessities and from heeding this Art’s known elements also have something to say.</p>
 
<p>Now we will clarify this and why it is done in fencing, namely how one or another are like the parts of one’s body which one strikes away from in knightly fashion or accordingly defend them at need. Just like the parts of the human are quickly understood, so it’s again apparent from noting why and how certain relative parts of the sword work against others to bring success, and similarly how you should know these labels or overviews before you try yourself likewise, so thus onward from nothing else than your Sword shall you cause communication, and meanwhile have wisdom not in only one device, but also shortly know cuts with the short edge, then with the long, then with the strong, and with the weak, then will you charge on to success from the Sword’s necessities and from heeding this Art’s known elements also have something to say.</p>
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| <p>We define the form and figure of the Sword’s parts as its Pommel, Point, Cross or Hilt, Haft or Grip, and the Blade, about which, though without evaluation, we will now say several words.</p>
 
| <p>We define the form and figure of the Sword’s parts as its Pommel, Point, Cross or Hilt, Haft or Grip, and the Blade, about which, though without evaluation, we will now say several words.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/29|2|lbl=Ⅰ.4vb}}
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| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/29|2|lbl=Ⅰ.4v.2}}
  
 
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| <p>The Blade has basically two underlying divisions, where the first is the Strong and Weak, the other the Short and Long edges, those being the forward and trailing edges.</p>
 
| <p>The Blade has basically two underlying divisions, where the first is the Strong and Weak, the other the Short and Long edges, those being the forward and trailing edges.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/29|3|lbl=Ⅰ.4vc}}
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| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/29|3|lbl=Ⅰ.4v.3}}
  
 
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| <p>The Strong of the Sword is the name for the part running from the Cross or Hilt to the middle of the blade, the Weak is from the middle to and with the point or end itself, from which the Long and Short edges grow.</p>
 
| <p>The Strong of the Sword is the name for the part running from the Cross or Hilt to the middle of the blade, the Weak is from the middle to and with the point or end itself, from which the Long and Short edges grow.</p>
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| <p>The Long Edge is the full length of edge from the fingers onward, directed against your opponent, the Short or half edge is the one nearest the thumb, between the thumb and index finger, first finger pointing at the fencer’s self, as if it is imitating the other’s weapon. We will speak as well of the spine of the sword, as shown in the previous illustration.</p>
 
| <p>The Long Edge is the full length of edge from the fingers onward, directed against your opponent, the Short or half edge is the one nearest the thumb, between the thumb and index finger, first finger pointing at the fencer’s self, as if it is imitating the other’s weapon. We will speak as well of the spine of the sword, as shown in the previous illustration.</p>
 
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{{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/29|5|lbl=Ⅰ.4v.5|p=1}} {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/30|1|lbl=Ⅰ.5r.1|p=1}}
  
 
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| <p>From the overlying parts of the sword springs forths the correct total view, which is very useful in fencing, namely that the Sword is outwardly grouped in four parts and divisions, as is seen in the previous illustration.</p>
 
| <p>From the overlying parts of the sword springs forths the correct total view, which is very useful in fencing, namely that the Sword is outwardly grouped in four parts and divisions, as is seen in the previous illustration.</p>
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| <p>The first to be named is the Bind or Haft, including Pommel and Cross, for charging, Wrenching, Grappling, Throwing, and of service in other work.</p>
 
| <p>The first to be named is the Bind or Haft, including Pommel and Cross, for charging, Wrenching, Grappling, Throwing, and of service in other work.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/30|3|lbl=Ⅰ.5rc}}
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| <p>The second is the Strong, as was counted, used in Cutting, Winding, Impacting, and otherwise where the Strong is useful in fencing.</p>
 
| <p>The second is the Strong, as was counted, used in Cutting, Winding, Impacting, and otherwise where the Strong is useful in fencing.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/30|4|lbl=Ⅰ.5rd}}
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| <p>The third part is the Middle, which lies between strong and weak on the halfway part and is used when needing to close in the changeful work, where it will be resorted to at every opportunity when needed.</p>
 
| <p>The third part is the Middle, which lies between strong and weak on the halfway part and is used when needing to close in the changeful work, where it will be resorted to at every opportunity when needed.</p>
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| class="noline" |  
 
| class="noline" |  
 
| class="noline" | <p>The fourth is the Weak, through which Changing, Rushing, Slinging, and similar such will duly be used in fencing, of which in what follows there will be many examples and pieces.</p>
 
| class="noline" | <p>The fourth is the Weak, through which Changing, Rushing, Slinging, and similar such will duly be used in fencing, of which in what follows there will be many examples and pieces.</p>
| class="noline" | {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/30|6|lbl=Ⅰ.5rf}}
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| class="noline" | {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/30|6|lbl=Ⅰ.5r.6}}
  
  
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<p>Since the Stances or Guards have the four sections of ones body as their obvious origin, in that one is divided into four quarters, Over, Under, Left and Right, so also one’s opponent is divided and thus shall be encountered, as four Targets, and relative to them there are the four Primary Stances or Guards, from which all others originate and spring forth, which are the Ox, Plough, Roof and Fool, from which one comes to understand the secondaries which, in due order, one comes to deploy, which are the Wrathful Guard, Long Point, Changer, Close Guard, Iron Door, Hanging Point, Key, and Unicorn.</p>
 
<p>Since the Stances or Guards have the four sections of ones body as their obvious origin, in that one is divided into four quarters, Over, Under, Left and Right, so also one’s opponent is divided and thus shall be encountered, as four Targets, and relative to them there are the four Primary Stances or Guards, from which all others originate and spring forth, which are the Ox, Plough, Roof and Fool, from which one comes to understand the secondaries which, in due order, one comes to deploy, which are the Wrathful Guard, Long Point, Changer, Close Guard, Iron Door, Hanging Point, Key, and Unicorn.</p>
 
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<p>Thus you have been told of both Ox Guards or Stances, which is being shown by the Left Figure of illustration B above.</p>
 
<p>Thus you have been told of both Ox Guards or Stances, which is being shown by the Left Figure of illustration B above.</p>
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<p>The Right Plough is shown by the figure on the Right of the above illustration.</p>
 
<p>The Right Plough is shown by the figure on the Right of the above illustration.</p>
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<p>The Guard of the Roof, which is also known as the High Guard, is explained as follows. Stand with your Left Foot forward, hold your Sword high over your head so its point is directly above, consider the figure on the left of the image above, illustration C, which indicates how one can operate from above, that all strikes can be fenced from the Roof or High Guard, which is why this Guard is named the Roof.</p>
 
<p>The Guard of the Roof, which is also known as the High Guard, is explained as follows. Stand with your Left Foot forward, hold your Sword high over your head so its point is directly above, consider the figure on the left of the image above, illustration C, which indicates how one can operate from above, that all strikes can be fenced from the Roof or High Guard, which is why this Guard is named the Roof.</p>
 
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<p>This will now be described. Stand with the Left leg forward, hold your Sword with the Point stretched out in front of you aimed at the ground in front of your forward foot, with the short edge above, the long edge below. Thus you stand in this Guard rightly, as you can see in the illustrated figure above on the right.</p>
 
<p>This will now be described. Stand with the Left leg forward, hold your Sword with the Point stretched out in front of you aimed at the ground in front of your forward foot, with the short edge above, the long edge below. Thus you stand in this Guard rightly, as you can see in the illustrated figure above on the right.</p>
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<p>The Wrathful Guard is known as such since the stance has a wrathful bearing, as will be shown. Stand with your left foot forward, hold your sword out from your right shoulder, so that the blade hangs behind you to threaten forward strikes, and mark this well, that all strikes out from the Guard of the Ox can be intercepted from the Wrathful stance, indeed leading from this stance shows unequal bearing from which One can entice onward, whereupon one can move quickly against the other as needed, as is shown by the Figure in illustration E (on the left).</p>
 
<p>The Wrathful Guard is known as such since the stance has a wrathful bearing, as will be shown. Stand with your left foot forward, hold your sword out from your right shoulder, so that the blade hangs behind you to threaten forward strikes, and mark this well, that all strikes out from the Guard of the Ox can be intercepted from the Wrathful stance, indeed leading from this stance shows unequal bearing from which One can entice onward, whereupon one can move quickly against the other as needed, as is shown by the Figure in illustration E (on the left).</p>
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<p>Stand with your Left foot forward, hold your Weapon with outstretched arms out in front of your face, so that you stand and point forward at your opponent’s face, and thus you stand in the Guard of the Long Point, which you can see in the picture in illustration A.</p>
 
<p>Stand with your Left foot forward, hold your Weapon with outstretched arms out in front of your face, so that you stand and point forward at your opponent’s face, and thus you stand in the Guard of the Long Point, which you can see in the picture in illustration A.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/35|4|lbl=Ⅰ.7rd}}
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<p>This Guard shall now be fully described, stand with your Right foot forward, hold your weapon with the point or Weak stretched out from close at your side aimed at the ground, so that the short edge stands toward your opponent, such as can be seen from the right figure in illustration D above.</p>
 
<p>This Guard shall now be fully described, stand with your Right foot forward, hold your weapon with the point or Weak stretched out from close at your side aimed at the ground, so that the short edge stands toward your opponent, such as can be seen from the right figure in illustration D above.</p>
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<p>To put yourself into this guard, stand with your Left foot forward, hold your sword close to your right with the point to the ground and the pommel above, and with the short edge against you.</p>
 
<p>To put yourself into this guard, stand with your Left foot forward, hold your sword close to your right with the point to the ground and the pommel above, and with the short edge against you.</p>
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<p>What the right Iron Door is, which you will find out should you go farther onto Rapier Fencing, that while it is used in stabbing with the Sword as by us Germans, this guard is also easily deflected and sent to the ground. Although at this time it is used by the Italians and other nations, it covers like the Barrier Guard, and so of the Iron Door no further report is therefore required.</p>
 
<p>What the right Iron Door is, which you will find out should you go farther onto Rapier Fencing, that while it is used in stabbing with the Sword as by us Germans, this guard is also easily deflected and sent to the ground. Although at this time it is used by the Italians and other nations, it covers like the Barrier Guard, and so of the Iron Door no further report is therefore required.</p>
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| <p>There is a basic underlying division, and here I will shortly clarify both, and so will now describe the Iron Door. Stand with your right foot forward, hold your sword with the grip in front of the knee, with straightly hanging arms, that your point stands upward out at your opponent’s face. In addition, keep your Sword in front of you to shut like an iron door, and when you stand with feet wide and so come to lower your body, you can clear all strikes and stabs out and away from you.</p>
 
| <p>There is a basic underlying division, and here I will shortly clarify both, and so will now describe the Iron Door. Stand with your right foot forward, hold your sword with the grip in front of the knee, with straightly hanging arms, that your point stands upward out at your opponent’s face. In addition, keep your Sword in front of you to shut like an iron door, and when you stand with feet wide and so come to lower your body, you can clear all strikes and stabs out and away from you.</p>
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| rowspan="2" | [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword F.jpg|center|400px]]
 
| rowspan="2" | [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword F.jpg|center|400px]]
 
| <p>However, the Barrier Guard is when you hold your Sword with crossed hands in front of you with the point at the ground, which is seen from the figure in illustration F.</p>
 
| <p>However, the Barrier Guard is when you hold your Sword with crossed hands in front of you with the point at the ground, which is seen from the figure in illustration F.</p>
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<p>This stance is very close to the Ox in similar form, only different in that in the Ox your arms are strongly held in high mode, but here shall be directly outstretched before your face, letting the Sword hang toward the Earth, therefore it is named Hanging Point.</p>
 
<p>This stance is very close to the Ox in similar form, only different in that in the Ox your arms are strongly held in high mode, but here shall be directly outstretched before your face, letting the Sword hang toward the Earth, therefore it is named Hanging Point.</p>
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<p>The Key is shown by the left figure in illustration D, stand with your Left foot forward, and hold your Sword with the haft and crossed arms in front of your chest, so that the short edge lies on your Left Arm, and the point is aimed at your opponent’s face. Thus is this stance or guard rightly made.</p>
 
<p>The Key is shown by the left figure in illustration D, stand with your Left foot forward, and hold your Sword with the haft and crossed arms in front of your chest, so that the short edge lies on your Left Arm, and the point is aimed at your opponent’s face. Thus is this stance or guard rightly made.</p>
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<p>Come into pre-fencing with your Left foot forward, wings out from both sides, as if you would stand in the forenamed Key guard, drive with crossed hands overhead on your Right, so that the point is aimed high above and outward, thus it is named Unicorn, and stand as shown by the figure on the Right of illustration E.</p>
 
<p>Come into pre-fencing with your Left foot forward, wings out from both sides, as if you would stand in the forenamed Key guard, drive with crossed hands overhead on your Right, so that the point is aimed high above and outward, thus it is named Unicorn, and stand as shown by the figure on the Right of illustration E.</p>
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| <p>And thus are named the count of the Stances or Guards, and now all in the work phase will be fully and shortly examined. After this point in all fencing, you will Strike, Strive, Displace, or float to work for what you wish, and not remain in a stance, but always drive from one to the other, as one or the other must soon become afflicted, thus you especially must move on to keep the working initiative, and will lead out from one to another of the above cited stances, which I will clarify with a few words about the strikes through the lines or pathways.</p>
 
| <p>And thus are named the count of the Stances or Guards, and now all in the work phase will be fully and shortly examined. After this point in all fencing, you will Strike, Strive, Displace, or float to work for what you wish, and not remain in a stance, but always drive from one to the other, as one or the other must soon become afflicted, thus you especially must move on to keep the working initiative, and will lead out from one to another of the above cited stances, which I will clarify with a few words about the strikes through the lines or pathways.</p>
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| rowspan="2" | [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword Cuts.jpg|center]]
 
| rowspan="2" | [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword Cuts.jpg|center]]
 
| <p>Firstly if you will execute the high or Vertex Strike, you will find yourself in three Stances, first in the start you will stand in the Roof, in the Middle in the Long Point, and end up in the Fool, so you have moved directly from above through the Line from A to E via three Guards or Stances. If you then drive farther on upward from below to displace with crossed hands, you will find yourself in three more Stances, at the start in the Iron Door, in the Middle the Hanging Point, and in the end full above you in the Unicorn, then grip your Sword with the haft before your chest, so that the half edge lies on your left arm. Now you stand in the Key, and thus you come have onward and drove on along Line A and E from one stance into the other.</p>
 
| <p>Firstly if you will execute the high or Vertex Strike, you will find yourself in three Stances, first in the start you will stand in the Roof, in the Middle in the Long Point, and end up in the Fool, so you have moved directly from above through the Line from A to E via three Guards or Stances. If you then drive farther on upward from below to displace with crossed hands, you will find yourself in three more Stances, at the start in the Iron Door, in the Middle the Hanging Point, and in the end full above you in the Unicorn, then grip your Sword with the haft before your chest, so that the half edge lies on your left arm. Now you stand in the Key, and thus you come have onward and drove on along Line A and E from one stance into the other.</p>
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<p>You can similarly strike out with your Sword from the Hanging Point, from which you drive over in front of you to move into the Guard of the Ox. Thus you find always, when taking the indicated Lines, one moves through them via at least three stances.</p>
 
<p>You can similarly strike out with your Sword from the Hanging Point, from which you drive over in front of you to move into the Guard of the Ox. Thus you find always, when taking the indicated Lines, one moves through them via at least three stances.</p>
 
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| <p>However it shall be a good Fencer who does not rush and who waits longer in his Stances, so that as soon as he can reach his opponent to attack, he can Fence onward to take the pre-named paths, as waiting longer allows many displacements from which one eventually can come to strike, as will be described below.</p>
 
| <p>However it shall be a good Fencer who does not rush and who waits longer in his Stances, so that as soon as he can reach his opponent to attack, he can Fence onward to take the pre-named paths, as waiting longer allows many displacements from which one eventually can come to strike, as will be described below.</p>
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| <p>The Stances are also very useful towards the divisions and openings, thus if one comes into a Stance without danger before Striking, he can soon be mindful of what path to take from pre-fencing. These then serve not just for careful and sensible changes from one Stance to the other, but also to entice the opponent, such that he will be made unable to know what you shall Fence with. Lastly this is also good and useful for all from here on, in that you will easily know and recognise your opponent’s part, and what he can safely fence with, and so thus oppose him more sensibly.</p>
 
| <p>The Stances are also very useful towards the divisions and openings, thus if one comes into a Stance without danger before Striking, he can soon be mindful of what path to take from pre-fencing. These then serve not just for careful and sensible changes from one Stance to the other, but also to entice the opponent, such that he will be made unable to know what you shall Fence with. Lastly this is also good and useful for all from here on, in that you will easily know and recognise your opponent’s part, and what he can safely fence with, and so thus oppose him more sensibly.</p>
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| class="noline" | <p>Now much has been said about this art’s start, namely the pre-fencing against your opponent, which faces off through the Stances to the Strikes. Now the rest of the art will follow and we will move onto other parts, and in due form onto the next chapter, which is Of The Strikes.</p>
 
| class="noline" | <p>Now much has been said about this art’s start, namely the pre-fencing against your opponent, which faces off through the Stances to the Strikes. Now the rest of the art will follow and we will move onto other parts, and in due form onto the next chapter, which is Of The Strikes.</p>
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Revision as of 16:30, 29 March 2021

Joachim Meyer
Born ca. 1537
Basel, Germany
Died 24 February 1571 (aged 34)
Schwerin, Germany
Spouse(s) Appolonia Ruhlman
Occupation
Citizenship Strasbourg
Patron
  • Johann Albrecht (?)
  • Johann Casimir
Movement Freifechter
Influences
Influenced
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Notable work(s) Gründtliche Beschreibung der
Kunst des Fechtens
(1570)
Manuscript(s)
First printed
english edition
Forgeng, 2006
Concordance by Michael Chidester
Translations
Signature Joachim Meyer sig.jpg

Joachim Meyer (ca. 1537 - 1571)[1] was a 16th century German Freifechter and fencing master. He was the last major figure in the tradition of the German grand master Johannes Liechtenauer, and in the last years of his life he devised at least three distinct and quite extensive fencing manuals. Meyer's writings incorporate both the traditional Germanic technical syllabus and contemporary systems that he encountered in his travels, including Italian rapier fencing.[2] In addition to his fencing practice, Meyer was a Burgher and a master cutler.[3]

Meyer was born in Basel,[4] where he presumably apprenticed as a cutler. He writes in his books that he traveled widely in his youth, most likely a reference to the traditional Walz that journeyman craftsmen were required to take before being eligible for mastery and membership in a guild. Journeymen were often sent to stand watch and participate in town and city militias (a responsibility that would have been amplified for the warlike cutlers' guild), and Meyer learned a great deal about foreign fencing systems during his travels. It's been speculated by some fencing historians that he trained specifically in the Bolognese school of fencing, but this doesn't stand up to closer analysis.[5]

Records show that by 4 June 1560 he had settled in Strasbourg, where he married Appolonia Ruhlman (Ruelman)[1] and was granted the rank of master cutler. His interests had already moved beyond smithing, however, and in 1561, Meyer petitioned the City Council of Strasbourg for the right to hold a Fechtschule (fencing competition). He would repeat this in 1563, 1566, 1567 and 1568;[6] the 1568 petition is the first extant record in which he identifies himself as a fencing master.

Meyer probably wrote his first manuscript (MS A.4º.2) in either 1560 or 1568 for Otto Count von Sulms, Minzenberg, and Sonnenwaldt.[7] Its contents seem to be a series of lessons on training with long sword, dussack, and rapier. His second manuscript (MS Var.82), written between 1563 and 1570 for Heinrich Graf von Eberst, is of a decidedly different nature. Like many fencing manuscripts from the previous century, it is an anthology of treatises by a number of prominent German masters including Sigmund ain Ringeck, pseudo-Peter von Danzig, and Martin Syber, and also includes a brief outline by Meyer himself on a system of rapier fencing based on German Messer teachings. Finally, on 24 February 1570 Meyer completed (and soon thereafter published) an enormous multi-weapon treatise entitled Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens ("A Thorough Description of the Art of Combat"); it was dedicated to Johann Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine, and illustrated at the workshop of Tobias Stimmer.[8]

Unfortunately, Meyer's writing and publication efforts incurred significant debts (about 1300 crowns), which Meyer pledged to repay by Christmas of 1571.[1] Late in 1570, Meyer accepted the position of Fechtmeister to Duke Johann Albrecht of Mecklenburg at his court in Schwerin. There Meyer hoped to sell his book for a better price than was offered locally (30 florins). Meyer sent his books ahead to Schwerin, and left from Strasbourg on 4 January 1571 after receiving his pay. He traveled the 800 miles to Schwerin in the middle of a harsh winter, arriving at the court on 10 February 1571. Two weeks later, on 24 February, Joachim Meyer died. The cause of his death is unknown, possibly disease or pneumonia.[6]

Antoni Rulman, Appolonia’s brother, became her legal guardian after Joachim’s death. On 15 May 1571, he had a letter written by the secretary of the Strasbourg city chamber and sent to the Duke of Mecklenburg stating that Antoni was now the widow Meyer’s guardian; it politely reminded the Duke who Joachim Meyer was, Meyer’s publishing efforts and considerable debt, requested that the Duke send Meyer’s personal affects and his books to Appolonia, and attempted to sell some (if not all) of the books to the Duke.[1]

Appolonia remarried in April 1572 to another cutler named Hans Kuele, bestowing upon him the status of Burgher and Meyer's substantial debts. Joachim Meyer and Hans Kuele are both mentioned in the minutes of Cutlers' Guild archives; Kuele may have made an impression if we can judge that fact by the number of times he is mentioned. It is believed that Appolonia and either her husband or her brother were involved with the second printing of his book in 1600. According to other sources, it was reprinted yet again in 1610 and in 1660.[9][10]

Treatises

Joachim Meyer's writings are preserved in two manuscripts prepared in the 1560s, the MS A.4º.2 (Lund) and the MS Var 82 (Rostock); a third manuscript from 1561 has been lost since at least the mid-20th century, and its contents are unknown.[11] Dwarfing these works is the massive book he published in 1570 entitled "A Thorough Description of the Free, Chivalric, and Noble Art of Fencing, Showing Various Customary Defenses, Affected and Put Forth with Many Handsome and Useful Drawings". Meyer's writings purport to teach the entire art of fencing, something that he claimed had never been done before, and encompass a wide variety of teachings from disparate sources and traditions. To achieve this goal, Meyer seems to have constructed his treatises as a series of progressive lessons, describing a process for learning to fence rather than merely outlining the underlying theory or listing the techniques. In keeping with this, he illustrates his techniques with depictions of fencers in courtyards using training weapons such as two-handed foils, wooden dussacks, and rapiers with ball tips.

The first part of Meyer's treatise is devoted to the long sword (the sword in two hands), which he presents as the foundational weapon of his system, and this section devotes the most space to fundamentals like stance and footwork. His long sword system draws upon the teachings of Freifechter Andre Paurñfeyndt (via Christian Egenolff's reprint) and Liechtenauer glossators Sigmund ain Ringeck and Lew, as well as using terminology otherwise unique to the brief Recital of Martin Syber. Not content merely to compile these teachings as his contemporary Paulus Hector Mair was doing, Meyer sought to update—even reinvent—them in various ways to fit the martial climate of the late sixteenth century, including adapting many techniques to accommodate the increased momentum of a greatsword and modifying others to use beats with the flat and winding slices in place of thrusts to comply with street-fighting laws in German cities (and the rules of the Fechtschule).

The second part of Meyer's treatises is designed to address new weapons gaining traction in German lands, the dussack and the rapier, and thereby find places for them in the German tradition. His early Lund manuscript presents a more summarized syllabus of techniques for these weapons, while his printed book goes into greater depth and is structured more in the fashion of lesson plans.[12] Meyer's dussack system, designed for the broad proto-sabers that spread into German lands from Eastern Europe in the 16th century,[13] combines the old Messer teachings of Johannes Lecküchner and the dussack teachings of Andre Paurñfeyndt with other unknown systems (some have speculated that they might include early Polish or Hungarian saber systems). His rapier system, designed for the lighter single-hand swords spreading north from Iberian and Italian lands, seems again to be a hybrid creation, integrating both the core teachings of the 15th century Liechtenauer tradition as well as components that are characteristic of the various regional Mediterranean fencing systems (including, perhaps, teachings derived from the treatise of Achille Marozzo). Interestingly, Meyer's rapier teachings in the Rostock seem to represent an attempt to unify these two weapon system, outlining a method for rapier fencing that includes key elements of his dussack teachings; it is unclear why this method did not appear in his book, but given the dates it may be that they represent his last musings on the weapon, written in the time between the completion of his book in 1570 and his death a year later.

The third part of Meyer's treatise only appears in his published book and covers dagger, wrestling, and various pole weapons. His dagger teachings, designed primarily for urban self-defense, seem to be based in part on the writings of Bolognese master Achille Marozzo[14] and the anonymous teachings in Egenolff, but also include much unique content of unknown origin (perhaps the anonymous dagger teachings in his Rostock manuscript). His staff material makes up the bulk of this section, beginning with the short staff, which, like Paurñfeyndt, he uses as a training tool for various pole weapons (and possibly also the greatsword), and then moving on to the halberd before ending with the long staff (representing the pike). As with the dagger, the sources Meyer based his staff teachings on are largely unknown.

Additional Resources

  • Kiermayer, Alex. Joachim Meyers Kunst Des Fechtens. Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens, 1570. Arts of Mars Books, 2012. ISBN 978-3981162738
  • Meyer, Joachim. Joachim Meyer 1600: Transkription des Fechtbuchs 'Gründtliche Beschreibung der freyen Ritterlichen und Adelichen kunst des Fechtens’. TAT. Wolfgang Landwehr, 2011. ISBN 978-3932077371
  • Meyer, Joachim. The Art of Combat: A German Martial Arts Treatise of 1570. Trans. Jeffrey L. Forgeng.
    • 1st edition. London: Greenhill Books, 2006. ISBN 978-1-85367-643-7
    • 1st edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006. ISBN 1-4039-7092-0
    • 2nd edition. London: Frontline Books, 2014. ISBN 978-1-84832-778-8
  • Meyer, Joachim. The Art of Sword Combat: A 1568 German Treatise on Swordmanship. Trans. Jeffrey L. Forgeng. London: Frontline Books, 2016. ISBN 9781473876750

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Dupuis, Olivier. Joachim Meyer, escrimeur libre, bourgeois de Strasbourg (1537 ? - 1571). In Maîtres et techniques de combat. Dijon: AEDEH, 2006.
  2. Castle, Egerton. Schools and Masters of Fencing: From the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century. London: George Bell and Sons, 1885. pp 74 - 76.
  3. Naumann, Robert. Serapeum. Vol. 5. T.O. Weigel, 1844. pp 53-59.
  4. According to his wedding certificate.
  5. His dagger teachings do, however, show some evidence of influence by Achilles Marozzo's printed treatise.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Van Slambrouck, Christopher. "The Life and Work of Joachim Meyer". Meyer Frei Fechter Guild, 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  7. Norling, Roger. "The history of Joachim Meyer’s fencing treatise to Otto von Solms". Hroarr.com, 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  8. Whose members included Christoph Maurer and Hans Christoffel Stimmer.
  9. Schaer, Alfred. Die altdeutschen fechter und spielleute: Ein beitrag zur deutschen culturgeschichte. K.J. Trübner, 1901. p 76.
  10. Pollock, W. H., Grove, F. C., and Prévost, C. Fencing. London and Bombay: Longmans, Green, and co, 1897. pp 267-268.
  11. Jens P. Kleinau. "1561 Joachim Meyer dedicated a fencing book to the Pfalzgrafen of Pfalz-Veldenz". Hans Talhoffer ~ as seen by Jens P. Kleinau. 04 July 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  12. Roberts, James. "System vs Syllabus: Meyer’s 1560 and 1570 sidesword texts". Hroarr.com, 2014. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  13. Roger Norling. "The Dussack - a weapon of war". Hroarr.com, 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  14. Norling, Roger. "Meyer and Marozzo dagger comparison". Hroarr.com, 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  15. 15.00 15.01 15.02 15.03 15.04 15.05 15.06 15.07 15.08 15.09 15.10 15.11 15.12 15.13 15.14 15.15 15.16 15.17 15.18 15.19 15.20 15.21 15.22 15.23 15.24 15.25 15.26 15.27 15.28 15.29 15.30 15.31 indes
  16. palm up
  17. Illegible deletion.
  18. oberhauw
  19. ‘right’ is originally written, ‘left’ is written above it
  20. short edge
  21. “Degen”, lit. dagger, could either refer to a sword or dagger.
  22. short edge
  23. Unleserliche Streichung. Illegible deletion.
  24. Unleserliche gestrichen Einfügung oberhalb der Zeile. Crossed out illegible insertion above the line.
  25. Die Schlaufe des »h« trägt ein Diärese. The loop of the “h” carries a diaeresis.
  26. Korrigiert aus »mitelhauw«. Corrected from “mitelhauw”.
  27. Leicht unleserlich. Slightly illegible.
  28. Überschriebens »vom«. Overwritten “vom”.
  29. Inserted by means of a special mark.
  30. Word inserted next to the text.
  31. Inserted nest to the text.
  32. Zwei Worte am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Two words inserted at the margin.
  33. Wort am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Word inserted at the margin.