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| <p>Note: hit the first and twitch the second and the third in a quick flight, and let the fourth hit, still likewise launch the first and second bites to the Openings, and indeed twitch them off again and then lead into the next target, in this disengagement you can and also should attack with the first, changing off to things taught before in the numbered lessons, namely that you now twitch and feint from this then to another, and meanwhile still have care and attention where he would engage your own openings, that you then soon be on his sword with a bind, from this twitching now move farther on to Flowing Off and Missing and the like. Thus when you would lead a strike to the man’s now known sections, and yet then take care that he displaces such strikes, then don’t twitch off again, but (in that he is unaware of your observance) then close by the same side miss to let it fully flow off on over and strike nimbly to another opening, being first on the outside right (what you led with). Example:</p>
 
| <p>Note: hit the first and twitch the second and the third in a quick flight, and let the fourth hit, still likewise launch the first and second bites to the Openings, and indeed twitch them off again and then lead into the next target, in this disengagement you can and also should attack with the first, changing off to things taught before in the numbered lessons, namely that you now twitch and feint from this then to another, and meanwhile still have care and attention where he would engage your own openings, that you then soon be on his sword with a bind, from this twitching now move farther on to Flowing Off and Missing and the like. Thus when you would lead a strike to the man’s now known sections, and yet then take care that he displaces such strikes, then don’t twitch off again, but (in that he is unaware of your observance) then close by the same side miss to let it fully flow off on over and strike nimbly to another opening, being first on the outside right (what you led with). Example:</p>
 
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{{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/77|3|lbl=Ⅰ.28v.3|p=1}} '''[XXIXr]''' unn lasse den vierten treffen / eben desgleichen trauwe den ersten unnd den andern biß an die Blösse / und verzucke doch solches wider ab / und führe den der andern nechsten Blösse eine zu / in dieser verzuckung kanstu / und solt sie auch mit dem ersten angreiffen / aller ding wie hievor in der ziffer gelehrt abwechseln / nemlich das du jetz an dieser dann an einer andern abzuckest unnd verfehlen lassest / und under des gleichwol fürsorg und auffmerckens habest / wo er dir jrgendt zur Blöß würde einfallen / das du jm bald von solchem verzucken mit dem Bandt an seinem schwerdt seyest / aus disem verzucken fleußt nun weiter das Ablauffen und Fehlen unnd dergleichen / Also wann du ein hauw dieser obgedachten theilen des Mans eine zuführest / und aber in dem du gewahr würst / das er solchen Hauw versetzen / so zuckest du gleichwol nicht wider ab / sonder (auf das er deines vermerckens nicht gewahr werde) so lasse neben der selben seiten vollen fehl füruber ablauffen / unnd Hauwe jhm behende zu einer andern Blöß / ehe dann ers recht (was du führest) innen wirt / Exempel:
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| <p>As you have rebounded through the out stretching to the strikes as was taught above, then step and strike high from your right against his left ear, as soon as he clears this, nimbly let your blade sink below you with the half edge near your left side, and then pull your pommel and grip above you, and nimbly strike to his right ear with the short edge, so that your hands become crossed in this strike.</p>
 
| <p>As you have rebounded through the out stretching to the strikes as was taught above, then step and strike high from your right against his left ear, as soon as he clears this, nimbly let your blade sink below you with the half edge near your left side, and then pull your pommel and grip above you, and nimbly strike to his right ear with the short edge, so that your hands become crossed in this strike.</p>
| So du dich durch das auffstreychen zum streich erholet hast / wie oben gelehret / so trit unnd hauwe von deiner Rechten hoch herein gegen seinem Lincken ohr / als bald er dem nach wischt so lasse behend dein klingen mit der halben schneide neben seiner Lincken undersich sincken / unnd ruck damit dein Knopff und Hefft ubersich / und hauwe ihm behend mit kurtzer schneide zu seinem Rechten ohr / also das dein hend in solchem hauw kreutzweiß kommen.
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| <p>Note: let the first hit hard against his left ear, nimbly let the second flow off missing near his right as instructed before, and hit deep to his left ear, thus onto it nimbly (whereas you hit the first hard unto him) as well, letting it flow off to both sides, and still attack on to the next target as it opens, all these diagonally and with crossed arms as was taught, also against each other single and double, judged in the work against your need and opportunity. Then farther, as was taught, drive the blade in the full work first with the long edge then with the short, and also with the flat, against his sides in full flight to the high and low openings.</p>
 
| <p>Note: let the first hit hard against his left ear, nimbly let the second flow off missing near his right as instructed before, and hit deep to his left ear, thus onto it nimbly (whereas you hit the first hard unto him) as well, letting it flow off to both sides, and still attack on to the next target as it opens, all these diagonally and with crossed arms as was taught, also against each other single and double, judged in the work against your need and opportunity. Then farther, as was taught, drive the blade in the full work first with the long edge then with the short, and also with the flat, against his sides in full flight to the high and low openings.</p>
| Item las den ersten gegen seinem Lincken ohr hart antreffen / den andern lasse behend auff vorige weiß neben seinem Rechten fehl furuber lauffen / unnd triffe dieff zu seinem Lincken ohr / also magstu auch ( wo du den ersten mit jm hart eingehauwen hast) behend darauff / auff beiden seiten ablauffen lassen / und demnoch zu der nechsten Blöß so die offen ist einfallen / dises alles so bisher gelehrt kanstu uberecke und kreutzweiß / auch gegeneinander einfach unnd doppel / in das '''[XXIXv]''' werck richten / nach deinem gefallen und gelegenheit / weiter so lehre auch dein klingen in voller arbeit / erstlich mit Langer dann auch mit halber schneid / oder auch mit der flech / gegen seiner seiten zur obern und undern Blösse / in vollem flug behendiglichen zusamen führen / also.
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| <p>In the first attack strike a long downstrike to his left ear, just as he glides then twitch both hands above you, so that your pommel will be under your right arm as you thrust through to him above you, and strike handily from below with the long edge to his left, just then step to him with your left foot behind your right and come through this strike to bring your grip high over your head. Onward again first strike an understrike with the long edge to his low opening while advancing your right foot, twitch handily near your right above you again, and strike the second from above also to his left while backstepping with your left behind your right as before, from which you will stand guarded behind your blade.</p>
 
| <p>In the first attack strike a long downstrike to his left ear, just as he glides then twitch both hands above you, so that your pommel will be under your right arm as you thrust through to him above you, and strike handily from below with the long edge to his left, just then step to him with your left foot behind your right and come through this strike to bring your grip high over your head. Onward again first strike an understrike with the long edge to his low opening while advancing your right foot, twitch handily near your right above you again, and strike the second from above also to his left while backstepping with your left behind your right as before, from which you will stand guarded behind your blade.</p>
| Im ersten angriff hauw ein Langen Oberhauw zu seinem Lincken ohr / in dem es glützt / so zuck beide hend ubersich / das dein Knopff under deinem Rechten arm im ubersich fahren durch gestossen werdt / unnd hauwe behend mit Langer schneiden von Unden auch zu seiner Lincken / trit in des mit deinem Lincken fus hinder deinen Rechten zu jhm / und komm mit deinem Hefft in solchem hauwen hoch uber deinem Haupt / Herwiderumb so hauwe den ersten einen Underhauw / mit einem zutrit deines rechten Fuß / zu seiner undern Blös mit Langer schneid / zuck behendt neben deiner Rechten wider ubersich / unnd hauwe den andern von Oben auch zu seiner Lincken mit einem abtritt deines lincken Fus / hinder deinem Rechten zu jhm wie vor / auff das du hinder deiner kling verdeckt standest.  
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| [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword C.jpg|center|400px]]
 
| [[File:Meyer 1570 Longsword C.jpg|center|400px]]
 
| <p>Note: twitch with a high strike from the right with the half edge to his left, but in the air cross over your hands and slash with the half edge to his left ear, as is shown by the top two figures in illustration C, twitch your hands again thus crosswise over you, and slash again with a traverse from below to his left ear, then again onward strike the traverse from below to his left with an advance step, twitch nimbly near your left above you, and thrust through in this off-twitch with your pommel under your right arm, and quickly again with crossed arms from your high right into his left, in this way slash with the flat below and above on the one side, that goes to both sides, and mark when you will slash to the lower right opening, which will be with the flat, long or short, then your hands will cross, but when you slash to his hight righ opening, then your hands will not always be crossed, from here mark the following example:</p>
 
| <p>Note: twitch with a high strike from the right with the half edge to his left, but in the air cross over your hands and slash with the half edge to his left ear, as is shown by the top two figures in illustration C, twitch your hands again thus crosswise over you, and slash again with a traverse from below to his left ear, then again onward strike the traverse from below to his left with an advance step, twitch nimbly near your left above you, and thrust through in this off-twitch with your pommel under your right arm, and quickly again with crossed arms from your high right into his left, in this way slash with the flat below and above on the one side, that goes to both sides, and mark when you will slash to the lower right opening, which will be with the flat, long or short, then your hands will cross, but when you slash to his hight righ opening, then your hands will not always be crossed, from here mark the following example:</p>
| Item zuck mit halber schneid von dem Rechten ein hohen streich zu seiner Lincken / aber in der lufft verschrenck dein hend / und schlag mit halber schneide zu seinem lincken ohr / wie du solches an den zweyen obern Bilder zur Lincken in der Figur so mit dem C. verzeichnet sehen kanst / zuck deine hende also kreutzweiß wider ubersich / unnd schlag mit einer zwirch wider von Unden zu seinem lincken Ohr / also auch herwiderumb Hauw die zwirch von Unden zu seiner Lincken mit einem zutrit / zuck behendt neben deiner Rechten ubersich / unnd stoß in solchem auffzucken dein Knopff under dein rechten Arm durch / und schnell also mit geschrenckten henden wider von deiner Rechten Oben hinein zu seiner Lincken / auff diese weise schlag es auch mit der flech Unden und Oben auff einer seiten zusamen / das gehet zu beiden seiten / und merck wann du zur Rechten undern Blöß schlechst / es sey flech / lang oder kurtz / so kommen dein hend kreutzweiß / aber wann du '''[XXXr]''' zu seiner Rechten obern Blösse schlechst / so kommen deine hende nicht alwegen kreutzweiß / hievon merck auff folgend Exempel.
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| <p>Thus in advancing shoot through before him and slash with the half edge from your left to his right ear, without crossing your hands, but with your pommel staying out toward your left, twitch nimbly overhead to your right, and crossing your hands over in the air, slash with crossed hands to his lower right opening from your left, in all moves keep your pommel full behind your blade, stepping double steps out to your right, thus you can both slash with the flech and with the long edge, from below and above, near your right, as I taught you before, that you shall twitch and turn the strikes from one opening to another, thus you shall twitch and address both high and low openings on one side. Basically, when you drive a strike to his high openings, and notice that he does not strike, but your sword drives on to engage, see that you then not let your strike hit on, but lead your strike to his low opening, but where he does get under the strike, then drive your strike ahead against the strong of his blade. From this work grows winding at the Sword, namely when you have bound onto his sword from your right against his left, then stay stay hard on his blade, thrust your pommel through under your right arm unseen to him, stay thus forward on his sword, and then pull your pommel out again and wind your short edge out to his head. Thus you again find three edges and the flat, namely the outward and inward long edge, also the outward and inward short edge, and similarly the inward and outward flat, all on both sides.</p>
 
| <p>Thus in advancing shoot through before him and slash with the half edge from your left to his right ear, without crossing your hands, but with your pommel staying out toward your left, twitch nimbly overhead to your right, and crossing your hands over in the air, slash with crossed hands to his lower right opening from your left, in all moves keep your pommel full behind your blade, stepping double steps out to your right, thus you can both slash with the flech and with the long edge, from below and above, near your right, as I taught you before, that you shall twitch and turn the strikes from one opening to another, thus you shall twitch and address both high and low openings on one side. Basically, when you drive a strike to his high openings, and notice that he does not strike, but your sword drives on to engage, see that you then not let your strike hit on, but lead your strike to his low opening, but where he does get under the strike, then drive your strike ahead against the strong of his blade. From this work grows winding at the Sword, namely when you have bound onto his sword from your right against his left, then stay stay hard on his blade, thrust your pommel through under your right arm unseen to him, stay thus forward on his sword, and then pull your pommel out again and wind your short edge out to his head. Thus you again find three edges and the flat, namely the outward and inward long edge, also the outward and inward short edge, and similarly the inward and outward flat, all on both sides.</p>
| Also im zutritt schieß vor jhm durch / und schlag mit halber schneid / von deiner Lincken zu seinem rechten ohr nicht mit geschrenckten henden / sonder das dein Knopff gegen deiner Lincken aus steht / zuck behend wider ubersich gegen deiner Rechten / und verschrenck dein hende in der lufft / schlag jhm mit gekreutzigten henden zu seiner undern rechten Blöß / von deiner Lincken / in dem allem schaw das du mit dem Kopff wol hinder deiner kling / mit zwifachen tritten gegen seiner Rechten außtreten bist / also kanstu auch mit flech und Langer schneid / von unden unnd oben / neben seiner Rechten zusamen schlagen / wie ich dich nur vor gelert hab / das du die häw von einer Blöß zur andern verzucken und trauwen solt / also soltu hie auff einer seiten / auch die undern und obern Blöß zusamen trauwen und verzucken / Nemlich wann du jhm also ein haw zur obern Blösse führest / und merckest das er nicht hauwet / sonder deinem Schwerdt entgegen fehrt / das du als dann dein hauw nicht antreffen lassest / sonder dein klingen der undern Blöß zuführest / wo er aber under des hauwen wirt / so fahr mit deinem Hauw fürt doch gegen der sterck seiner klingen / Aus dieser arbeit erwachsen die winden am Schwerdt / nemlich wann du jhm an sein Schwerdt hast angebunden / von deiner Rechten gegen seiner Lincken / so bleib hart an seiner klingen / stoß dein Knopff jme unversehens under dein rechten Arm durch / bleib also ferner an seinem Schwerdt / und ruck als dann dein Knopff wider herfür / und windt jhm die kurtz schneiden außwendig zum Kopff / also findestu auch dreyerley schneid und flech / Nemlich außwendige und inwendige Lange schneide. Item außwendige und inwendige kurtze schneide / deßgleichen inwendig und auswendige flech / und das auff beiden seiten.
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| class="noline" | <p>Thus you understand that the third part of fencing is nothing other than the right Practice, as was reported above, the first two Lead parts in fencing, which will be taught though Practice, where you change at every opportunity, namely in the first Lead Part with the stances and strikes, flowing off, changing through, flying off, and letting miss. That such strikes can be trapped with displacement and clearing, likewise in the second Lead Part, displacement, teach the Practice of how you displace, follow after him, cut, punch, etc. Therewith you will end the strikes that he sends to you, or at the least prevent them from reaching their intended destination. And that is the sum of all Practice, namely that you firstly engage your opposing fencer through the stances, with manly strikes and without damage to your target, by showing cunning and agile misleading as can be shown, and after you then engage him to break through with the obligatory or similar handwork, from which you either securely withdraw at your pleasure, or where he must retreat from you and you follow ahead after him. Since going forward such Practice will be needed and extended in many arts to be the same both in name and in fencing, as you found fully described before here in the handwork chapter, I will now drive further to describe fencing from the stances.</p>
 
| class="noline" | <p>Thus you understand that the third part of fencing is nothing other than the right Practice, as was reported above, the first two Lead parts in fencing, which will be taught though Practice, where you change at every opportunity, namely in the first Lead Part with the stances and strikes, flowing off, changing through, flying off, and letting miss. That such strikes can be trapped with displacement and clearing, likewise in the second Lead Part, displacement, teach the Practice of how you displace, follow after him, cut, punch, etc. Therewith you will end the strikes that he sends to you, or at the least prevent them from reaching their intended destination. And that is the sum of all Practice, namely that you firstly engage your opposing fencer through the stances, with manly strikes and without damage to your target, by showing cunning and agile misleading as can be shown, and after you then engage him to break through with the obligatory or similar handwork, from which you either securely withdraw at your pleasure, or where he must retreat from you and you follow ahead after him. Since going forward such Practice will be needed and extended in many arts to be the same both in name and in fencing, as you found fully described before here in the handwork chapter, I will now drive further to describe fencing from the stances.</p>
| class="noline" | Also verstehstu nun das das dritte stuck im Fechten davon oben gemelt nichts anders ist / dann [XXXv] ein rechte Practick / der zwey ersten Hauptstuck im Fechten / durch welche Practick gelehrt wirt / wie du solche nach zufelliger gelegenheit / nemlich im ersten Hauptstuck die Leger unnd Häuw verwandlen / ablauffen durchwechseln verfliegen unnd fehlen lasset / damit dem versetzer unnd abtrager solche Häuw entführet werden / desgleichen im andern Hauptstuck des versetzens / lert dich die Practick wie du jm deine versatzung entzuckest / jhm nachreisest / schnidest / truckest etc. Damit du jhn auch umb seine häuw das er die vergebens / oder auff das wenigest zu seinem fürgenomen ziel nicht volführe noch ende. Und ist das die summa aller Practick / nemlich das du erstlich deinen gegen gegenfechter durch die Leger / mit dem hauwen manliche unnd ohn schaden / zu seinem nachtheil / mit was listigkeit unnd behender verführung das geschehen kann / angreiffest / unnd nach dem du jhn als dann angriffen / jhne ferner mit obligender oder gleicher handtarbeit jhn also trengest / auff das du demnach zum dritten sicher nach deinem gefallen eintweders abziehest / oder wo er dir weichen müste / du jhm fürsichtig nach folgest / wie ferner aber solche Practick sich erstrecke und auff wie vilerley arth dieselbigen beide in den namen und im Fechten gebraucht werden / findestu hievor im Capitel von der handtarbeit weitleuffiger beschriben / will derwegen nun fürter das Fechten aus den Legern zu beschreiben furt fahren.
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{{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/80|3|lbl=Ⅰ.30r.3|p=1}} [XXXv] ein rechte Practick / der zwey ersten Hauptstuck im Fechten / durch welche Practick gelehrt wirt / wie du solche nach zufelliger gelegenheit / nemlich im ersten Hauptstuck die Leger unnd Häuw verwandlen / ablauffen durchwechseln verfliegen unnd fehlen lasset / damit dem versetzer unnd abtrager solche Häuw entführet werden / desgleichen im andern Hauptstuck des versetzens / lert dich die Practick wie du jm deine versatzung entzuckest / jhm nachreisest / schnidest / truckest etc. Damit du jhn auch umb seine häuw das er die vergebens / oder auff das wenigest zu seinem fürgenomen ziel nicht volführe noch ende. Und ist das die summa aller Practick / nemlich das du erstlich deinen gegen gegenfechter durch die Leger / mit dem hauwen manliche unnd ohn schaden / zu seinem nachtheil / mit was listigkeit unnd behender verführung das geschehen kann / angreiffest / unnd nach dem du jhn als dann angriffen / jhne ferner mit obligender oder gleicher handtarbeit jhn also trengest / auff das du demnach zum dritten sicher nach deinem gefallen eintweders abziehest / oder wo er dir weichen müste / du jhm fürsichtig nach folgest / wie ferner aber solche Practick sich erstrecke und auff wie vilerley arth dieselbigen beide in den namen und im Fechten gebraucht werden / findestu hievor im Capitel von der handtarbeit weitleuffiger beschriben / will derwegen nun fürter das Fechten aus den Legern zu beschreiben furt fahren.
  
 
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Revision as of 19:52, 11 April 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. "st" ligature inverted.
  16. Typo: wolt, könne.
  17. 17.00 17.01 17.02 17.03 17.04 17.05 17.06 17.07 17.08 17.09 17.10 17.11 17.12 17.13 17.14 17.15 17.16 17.17 17.18 17.19 17.20 17.21 17.22 17.23 17.24 17.25 17.26 17.27 17.28 17.29 17.30 17.31 indes
  18. palm up
  19. Illegible deletion.
  20. oberhauw
  21. ‘right’ is originally written, ‘left’ is written above it
  22. short edge
  23. “Degen”, lit. dagger, could either refer to a sword or dagger.
  24. short edge
  25. Unleserliche Streichung. Illegible deletion.
  26. Unleserliche gestrichen Einfügung oberhalb der Zeile. Crossed out illegible insertion above the line.
  27. Die Schlaufe des »h« trägt ein Diärese. The loop of the “h” carries a diaeresis.
  28. Korrigiert aus »mitelhauw«. Corrected from “mitelhauw”.
  29. Leicht unleserlich. Slightly illegible.
  30. Überschriebens »vom«. Overwritten “vom”.
  31. Inserted by means of a special mark.
  32. Word inserted next to the text.
  33. Inserted nest to the text.
  34. Zwei Worte am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Two words inserted at the margin.
  35. Wort am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Word inserted at the margin.