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| '''Iron Door'''
 
| '''Iron Door'''
 
This Iron Door is actually (as said above) the Barrier Guard, from which you fence thus: if he strikes one from above, then drive thus out with crossed hands and catch his strike on the strong of your blade, just as he then takes his sword off your blade from this strike, then strike him (while his arms pull over himself) with a forceful upstrike to his arms, as soon as he tries to clear off then fence to his head.
 
This Iron Door is actually (as said above) the Barrier Guard, from which you fence thus: if he strikes one from above, then drive thus out with crossed hands and catch his strike on the strong of your blade, just as he then takes his sword off your blade from this strike, then strike him (while his arms pull over himself) with a forceful upstrike to his arms, as soon as he tries to clear off then fence to his head.
| '''[XLr] Eisenport.'''
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| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/100|1|lbl=Ⅰ.40r.1}}
DIse Eiseneport ist eigentlich (wie oben gemelt) die Schranckhut / aus welcher ficht also / Hauwet einer auff dich von Oben / so fahre also mit gekreutzigten henden auff / und fang jhm sein hauw auff di sterck deiner klingen / in dem er als dann sein Schwerdt von gemeltem Hauw von deiner klingen wider abnimpt / so hauwe ihm (dieweil er die Arm ubersich zeuhet) mit Underhäuwen gewaltiglich nach seinen Armen zu / so bald er herab fellet so ficht jhm zum Kopff.
 
  
 
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| Note, displace his high strike as before, and just as the swords glide together then wind the short edge nimbly inward to his right ear, then wind again to his left side nimbly over him with your pommel through below, and with a back step strike long to the left of his head. However where he would fence to you from below, then fall from above with the long edge onto his sword into the Long Point. The Iron Door or Barrier Guard breaks out the Key, namely stab toward his face forcing him above himself, and then fence after him (just as he drives overhead) from below.
 
| Note, displace his high strike as before, and just as the swords glide together then wind the short edge nimbly inward to his right ear, then wind again to his left side nimbly over him with your pommel through below, and with a back step strike long to the left of his head. However where he would fence to you from below, then fall from above with the long edge onto his sword into the Long Point. The Iron Door or Barrier Guard breaks out the Key, namely stab toward his face forcing him above himself, and then fence after him (just as he drives overhead) from below.
| Item versetze seinen Oberhauw wie vor / unnd in dem die Schwerdter auff einander glützen / so winde behendiglichen die kurtze schneid einwerts zu seinem Rechten ohr / unnd winde demnach behende wider mit deinem knopff unden durch / gegen seiner Lincken seiten ubersich / und hauwe mit einem abtrit lang gegen seiner Lincken zum Kopff. Wo er dir aber von Unden Fechten würde / so fall mit Langer schneid oben auff sein Schwerdt in das Lang ort / Diese Eisenport oder Schranckhut brich auß dem Schlüssel / nemlich stich jhm gegen seinem gesicht damit zwingestu jhn ubersich / als dann ficht jhm von Unden (in dem er ubersich fehrt) nach.
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| '''Close Guard'''
 
| '''Close Guard'''
 
From the Close Guard you will fence into the Arc Strike; as you have been struck to an opening when you hold yourself in the right Close Guard, then step springing with your right foot to his left well away from his strike, and strike with crossed hands above and behind his blade to his head, twitch nimbly (where you don’t want to wrench out to your left) above him with crossed hands and hit strongly with the outward flat from below to his left ear; however where he won’t strike, then fence such as you will learn from the Middle Guard following this.
 
From the Close Guard you will fence into the Arc Strike; as you have been struck to an opening when you hold yourself in the right Close Guard, then step springing with your right foot to his left well away from his strike, and strike with crossed hands above and behind his blade to his head, twitch nimbly (where you don’t want to wrench out to your left) above him with crossed hands and hit strongly with the outward flat from below to his left ear; however where he won’t strike, then fence such as you will learn from the Middle Guard following this.
| '''Nebenhut.'''
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| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/100|3|lbl=Ⅰ.40r.3}}
AUß dieser Nebenhut soltu fürnemlich die Krumphäuw Fechten / als hauwet dir einer der Blös zu / wann du in der rechten Nebenhut dich verhaltest / so trit sprungs weiß mit deinem rechten Fus wol aus seinem hauw gegen seiner Lincken / und hauwe mit verschrenckten henden oberhalb hinder seiner klingen zum Kopff / zuck behend (wo du gegen deiner Lincken nicht ausreissen wilt) mit geschrenckten henden ubersich / und schlag mit der auswendigen flech starck umb / von Unden zu seinem Lincken ohr / wo er aber nicht hauwen wolt / so ficht auff solche weiß wie du in der Mittelhut folgends gelert wirst.
 
  
 
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<p>You will learn of the Middle Guard later with the Dusack, whereas that will be done with one hand, here you shall place yourself in it with two hands. Then even if in the beginning I was not well disposed to set this here, I can indeed (since from nothing else can the Ward of the Roses be taught onward) otherwise not go forward, then mark when one comes ahead to you so that his sword is stretched out before him in the long point or else driving in direct displacement, then drive with your blade around in a circle from the middle guard right over around his, so that you come right back to the same middle guard with your blade, from there swing the weak forcefully out to him over his arm to his head, or as he then (just as you would would drive over his blade through the roses) meanwhile would fall from above down to your opening, then take his blade outward with the half edge, namely on the second time you come to be in the middle guard, then as quickly as he has not yet come to reach your opening, you come around just then with the Roses, with which you have enough time to come to the described out, after this you still take him outward, then let flow over in a curve in the air over your head (by which you mislead him) through a circle to the next opening.</p>
 
<p>You will learn of the Middle Guard later with the Dusack, whereas that will be done with one hand, here you shall place yourself in it with two hands. Then even if in the beginning I was not well disposed to set this here, I can indeed (since from nothing else can the Ward of the Roses be taught onward) otherwise not go forward, then mark when one comes ahead to you so that his sword is stretched out before him in the long point or else driving in direct displacement, then drive with your blade around in a circle from the middle guard right over around his, so that you come right back to the same middle guard with your blade, from there swing the weak forcefully out to him over his arm to his head, or as he then (just as you would would drive over his blade through the roses) meanwhile would fall from above down to your opening, then take his blade outward with the half edge, namely on the second time you come to be in the middle guard, then as quickly as he has not yet come to reach your opening, you come around just then with the Roses, with which you have enough time to come to the described out, after this you still take him outward, then let flow over in a curve in the air over your head (by which you mislead him) through a circle to the next opening.</p>
| {{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/101|1|lbl=Ⅰ.40va}}
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| <p>Or as you have struck to the left into the Middle Guard in pre-fencing, and your counterpart strikes below this to you from above, then step well out from his strike to his right side, and throw your short edge above or outside his right arm to his head, and in this throw in let your blade shoot well in, either to his head or above both his arms, then nimbly twitch your sword upward again and strike him strongly with the long edge from your left above to his right arm, from there fence to him onward as with previous and following elements at your pleasure, and meanwhile since the Roses can also be fenced rightly from the Long Point, just as I set forth the previous element, I will describe it with the Long Point as well thus:</p>
 
| <p>Or as you have struck to the left into the Middle Guard in pre-fencing, and your counterpart strikes below this to you from above, then step well out from his strike to his right side, and throw your short edge above or outside his right arm to his head, and in this throw in let your blade shoot well in, either to his head or above both his arms, then nimbly twitch your sword upward again and strike him strongly with the long edge from your left above to his right arm, from there fence to him onward as with previous and following elements at your pleasure, and meanwhile since the Roses can also be fenced rightly from the Long Point, just as I set forth the previous element, I will describe it with the Long Point as well thus:</p>
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{{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/104|4|lbl=Ⅰ.42rd|p=1}} '''[XLIIv]''' damit zwingestu jhn das er gehlingen ubersich fehrt / als bald er solch es thut / so lasse dein Lincke hand vom knopff ab / und laß dein klingen gegen seiner Rechten von Unden auff in einer hand umb schnappen / und setze jhm den vordern ort an sein Brust / greiff in des dein knopff wider an / wie du solches an den kleinern Bilder zur Rechten hand mit dem F. hievor sehen kanst / stoß jhn also mit verkehrter hand von dir / laß als bald dein knopff wider ab / und dein Schwerdt umb dein Kopff fahren / und hauwe lang mit angreiffung des knopffs nach / dergleichen stuck soltu gegen die welche gern einlauffen gebrauchen.
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{{section|Page:Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (Joachim Meÿer) 1570.pdf/104|4|lbl=Ⅰ.42r.3|p=1}} '''[XLIIv]''' damit zwingestu jhn das er gehlingen ubersich fehrt / als bald er solch es thut / so lasse dein Lincke hand vom knopff ab / und laß dein klingen gegen seiner Rechten von Unden auff in einer hand umb schnappen / und setze jhm den vordern ort an sein Brust / greiff in des dein knopff wider an / wie du solches an den kleinern Bilder zur Rechten hand mit dem F. hievor sehen kanst / stoß jhn also mit verkehrter hand von dir / laß als bald dein knopff wider ab / und dein Schwerdt umb dein Kopff fahren / und hauwe lang mit angreiffung des knopffs nach / dergleichen stuck soltu gegen die welche gern einlauffen gebrauchen.
  
 
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Revision as of 19:44, 17 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. "t" is upside down.
  18. 18.00 18.01 18.02 18.03 18.04 18.05 18.06 18.07 18.08 18.09 18.10 18.11 18.12 18.13 18.14 18.15 18.16 18.17 18.18 18.19 18.20 18.21 18.22 18.23 18.24 18.25 18.26 18.27 18.28 18.29 18.30 18.31 indes
  19. palm up
  20. Illegible deletion.
  21. oberhauw
  22. ‘right’ is originally written, ‘left’ is written above it
  23. short edge
  24. “Degen”, lit. dagger, could either refer to a sword or dagger.
  25. short edge
  26. Unleserliche Streichung. Illegible deletion.
  27. Unleserliche gestrichen Einfügung oberhalb der Zeile. Crossed out illegible insertion above the line.
  28. Die Schlaufe des »h« trägt ein Diärese. The loop of the “h” carries a diaeresis.
  29. Korrigiert aus »mitelhauw«. Corrected from “mitelhauw”.
  30. Leicht unleserlich. Slightly illegible.
  31. Überschriebens »vom«. Overwritten “vom”.
  32. Inserted by means of a special mark.
  33. Word inserted next to the text.
  34. Inserted nest to the text.
  35. Zwei Worte am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Two words inserted at the margin.
  36. Wort am Seitenrand nachgetragen. Word inserted at the margin.