Tag: Meÿer

Extensive article on basic Meyer dusack added

I have just added a 28 page article based on my dusack workshop. It is entitled Meyer dusack – the dusack in motion. It is a simple introduction to some of the most basic principles underlying Joachim Meyer’s dusack fencing. It contains brief texts on background, theoretical reasoning, exercises, quotes and illustrations. You can find it...

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Meyer Pilgrimage Part 1 – Straßburg

We all share the same love for our personal and shared discoveries of a forgotten European martial arts tradition and studying it we all learn to know some important and commonly known names like Liechtenauer, Fiore, Ringeck, Talhoffer, Kal, Vadi, Marozzo, Fabris and Silver etc. Most of us study their texts and the numerous anonymous ones somewhat generically but as we continue on or journey many of us also end up choosing to go down a more narrow street, focusing on one master only. As many know, for me, that street is the Joachim Meyer street, and while certainly studying other sources,...

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Meyer quarterstaff workshop in Florence, Italy

Here’s the workshop on Joachim Meyer’s quarterstaff held by me and my fellow GHFS member Mattias Moberg at the HEMAC Florentia event in March, in Florence, Italy. It has been edited down from a 3 hour workshop into a 1 hour movie. Thank you so much for filming, editing and sharing this guys! It truly was a memory for life and a great honour being invited! Thank you also to Mattias for being such a great help and training partner! Adding to this, for those interested, here are two videos of free fencing as described in this article: Free Fencing Exercises...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 7

This week we will be taking advantage of one of the greatest benefits from reading somewhat later masters, like Joachim Meyer and George Silver, by looking closer at a subject that most early treatises speak little of; tactics. We will here only focus on the former master though, and take a look at what tactical advice he gives on combat. However, before we actually do that, we should perhaps look at the definition of that very word; tactics, as it is often confused with strategy. Here is one definition of the two: Tactics are the actual means used to gain an objective, while strategy is the overall campaign plan. So, strategy is the long-term plan that uses different shorter-term tactics to achieve the objective. In combat the objective is commonly to hit the opponent, although it can also be to dominate the opponent or just flee unscathed. To do this, different strategies are used, like e.g. confusing and overwhelming the opponent, which can be done using different tactics, like moving constantly, taking the initiative first, provoking, fenting etc. Looking to the strategies Meyer is close to the earlier masters, but tactically he expands on the older art by also using for the time modern concepts from many sources, not least the Bolognese tradition. Holistic reading and general or particular advice? To understand Meyer’s Art of combat one needs to consider his...

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The Art of Control – Fechtschule Manifesto 2

Fencing with the Sword is nothing other than a discipline, wherein your force strives together with your sword  in placement so that one with the other, using care and agility, artfulness, delicacy and manliness, are at need the same both in strikes and in other handwork one is obliged to, excepting when one is not in a serious situation, thus by such discipline one will be more dangerous and more skillful, and when needing to protect one’s body be more effective. -Joachim Meyer 1570 The  words above are what first drove me to write the original article, I believe what we need to know about how to conduct out art is right there in that quote for us to follow if we choose to. That is really what it boils down to, the desire and will to do it. Without a conscious decision to use control it is not going to be evident. It is a skill we must decide we want as a beginning, the first few steps on a path towards a goal we can see clearly in the books and we desire to emulate. Now that we have established this goal of seeking to experience the art the way our ancestors did in the Fechtschule, or if not that at least the method with which they trained for the Fechtschule events. Clearly they were able to...

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Art of Control (Fechtschule Manifesto) Part 1

“Fencing with the Sword is nothing other than a discipline, wherein your force strives together with your sword in placement so that one with the other, using care and agility, artfulness, delicacy and manlyness, are at need the same both in strikes and in other handwork one is obliged to, excepting when one is not in a serious situation, thus by such discipline one will be more dangerous and more skillful, and when needing to protect one’s body be more effective. This can well and properly be divided into three main parts, namely the beginning, the middle, and the...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 6

Throughout history going all the way back from at least medieval times up until modern military bayonet training a diagram typically depicting four crossing lines with seven or eight directions of cutting or striking have been used. The fact that it has changed little is of course not very surprising as it is tied to human physiology, both that of our opponent and in how we are capable of using our weapons in striking. This week we will look briefly at this and how we can categorize the various types of cuts and reflect a bit on their forms...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 5

This week’s article will be talking about the topic of various ways of counterstriking against an attack. Different masters and traditions handle this differently, depending on their core tactics and views on what distances and timing to use as the basis for the general fighting. Some even mix different solutions in varying proportions, combining different and sometimes disparate styles into their own personal style, with Joachim Meyer being a prime example of this. Kinetic energy, opposing strikes, leverage, Versetzen and distance Basically there are three different methods (1) for handling the opponent’s strikes with a counterstrike: 1. Opposing kinetic...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 4

This time we will start moving into somewhat more unexplored and unmapped territory, working with various clues gathered from different places, to help us guide the way through the (wide) distance. The working theory is that there is a certain distance that many of us need to learn to fight at and utilize more intently and not just pass through or end up in – a distance that is little discussed in the “German” treatises, as it just didn’t need as much explaining for our predecessors since it was common practice to utilize it and thus the authors chose to focus on the...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 3

Time for part 3 in the Onion Article Series, this time taking a closer look at the parts of the weapon and how it relates to handling of distance and tactics. Simply put there are two ways of approaching the issue of controlling the opponent; either physically or mentally. But more on that later. 3. The Schweche, the Mittel and the Stercke Physically controlling your opponent and his/her weapon can be done either with your body, or with your weapon and its features. To better understand this we need to look at how a regular longsword is divided into...

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The Onion – Basics of European Longsword: Part 2

Continuing with part 2 in the Onion series of articles we will now focus on the topic of controlling the fight, or lack thereof and regaining it. In German terms these concepts are called Vor, Nach and Nachreissen. These concepts are hugely important, but at the same time very hard for a beginner to sense and utilise, but they can be trained with the right set of exercises, while they build the correct mentality for both parties. So, what do these concepts really mean? 2. Vor, Nach, Gleich & Nachreissen explained Before we begin, I would like to remind you...

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The Onion: Basics of European Longsword: Part 1

For the last year or so I have been working on a group of primarily longsword exercises based on studying fechtmeister Joachim Meyer‘s holistic system for training and fighting, focusing on the dussack, longsword and staff in combination with some additional mostly untutored practice of Portuguese Jogo do Pau. Some of the core questions have revolved around how to become more dynamic in fencing while also learning to fence in a more safe way that leads to fewer double kills. A good friend recently compared this group of exercises to an onion that has many, many layers of sublime understandings that you...

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A mentality of fear – and its importance to fighting

“If you want to learn how to fight properly and effectively with the long sword, so that you may, without gloves and without all armour, guard your hands and your entire body against all kinds of weapons, against sword, against spear, against halberd, against long knife and also against other weapons, then firstly mark that you know well the strikes and the steps, and mark that you always turn your hands upward with the hilt, and always hide behind the sword, and hold the head close to the hilt…” -Hugo Wittenwiler, ca 1493 The starting point This time I will...

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News from Dr. Forgeng

Great news for students of Joachim Meyer and Leküchner, from Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng, posted on the Reprint Forgeng’s “The Art of Combat” Facebook group. “I’m happy to be able to report some updates on the various projects. I have contacted Freelance Academy Press and let them know that I would be happy to have them publish both the 1570 Meyer and my translation of the Lund Meyer manuscript. We are talking about prioritizing the Lund Meyer, while we try to arrange with Pen and Sword to retrieve the rights to the Art of Combat translation. I have also today nudged Boydell and Brewer about getting in gear on the Leckuechner. The book is almost entirely camera-ready–it will just take a couple of weeks’ work to bring it to completion once I have contracts with the publisher and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Again, I would like to thank people for their support through this difficult time. Between Christine’s death and the impending integration of the Higgins collection into the Worcester Art Museum–on a very tight timeline–I have a lot of challenges on my plate. I’m happy to say that the Higgins Armory’s interim director, Suzanne Maas, has been very supportive amidst it all, which has been a major factor in allowing me to move forward on the publications again.“...

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Meyer freeflow exercises

To begin with, just for clarification, this is not a typical article per se, but rather a text sorted under the Meyer Research Project, thus a more reasoning and speculative piece of text, posted for the sake of discussion and sharing of ideas concerning Meyer’s teachings. I am developing a series of exercises derived both from Meyer’s well-known Kreutz diagram as shown above, and from things I think are similar in other historical fencing traditions like various forms of Bolognese, sabre and Jogo do Pau. The reason for choosing these three are that I think they in some aspects...

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Meyer’s masters

On this day, 443 years ago, Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer published his magnificent fencing treatise ‘Gründliche Beschreibung der Freyen Ritterlichen und Adeligen Kunst des Fechtens’. Exactly one year later, on February 24th 1571, he died from sudden illness, while travelling to take up his position as Fechtmeister at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. Currently, I am writing on a couple of books about the Polearms of Joachim Meyer, and to commemorate both Meyer’s legacy and his far too early death, I am here sharing a rough draft for one of the chapters, as a small ‘teaser’. Please...

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Noël, Noël!

Still not in that proper Christmas mood yet? Well grab your eggnog, turn up the speakers and sing along! Here is another Christmas card from GHFS and HROARR! 2012 has been an amazing year and we are deeply grateful to the whole HEMA community for making our lives so interesting and fun! Let’s all make 2013 even more historical than this...

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A goldmine of printed fencing treatises

Today I thought I would share a little “secret”. In Saarbrucken, Germany there is this great little bookbindery called Fines Mundi that produces prints of antique books with traditional binding and in many different styles ranging from quite simple to very luxurious, depending on your wallet. Currently they have about 3000 titles of antique books in stock. The cool thing is that the man who runs the company, Rolf, is a sports fencers from 40 years back and some time ago he decided to republish old fencing treatises, more for love of fencing than with any expectations to make a profit from it. Currently, they have 47 titles listed and the really great thing is that they start a new project as long as the expect to sell about 30 copies, which means that most clubs can get prints of their favourite fencing master, provided that there are good enough source material and the copyrights are in order. For new projects I have suggested a print of Freyfechter Andre Paurnfeindt‘s treatise of 1516 and a print of the edited Paurnfeindt of 1531 by Egonolff, as Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer was inspired by one of these, or both, and there are links to the works of Paul Hektor Mair as well. Furthermore, having checked three copies of Meyer, Sutor and DiGrassi, I think Fines Mundi need a bit of help with gaining access to really...

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The Rose and the Pentagram

This article is written to accompany the recent article about the mysticist, and possibly even fencer and a Freyfechter, Heinrich Agrippa. If you haven’t read the article, it is suggested you do so, before reading this article. Die Rose (the Rose) is a longsword, dussack, rappier and quarterstaff technique described by fencing masters starting from about 1516AD. This striking sequence, as used by several masters including, Andre Paurnfeindt, Paul Hektor Mair [1] and Joachim Meyer [2], and several later derivative works [3], has confused some of us as we try to understand the relationship between the name and the application of the technique. To be able to understand Die Rose I believe we need to understand what connotations the renaissance man had to the word rose and with that understanding we can apply it to our interpretations of the technique. The following article might seem like a novel by Dan Brown, but explores some of the ideas the men and women of the Renaissance shared, sometimes in more or less secret societies. Symbolism regarding the human body and strength & weakness, geometrics, angles and actions all tie together in the various illustrations of many fencing treatises of the Renaissance and we need to examine this topic both broadly and deeply. Here, the relationship between the Rose, the Pentagon and the Pentagram are crucial to our interpretations. Having studied the topic for some time, I would suggest that...

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Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, a fine student, black magician – and a Freyfechter?

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim (15 September 1486 – 18 February 1535) was a German knight, an ambassador, magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist, and as it appears a soldier and possibly even an independent Freyfechter. Agrippa’s history is fascinating in many ways, full of drama, war, free-thinking, controversy, magic, desperate poverty, several jail sentences and the deaths of two dearly loved and deeply mourned wifes and several children. He was born in the Free Imperial City of Cologne on 15 September 1486, almost exactly a month after the Duke of Austria, Kaiser Frederick III had given the Marxbrüder their first priveleges. The name Agrippa is uncommon at the time and it has been suggested to have been added to his name as a result of him being born feet first, as this was how the Romans were thought to have used the name. However, the city of Cologne is also founded on the remains of the Roman colony Aggripina and his name might therefore refer to his family’s origin in Cologne. Cologne is associated with the House of Austria, the Habsburgers, and Agrippa’s family was of minor nobility who had served the royalty of Austria for many generations. His father directly assisted Emperor Frederick III. Agrippa remained a Catholic throughout his life, but he was also openly sympathetic to the protestant reformist Martin Luther. With this in mind it is interesting to note that another early and contemporary Freyfechter;...

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Meyer and Marozzo dagger comparison

  It has been debated regarding to what extent Meyer was inspired by the Italians, the Napolitans and the Bolognese fighting systems and although there appears to be ties to this, exactly what they are and how they came about is still unclear. However, comparing Marozzo’s and Meyer’s dagger images I think there is an unusual amount of similarities between the two, enough to lead me to believe that Meyer is the closest to Marozzo’s treatise, when comparing also to other treatises, both “German” and Italian”. Examining the illustrations in both treatises we find that Marozzo shows 17 dagger fighting...

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Doing what we are told or what we are taught?

Here’s an old but still always relevant question for us HEMA practitioners to ask ourselves: When we read the old fencing treatises, should we only practice what we are told to do in the treatises or should we try to continue with the next step of playing with it and even do things that we are not explicitly shown or suggested to do in the various stücke? To be able to explore this question; here’s a specific topic that constantly keeps returning in various debates: Meyer is said to not be teaching thrusting with the longsword. Yet, we know for...

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The history of Joachim Meyer’s fencing treatise to Otto von Solms.

The Joachim Meyer fechtbuch named MS A.4°.2, a beautiful hand-written and watercolour-illustrated fencing treatise dedicated to Herrn Otto von Solms-Sonnewalde is currently held at the University Library of Lund, but how did it end up there after having been given to the young Count Otto von Solms some time in the 1560s? As it was a personal gift to Otto von Solms we can fairly safely assume that he was given the book sometime during either his studies or his early travels. As it happens, Otto traveled to Strassburg both in 1560 and in 1568, two years before Joachim Meyer’s death, where...

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The tools for the job

To understand the body mechanics involved in a technique we not only have to train our bodies so we are strong and agile enough, we also need to use tools that work together with our bodies in the appropriate manner. This may seem obvious but is really not and it can become quite apparent when interpreting the sources with tools that have very different characteristics. One such example is how you can train Joachim Meyer’s Halben Stangen Techniques with a regular staff and build your understanding solely on that. However, since Meyer is actually preparing us for the use of the Halberd, we really need to have that in mind and even practice the body mechanics that are required for a considerably more “forward-heavy” weapon, like a proper halberd. Then, it becomes apparent how you need to move to be able to do the Kreutzhauw, where you cross-cut without crossing your arms, like with the Montante. Another such example that I am currently very curious about, as I am exploring the body mechanics of Meyer’s longsword, is what the characteristics really are for his longsword? We know that they were quite long, at least in his treatise of 1570, reaching well into the armpit and with a hilt the length of your forearm. Judging from the pommel size and tapering of the blades shown in the illustrations they do not seem to be...

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Chronicon Helvetiae

Just some brief reflections on  images from Chronicon Helvetiae by Christoph Silberysen, dated to 1576, currently kept in the Aargauer Kantonsbibliothek in Aarau, Switzerland. Christoph Silbereysen (* 1541 in Baden AG; † 1608 in Wettingen)  was  abbot of the Cistercian Monastery of Wettingen. The chronicle was illustrated by Jacob Hoffmann and it is part of the Swiss Chronicles. It is currently kept in  the Aargau Cantonal library. The two parts from which these images are taken describe the early history of Switzerland, the founding of the cantons and amongst many other interesting battles, the Battle of Morgarten against the German King Rudolf I in 1315 and...

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How do you grip a sword?

Gripping a sword may sound like the easiest part of fencing; I mean it is just a matter of grabbing a sword and holding on to it. However, as we will briefly examine below, at least with some fencing masters like Hans Talhoffer, things are just a little bit more complicated than that. In fact, the practice of gripping the arming and longsword in different ways may well have been a strong factor in the development of swords with complex hilts. These are various images showing variations in grip and wrist angles with different types of sword. The earliest...

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