446 years ago on this day, the 24th of February, 1571, Fencing Master Joachim Meyer died shortly after his arrival at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. One year earlier, on this day, he also signed his preface for his famous fencing treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Adeligen und Ritterlichen Kunst des Fechtens which would influence generations to come.
We salute Joachim Meyer by dedicating today to the studies of his teachings, training hard and lighting a candle while drinking good Strassburg beer and reading his treatises. Per tradition, we toast in Kronenburg 1664 Blanc, a beer produced just outside of where he lived.
Meyer had shortly after publishing his first, and only printed treatise Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens taken on appointment as Fencing Master at the court, partly in the hopes that he would gain more income by selling his treatise of 1570 to people in Schwerin, to pay for the debts he had incurred by printing his famous treatise. However, during the journey he became ill and died only two weeks after his arrival.
He left after him a rich material on martial arts teaching grappling and the use of the longsword, dussack, rappier, dagger, quarterstaff, halberd and pike. At the time of his death he was writing on a third treatise which included sword and buckler and harnischfechten, with material from the treatises of Syber, Ringeck, Huntfeltz and others. There are also indications of an earlier, lost fourth treatise.
His work continued to influence fencers long after his death, with fechtbuch authors like Jakob Sutor and Theodori Verolini and his 1570 treatise was reprinted as late as 1660. His fencing school in Strassburg is said to have lived on for more than a 100 years after his death and to have subsequently been taken over by the French state.
For more reading about Meyer, we suggest the following:
Meyer Pilgrimage Part 1 – Straßburg
Meyer Pilgrimage Part 2 – Basel
Roger Norling’s presentation on the Life of Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer at the 4th Annual Meyer Symposium
Roman Vučajnk’s presentation on Meyer at Alte Herren
Joachim Meyer’s dagger system
Teaching progressions in Meyer’s longsword 1: the attacking skill tree
The Ringen of Joachim Meyer
System vs Syllabus: Meyer’s 1560 and 1570 sidesword texts
Meyerozzo: The influences of the Bolognese method in German Rappier
… and Kevin Maurer’s Translation of Meyer’s first treatise finally here!
… and Chris Vanslambrouck’s article entitled The Life and Work of Joachim Meyer
Zum Wohl, brothers and sisters!