Your princely grace’s submissive and obedient Joachim Meyer, Freifechter and citizen of Strassburg 15 Compare the version in the Ringeck Fechtbuch, fols. First published in , Joachim Meyer’s The Art of Combat is among the in English of the German Fechtbuch corpus, and the Glossary likewise is the first of . The Art of Combat by Joachim Meyer, , available at in English of the German Fechtbuch corpus, and the Glossary likewise is.
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He was the last major figure in the tradition of the German grand master Johannes Liechtenauerand 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 the Italian school of side sword fencing.
Meyer was born in Basel,  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. Jeyer were often sent to stand watch joachlm participate in town and city militias a responsibility that would have been amplified for the warlike cutlers’ guildand 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. Records show joachiim by 4 June he had settled in Strasbourg, where he married Appolonia Ruhlman Ruelman  and joined the Cutler’s Guild. His interests had already moved beyond knife-smithing, however, and inMeyer petitioned the City Council of Strasbourg for the right to hold a Fechtschule fencing competition. He would repeat this in, and ;  the petition is the first extant record in which he identifies himself as a fencing master.
Meyer probably wrote his first manuscript MS A. His second manuscript MS Var. Like many fencing manuscripts joacbim the previous century, it is an anthology of treatises by a number of prominent German masters including Sigmund ain Ringeckpseudo-Peter von Danzigand Meger Syberand also includes a brief outline by Meyer himself on a system of rapier fencing based on German Messer teachings.
Unfortunately, Meyer’s writing and publication efforts incurred significant debts about crownswhich Meyer pledged to repay by Christmas of fechtbucb 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 koachim Strasbourg on 4 January after receiving his pay. Joachmi traveled the miles to Schwerin in the middle of a harsh winter, arriving at the court on 10 February Two weeks later, on 24 February, Joachim Meyer died.
The cause of his death is unknown, possibly disease or pneumonia. Appolonia remarried in April to joachhim 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 fdchtbuch 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 According to other sources, it was reprinted yet again in and in Joachim Meyer’s writings are preserved in two joaxhim prepared in the s, the MS A. Meyer’s writings purport to teach the entire jiachim of fencing, something that he claimed had meyeer been done before, and encompass a wide variety of teachings from disparate sources and traditions.
In keeping with this goal, Meyer seems to have constructed his treatises fcehtbuch present a method for training to fence, a significant departure from the earlier works in the tradition which explain the system of fencing directly. In keeping with this, he illustrated the techniques with depictions of fencers in courtyards using training weapons such as two-handed fencing swords, wooden dussacks, and rapiers with ball tips.
The first part of Meyer’s treatise is devoted to the long sword the sword in two handswhich he presents as the foundational weapon of his system, and this section devotes the most space to fundamentals like stance joachm footwork. 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, efchtbuch 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. His rapier system, designed for the lighter single-hand swords spreading north from Iberian fechtbuvh 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 fechtbbuch why this method did not appear meeyr 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 and his death a year fechtbuuch.
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  and the anonymous teachings in Egenolff, but also include much unique content of unknown origin perhaps the anonymous dagger meye in his Rostock manuscript.
As with the dagger, the sources Meyer based his staff teachings on are largely unknown. Complete Translation by Kevin Maurer. Well born Gracious Sir, Your Grace, my subservience and willing service, is as every time before. I beg thus in subservience Your grace, wants a work such as mine, although unwary and fwchtbuch a work, than that from one, Your grace, to all possible service in subservience and wholeheartedly, studiously flowed and graciously will accept. Of this will I, Your Grace, subserviently serve and wherewith I can pleasurably show, also to the Highest solicitude.
May that the Almighty meyerr confer on Your Grace, besides other prosperity, also long life in good health and Freedoms. Draft Translation by Mike Rasmusson. Erstlich das Schwerdt als ein fundament alles fechtens.
Draft Translation from the by Mike Rasmusson. As I intent to diligently and truly and to the best of my understanding and abilities describe the art of Fencing in the Knightly and Manly weapons that are currently used most often by us Germans, and because fencing with the sword is not just the source and origin of all other forms of fencing but, as experience shows and as is obvious, also the most artful and manly next to other weapons, I deem it necessary and good to begin with it and do so in brevity but also clarity as it is customary in other arts and disciplines.
Firstly, list the terminology invented by masters of this art so that one can learn and comprehend the secrecy and speed of it all the quicker and easier. After that, explain these terms so that everyone may understand what is meant by them. Then thirdly, achieve the ability to extend the art in your own right, and from your clarity attain and exude the proper judgement in Stance and Strikes so that Youth will not have to learn this art unguided and, because of your unspoken word, ill is wrought and they thus learn wrongly to the detriment of the art.
Once achieved, we need your words and thoughts in this art, first from notes you would clarify, then onto subjects important to read in training, then to other subjects you want to develop further, so that the discipline of fencing grows on properly understood principles you have contributed to, rather than relying on mindless juggling, thus greater the difference between juggling and fencing will become, and the Knightly art of Fencing will grow from Warriors far and wide, particularly to Citizens at large, but beware the Juggler, to whom the unseemliest losses are and who is found everywhere in the world, until all are put away.
I call the Start pre-fencing, where one standing against another and he standing against you, have begun to fence. The Middle is the work or handwork, when one of the participants shall endure longer in the handwork than his opponent fencer, and displace in all withdrawals. The End is the resolution, where one fencer shall withdraw without damage from his opponent and strike away if desired.
Das ende [ 1.
Joachim Meyer dedicated a fencing book to the Pfalzgrafen of Pfalz-Veldenz | Hans Talhoffer
myeer The initial pre-fencing is the face off from the Stances to the strikes, which are of two kinds, namely the Lead Stances and the Secondary Stances, we start with the Lead Stances.
The strikes with the Sword are many, belonging to two groups, which are common to both the direct and indirect strikes which we shall name. The first group is named the Lead or Principal strikes, on which all other strikes are based, and which are four, Over, Under, Middle, and Wrathful strikes. The others are named the secondary or derivative strikes, which are twelve in number, namely the Glance, Curve, Short, Slide, Bounce: Beyond these fechtbuvh come the proper Master Strikes, which we shall uoachim name, from which all masterful and artful moves with the Sword are made and accomplished with varying grips, these are Wrath, Arc, Traverser, Glancer and Vertex which are all used when wanting to conclude and complete, and which I will describe to you.
Just as I introduced pre-fencing, so I have clearly spoken and introduced the Strikes to you. The second or Handwork in the Middle Stage involves the greatest art, where all your withdrawals in the fight can be advances. That brings us to the end, which flows from the Middle, and has the greatest Practical use, by which one ends each case, from thereof Withdraw soundly, in order to report what happened, and so arrange it all in the first chapter of Sword Fighting, from the Master Principles onward, so on to officially profess more skill in meyed Weapon, and by using this Book you shall Teach the initiates, and so after shall this art drive on to become more useful at need, and shall from others range farther to be sufficiently retold.
Such input I have seen fit to make for purposes of clearer understanding, so that with this Book each onward going shall become easier to understand, thus easier to modify, and thus initially to learn, and thus I shall see such Knightly arts grow onward, and will now with the first Letter of this chapter, whose first purpose is to teach usefulness, instruct by moving on to present the Four Targets.
Now we will visualise a man in four quarters or parts, Above and Below and on both the Right and the Left.
Beyond this and how you view yourself, I dare not describe further, but if you care to look, you see that humans are arranged in high and low and right and left parts. In order to better understand my meaning, examine the figure on the right side of the picture above. Onward we see the Right and Left parts which are joined across the Ears, both sides are relevant, both right and Left ears will be addressed.
At the same time, Fencing is shown to be like nothing else, in that two persons with similar weapons can thus fight one another, whereby one can hurt the other through his skill or both will persevere to protect and defend themselves at need. In addition my need is to know then how in all weapons such concepts can be understood in the short term and be shown and explained, and if not to be returned to, until the Person can explain the sections, so by them if the opposing fencer tries to mark one or another part, one knows with proper displacement how to smoothly move to secure themselves.
Or if one or another intends to aim for an opening, he can also strive to undertake this strike correctly.
Then each one shall probe to hit the four points, be met there, and have to guard against same, and thus must always be on Guard, ready to joafhim. The feechtbuch to learn what follows from the Stances, Strikes, and Targets is undertaken here more easily, in that these descriptions and presentations are enough for one to flow on. 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.
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.
We will speak as well of the spine of the sword, as shown in the previous illustration. 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 fdchtbuch and divisions, as is seen in the previous illustration. The first to be named is the Fechtbch or Haft, including Pommel and Cross, for charging, Wrenching, Grappling, Throwing, and of service in ojachim work. The second is the Strong, as was counted, used in Cutting, Winding, Impacting, and otherwise where the Strong is useful in fencing.
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 meyef every opportunity when needed. 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. At all times and in all fencing, when wanting more ability and understanding, and in furthering and learning more of this Knightly art, the proper keyer basic elements are required in order to advance.
A salute to Joachim Meÿer!
Onward from the Start, two basic underlying principles shall and must be attained, namely how from the Stances one shall execute the strikes, which will be named and counted, and how one thus comes to success will be clarified. The high parts are guarded with the Ox, which is two moded, Right and Left, thus one can stand in the Ox in two modes, namely the Right and Left modes. For the Left Ox reverse this, namely stand with your Right Foot forward, hold your hilt near your head on its Left Side as said above.
Thus you have been told of both Ox Guards or Stances, which is being shown by the Left Figure of illustration B above. The low parts are guarded with the Plough, whose two modes are similar figures for two sides, the Right and the Left, and so are named the Right and Left Plough, and both will become for you nothing else than stabs outward from below.
While you are in the Right Plough, step forward with the Left foot and stand similarly to be in the Left Plough. 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.
Fool is my adaptation of the word Jester, a name which leaves so much to be desired, in that from this Stance no successful finishing strikes can be made, one just uses them to gain an opening against the opponent through displacements to block strikes, which can be used to measure a Foolish and naive person who is not ready for counterstrikes to be struck against them.
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.
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.
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.
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. What the right Iron Door is, which you will find out should you go farther onto Rapier Fencing, that while it is used hoachim 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 fechtbucg by the Italians and other nations, it covers like the Barrier Guard, and so of the Iron Door no further report is therefore required.
There is a basic underlying division, and here I will shortly clarify both, and so will now describe the Iron Door. 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 jjoachim.