Goliath 17 Recto – Mutieren or Mutating

Here is a preliminary interpretation of a basic play from the bind:

How one shall drive transforming to both sides

When you have struck him strongly above to the head from your right shoulder, if he displaces and is weak on the sword, then wind the short edge on his sword to your left side and, driving well up with your arms, drive your sword’s blade high over his sword and stab his lower opening.

When you have struck high to his head from your left side and he displaces and is weak on the sword, then drive up with your arms and hang the point over his sword from above and stab to his second opening. Thus you will drive the two elements from all strikes as you find him weak and strong on the sword.

Translated by Mike Rassmussen

Video Interpretation

We filmed this play before we started friction taping our swords so you’ll see a bit of slippage in the bind. We’ll need to refilm this at some point.

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Equipment Problems with Binding and Winding Solved

With real sword, the edges bite into each other so that they don’t slide unless one or both fencers winds to a flat. This is known as “releasing the bind” and is an core technique for narrow work.

Unfortunately modern simulators are incapable of binding. Steel swords readily slide against each other in a most annoying fashion. And synthetics, well they might as well be greased.

Thankfully, we have found a solution. Simply run a strip of 3M friction tape along the edge of synthetic blades and they will bind. They bind hard, with no slipping at all.

I apologize for the poor quality of the video, but I think it is good enough to see this happen:


That’s not scripted, it just happened when they pressed against each other. Looking through Mair, we find a very similar illustration:


This posture, which is plate 9 in Keith P. Myers’ translation, rarely happens with blunt steel and I’ve never seen it with naked synthetics. Yet it happened by accident just by demonstrating the bind.


First and foremost, we’re not going to use synthetics without friction tape again. I’ve got five rolls on order and intend to stripe every one of our swords. At only 3 dollars a roll there is no excuse not to use this for every drill.

Then we are going to reevaluate all of our Chapter 10 Meyer plays. Those that involve a bind will have to be filmed again, as this will definitely change the mechanics.

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Lesson Plan for Meyer’s Longsword: Running Off and First Tag

Ch 10. Open with a review of the feints from Meyer’s Cross.

Ch 11. Introduce the Prellhauw in the context of the First Device against Tag. This is a parry with the flat, followed by a rising cut to the right arm, then a short edge cut back to the left ear.

Ch 10. Return to the cutting patterns and look at the first Ablauffen described (but not named as such) at 1.29r.2. This is a cut to the left ear that, as soon as the parry is started, falls to the side and becomes a short edge cut to the right ear.

Ch 11. Returning to the device, if it becomes clear the short edge cut to the left ear will be parried, use the Ablauffen touch the blades touch to attack the right ear with the short edge.


  • Ablauffen – Running Off: To let the point of your sword fall to the side during a cut or parry so that it can quickly loop around to strike a different opening. This can be done as a feint or as soon as the the weapons touch.
  • Fehien – Failing: A feint, which is to say an attack that is redirected once it is clear that it will be parried but before the blades actually touch. 
  • Prellhauw – Rebound Cut: To strike or parry with the flat of the sword in a way that leads to a cut with the edge.
  • Slip: To reposition the sword for a parry.


Ch. 10: Adding Feints to Meyer’s Cross

Ch. 10: Using Ablauffen or Running Off

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Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 3

The third play is similar to the first. Like the first play, you’ll pass to his left with your right foot, your left foot immediately following behind. At the same time you’ll thrust into his side.


For your defense, you’ll recover by passing back with the right foot. Again, you’ll return to Code Lunga e Alta.

There is no parry

It is rather hard to believe, but the initial defense in this action is entirely based around range control and footwork. The thrust does not oppose the opponent’s blade in this action.

Why to I make that claim? Because we’ll see a counter-thrust using the true edge in opposition in the fifth play.

Video Interpretation

(to be added later)

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Meyer’s Longsword – First Device Against Tag

Here begins our interpretations for Meyer’s chapter 11, Fighting form the Postures.

What is Tag (or vom Tag is you prefer)?

Before we begin with the device itself, let us talk about what means to be in Tag. Meyer says that you have entered the high guard, which we translate as “day” or “roof”, when you’ve pulled the sword up as high as you intend to in preparation for a high strike.

This is important distinction. The devices that follow are not meant to be used solely when both fencers are in a ‘proper’ center vom Tag. If the situation leads your opponent to only pull up his sword half-way before cutting back down, then that half-way point was his Tag.


Crucial for understanding any device is the context in which it should be used. For Meyer’s first device, the context is this:

and have come before your opponent, and have come up with your sword by slashing up or else by drawing up for a high cut, and he cuts in the mean time against your left at your head

Basically what Meyer is saying is that you both are in Tag and your opponent has the vor or initiative.

Note that this is not an invitation. Meyer isn’t telling you to linger in this guard waiting for him to attack, but rather that you happen to have gotten caught and this is how you deal with it.

Countering the High Cut and Regaining the Vor

From vom Tag it is possible to use both rising and descending cuts, but for today’s purpose we are assuming the opponent choose a descending cut with the long edge.

The counter consists of a wide step to the right accompanied with a parry using the outside flat. The outside flat is on the right when you have the long edge down so you are going to end up in an ochs-like position.

Flat parries have an interesting effect on the opponent’s sword. While their purpose is a deflection, they tend to stop the blade without imparting energy to it. This is what gives you the ability to make the next attack, in effect regaining the vor.

Meyer notes that if you swing it hard enough it will also whip around his blade, striking your opponent in the ear with the tip. This might not sound like much, but anyone who has had their ear boxed can testify how painful and disorientating that can be.

To the Other Side

As soon as the blades clash, you need to step well to the other side. Make sure your whole body moves at once, don’t just move your foot and then allow the body to follow. The movement of the foot alone gains you neither time nor safety.

In the same tempo as you make this step, pull back your sword and “cut diagonally opposite to it, from below at his right arm”. Make sure you lean your body well to the left so that you are behind your blade. Otherwise you may be trading an arm cut for a broken head.

Nipping the Ear

Meyer says that the next step is to nipping the left ear with the short edge. I’ve found that a downward cut with uncrossed arms is quite effective as this.

If the opponent slips his sword, that is to say repositions it for a parry, then Meyer tells us to let the blow run off without connecting. Cross the arms in the air so that you nip the right ear with the short-edge.

Leaving Measure

As we saw in chapter ten, Meyer likes breaking measure with a Zwerch. (To “break measure” is a modern term, derived from Italian sources, that means to move back or sideways far enough that your opponent cannot hit you even with a step.)

Leaving the Script

If your opponent doesn’t allow you to follow the script, say by going into Tag for a cut before you are ready, you need to be prepared to slice the arms.

Slicing the arms seems to be a crucial problem solver in Meyer’s system. It is used as both a way to break someone’s device and as a way to recover when someone has broken one’s own device.

Video Interpretations

(to be added in later)

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Meyer’s Longsword – Videos of the Example Device

Here is a video interpretation of Meyer’s example device for the longsword:

And some further discussion on the same:

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Meyer’s Dagger – More on the First Precept

We did some more videos on the first precept from Meyer’s dagger to illustrate its versatility.




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