Meyer’s Wrestling and Dagger – First Precept

The first precept is to always thrust over the arm from the onset. This puts you in a position to control the opponent’s weapon arm. As soon as you thrust, pinch the wrist with your blade to establish dominance. Then you can send the pommel to to the chin, loop around for a thrust, and/or pull down to unbalance the opponent.

The off-hand has a role to play in this as well, which is covered in more depth in the Third Precept.

Video Interpretation

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Meyer’s Longsword – Kniecheihauw or Wrist Cut

I’m almost embarrassed to write up this technique because it is so simple. A Kniecheihauw is just a Zwerch to wrist. You can use this whenever your opponent goes into a high guard, either in the onset or in the middle of the fight.

And now that I think about it, this is pretty much going to happen anyways during the withdrawal when you are throwing a series of Thwarts to break measure.

Video Interpretation

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Meyer’s Longsword – Kreutzhauw or Cross-cutting

In Meyer’s glossary of strikes there is the Kreutzhauw or Cross Cut. Basically it is just a series of alternating wrath cuts (B and H lines). But since that also describes flailing, it is probably easies to explain the Kreutzhauw in terms of what it is not.

First and foremost, the Kreutzhauw are not big cuts. Don’t pull the sword all the way back into vom Tag. The point only needs to come back far enough to begin the next strike. Likewise, don’t remove your hilt from in front of your face.

The Kreutzhauw does not attack the body. Meyer specifically says that these cuts cross through the face. This is really important. If your opponent cannot see your attacks he will not fight in the defensive manner that allows this technique work safely.

The steps that accompany the Kreutzhauw are not large. Unlike most techniques, you don’t take long passing steps well off line with this technique. Instead you keep your right foot forward the entire time, taking small advancing or retreating steps.

Lingering on the topic of footwork, Meyer explicitly says that you “shall always have at least one step for both cuts”. So while you may throw more than one cut with each step, you are none the less never completely standing still. And again, he tells us you can do this going forward or backwards.

The Kreutzhauw is not meant to be used in the Nach. Though you control the center line, this technique does not lend itself to parries. Rather, it expects you to keep your opponent on the defensive so that he doesn’t have time to counter-attack. So if you don’t have the Vor, use a different technique.

The Kreutzhauw is not polite. Most of our techniques have a gentlemanly aspect to them. You provoke or parry as necessary, then throw a clean cut or thrust and maybe a Zwerch or two to break measure. With the Kreutzhauw you are raining down blows. Even during structured drills the attacker will often find that they’ve landed two or three blows before we realizing that the opponent is no longer capable of defending himself.

Further Observations

  • You are likely to strike the hands when using this technique.
  • Outside observers said the technique looks like one is staying in longpoint the entire time.
  • Retreating, while aggressively using this technique, is a strange sensation.
  • In this technique, a descending Zwerch can be even harder to parry than a Zornhau.

Drills

1: In the Air

Throw a zornhau into longpoint with a passing step so that the right foot is forward. Keeping the arms well extended, cut alternately right and left while taking advancing steps.

Repeat using retreating steps.

2: Basic Partner Drill

Starting from a weak bind with right feet forward, the agent uses the Kreutzhauw in a right-left-right pattern. Keep pressing the patient back until at least two blows have landed.

The patient should focus on improving his parries for this exercise.

3: Active Defender

Same basic drill, but the patient should counter-attack if the agent if the agent uncovers himself by either pulling the sword back too far or by attacking a target other than the face.

4: Broken Patterns

Combine with any of the above drills. The agent may strike multiple times on the same side instead on only alternating sides.

5: Retreating Attacker

Combine with any of the above drills. The agent must using retreating steps instead of advancing steps. As before, keep the right foot forward.

6: With a Zwerch

Combine with any of the above drills. The agent may use a descending Zwerch to either side in lieu of the Zornhau.

Summary

  • Throw diagonal cuts that cross thru the face
  • Keep the right foot forward and advance using gathering steps
  • Form and break patterns, don’t just alternate right-left-right

Video Interpretation

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Manciolino’s Sword and Buckler – First Attack from Porta di Ferro Stretta

The first attack for Porta di Ferro Stretta is simply, “you can turn a tramazzone”.

At first glance this seems kinda silly. Why bother telling someone to make a single, basic attack against someone waiting in guard? No combinations, no provocations, just a really basic strike.

My theory is to illustrate the difference between a tramazzone and a simple riverso. If you use a riverso against someone waiting in porta di ferro stretta they can usually parry it with a small movement.

The tramazzone, when properly thrown, comes in at a steep angle that nearly matches the opponent’s blade. If the opponent makes the same small movement that worked so well again the riverso, then your blade will slip in behind his on the outside.

How to throw a Tramazzone

In the context of this play, we found the tramazzone is best performed by first dropping the to the left. The sword hand moves beneath the bucker hand such the the wrists are crossed. The step, which can be advancing or passing, begins as the point begins to ascend for the cut.

There are certainly other ways of performing a tramazzone. One can allow the tip to fall to the right. One can cut over the buckler instead of under it. The tramazzone can be rising instead of falling. So I don’t wish to say any of them are invalid or inferior in a general context; this is just what worked for us for this particular play.

After the Tramazzone

Lacking any further direction, at this point we follow the traditional German theory of indes and then proceed to attack whichever opening happens to reveal itself until measure can be safely broke.

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Manciolino’s Sword and Buckler – Second Attack from Porta di Ferro Stretta

The second attack from Porta di Ferro Stretta seems pretty simple at first glance, but hides some pretty important concepts.

step forward with your left foot extending a thrust2 to the face, and then pass forward with your right foot, turning two tramazzoni.

When interpreting this play, the first issue that arose was which side of the sword to thrust against.

Inside Thrust from Crossed Swords

When the swords are crossed at the weak, you can begin this play by stepping diagonally to the left while thrusting over the top of your opponent’s sword in third. Done correctly, it will push your opponent’s sword to his right, leaving him open for a cut on the left side.

The step the to right it critical for this technique. If you pass directly forward you will encounter the buckler and possibly the sword as well. The fist tramazzoni should be directed to the left shoulder, the second to whatever is uncovered.

Inside Thrust with Free Swords

If you are standing a bit further away so the swords are not crossed then it becomes difficult to attack over the blade. Usually what will happen instead is that as you begin the thrust your opponent will parry your blade to the right (his left).

If that happens, stepping to the right is of questionable merit. You can do it, throwing the first tramazzoni to the right shoulder and the second to the left. However, some members of my club have argued that it would be better to leave the script and instead step to the left so that your feet and sword are in agreement and you are moving away from your opponent’s tools.

Outside Thrust with Free Swords

Assuming again the swords are not crossed, you can choose to thrust from the outside using a punta riverso. A wide step to the left is even more important here. If you were to instead step directly forward along the original center line you would impale yourself on the opponent’s point.

In this variant, the opponent will most likely parry to his right, making the step to his left most advantageous. As with the first interpretation, the first tramazzoni will be directed at the left shoulder.

Conclusion

There are multiple ways of performing the technique as described in the manual and they all seem to work. For each variant the important part is moving off-line. Rather than trying to muscle through your opponent, you are rapidly shifting the center-line to where his tools are ineffectual.

It should be noted that this is not circling. You are moving off-line during the attack, not before. If you were to circle your opponent prior to attempting this technique then he would know your predisposition for doing so and be able to anticipate your attack.

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Guanto di Presa – Gauntlet of Grabbing

image

Can’t seem to find the original source of this picture.

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Joachim Meyer’s Dagger and Wrestling – Oberhut Techniques

Joachim Meyer’s Dagger and Wrestling – YouTube

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