In Meyer’s longsword system the fight is broken up into three divisions. When working with a device or technique one must keep in mind what they intend to do in each division. The first division is the Zufechten or Onset. The second is the Handtarbeit or Handwork. The final division is the Abzug or Withdrawal.
Zufechten – Onset
Immediately it becomes apparent that Meyer’s system is more aggressive than that of the Italians. Whereas Fabris or Capo Ferro would start at wide measure with a series of small closing actions to gain control of the opponent’s blade, Meyer’s Onset starts boldly with a cut from one of the postures. While he doesn’t necessarily expect the cut to land, it does immediately move one into range for handwork.
The four postures used in the Onset are the same as for any other German master: High, Ox, Fool, and Plow. There are also eight secondary postures to choose from.
Types of Cuts
Likewise there are four primary and 12 secondary cuts. A primary or straight cut performed with the long edge (i.e. true edge). The secondary cuts, also known as reversed cuts, are performed with the short edge (i.e. false edge), the flat, or some other angle.
In the table below are the 16 cuts in Meyer’s system. The master cuts, which are common to all German longsword systems, are indicated in bold.
|Straight Cuts||Reversed Cuts|
|High or Scalp||Squinting|
|Rebound (single or double)|
Handtarbeit – Handwork
Once in contact with the opponents blade the middle or handwork portion begins. While handwork is not entirely unknown in rapier, it is in no way emphasized like it is with the longsword.
Terms to be explained later include bind, wind, change, deceive, chase, slice, double, run off, strike around, sling, slide, set off, pull and jerk, block, wrestle, run in, cast, and crowd after.
Abzug – Withdrawal
Just as in rapier, it is important to safely exit an engagement regardless of whether or not you landed a blow.