Meyer’s Rapier – Chapter 1

Meyer is quite explicit in saying that the thrust is not something that German’s use except in times of war against outsiders. Not only is it unthinkable in sporting practice, neither civilians nor soldiers are permitted to use the in conflicts. This wasn’t always the case and the introduction of the rapier by foreigners has resulted in a need to relearn the thrust as well as new techniques.

Part 1

While four divisions were sufficient for the dusak and longsword, the rapier requires dividing the opponent in several more ways. This is covered in chapter 2.

Chapter 3 will cover the guards. These use many of the same terms as the longsword and dusak.

Chapters 4 and 5 cover the cuts and thrusts respectively. Being German, I expect him to offer far more on material on cuts than would be found in contemporary Italian manuals. This is followed by a short chapter on how to transform a thrust into a cut and vice-versa.

Deceptions, which I assume means feints, are in chapter 7.

Part 2

The second part is presented in a sort of Q&A format. Each segment starts with titles like “How you shall go through with your blade under his”. In this part Meyer promises to cover a new technique called “Straight Parrying”. Presumably this is called out specifically because the rapier parries are so unlike those of the longsword or dusak. Parries for the latter are usually dui-tempi affairs with either a deflection followed by a cut or a bind followed by a thrust. The simultaneous parry and thrust of the rapier was probably the hardest concept for the Germans to master.

The discourse on the rapier concludes with the use of the rapier along with a secondary weapon such as dagger or cape.

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1 Response to Meyer’s Rapier – Chapter 1

  1. Grauenwolf says:

    From Lot:

    Quite true, the Germans did make use of thrusts in thier earlier fechtbuchs, Lichtenauer, Ringeck, etc. However, by Meyer’s time (mid to late 1500’s) most German fencing had devolved into sport and not a life and death martial art. I believe Meyer waxes longingly on this subject in the earlier parts of his book.

    Actually, Meyer’s Italian ‘contemporaries’ had a lot to say on the matter of cuts. Keep in mind this was well before Capo Ferro/Fabris/Giganti. He was dealing with the like teachings of the transitional masters, most of whom, while focusing of thrusting, also dealt a lot with cuts. The Italians break things down much more simply than the Germans, essentially 8 cuts (Fendente, Squalembrato, Tondo, Ridoppio, Montane and the 3 Riversos) and 3 thrusts (Stocatta, Imbroccatta, and Punta Riverso). Meyer has a number of different types of Cuts, but just as many Thrusts of all sorts. I don’t have my book with me to list them, right now. They are definitely two different perspectives on structure and teaching methodology.


    Meyer also covers the idea of “Straight Parrying” in dusack. Essentially, standing in Iron Gate or Longpoint, with the sword forward and extended with the mindset to set aside any given blow with the edge of the weapon and then go after the opponent. In rapier, this could be a single time counter thrust (setting off), in dusack it is much more likely and two time (or time and a half) action (slicing off). (Though Meyer wouldn’t break things down in to times – just the Vor(Before) and Nacht(After).) In either case, both actions would be in the Nacht. He descibes pretty thouroughly in the dusack how to lay on against someone who stands with their weapon extended “and will not work”. I think the idea of hiding behind one’s sword in harder for a German to understand than that of single and double-time responses.

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