Before starting any work with the dagger one must read the article Knife fighting lies. Even more than other weapon forms, Medieval dagger work is about short brutal. Surprise is often more important than technique and many fights will start as, or end with, a wrestling match where one participant is totally unarmed. This isn’t Meyer’s sport fencing, this is survival.
Meyer’s dagger work is done predominately with the point down. Yet most movies portray that as an amateur grip used in rage. Contrawise, a ‘professional’ fighter such as gang members would use point up.
So what’s going on? Well here’s a discussion on point orientation for those who care. As for me, I’m going to assume that Meyer prefers point down for a reason and that is effective against both point up and point down opponents. He clearly is aware of both variants, as his Rapier and Dagger section uses point up.
Since I haven’t yet had time to make up some practice daggers, I am going to do things a little out of order. First I will introduce the main guards, then later I’ll circle back to talk about the parries Meyer introduces with each.
Oberhut – High Guard
If in a high guard position yourself thus: hold your dagger up before your face, as a large figure on the right side in this image indicates.
Underhut – Low Guard
In the low guard position yourself thus: stand with your right leg forward, and hold your dagger by your left thigh, so that the point stands toward your opponent’s face.
I couldn’t find a canonical image of this, but here is something close to what he describes.
Mittrlhut – Middle Guard
This guard is when you hold your dagger to the side of the level of your belt, or else straight before you. But since you will parry from these just as from the others, I will wait to write at more length about it in the devices.
When next we look at dagger we will examine the parries in Oberhut and Underhut. This is followed by “What the Chief Parrying Are” and then the Kreutzhut or Cross Guard.
If you are eager to see what’s in store, check out Roger Norling’s Meyer and Marozzo dagger comparison.