That’s is Meyer’s title, not mine, but I really like his idea about how to use it.
This is a preliminary interpretation, a starting point for my research.
Thus when one holds his Sword to the left in Zufechten, then go through before him from your right and hew with strength to his right, as soon as he swipes after to the strike thus pull a looping to the left opening, if he swipes after this, however, thus allow it to fly around again, thus drive each opening to the other, crosswise and against one another after your opportunity.
These are the rules that govern my interpretation. Unless the text explicitly says to break the rule, I am going to assume the rule is part of the device. As I work through the book and Meyer introduces his own precepts some of these will have to be modified or replaced.
- Right with right, left with left. Move the right foot when cutting from the right, the left when cutting from the left. [Meyer, Ringeck]
- Always step when cutting and always cut when stepping. [Meyer 1570]
- Actually cut into each guard, don’t just casually move the sword around.
Meyer doesn’t say what guard we should be in, but he does say that we should go through before attacking our opponent’s right. Since we are starting with motion, it shouldn’t matter which right-hand guard we start with.
For distance, I’m going to say we are starting out of measure. For if we were in measure, at least one of us should already be swinging.
The first thing you do is “go through before him from your right”. I usually hear this expressed as “changing through”, which basically means to go under your opponent’s sword so that yours is on the other side. Not exactly a disengage, though it can certainly be used as one.
To move the sword is to change guards, and since we don’t change guards without a cut, we’ll cut into our first guard. With a step, this leaves us in something more or less like this:
And considering that guard is called Wechsel or Change, it seems rather apropos. Done correctly, with a docile opponent, this should put us at wide measure.
This isn’t the only option however, the middle guard should be just as good for setting up this action.
Ideally, our opponent has done nothing at this point and will continue to do nothing until make our first earnest attack.
But lets say he decides to step forward just as we begin. If that happens, pause. Let his cut pass by you as he steps into your measure. Then resume your step and aim your cut at his left where his sword just was. Or step with your left foot and fall onto his arms.
If he attacks as we complete our step, attacking where our sword was, then proceed to the next step with all due haste.
Either our opponent is idle, or he is swinging at our right. Either way we “hew with strength to his right”. This has to be done moment we are done changing through; this real cut should just flow right out of our preparatory cut. Step left and really put some power into this cut. It doesn’t have to be fast, but there has to be some weight behind it.
Ideally our opponent will panic and “swipe” at our sword in the hope of stopping a cut that’s coming in like a freight train. The preparatory cut is part of it. We want him to see it coming so that he’ll try parry it, but we don’t want him to have time to setup a good parry.
If he doesn’t see the need to parry, our opponent may attack us while we are attacking him. That’s bad for both of us, even though our attack does offer us some defense when used with a good off-line step.
If our opponent is caught unaware and doesn’t parry, cut away. By that I mean step out of measure while using whatever cut will protect you from a last minute strike. You can’t safely continue this device if he leaves his sword on his left side.
So if we are here then our opponent has attempted a parry. Maybe he got hit, maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t matter, because “as soon as he swipes after to the strike thus pull a looping to the left opening,”
Using your right hand as a pivot point, flip the sword over so that the short edge hits him in the left opening. Since this is a cut, we are going to assume a step with the right foot, leaving us in a ochs like stance. And thus the correct schielhauw has been performed.
Killing your opponent isn’t necessarily enough to make him stop fighting. And there is always the risk that you didn’t actually hurt him at all. So like the Bolognese masters, Meyer likes to throw some extra cuts in for good measure.
The text says that “if he swipes after this, however, thus allow it to fly around again, thus drive each opening to the other, crosswise and against one another after your opportunity.”
Again using the right hand as a pivot, you can loop from Ochs into a rising, long edge cut with your thumb supporting the blade from beneath. Basically this is a rising zwerch. (Consider aiming at the side or armpit as well as the jaw.)
Or if he is guarding the low line, you can push the pommel underneath and throw a descending true edge cut.
Continue throwing cuts back and forth, high and low, until you can safely break measure.