Meyer’s Longsword – First Device for Ochs, Attempt 1

Here is the Mike Rasmusson translation of Meyer’s first device for ochs, followed by my attempt to explain it.

In the pre-fencing when you have come into the guard of the Ox through a plunge, then strike (as soon as you can reach him) a serious and forceful Wrath Strike from your right to his left ear with a long right foot step, as soon as the strike touches or hits, then almost twitch off again and strike over against his left arm, also with the long edge, but with this strike step with your left foot to his right and take your head out to the side behind your blade, just then he may be ready either to strike or otherwise with his sword stretched out ahead to displace, so at first let your blade hang behind you from your right arm, and meanwhile twitch your grip over your head to your right and take his blade (he is stretched out from striking or displacing) with your long edge or flat and strongly and forcefully high traverse out from your right to his left so that you break out fully with your blade, and in this outward stride let your blade fly above again in a traverse over your head against his left ear, from there twitch your sword over your head again and strike a strong strike swinging in to his right ear with the flat outward, in a flat strike as shown by the larger figure on the right hand side of illustration K, also mark diligently that you step fully out with the left foot to his right side in this strike, from this flatstrike or Bounce Strike twitch your sword high over your head, keeping your hands high, and let the blade fly over with the long edge to his right arm, and yet don’t impact, but traverse nimbly to his left ear while stepping back with the right foot, and sign off. This play, when you have arranged it thus, gives you thus the cut held (as taught above) in reserve, with which you can make more room, either in fencing the full play, or onward in taking another part.

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Joachim_Meÿer/Longsword#Chapter_11_-_Fencing_from_the_Stances

I will also be quoting from the Jeffrey Forgeng translation.

Opening

In the pre-fencing when you have come into the guard of the Ox through a plunge,

In the Onset, when you come into the guard of the Ox through the Plunge

The Sturtzhauw or plunging strike is a downward blow, more or less vertical, with the short edge. As Meyer says, it naturally ends in Ochs.

Although this cut is a High Cut, and so considered because there is not much difference between the two, yet this is called the Plunge Cut because in cutting through, it always plunges over above, so that the point comes against the opponent’s face in the Ox; and it is most used in the Approach or Onset.

This is used to safely enter into attacking range or, as the Italian’s put it, wide measure. Our fencer is safely tucked behind his ochs while his opponent is facing a thrust.

Zornhau

then strike (as soon as you can reach him) a serious and forceful Wrath Strike from your right to his left ear with a long right foot step,

then as soon as you can reach him, deliver a powerful Wrath Cut from your right diagonally at his left ear, with a broad step forward on your right foot.

This is a pretty basic attack so there is nothing more to be said.

Abneme

as soon as the strike touches or hits, then almost twitch off again and strike over against his left arm, also with the long edge, but with this strike step with your left foot to his right and take your head out to the side behind your blade,

As soon as the cut connects or hits, at once pull back around and cut 1.36v opposite to it at his [right]* arm, also with the long edge; and with this cut, step with your left foot well toward his right, and take your head well out to the side behind your blade.

The original text says left arm, but Jeffrey Forgeng thinks this is a typo and it should be read “right arm”. I don’t agree.

We learned from Roland Warzecha’s video on Practice with sharp swords that when sharp sword bind they tend to stick and push the points up. This should makes it easy to perform the Abneme (twitch or taking away). That’s when you raise the point just enough to clear the opponent’s blade and then immediately drop it back down.

You could aim this at the right arm, as it is closer and all. But you are a bit close for it and it leaves you kind of open.

Instead, I think we should do what the text says and go for the left arm, specifically the upper arm. Because you are cutting behind his blade he doesn’t have room to form a proper parry. He might catch it on a quillon, but that’s about it.

Cover

just then he may be ready either to strike or otherwise with his sword stretched out ahead to displace, so at first let your blade hang behind you from your right arm,

Meanwhile he may be ready to cut, or else to extend his sword forward to parry; therefore let your blade hang down behind you away from his right arm,

Ok, we’ve got a translation problem. Are we to hang the blade away from our right arm or his?

My Arm: Hanging the point to my left side gives me a nice hanging guard. And as I pull back I find his blade aiming somewhere between my point and hilt.

His Arm: After the deep attack to his left arm, my hilt is really close to his hand. Meyer doesn’t really talk about grappling in book one, but that doesn’t mean my opponent won’t use it. By pulling back I take away that option.

Abschneiden and a Zwerch

and meanwhile twitch your grip over your head to your right and take his blade (he is stretched out from striking or displacing) with your long edge or flat and strongly and forcefully high traverse out from your right to his left so that you break out fully with your blade, and in this outward stride let your blade fly above again in a traverse over your head against his left ear,

and meanwhile pull your haft around your head toward your right, and take his blade out (whether he is striking in or has extended it to parry) with your long edge or flat, powerfully and strongly across from your right against his left, so that you break right through with your blade; and in this taking out, let your blade fly in a single motion back around above your head for a Thwart at his left ear.

So far so good, but this next bit is a bit tricky. I need to experiment more, but this is my current thought:

If your opponent’s sword is extended, either to parry or cut, you want to take it away from your presence. To do this cut through the weak of his sword in order to knock it aside. This is like a beat except you don’t remain. Instead you follow through with it, allowing your sword circle around your head for a Zwerch to the left ear.

Doing it in the air with the long edge, it feels best to throw it at a downward angle. Basically performing a Abschneiden or “slicing off”.

I’ll need to test this with an opponent to see I really can knock his sword aside from a hanging guard.

Slap to the Face

from there twitch your sword over your head again and strike a strong strike swinging in to his right ear with the flat outward, in a flat strike as shown by the larger figure on the right hand side of illustration K, also mark diligently that you step fully out with the left foot to his right side in this strike,

From there pull your sword back around your head, and cut a strongly inward-arcing stroke with the outside flat outside at his right ear (you will see this stroke with the flat depicted in the large figure on the right in Image K); and in this stroke, see that you step with your left foot well out to his right side.

File:Meyer 1570 Longsword K.jpg

Nothing hard here, though a flat slap may seem unusual to those unfamiliar with Meyer.

Feint and Zwerch Again

from this flatstrike or Bounce Strike twitch your sword high over your head, keeping your hands high, and let the blade fly over with the long edge to his right arm, and yet don’t impact, but traverse nimbly to his left ear while stepping back with the right foot, and sign off.

From this stroke with the flat, or Rebound Cut, pull your sword up over your head; hold your hands up, and let the blade fly around with the long edge at his right arm; but do not connect, rather deliver a Thwart quickly at his left ear with a back-step on your right [?read: left] foot, and withdraw.

For the feint use a tight circle so that it targets the right arm from your left. Your opponent will want to parry by bringing his sword across, which opens up his left side for the zwerch. I find that pulling back the left foot to the right with the feint makes the step back with the right much easier.

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