In the first cutting pattern Meyer tells us to slash through the face “once, twice, three times” in front of the face. Having worked with this awhile I’m not certain that he’s trying to provoke a reaction while slowly closing in. You’re taking little steps as you do this, hence keeping the left foot forward
So that’s the start of our drill. Well out of measure the active fencer slashes through the face line with a small increase of the left foot. If the passive fencer doesn’t react, repeat while getting a little closer each time.
If the opponent never reacts, you’ll eventually get so close that one of those slashes becomes a thrust to the face. Game over. Most of the time, however, the passive fencer will do something. How can he not when sharp steel keeps crossing his line of vision?
- If he flinches, flow the slash into a cut to the nearest opening.
- If he attacks the sword or the hands, take it away. Let him contact nothing but air while you start with a nachreisen to where he just came from. Then follow with the next three strikes from the pattern.
- If he leaps forward to attack the body, spring to the side and parry his blow. The parry will probably entail a meisterhau or counter-thrust, but either way then continue the pattern.
After throwing all four strikes, use a zwerch or two to safely break measure. Once out of range, stop to think about what you did and what changes may be needed.
Where does Indes Fit in?
The first cutting pattern has four variants, one for each opening. Or rather there are eight, since both the body and the head have four openings. So the moment of indes is when he reacts to the the slash at his face. That, and not before, is where you decide where you are going to hit.
Now I’m not saying you can’t go in with a plan. You can take note of his guard and what his reaction is most likely going to entail. But don’t commit yourself to that. He may be in right vom Tag, but none the less throw a cut from his left side.
…for my club. Your club might get this all right, but have other problems.
- Slash through the face. If he can’t see the the point of the blade he won’t flinch.
- Don’t use huge cuts. Keep them small and tight so that your sword is always between you and your opponent.
- Don’t strike with the hands low against low targets like the belly or thighs.
- Make your cuts flow smoothly and with elegance while your arms remain extended. If you jerk your hands back after each attack you lose both defense and speed.
- Don’t forget about the short edge. The first cutting pattern tells us where to cut, but not which cut to use.
- Don’t pick an opening to attack before he reacts. He chooses where he gets hit, you just make it happen.
- Don’t pause in langort for longer than the “blink of an eye”. Only stay there long enough to see if he is going to react.
Won’t this Make Me Predicable?
Yep. But that’s ok. When you’ve mastered the cutting pattern your success rate with the drill is going to go up. But eventually your partner will learn the parries and your rate will drop back down again.
Once that happens you are ready to move on. The next step is to incorporate the three variants of the first pattern that incorporate feints. After that he offers several more patterns.
Eventually you’ll start using this same drill using full devices. And with enough devices under your belt to choose from, it is going to be really hard for your opponent to predict what you are going to do.