Meyer’s Forward – General Advice on Parrying

The second chief element of fencing is parrying.

Extend your arms

First, when you are being crowded with cuts and thrusts you must “catch and bear the off with an extended hilt or weapon, that you are quickly ready for counter-striking”.

Meyer isn’t the only one who thinks this way. Manciolino says the exact same thing in his rules of fencing.

In defending his person, a man must always hold his arms well extended, not only so that he will come to drive the blows of the enemy to the outside at a distance from his body, but it also makes him stronger and swifter in striking.

Contrast this to Hutton’s sabre, whose parries are quite close to the body.

Employ the First Element as a Single Time Defense

Parries should employ the first element. Which is to say that you should use your cuts and thrusts as your defense and as a simultaneous counter-stroke.

In Italian terms we would call these Stesso Tempo or Single Time actions.

Example Parries

Cuts that come across can be parried with a Oberhau (Hugh cut, a.k.a. vertical cut) that suppresses it and hits the head at the same time if you step out appropriately. Likewise a Oberhau can be taken out and sent away with a  Mittlehau (Middle or horizontal cut).

We see the second example in the First Device Against Tag. Note that in this case the Mittlehau is in the form of a strike using the outside flat.

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