Meyer’s Longsword – Working with Wechsel (Changer)

This is an excerpt from our new study guide, Meyer’s German Longsword 2. Due to the limitations of WordPress, this omits the “fill in the blank” sections that the real workbook will contain.


Wechsel (Changer)

The changer is a deceptive low guard. By keeping the sword back, your opponent won’t have a good idea of what your measure (i.e. attack range) is. It can be done from either side.

Joachim Meyer

This guard is executed thus: stand with your right foot forward and hold your weapon with the point or foible extended toward the ground by your side, so that the short edge faces toward your opponent, as you can see in the figure in Image D.

image

Joachim Meyer

Although it is unnecessary to present Wechsel in particular, since in fact all devices can be executed from this posture more appropriately than any other, I will not omit to present a couple of devices with it, in which you can observe some particular ingenuity […]

Further Reading

Art of Combat, Book 1, Chapter 11, Change.

Guard Analysis

image

image

  • Feet are in line (blue lines).
  • Roughly centered between opponent’s feet (red lines).
  • Right foot is forward.
  • Right knee is over the toe.
  • Left foot is roughly 90 degrees out.
  • Left ankle is rolled inward more than what’s needed to line up with the leg.
  • Body is almost straight with the back leg.
  • Chin is inclined up.
  • Both arms are bent.
  • Hilt is below the left shoulder.
  • Right hand is close to the guard with the thumb up on a quillon.
  • Right wrist is in line with arm.
  • Left hand is loosely on the pommel.
  • Left wrist is bent.
  • The long edge (red) is towards the rear.

Exercise 1 Stance

To enter this stance, start with the right foot back and the sword in Ochs or Tag. Perform a full Zornhauw (Line 1) with a step such that the blade travels through Langort and into Left Wechsel (Changer). As before, compare your stance to the version from the manual with special attention given to the position of the feet, the bend in the knees, and the incline of the body.

Repeat this exercise, starting in Left Ochs or Tag and using a number 2 cut into Right Wechsel.

[Fill in the blank section goes here]

[Discussion questions here]

Exercise 2 Basic Cuts from Wechsel

Cuts from this guard can be trick as they often require a preparatory action or cutting through another guard. In particular, you may find yourself going through Nebenhut (Side guard) or Mittelhut (Middle guard). Nebenhut has the point down and the pommel straight up while Mittelhut directs the point straight backwards. Both allow you to prepare for a cut without taking a step or exposing the hands.

Experiment with all eight cuts and describe how each one works from this posture on both the left and right side.

[Fill in the blank section goes here]

Parries from Wechsel

There are two parries from Wechsel that work particularly well. If you are in right Wechsel, you can use the Krumphauw for attacks to your left side. For attacks to your right side, the guard Hangort (hanging point) if quite effective.

image

This illustration is usual because it is incorrect. It gives a general sense of the guard, but Meyer complains that they arms should be extended more.

When using Langort, one is often tempted to “punch” the opponent’s blade with his hands. To avoid this, make sure you extend your arms out the left, so that your hands travel away from his sword. Meanwhile your right foot passes towards your right in order to intercept his blow before it gains full power.

Parries from Wechsel

There are two parries from Wechsel that work particularly well. If you are in right Wechsel, you can use the Krumphauw for attacks to your left side. For attacks to your right side, the guard Hangort (hanging point) if quite effective.

This illustration is usual because it is incorrect. It gives a general sense of the guard, but Meyer complains that they arms should be extended more.

When using Langort, one is often tempted to “punch” the opponent’s blade with his hands. To avoid this, make sure you extend your arms out the left, so that your hands travel away from his sword. Meanwhile your right foot passes towards your right in order to intercept his blow before it gains full power.

An Alternative to Kronhauw

In the level one workbook, we often used the Kronhauw as a parry for the Oberhauw when standing in a low guards. While it can be effective, the Germans tended to see it as a beginners move that one should outgrow.

Joachim Meyer after Liechtenauer

Do not rely too much on the Kron,
You will tend to get scorn and shame from it.

An alternative to the Kronhauw is a variation of the Krumphauw. Let’s say you are in right Wechsel and you see the beginning of an Oberhauw (#7 cut) or steep angled Zornhauw (#1 or 2 cut). Step right, away from the blow, while at the same time using a Kronhauw to strike the flat of the sword.

Joachim Meyer after Liechtenauer

Step well with the Krump, if you wish to parry,
the crossing over will do him harm.

You will strengthen yourself by going crooked to his flat,
you shall diligently see that you weaken him.

This will be looked at in depth in a later workbook. For now, just keep it in mind as you work through the parrying exercise that follows.

Exercise 3 Parrying with Wechsel

Since Meyer says that all devices can be initiated from Wechsel, one could presume that you will often be starting a fight from that posture. Furthermore, there will be times when the opponent closes faster than you expect and begins his device before you can begin yours. Therefore, it is important to be able to be able to counter attacks while waiting in this posture.

As with the Level 1 workbook, the purpose of these exercises are to learn basic parries. So for now the attacker should focus on single strikes and not use combinations.

[Fill in the blank section goes here]

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