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Meyer Rapier - Book 1 revision and Chapter 4 (Cuts)

Submitted by Katherina Weyssin on September 30, 2010 - 3:41pm

 Revision of basics of Meyer's Rapier:

  • stance (forward and low)
  • positions (eisenport, ochs, low guard and pflüg)
  • simple attack - gathering step and thrust or cut, to either side
  • simple defense - absetzen - swivel on back foot and block in eisenport
  • defense against a high attack - roll in ochs and rock backwards
  • defense against a low attack - sperren (barring) - swivel on back foot and block with the point low; same but pulling front foot back instead of swivelling
  • counterattacks (cuts and thrusts) from these defenses

Refinements to note from tonight:

  • When you parry in eisenport, keep orientation of arm and body unchanged (as we've been doing - all the rotation comes from the foot) but turn your wrist out slightly towards the incoming blow. Without this your fore-arm is at risk, especially if your opponent comes in at an angle.


Book 1 Chapter 4 - Cuts


Basic principles: cut lands on your opponent when your front foot lands. The cut lands with your arm fully extended, and approximately horizontal (so level with your shoulder): if you want to cut lower, step lower (don't reach down).
Meyer has four main types of cut, each of which has several variants, then a long list of special,  named cuts. (Note that elsewhere he classifies cuts according to their purpose).
Main types:  (Patrick: Just like Longsword - Ober, Zorn, Mittel, Unter)

  • High cuts - oberhauw (vertical, falling)
  • Diagonal cuts (left to right or right to left, falling)
  • Middle cuts - mittelhauw (horizontal cuts)
  • Low Cuts - unterhauw (rising diagonal or vertical cuts)

Types of High Cut (Oberhauw):

  • High Cut / Scalp Cut (oberhauw / schedelhauw) - directly down on your opponent's head
  • Squinting Cut (schielhauw) - as above, with the short edge (causing us some trouble still)
  • Suppressing Cut (dempffhauw) - as the high cut, but vertically onto your opponent's shoulders, or weapon, not their head

Types of Diagonal Cut:
See the image: cuts can go from left to right or right to left; they can be high (aiming at head/neck), medium (aiming at the adbomen); or low (aiming at thighs and knees). This appears as three crosses in the image.
Types of Middle cut (mittelhauw)

  • to the head
  • to the belt
  • to the foot (!)

Types of Low Cut (unterahauw):
Meyer says that all the hight cuts and diagonal cuts can also be done low-to-high.
So far so good . . .  we practiced all of these, including the incredible limbo-dancing cuts to the knees.
The problem - schielhauw: each of us has a different idea of how it works, and why, and what it's good for, and none of us is entirely content with out own version, let alone anyone else's.

Shielhauw (Squinting Cut)

What Meyer says:
In the summary of cuts (chapter 4, p177 of Forgeng's translation):

And firstly, three types of cuts are executed and derived from the High Cut, among which the first is delivered straight from above down the middle vertical line toward the head, and is called the Scalp Cut or Brain Blow. The second, where you turn your hand as you cut down so that you hit with the short or rear edge, is called the Squinting Cut.

There is a further, more detailed description a few pages later (p179 of Forgeng's translation):

Squinting Cut - Schielhauw

This is appropriate against those who remain with extended arm firmly in front of their face to parry, since you can use it to drive him up out of his parrying. Execute this cut thus:

When you have pulled up your weapon with extended arm before you into the High Guard for the stroke, and he meanwhile sends a cut against your body, from whatever side it may be, then step to the other side away from his cut, and cut down from above onto the forte of his blade not with the long edge but somewhat with the short edge or flat. As soon as the weapons connect, if you have not hit him with the short-edge foible of your blade, then thrust on his blade in before you at his face. In this thrust inward, turn the long edge down, so that at the end of the thrust you stand in the Longpoint.

Now in the reversing of the cuts note this precept:

If he cuts from his right at your left, and you will fall on it with a Squinting Cut, then reverse your cut outward in cutting, the short edge down from you. But if he sends his cut in from his left at your right, then as you cut down, reverse your hand inward toward your body, the short edge down. And it doesn't matter whether you come on his blade with the flat or the short edge; but the closer both fortes come together, the more readily your foible will hit behind his.

The problems:

  • we don't agree on the most natural interpretation of "turning your hand inward/outward"
  • we haven't found a solution that seems to give a strong cut *and* leaves you in a position where you can follow up with a thrust
  • we have't seen why you would do this - our best solutions are like suppressing cuts, only less good . . .
  • it's not clear why this is particularly useful against those who remain in straight parrying - the initial raising of the arm looks like an invitation - so far so good - but the invitation could be followed with any high cut, not just a schielhauw.

We're hoping to find something in the devices to clarify all this.



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