Class: A set of exercises demonstrating aspects of Meyer's footwork.
Warm-up: For a change, Nicola lead up through a few minutes of Scottish dancing around the room.
Cutting exercises: Meyer's example of six cuts for Dusack (described previously) going forwards and backwards (cut on the back foot when going backwards). An example of stopping a cut and switching to the other side (adapted from Dusack):
Start in the Low guard on the right. Unterhau to the midpoint, then swing sword around to Schietelhau ending in the Low guard on the left. First do this only stepping on the second cut, then do this lifting the foot on the first and landing on the second.
- The first Scheitelhau (adapted from Rapier): Start in Eisenport; lift sword straight up; deliver a straight High Cut "in the manner of a slice", stepping forward into a wide stance with the knee well bent and the body leaning over the cut, blade ending roughly horizontal; draw the front foot back whilst going into Langort; come upright and drop the hilt back into Eisenport.
- Rundstreich [Round stroke]: From Eisenport go to left Ochs; Mittelhau left through the face; then Mittelhau right through the thigh. Lift foot with the first cut and land with the second. The blade describes a roughly circular (or semi-circular) path. One possible application might be feinting a cut to the side of the head, avoiding the opponent's parry by going over it, finishing with a cut to the left. Meyer has examples of throwing a shot over the head in the Longsword section.
- Doppel Rundstreich [Double round stroke]: Feint a Mittelhau right through the face, pulling into left Ochs; then feint a Mittelhau left to the shoulder or body, again pulling back [exactly to where?] for a Mittelhau left to the thigh or lower leg. Meyer's description of the footwork is particularly enlightening: "...for the first two Middle Cuts; advance your right foot only a little bit, but not hard upon the ground, rather gather your weight with this step so that you can advance with the same foot that much more readily for the third cut; for as soon as your foot touches the ground in the first step, you shall raise it up again, and shall set it forth with the third cut. You shall complete these three cuts quickly in a single pulling motion like the letter S, with two steps." [Transl Forgeng]
The last one demonstrates Meyer's preference for cutting at (your) shoulder height. Thus the second cut is lower than the first, because you've lowered your body with a step, then the third cut is lower still because you've taken another step. [Note from KW: we found "like the letter S" to be a more useful description when we considered to shape of the letter in the original text: German gothic, very square, with three straight horizontal lines and a lot of pointy corners.]
For each of these examples we practised first the blade work, then the footwork, then tried to put them together.