Meyer rapier and dagger: a first look.
Preliminaries: Meyer says that you can either defend with the sword and hit with the dagger, defend with the dagger and hit with the sword, or use the sword and dagger together (and the end he urges Germans to use the last tactic, as they get confused otherwise). Meyer then offers some examples of increasing complexity. In this section Meyer varies the footwork, sometimes standing left foot forward.
Basic stance is Eisenport with dagger approximately matching the sword, probably angled in slightly judging by the picture (and general principles).
Firstly: Your opponent attacks from his right to your left, so parry with your dagger.
- If the attack is high, then parry with the dagger (blade up, left arm extended) and thrust at the body. Simple.
- Parry with the dagger and cut at the lower body (right to left) then cut back. The two cuts are made while his sword is engaged by your dagger.
- Parry with the dagger and go under your own dagger with your sword, thrusting at his face in third ("with your palm away from him"). Then cut back at his forward leg.
- Parry with the dagger ("strike out his incoming thrust with your dagger sideways toward your left") and "thrust from above" i.e. from right Ochs at his face. When he parries with the dagger, go around under and thrust "from below", i.e. in third or thereabouts, at his body.
- Parry with the dagger and cut over your dagger at his right shoulder, i.e. Zorn left to right. If he thrusts from below then parry with hanging dagger (blade pointing down).
The final line probably applies to all the previous devices. The dagger defences are natural and we look like the pictures. There is no footwork prescribed and probably Meyer's usual advice to step away from the attack does not apply as the void is contrary to engaging with the dagger.
Secondly: Your opponent attacks your right, so parry with your sword.
- Parry with your sword, pass with your left foot and stab him in the arm with your dagger.
- Parry with your sword, pass with the left and engage your dagger on his sword, thrust with your sword; or use any other attack with the sword that suits; then pass back so you're right-foot forward.
- If he thrusts from below then parry with hanging blade, then thrust "off of his blade", i.e. disengage your weapon then thrust, but instead engage his weapon with your dagger, again passing forward with the left foot. Then lift your dagger to guard the head and "cut beside it up from below with the short edge". This would appear to be a Montante, initiated by throwing the hand over the head and down behind in a wheel-like motion. The short-edge cut is directed at the body with a pass forward on the right foot. Then cut at his left from your right (Zornhau): the point of the sword will describe a circle over your head to initiate the Zorn. When he attempts to parry this with his dagger, go around it and thrust in "at his nearest opening", extending your dagger "before your face".
These devices all involve a pass forward with the left foot to bring the dagger into play, either to strike the opponent (1) or to hand off his sword to your dagger(2 and 3). The third is the first (sorry) of some long plays. The rising short-edge cut is a staple of Bolognese swordsmanship, but this is the first time we have encountered it in this form (aimed at the body and initiated from above) in Meyer. It is curious that it doesn't warrant more description.
Finally, a lengthy device:
Surprise him with a Scheitelhau while lifting your dagger before your face -- the cut appears to be a way to make the transition to having your sword low and your dagger high while offering your opponent an opening (your left side). When he attacks this opening, strike it out upwards with the long edge and "horizontal blade" (in fourth or just parallel to the ground?). Step (pass?) with the left to his right and thrust at his face from the outside (under your dagger). When he parries, cut at his right leg into Low guard on the right. Now pass back with the left, lifting your sword with "horizontal weapon outside before your dagger so that you have both your blades crosswise before your face". We wound up with the sword in fourth under the dagger hand.
The bounce with the left foot is another staple of Bolognese. Stepping to your opponent's right opens the line to his face, making him work harder to parry. Katherine and I both tended to leave our weapons on the outside when we stepped back; David pointed out it far more menacing to keep them infront, where the distance to the opponent is least.