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Wednesday (Meyer's Rapier)

Submitted by Ludwig von Rege... on February 20, 2013 - 12:00am

Second class in Meyer's rapier

We did a quick revision of key concepts from last week.  Then practised cutting from posture to posture (right foot forward throughout):

  • Start in Eisenport, step forwards and right with the left foot, lifting the hand so it's over the right shoulder, blade pointing back.  This is Oberhut (high guard for the stroke).
  • Cut diagonally (Zornhau) from right to left, stepping with the right foot so that the sword would hit an opponent's shoulder at the same time (or slightly before) the right foot lands.  The sword passes through Langort (long point) and ends on the left side, point down with the short edge pointing an the opponent.  This is Unterhut (low guard) on the left.
  • Step forwards and left with the left foot, lifting the hand so it's over the left shoulder, blade pointing back.  This is Oberhut on the left.
  • Cut a Zornhau from left to right, stepping with the right foot so that the sword would land at the same time as the foot.  The sword passes through Langort and ends on the right side, but this time roughly parallel to the ground.  This is Unterhut on the right.

So Unterhut is somewhat asymmetric, resembling the longsword guard of Wechsel on the left, closer to Alber on the right.  In both cases, the hand should be no further forward than the knee.

Meyer's usual cut is done with a slicing action, leading somewhat with the hilt.  This means both that when the cut lands it will draw across the opponent's body, creating a "draw-cut", and that the blade will be angled, giving protection to its wielder.

Another defence - leg void: Against a cut to the lower leg, draw the right leg back to the left and either cut at the opponent's arm or thrust at his face.  [Patch noted that with sharp swords, a cut to the inside of the fore-arm is more debilitating that one to the outside of the fore-arm.]

Another defence - sending out with the short edge: From Unterhut, when the opponent thrusts at your face or shoulder, "slash" up sending their weapon out; this should be accompanied with the usual step out with back foot.  For example, from Unterhut on the left, step left and slash up diagonally from left to right, displacing the opponent's sword outside your right shoulder.

Brief description of Meyer's conceptual framework - provoker, taker, hitter:  Noting that it's difficult (and dangerous) to launch direct attacks against an opponent in guard, a standard technique is to tempt or provoke the opponent into making a predictable attack, which can then be parried in such a way that it leaves the opponent open to a straight-forward counter attack.

Simple example: Against an opponent in Eisenport, deliver a suppressing cut (Dempfhau) against their weapon.  The likely counter for the opponent is to change through (Durchwelchseln) resulting the agent being in Unterhau and the opponent back in Eisenport.  When the opponent then thrusts at the agent's face or shoulder, the agent sends the attack out by slashing up with the short edge and immediately responds with a thrust in from above.

Next week: A look at thrusts and lunges, and some mask time.

Rolling vocab list: Eisenport, Oberhau, Zornhau, Unterhau, Oberhut, Langort, Unterhut

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