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Christopher VanSlambrouck is a senior instructor, researcher and administrator with the Meyer Freifechter Guild, a Historical European Martial Arts group. For the last 13 years, he has had general interest as a HEMA scholar, but from 2009 he has specializes in the instruction of the techniques of Master Joachim Meyer, particularly in the use of the XVI c. German longsword.

Fifth Annual Meyer Symposium

The Region III Freifecthers are pleased to host the 5th annual Meyer Symposium in Monticello, IA on

 

Local Airports are:
CID Airport
MLI Airport
DBQ Airport
with prior coordination transportation to and from CID or DBQ Airports to the event site can be arranged.

Food, beverages, and lodging are all onsite and are included in the ticket price.

Lodging is Open Bay or bring your own tent; air mattresses and/or cots and blankets can be provided if requested.

Our annual Guild event furthers our collective understanding and interpretations of Master Meyer. We continue to focus on Kameradschaft, tradition building, and support of a generational approach to our beloved Art.

This three-day all inclusive on site Symposium will compose

  • group instruction and interpretive stuck work,
  • historical presentations,
  • free-play, Live steel cutting,
  • Fechter Evaluations and
  • a Fechtschul and a Feast.

Full Participation Ticket is $150, includes all events, meals on Friday (dinner), Saturday (all), and Sunday (all), and Monday (breakfast). Price also includes loft lodging, or you can pitch a tent.
Companion Ticket is $50, and covers all meals and lodging.

Get your Ticket  :  HERE

 

 

Madtown Fechtschule

WHAT

The Madtown Fechtschule is a public display of skill and control with competitive Dussack and Longsword tournaments styled after the rules and restrictions of a 16th century event.

WHERE & WHEN

Date : Saturday, 20 Aug 2016
Location: Goodman Center Gymnasium, 149 Waubesa St, Madison, WI 53704

Schedule:
11:30 – Sign In
12:00 – Introduction to Fechtschule: Rules and Demo
12:30 – Dussack (2 Rings)
1:45 – Break
2:00 – Longsword (1 Ring)
5:30 – Awards
6:30 – After Event Party

HOW MUCH

$10 for guests attending the after event meal.

Pre-registration has closed!

Tickets to spectate can be purchased at the door the day of the event for $5  (which does not include entry to the after party and provided meal) If you would like to spectate and attend the after event meal, please purchase your ticket below:


Ticket Type



TOURNAMENT FORMAT

Dusack

Competitors are split into two pools. Each pool fences King of the Hill, three passes to a match, five strikes per pass. The fencer who wins the most passes wins the match, which earns one Victory Point. Fencers may also earn Artistry Points by exhibiting clean examples of Meyer’s dusack technique.

Winners are those fencers with the highest Victory Point total, the highest Artistry Point total, and the Last Fencer Standing. The winners from both initial pools go to the Winners’ Pool. All other fencers from both initial pools are gathered into the Barber’s Pool. The Winners’ Pool fences King of the Hill to determine the winners of the dusack tournament. The Barber’s Pool fences King of the Hill for honor and redemption.

Longsword

For the longsword, all competitors fence King of the Hill in a single pool. Matches are three passes, five strikes per pass. Victory and Artistry Points are earned as in dusack. Note: Victory Points earned in dusack do not carry forward; Artistry Points earned in dusack do, and add to a fencer’s overall Artistry Point total.

Winners are selected as in dusack (highest Victory Point total, highest Artistry Point total, Last Fencer standing). Losers of the first round gather for a Barber’s Pool, King of the Hill as before. The winners of the first longsword round and the Barber’s Pool then fence in the Finals.

In the Final Fechtschule, the competitors fence King of the Hill, five passes, five strikes per pass. Winners of the Final are the overall winners of the Madtown Fechtschule.

AWARDS

Dusack

Champion (1st Place, most dusack Victory Points)

  • Certificate

Artist (2nd Place, most Artistry Points)

  • Certificate

Barber’s Best (Barber’s Pool most Victory Points or Artistry Points)

  • Honorable Mention

Longsword

Fechtschule Champion (1st Place, most longsword Victory Points)

  • PHA Gold Medal
  • Historical Print

Fechtschule Artist (2nd Place, most overall Artistry Points)

  • PHA Silver Medal
  • Laurel Pin

Last Fencer Standing (3rd Place)

  • Laurel Pin

 

Safety Requirements from HEMA Alliance

Head = Head protection must cover the entire face and front of the throat for drilling and slow sparring, and the entire head and front of the throat must be covered in competitive sparring. It must be sturdy enough to withstand impacts. There should be no gaps in coverage that would allow a thrust or strike to the face.

Throat = A covering to protect the throat.

Torso = Clothing to cover the body. Clothing should be puncture resistant, or three layers.

Groin = An internal or external cup.

Elbow = Hard elbow covering to protect the joints.

Hands = Hands = Sturdy gloves or gauntlets must be used to protect the hands and wrists. Gloves must include protection on the sides and tips of the fingers sufficient to resist hard strikes from steel . An unsupplemented lacrosse glove is not sufficient.. Steel Gauntlets need additional interior padding of some sort, however a mechanic’s glove has minimal padding and when used inside a metal gauntlet would not be sufficient. Most HEMA-dedicated synthetic gloves or gauntlets, such as Sparring Gloves and Black Lance, are adequate. Finger breaks and hand injuries are the most common and organizers should be conscientious of this.

Legs = Hard knee covering to protect the joints.

Feet = Covering of some sort.

 

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Meyer Symposium Episode IV: A New Hope

It is a period of fantastic possibility. Rebel Freifechter, training in study groups across the world, spread the word of Joachim Meyer to the HEMA-verse. Now, the forces of the Meyer Freifechter Guild gather together to celebrate the Art of fencing with fellowship, study, and steel.

WHAT IS IT?
4th Annual Meyer Symposium
Three days of Meyer-focused classes, fencing, Fechter testing, fellowship, and fechtschule!

WHEN?
Arrival on the evening of the 9th of June

Classes 10 June-11 June

  • We will get feisty on Friday (dusack, dagger, grappling)
  • Fechter Eval Saturday (and more classes)

Fechtschule 12 June

WHERE?
19243 Stonebridge Road
Monticello, IA 53704

HOW TO GET THERE?
Flying in? Rides can be arranged from CID or DBQ.

HOW MUCH?
Full Participation Ticket is $150, includes all events, meals on Friday and Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. Price also includes loft lodging, or you can pitch a tent.
Companion Ticket is $50, and covers all meals and lodging.

(paypal links are on the upper left of this page)

Group Feder Order

WHAT IS IT?
We are getting together a group order of the “Italian” feders by Viktor Berbekucz. Once we get ten paid orders via PayPal (to take advantage of the discount), we will submit our group order and get some swords!

WHEN?
Deadline is March 25th. If we do not have ten feder orders paid by March 25th, we will wait until we have ten. If we do not get ten orders by April 25th, we will return payments.

HOW MUCH?
$250 paid via PayPal, includes fees and shipping from Europe to the Madison MFFG headquarters.


Once the swords are here in the States, we will work with you to arrange a pick-up at the Symposium or here in Madison. If you cannot pick-up your sword at the Symposium or here in Madison, then we can make additional shipping arrangements after the swords arrive.

From the Dedicatory Preface (1570) part I

There are many pieces of data that aid a greater context of the world Master Meyer lived and wrote his fencing books in. I believe that the more we understand the Early Modern Period Meyer inhabited the better students we will become of his presented Art.

So very briefly lets look at some of the people, and places made mention of in his Dedicatory Preface to his 1570 fencing book.

Palatine 

One of the collateral lineages of Palatinate line of the House  of  Wittelsbach.

Rhine

In the Golden Bull of 1356, the Palatinate was recognized as one of the secular electorates, and given the hereditary offices of Erztruchseß of the Empire and Reichsverweser of Franconia, Swabia, the Rhine, and southern Germany. From that time forth, the Count Palatine of the Rhine was usually known as the Kurfürst von der Pfalz.

Due to the practice of dividing territories among different branches of the family, by the early 16th century junior lines of the Palatine Wittelsbachs came to rule in Simmern, Kaiserslautern and Zweibrücken in the Lower Palatinate, and in Neuburg and Sulzbach in the Upper Palatinate. The Elector Palatine, now based in Heidelberg, adopted Lutheranism in the 1530s and Calvinism in the 1550s.

When the senior branch of the family died out in 1559, the Electorate passed to Frederick III of Simmern, a staunch Calvinist, and the Palatinate became one of the major centers of Calvinism in Europe, supporting Calvinist rebellions in both the Netherlands and France.

Bavaria

Established in 907, held by the House of Wittelsbach from 1180, Bavaria-Munich and Bavaria-Landshut reunited in 1506, annexed the Upper Palatinate from the Electoral Palatinate in 1628 along with the electoral dignity, inherited the whole Electorate of the Palatinate in 1777.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, upper and lower Bavaria were repeatedly subdivided. Four Duchies existed after the division of 1392: Lower Bavaria-Straubing, lower Bavaria-Landshut, Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Bavaria-Munich. These dukes often waged war against each other. Duke Albrecht IV of Bavaria-Munich united Bavaria in 1503 through primogeniture and war. However, the originally Bavarian offices Kufstein, Kitzbühel and Rattenberg in Tirol were lost in 1504.

Lord Frederick III

Called “the Pious,” elector palatine of the Rhine, eldest son of Johann II., count palatine of Simmern, was born at Simmern on the 14 of February 1515. He was educated a Roman Catholic by Bishop Eberhard of Liege. However he was impressed early by the ideals of the Reformation. 21 October 1537 he married Princess Marie of Brandenburg-Kulmbach (1519-1567), daughter of Casimir, prince of Bayreuth, and in 1546, mainly as a result of this union, adopted the reformed doctrines, which had already made considerable progress in the Palatinate. He lived in comparative obscurity and poverty until 1557, when he became count palatine of Simmern by his father’s death, succeeding his kinsman, Ottheinrich  (1502-1559), as elector palatine two years later. In 1569 he wed the widow of Lord Hendrik “Grote Geus” van Brederode, Amalia of Neuenahr (1536-1602). He died in 1576, and was succeeded as Elector Palatine by his son Louis VI. Frederick had carved out a territory from the Lower Palatine land dubbed “Pfalz-Lautern” for his second surviving son Johann Casimir as an enclave to enable the continued existence of the Reformed faith.

Johann Casimir

(von Pfalz-Simmern) (1543 –1592) was a German prince and a younger son of Frederick III, Elector Palatine. A firm Calvinist, he was a leader of mercenary troops in the religious wars of the time, including the Dutch Revolt. From 1583–1592 he acted as regent for his nephew, Elector Palatine Frederick IV.

Archsteward 

(Erztruchseß) The dukedoms of Franconia and Swabia had become extinct; their place and power, and the household offices they held, descended to the County Palatine of the Rhine and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Saxony, even with diminished territory, retained its eminent position. The Palatinate and Bavaria were originally held by the same individual, but in 1253, they were divided between two members of the House of Wittelsbach. The other electors refused to allow two princes from the same dynasty to have electoral rights, so a heated rivalry arose between the Count Palatine and the Duke of Bavaria.

Under Emperor Charles IV was in the Golden Bull of Erzämter established in 1356 following distribution:

  • The three spiritual electors were Reichserzkanzler for each one of the three parts of the empire:
    • the archbishop of Mainz in Germany – Archicancellarius by Germaniam,
    • the Archbishop of Cologne for Empire Italy – Archicancellarius by Italiam,
    • the Archbishop of Trier for Burgundy
  • The original four secular electors had held the following Erzämter:
    • the Count Palatine of the Rhine was Erztruchsess   – Archidapifer, dial tone: golden orb in a red field.
    • the Duke of Saxony was Erzmarschall – Archimareschallus
    • the Margrave of Brandenburg was Rabsaris – Archicamerarius
    • the King of Bohemia was Erzmundschenk – Archipincerna.

Scipio Africanus

Scipio Africanus the Elder: The Roman general Scipio earned the surname Africanus after his victory at the Battle of Zama, which ended the Second Punic War in 202 BCE.

Hannibal Barca 

A Carthaginian leader who defeated the Romans repeatedly in battle on Italian soil during the 2nd Punic War. Hannibal is particularly famous for invading Italy via the Alps, across which he led not only mercenary troops, but African elephants.

Ticino River

A river that originates in the Alps, near Nufenen. It then flows through the Swiss canton of Ticino and northern Italy. It flows into the river Po, near Pavia. It is 270 km long. It gave its name to the canton. In Switzerland, it is dammed to make electricity. In Italy, it is mainly used for irrigation. The river flows through Lago Maggiore.

Pippin der Kleine

Mayor of the Palace of the whole Frankish kingdom (both Austrasia and Neustria), and later King of the Franks. He born 714; died at St. Denis, 24 September, 768. Pippin was the son of Charles Martel and father of Karl der Grosse (Charlemagne) and Carloman.

Charlemagne

King of the Franks and Christian emperor of the West. He did much to define the shape and character of medieval Europe and presided over the Carolingian Renaissance.

Charlemagne was born in the late 740s near Liège in modern day Belgium, the son of the Frankish king Pippin the Short. When Pippin died in 768, his kingdom was divided between his two sons and for three years Charlemagne ruled with his younger brother Carloman. When Carloman died suddenly in 771, Charlemagne became sole ruler.

Louis the Pious

Lines 37-38

From The Third Book: Lines 31-32 of Meyer’s Zettel:

“When you deliver a Krumphau, go up quickly; cast the point crosswise on his hands.”

Meyer gives us an example earlier in (1.12v.1) his Kunst des Fechtens, in fact it should be noted that 19 lines of the Zettel are concerning the Krump. I have never had any real confusion of what a Krumphau was or was not, I did not even realize there was a bit of a stir in the HEMA world about it. That is, in reference to those who had or still do believe the examples of Krumpauwen are the way, and are (rigidly) a Krumphau. My lack of confusion comes from reading, because;

Meyer Explains:

“…Krumphäuwen are many, and that all cuts that are done with hands put crosswise or crossed, will be known as Krumphäuwen… and it applies equally to the long or short edges, thus it is a Krumphau when you hold your hands crosswise.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12rvBut I can understand confusion. Like they say krumping ain’t easy.

“This is how you shall strike the Krumphau against the hands;

When he cuts from his right side against an opening with an Oberhau or Underhau, take a step well to his left side with your right foot, away from the strike and cut with crossed arms with the point to his hands. And even try this technique against him when he stands against you in the Ochs guard.” – Anon (1504-19) Gloss of Liechtenauer’s Bloßfechten, MS Dresd. C.487, 25r

“When you come to the closing with the opponent, set the left foot forward and hold your sword with the point at your right side and remain hence standing in the Krumphaw. If he then strikes you from above to an opening, step outward with your right foot and give him a Krump to his right side and strike him at the nearest opening. If he gives you a Krump like this and you stand with your right foot forward likewise in the Krumphaw, then step in with your left leg and displace his strike with your long edge. Then immediately follow outward with the right foot and drop a Krump onto his sword with your short edge and with that cut through his head.” – Mair (1542) “Opus Amplissimum de Arte Athletica” (MS Dresd.C.93/C.94), 22v

Never you mind good reader. We learn with and through working Stucken, and we have a great many to work. Per the norm we have:

Stucken from Guards,

Stucken with Something (a cut or handwork)

Stuck from Nebenhut [1.40r]

From Nebenhut you shall especially execute the Krumphäuwen . For example:

If your opponent cuts at your opening when you stand in the right Nebenhut, then spring well away from his cut with your right foot to his left, and cut with crossed hands above and behind his blade at his head. If you do not wish to wrench toward your left (Ausreißen), pull quickly up with crossed hands, and strike with the outside flat strongly around from below at his left ear.

Video Example

1st Stuck with Krumphau 

And firstly when one will cut straight to your head, from his right, thus step with your right foot well out from his strike, to his left, so that you avoid his strike with a spring to his left and likewise cut from your right with crossed hands, against his cut, thus you come with your blade between his head and sword, on his short edge, which is facing him, and when it connects, then step further around to his left side with your right foot, and displace or transfer your sword’s blade from his, onto his arm, between his head and sword,in this you will have seen the opening, to which the you may cut and see that you don’t wait long but rather allow your cuts to fly quickly to the openings. – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12r

Video Example


2nd Stuck with Krumphau
…in the Zufechten when you come to your opponent, then see when he pulls his arms up for the stroke, and at that moment cross your hands in the air, and cast the point, that is the weak or furthest part of your blade, on his hands or arms. And note that this shall take place as he draws up for the stroke, as I have said; and before he is ready with it you shall already be back on his blade with a Zwerchau; for these techniques shall take place flyingly and quickly. [1.47v]
Video Example

Lines 35-36

From The Third Book: Lines 35-36 of Meyer’s Zettel:

Send your cuts powerfully from your body, carry out your work to the four openings

Master Meyer explains:

“In this rhyme two things are realized; firstly to the cutting, secondly to the four openings of the Man, to which the cuts will be struck and note that you cut all cuts with outstretched arms, and with this reach far to the man, also as soon as a cut from one side fails, thus you should quickly cut to the opposite side.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.12v

“These verses teach how you shall send your cuts powerfully and long, flying fluidly to all four targets, that is to all four openings, along with the body, which shall fully follow the cuts as I have said.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”,1.46r

Lines 33-34

From The Third Book: Lines 33-34 of Meyer’s Zettel:
No posture will come to you that is so good; in the Nach you will hit him with free mettle.

Master Meyer explains:

“Concerning this you shall note, although there are many good postures…you learn from these verses that it is always better not to entirely settle into a posture, since from the postures your opponent can easily deduce what kind of stück you have in mind to execute, something that cannot be deduced from the cuts.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.46r

This is why we move about; transitioning in the Zufechten through many guards. This is the chess match of fencing and why we do not linger overlong in any particular guard. It is also why it looks silly to view a fencing match where one or both fencers stabilize in a guard, Tag for example, and inch forward, tipy-toeing into Kreig distance to engage in a sad shootfighting, strike fest version of HEMA.

Master Meyer explains further:

“Also you learn from these verses how, when an opponent stands in front of you in a posture, you shall hit him or come to the opening, which may be accomplished through the Nach. Understand this thus: if your opponent stands in a posture, then cut opposite it to the other opening…” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.46r

“…it is always better to not settle into a guard. It guards you not at all, to show someone with your guard, what you will do amid the fight, that may your cutting through not be brought so far. In this, learn from the rhyme, when you should do it. Namely in the Nach that is when you should take him, when he keeps his guard, or stays in a guard, then cut him to the opposite opening, as soon as he goes towards your strike with his displacing, and is out of his Guard, and whether it connects or doesn’t connect, then pull around your head and strike, especially to the part or quarter Line from where he has struck from.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.11v

Lines 31-32

From The Third Book: Lines 31-32 of Meyer’s Zettel:

Pay heed to Indes, understand me rightly, hit him before he adopts his  posture.

Master Meyer explains further:

“…when you are in the Zufechten, and he acts as if he will adopt a posture, then do no let him be in peace or come to it, but always attack first; and as he is choosing a posture, lay on at once to the nearest opening, and act as if you intended to cut strongly; but let it fehlen, or Verfliegen, and attack to another opening; then as soon as you have come halfway in or onto his sword with your blade, then do not be idle, but deliver a Zwerchau, or Umbschlagen, or Ausreißen, or Schnitt, or Winden, or do whatever work may most properly come to hand for you.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.45v – 1.46r

“Many have believed that the word Indes has its origin from the Latin word intus, and indicates the inside combat, which arises from the Winden and similar work; but you will hear now that this is not true. I leave the meaning of the word intus to the Latinists, but the word Indes is a good German word, and embodies a serious exhortation to quick judgment, so that one should be constantly swift of mind.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.25r

“Thus you should respond Indes quickly with convenient work, with this, you are strongest on his Stücken, when you lay on with your work in the Vor, and in this you are crowded so that you must displace him after, thus is a constant changing with the Vor and Nach, now you have it, then he does, But he who does not pay attention to it, he will nonetheless never learn to fence.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.6r

 

More on Indes from the German tradition of with Ringeck:

“You shall learn and understand both the word “Fühlen” and the word “Indes”, because these two belong together and together they account for the greatest art and skill in fencing.”
“Indes” is a sharp word, which cuts all fencers, that don’t know anything about it. Moreover, “Indes is the key, which unlocks the Art of fencing”
This is a difficult time to describe and from what I understand even the translation does not do it justice, because its meaning is quite a bit deeper than the simple English translation of Just As. Indes describes the time of the moment of decision. It is often used to gain back the initiative from an opponent who has gained the Vor.
A bit from Mike:
“It is done in the moment as you move or strike or even sometimes defend. It can be likened to the concept of double time where Vor, Nach and Abzug represent single time. “ – Cartier (2005) “The Art and Practice of Longsword Combat according to Joachim Meyer, Free Fencer” pg 20

 

Lines 29-30

From The Third Book: Lines 29-30 of Meyer’s Zettel:

See that you are the first on the field; before your opponent adopts a posture, lay on against him.

Master Meyer explains further:

“… so that you can act in a timely manner in your intended stücken; then you shall be so persistent against him with cuts and steps that he can have neither time nor space to choose a posture or stück, and you shall thus rush upon him with sudden steps before he realizes it.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.45v

Meyer is talking about seizing and maintaining the Vor.

Meyer speaks further of the Vor, that is the act of having the initiative.

“The Vor is when you drive with your stücken so that he cannot come to his senses, especially by positioning yourself close, and how he defends before your stücken and these same would like to break and bar, with this, he runs off the Vor to you.” – Meyer (1560) MS A.4o.2, 1.6r

“It is called Vor when you attack your opponent with your cutting first in the Zufechten , and further drive on, so that he cannot come to his undertaking or stücken, but must restrict himself to parrying so that he may defend himself from you.” – Meyer (1570) “Grundtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens”, 1.24r

More on Vor from those predating Meyer in the Kunst des Fechten:

“With the word Vor as has been told before, he [Liechtenauer] means that you, with a good Vorschlag, shall close in without fear or hesitation and strike at the Blossen; to the head and to the body, regardless whether you hit or miss you will confuse the opponent and put fear into him, so that the he does not know what to do against you. Then before the opponent can gather himself and come back, you shall do the Nachschlag so that he will have to defend yet again and not be able to strike himself.” – Anonymous (1389)

“Vor” means, preempting him with a blow or a thrust against an Blossen before he can hit you, so he must defend/displace. So, be flexible in your defense and aim with your sword at one opening after the other, so he cannot get through with his own techniques.” – Ringeck (MS Dresd.C.487; 15v

“What the Vor is that is that you shall always come before, be it with the strike or with the stab, as when you come to him with a strike or otherwise so that he must displace you, Indes, work ahead nimbly with the sword in the displacement or else with other parts, that he can come to no work.” – Anonymous “Pseudo-Peter von Danzig” (pre 1452)

A bit from Mike:

“He who maintains the initiative forces the opponent to react to defend themselves giving up the control of the fight to the man in the Vor. The German school often advocates a flurry of strikes (Meyer mentions four strikes as his preferred combination number) to gain and deftly exploit the Vor, keeping up a relentless pressure of attacks to limit the opponents ability to counter.” – Cartier (2005) “The Art and Practice of Longsword Combat according to Joachim Meyer, Free Fencer” pg 20