Hi, and welcome!
This video is all about what is nowadays known as Meyer's Square, and how you can use it for solo drills.
We will not only be taking a look at how the pattern works,
but also what skill it aims to teach, and how you can adapt it for more variation
in your solo training.
Now, let's start at the beginning, shall we?
In the 16th century Joachim Meyer published this very diagram in his book with the snappy
title Grndtliche Beschreibung der freyen Ritterlichen
und Adelichen Kunst des Fechtens, in allerley gebreuchlichen Wehren, mit schnen und nzlichen
figuren gezieret und frgestellet.
Durch Joachim Meyer, Freyfechter zu Straburg.
Now let's take a look at the pattern itself.
How does it work, exactly?
It has four rings of numbers, which are meant to be read from the outside in.
And the goal of this cutting excercise is to teach you to swiftly cut back through and
along the line of your previous attack.
A quick 1-2 combination as it were, in order to be able to quickly cut around your opponent's initial defence,
and in fact targeting that same defensive posture.
This informs the order and direction of the strikes, so it's actually fairly easy to remember
the pattern, when you know the trick.
The first two rounds of this cutting pattern start on the right hand side.
So the very first cut is a right overhand strike.
In sources from the 15th century, this would've been called an Obenhaw, but Joachim Meyer
himself calls this a Zornhaw.
The second strike in the pattern cuts back immediately along the same line, so this will
be a left Unterhaw.
The third strike is always the same type of strike as the second, but from the original
side, so this will be a right Unterthaw.
And then we will cut back immediatly with a left Obenhaw, or Zornhaw if you prefer.
The second round starts at the bottom right with a right Unterhaw, and the second strike
immediatly cuts back trough that same line, attacking the upper left opening.
The third strike is again the same as the second, but on the original side, so now we're
aiming for the right upper opening.
Cutting back immediatly with a left Unterhaw will be the fourth and final strike in this
The third and fourth round in this pattern start on the left hand side, and you will
have to adjust your footwork accordingly.
Be mindful of this as you transition from you previous strike, a left Unterhaw, into
the first strike of this third round, which is aimed at the left upper opening.
The second strike will of course cut back again along the same line, so that will be
a right Unterhaw.
And the third strike is then, of course, another Unterhaw, but now starting from the original
left side again.
Which leaves us with the fourth and final strike in this round, cutting back along the
same line, targeting the right upper opening.
Then, there is only the last round left, starting bottom left.
Then cutting back, targeting the upper right opening.
And then the final pair of cuts starts at the left upper opening, and finally, we cut
back along the line, targeting the right lower opening.
So if you remember the first strike of every round, you can actually remember the entire
Let's have a look at that in action.
This example uses basic, full-length strikes, and sidewards footwork.
Round 1, strike 1, top right opening.
Strike 2, cutting back.
Strike 3, bottom right.
And strike 4, cutting back again.
Then for the second round the first strike will be bottom right.
Strike 2, cutting back.
And strike 3, top right.
And strike 4, cutting back.
After this the patter simply gets mirrored.
So round 3, cut 1: top left.
Strike 2 cuts back along the line.
Strike 3 then, bottom left.
And strike 4 cuts back along the line.
The 4th and final round then starts with cut nr.1, bottom left.
Strike 2, cutting back along the line.
Strike 3, top left.
And finally, strike 4, cutting back along that line.
When you just start out to learn this pattern, or if you simply want to focus on your basic
mechanics, it is of course fine to use these full-length strikes in a continuous rhythm.
To really understand the pattern, however, it helps to tie the strike combinations together.
1-2, and 3 and 4.
And this is in fact a step in the right direction towards the actual goal of the excercise.
What we nowadays call Meyer's Square is actually a paired drill, and it aims to teach to quickly
cut around your opponent's defense, and actually target that same defensive posture.
For instance, in his writings Meyer tells us to aim at our opponent's left ear, and
then as soon as our sword hits, or gets hit, we should immediately cut around aiming for
their arms from below.
In our solo drill we can emulate this by stopping every strike in Langen Ort, or Longpoint.
Or at least in a roughly similar position.
From there we can cut around with a new strike, simulating having to cut around somebody's
Meyer tells us explicitly to keep our crossguards very high during our rising cuts.
Above your head actually, so even higher than what is shown throughout this example.
This means it depends largely on how well you work your pommel arm, how quickly and
accurately you can strike.
Now that we know what the drill is supposed to be, let's look at few variations.
First off, the pivot step.
If on top of things like structure and edge-allignment, you focus on speed and power, this can quickly
become quite the core workout.
Mind the adjustment in footwork going into the 3rd round, and just like the base variant:
end every strike in, or around, Longpoint or Ochs.
Now letting go of the main goal of the drill, in favour of variation: You might try
Double Cuts, adding a short edge cut before every strike in the pattern.
Similar to the basic flow drills, you can add a Strzhaw before every overhand strike,
and a Streychen before every Unterhaw.
To give your arms, and in particular your wrists and forearms a bit of a challenge,
and to train some slightly awkward transitions you can run this pattern using the short egde only.
During this: mind your extention!
Ideally, you'll keep your hands a bit higher and further away from you than what is shown
in this particular example.
Sticking with the theme of weird edge-work, you can also alternate your strikes, using
your short edge and long edge for every other strike in the pattern.
Or, conversely, using the long edge first, and the short edge second.
Ultimately, this is a four openings drill.
Not a 'Four Particular Strikes Drill'.
So we could substitute our basic strikes with something like the Zwerhaw.
This uses two versions of the Zwerhaw.
The ones aimed at the high openings are technically called Zwerhaw zu dem Ochs geschlagen, and
the ones aimed at lower openings Zwerhaw zu dem Pflug geschlagen.
You can build on this drill, and kinda get crazy with it.For instance, why not substitute
every first and third strike with a thrust?
Or, like in this example, lead with a thrust, and then do a combination from the pattern.
This still leans on the core of the drill: learning to cut around somebody's defense.
Feel free to use your own creativity.
Who know's what useful variation you might come up with!
Finally, when training at home, remember that the saying 'Any training is better than no
training' only holds true to a certain extend.
It really pays off to focus on your posture, your mechanics, and your edge allignment.
Because when you're training alone, you are your own coach, and in order to make good
progress, you will have to keep yourself honest by critiquing your own performance.
Don't be too harsh, though, and remember to enjoy the process.
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Let me know in the comments what you'd like to see next,
and thanks very much for watching!