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Joachim Meyer (died 1571) was a self described Freifechter (literally, Free Fencer) living in the then Free Imperial City of Strassburgmarker in the 16th century and the author of a fechtbuch Gründtliche Beschreibung der kunst des Fechten (in English, Fundamental Descriptions of the Art of Fencing) first published in 1570.

Meyer's book was reprinted in 1600, and may have an influential source for other 16th and 17th century German fencing books, including a 1612 book by Jacob Sutor.Meyer's book itself describes a system of combat designed primarily for sportive, civilian swordplay – an early form of fencing – rather than a system meant for the duel. His book mostly consists of descriptive text, with only a few dozen woodcuts, each of which depicts several players enacting various techniques described in the text itself. The book consists of five chapters, covering the long sword, dussack (a training weapon not unlike the messer), rapier, dagger, and pole weapons.

Meyer's system generally flows from, and uses the terminology of, the German school of swordsmanship as set down by Johannes Lichtenauer, though Meyer's civilian system also appears to draw from contemporary Italian swordplay, including Achille Marozzo.



1) Forgeng, Jeffrey. The Art of Combat: A German Martial Arts Treatise of 1570. Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

2) Dupuis, Olivier. Joachim Meyer, escrimeur libre, bourgeois de Strasbourg (1537 ? - 1571). In Maîtres et techniques de combat. Dijon : AEDEH, 2006.

External links

  • Die Freifechter A partial transcription of the first (1570) printing.
  • Higgins Armory Sword Guild A facsimile of Meyer's 1600 edition.
  • Abstract of a biographical article on Joachim Meyer by Olivier Dupuis.
  • Martial Arts Study group dedicated to Joachim Meyer Art of War.

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