Skip to main content

Meyer's Trivium?

So I never picked up on this before, and I'm not certain it is in any way significant, but I've just noticed that Meyer orders his Longsword on the divisions of the "classical education" the Trivium which would have been the norm at the time (1.1v Forgeng):

" discuss it very briefly but clearly in such a manner as is done with all other arts and practices:

Firstly to show the vocabulary and manner of speaking that pertain to it, which have been invented by the masters of this art with particular diligence, so one may learn and grasp the secret and genius of it more promptly and rapidly

Next to explain and interpret this vocabulary, so that everyone may properly understand what is meant by this manner of speaking.

Then thirdly to present the practice of the art itself, and how it shall be carried out in the work from the cuts and postures that I will have explained."

So the first is his grammar (input), the next his logic (process) and finally his rhetoric (output) which make up the Trivium.

This could explain why his book is structured the way it is. I notice that there three books in Longsword ("the third part of the treatise on the sword" 1.44v/a) but I don't see that as aligning with that. 

It could potentially split out: 
  • The introduction is vocabulary or definitions
  • Chapter 1-9 is explanation
  • Chapter 9 on wards presenting the practice or devices
But I don't think so. 

I think he is ordering each chapter this way, for example: Chapter 3 has an introduction to the vocabulary (1.5v - 1.6r), then explanation (1.6v - 1.9v) and finally the practice (1.9v - 1.10v)

Whatever, it's interesting in the sense that it gives a reason for the sometimes baffling way he presents himself. What's interesting to me is the idea that to advance you could design some kind of Quadrivium. Firstly you learn the number (Mechanics), then number in space (Mechanics & Measure), then number in time (Mechanics & Time) and finally number in space and time (Mechanics, Time & Measure). I need to re-read Meyer bearing this in mind.


Popular posts from this blog

Kit mod: heavy sparring glove 2

This is a follow on to heavy sparring gloves and SPES arm protectors.

Finally: a pretty good HEMA glove.

Essentially I've created this final stage by removing the cuff from the gauntlet and attaching Velcro so the SPES arm & elbow protection attaches to the gauntlet. The Velcro attaches under the lip of the arm protection providing a solid join between the pieces.

My photography is lame but I hope you get the idea:

Good protection.

I would say that this setup has good protection from injury from sparring blows from fingers to elbow. Against full force blows it takes it down from injury to some mild discomfort and possibly light bruising, against moderate blows you feel some pressure with no discomfort. The fingers are where I've invested the heaviest protection but there is still some room for improvement.

Light weight

Because the weight is distributed along the length of the arm rather than at the wrist/hands end and because they can fit quite tightly to your body they seem…

Halberd Waster

Several times through my historical martial arts career I've got it into my head that I'd like to do halberd. However, the issues with a suitable waster have tended to put me off, specifically creating anything that can be used at something approaching full intention. The issue is that if you make the head from the usual materials (steel, aluminium, wood, leather etc) you have to exercise extreme caution at very slow speed because all you've made is a giant heavy mace on the end of a 6ft lever.

Recently I was working on making foam swords for another side project and while doing this it occurred to me that foam was the obvious solution to the halberd head issue. Pretty quickly I developed this simple waster.

The head is cut from EVA foam matting. This material is importantly both ultra light and pretty robust. To get a good strength I cut two head shapes out and stuck them together. The bracket to attach the head to the pole is just PVC piping with a slot cut into it for th…

Absolutely no absolutes

The more I study and learn of historical fighting, and the more I teach, the more I become careful in throwing around "absolutes" in terms of technique. I find that to say that something is "wrong" is a sub-optimal way of thinking about fencing that hinders development. Rather I like to highlight that everything is situational, i.e. with a proper understanding of the principles of fencing that there is often a time and a place where a particular technique is optimal and that you should not completely discount anything.

For example:

(and I'd like to make it clear that I'm not being negative on these examples, I liked and remembered both these videos I'm just using them to illustrate a pedagogical mindset.)

In this interesting video, the view is put forward that you should cut and step at the same pace to ensure that your hand and body land together. This is so that you cut with maximum strength and for reasons of balance.  The idea of not stepping and cu…