Feel a little bit late to the party, but here goes:
Meyer separates defending yourself into two categories: blocking and parrying. Blocking keeps you safe, but offers you no advantage in the fight. Parrying offers you the chance to change the direction of the fight, and is to be preferred. However, keeping yourself safe is paramount, so blocking is an essential skill.
Thereafter he pulls things apart a little more. Blocking can be done in various ways, but essentially involves putting your blade between his blade and your body. It can be done with or without footwork, but should be done by taking the blow on your forte while defending the line of attack. Why forte/strong? Simply because of leverage and strength. Do you extend your forte into the line of attack, like some re-enactors? No, you can never depend on strength, and need to use angulation and footwork to supplement your sword block. Blocking is instinctive; as an analogy, consider this: if somebody kicks a ball at you, you can generally catch it and get your body in the way instinctively.
Parrying involves turning the blocking process into something useful. "True" parrying or absetzen involves changing your block slightly to passively deflect the incoming blow, allowing you a counter attack (riposte). Countercutting is an active deflection of the incoming blow, designed to allow you a better chance at counterattacking. Then the single time defences are composite parry-attack moves, accomplishing the deflection/blocking at the same time as the counter attack. In the football analogy, these would be equivalent to 1) controlling the ball with head or torso so it drops at your feet for a kick, or 2) hitting the ball while in flight (i.e. a volley kick). Both of these actions are similar to blocking, but take practice and training.
Of course, there is another option- voiding/dodging. Present in longsword, but not that common. Can't find a football analogy for missing the ball entirely....
Last edited by MugginsToadwort
on 19 Sep 2011 13:05, edited 1 time in total.
Medieval Armed Combat Society
Overqualified, overemployed, and looking to hit someone with a sword several times