Richard Marsden wrote:So my latest question now is of knees.
My right knee is wearing out and I feel like all my weight is bearing down upon it. Am I doing something wrong?
Richard, is this a general problem or specifically an issue with Meyer's rappier?
Looking at your last Meyer video, it looks like your foot and knee are turning inwards in both your guard and lunge. This could put extra stress on the knee joint (since the force is no longer in the same direction as the kneee is flexing). Looking at your rapier videos, it looks like you have a much more upright stance while doing rapier, this would not stress the leg as much while in guard. (Which could explain why you're feeling it now).
On the lunge itself, it looks like you're trying a "hockey stop" type of landing, where the right toes are pointing inwards. This is believed to lead to long term knee damage, and is almost always corrected in the clubs I work in.
It's my experience, that this is most often caused by two things:
1)Wanting to stop the lunge early. This is something like a trying to stomp on the brakes in an non-antilock brake car. In this case, the "oh shit i'm too close" causes you to stomp down on your foot in any way you can to stop moving forward. (I know, I've done this my fair share of times). Traditionally, this is caused by not knowing your distance well and launching attacks from a very close distance. If you're aiming for a short lunge in general, see issue (2)
2) Landing with the toe, not the heel. Landing with the heel will generally put your toe in the right alignment (forward). Landing with your toe tends to cause you to turn inwards. There is debate on the "toe/heel" lunge landing in 17th century rapier, but in both cases the knee should flex in the direction of the toes. (I don't buy the "toe landing" hypothesis, but if you're trying that, I have separate comments. I can include them later if you like).
To fix this try and land always on the heel to start, then try landing with a flat foot. For a short lunge, try and tense your legs into the lunge position as you land to prevent you from leaning/turning when you land.
I would also be careful if you're lunging like this. I had a student once hurt his ankle by lunging this way. The popping noise was not pretty. I have another friend who can't lunge because of similar damage to his back knee obtained while doing '90s era saber fencing. Knees and fencers are nothing to mess with.
Note: I have no training in sports medicine. I have met and fenced with epeeists who fence like boxers with both feet inwards. (Though as I recall, they lunge like everyone else with the front toe forward).