Tricks of the Trade: Johann Andreas Schmidt, 1713

Don’t you hate when that happens? Your opponent suddenly turns Luke Skywalker and starts using his foil with two hands…

No worries! Nuremberg’s Exercitienmeister Schmidt knows exactly what to do!

Admittedly, there are few things that the old texts have to offer to help a modern competitive fencer win a bout. Actions are too slow, scenarios too arcane, instructions too obtuse to create unfair advantages against your opponent. You’re better off jumping rope for half an hour!

In other words, this kind of thing is just perfect for FencingClassics.

Schmidt's "thoroughly teaching fencing school," previously owned by Jena fencing master Friedrich Seemann-Kahne (now Amberger Collection)

The Nuremberg fencing and Exercitien-Master Johann Andreas Schmidt, whose Gründlich lehrende Fechtschule was published in 1713 and re-printed in 1749 provides a number of such scenarios. And he does his utmost best to keep his instructions as convoluted and obtuse as he can.

We don’t quite know what would lead a fencer to voluntarily give up on his reach. Maybe he hopes to add heft to his parries by grasping his weapon with both hands. But we’re instructed to raise our hand high into almost a hanging guard, bind his foible with our forte, and slide a short lunge into his chest with pressure.

(Just in case, keep your left hand ready to catch his point.)

We’re currently working up his Cut Fencing instructions. Expect a few surprises!

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