Category Archives: Images

The Fencing Fraud: How Exercitien- and Fencing Masters scammed their students in 1724

In his extensive “Lexicon of Frauds,” Georg Paul Hoenn disects the fraudulent practices of contemporary professions. The Excercitien-Meister—teaching entirely non-martial fencing and dancing to the fashionable crowd—also was suspected of taking advantage of the unwary.

(Sure, it ain’t Theranos… but some things still sound familiar.)

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Fencing friends: A recent find in a 1590’s Album amicorum from Nürnberg

A 1590’s Fechtboden, a pair of fencers, a pair of dussack-wielders, and—what on earth is the little fellah at the center doing? Look what we just found in a French-owned Album amicorum from Nürnberg!

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Cash and Carry: Why fencing masters prefer payment in advance since 1815

The Fashionable Debtor: Le maitre can’t believe it!
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The Franco-German Pragmatist: Johann Schalch’s ExercierBüchlein provides a glimpse at utilitarian swordsmanship around 1680

A recent find supplements our understanding of late 17th-century fencing practice in the Franco-Germanic cultural sphere.

—by J. Christoph Amberger

The identity of the author, Lieut. Johann(es) Schalch, remains elusive: While he may be related to the 18th-century Swiss painter by the same name, thus far, no additional biographical information has been located to properly place him in a more detailed historical context.

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Saved by the Bell: How Richard Wagner contracted six duels and ended up not fighting a single one!

—by J. Christoph Amberger

In 1831, Richard Wagner enrolled at the Universität Leipzig. He had been acquainted with German student fraternities since the political unrest following the July Revolution of 1830 and managed to get accepted as a Fuchs (pledge) at the Corps Saxonia—just eight days before the Easter vacation began and academic life ground to a hold. 

A duel with bell-guard Schlägers at Leipzig in 1811—21 years before the events in this article, but you see how someone could end up with a debilitating Armfuchser!
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The German Connection, Part I:

Salvatore Fabris and the Ultramontani

by J. Christoph Amberger

  • Was Ridolfo Capo Ferro actually Rudolf Eisenhaupt, German Fechtmeister?
  • Who were the ultramontani and what was their connection to Fabri?
  • Why did a physician who argued astronomy with Kepler break a sword fighting a Paduan city soldier?
  • How on earth did a prosperous Tuscan fencing master end up in Denmark?

More questions than you can shake a stick at… and we answer them all!

Armed with a sword, “according to local custom”: A Paduan student, a few decades before the events of this article…
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Hot off the presses: Codex Amberger

Hidden among the stacks of a New York City book dealer, its existence unknown to even the most erudite scholars, the Codex Amberger was lost to history until its chance discovery in 2005. Originally thought to have been created by Albrecht Dürer, now attributed to the sphere of the Augsburg patrician Paulus Hector Mair, it may have been part of a much larger treatise whose remnants are yet to be found….

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The Classical Lunge


The good Juncker von A. called it “Lanzenstechen auf Schusters Rappen”*: The back leg does not begin to straighten until the arm s fully extended. Since this reduces the tip speed to that of the body, it helps when the opponent (a) doesn’t move and (b) doesn’t attendmpt to parry. But we like the follow-up to the mask, even though it is useless in foil fencing.

  • this idiomatic expression literally translates as “lance-running on shoemaker’s black horse”; shoemaker’s black horse is, of course, a pair of shoes. Pedestrian jousting, in other words.

Saber Fencing at Joinville-le-Pont, 1900-1914

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