Category Archives: 19th Century

Old School: Four Kreußlerian Foils

kr3From the late 1600’s until the first decade of the 20th century, the Kreußler method of thrust fencing dominated the use of the foil and “Rappier”. Here are four representative varieties of the weapons used…

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See You at the 2015 American Smallsword Symposium in Timonium, Md.

SmallswordGranted, it’s been a while since I’ve made it to a Historical Sword-Fighting event…

This time around, I have no excuse not to go: Victor Markland has organized what is shaping up to be a great event right down the road from my club… Continue reading

Combative celebrity: The 1796 Rules and Regulations

marchant 1796 Rules and RegulationsLeafing through the most recent issue of the Smithsonian magazine, tellingly titled 101 Objects that Changed America, you can admire Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, Bell’s telephone, and the titillating  tassels of the Talahassee Tassel Tosser.

(Alright, I made up the last one.)

Unfortunately, no fencer, swordsman, or whatever the appropriate term is that sectarian xiphomachophiliacs apply to their respective niche, made it into the issue. 

Are there artifacts whose provenance can be traced to individual celebrities of bladed combat? Luckily, there are a few things in the Amberger Collection that can make up for that shortcoming… and perhaps, with the help of our readers, we can come up with at least a Dirty Dozen…

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Lost and Found? Blackbeard’s Sword

blackbeardSure, it doesn’t look like much. Sure, there’s not enough of it left to really make sure it was a blade and not a paint scraper. Sure, it could have belonged to a powder monkey…

But I can dream, can’t I?

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The Best Sword Show: See you March 16 in Timonium, MD!

swordSame time, same place. Every year in mid-March, the Maryland Arms & Armor Collectors Association puts on a monumental sales show.

Hope I’ll see you there on Saturday!

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Silence of the Sticks: Why wooden weapons fell out of favor in 19th-century Germany

stick fightingThe Irish beat each other with shilelaghs, the English drew blood with singlesticks and quarterstaves, the French wielded canne and baton. The Portuguese still play at jogo de pao and the Italians had the bastone. The Germans, however, showed no interest in wooden weapons, at least after the Fechtschul traditions of dussack and assorted staff weapons (most of which with a blade of one kind or another) had disappeared. How come? Continue reading

Legends of the Sword: Satan fights a Mensur

The German novelist and poet Wilhelm Hauff (1802—1827) is more famous for his fairy tales than for his novels. Unreasonably so, because his Memoiren des Satan alone are better written and more enjoyable than all the semi-competent writage they throw at German literature students in college these days.

Hauff studied philosophy and theology at Tübingen. In 1826, he wrote Mitteilungen aus den Memoiren des Satan (Memoirs of Beelzebub), in which he works in some of the fencing activities of his brother, a member of the Tübinger Burschenschaft.

For the connoisseur of Gedecktes Hiebfechten, this is a rare monument of armament and strategy of the early Mensur… Continue reading

Sword Skills: Disarming and Throwing the Opponent, according to Roux

He may’ve been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Jena students’ thrust duel with the elongated “wälsche Banditendolch“—the “Frog” bandit dagger, as his colleague from the philosophical faculty, Dr. Scheidler, called the disgraceful French dueling sword.

But F.A.W.L. Roux continued to teach Kreußlerian thrust fencing with the “Rappier” way into the second half of the 19th century—both as a healthy exercise and part of the German Turnkunst, and as a practical martial art for military men.

Included in his repertoire were some disarms and throws that few of his colleagues ever bothered mentioning in print… Continue reading

Weapons: The Ziegenhainer Walking Stick

ImageApart from a few late imports, wooden staves or sticks disappear from the printed instructional record of 18th- and 19th-century German martial arts literature.

There’s only one example of a wooden weapon being used in a more or less organized combative context in the early 19th century:

The Ziegenhainer walking stick. 

And even this leaves something to be desired… Continue reading

Swords in the News: Confederate sword returns to Corinth, Mississippi

The sword of a Confederate officer leading the last charge of the 2nd Texas Infantry at the Second Battle of Corinth returns to the scene of the casualty.

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