Category Archives: Library

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

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Free Resources: The Wrestling Arts of Medieval Germany

We spare no cost to proselytize the combative arts of Europe to the larger web community.

But we’re also not above letting other people foot the bill. Like those 1%ers at Google, who’ve been scanning in old books like there’s no tomorrow. Today, we bring to you a title we’d have given our eye teeth for, had it been available as an antiquarian book just five years ago:

Dr. Karl Wassmannsdorff’s Die Ringkunst des deutschen MittelaltersContinue 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

Secret History of the Sword: Dead Poets Society—Rencontre in Hog Lane, 1589

Despite their distinct dislike for things Catholic and South European, Elizabethans were suckers for Italian fencing techniques and concepts of honor and dueling.

Some of the most prominent figures of the cultural elite of the period engaged in Italian-style swordplay. Among them was the poet Christopher Marlowe, whom we’re catching on an Indian summer afternoon on the outskirts of London, sword in hand, and ready to engage in moderate mayhem… Continue reading

Books of the Sword: Talhoffer’s Königsegger Codex

For some reason, we missed the publication of this great resource two years ago.

Which doesn’t diminish the quality and relevance of this first-ever publication of Talhoffer’s Königsegger Codex at all… Continue reading

Free Resources: Leboucher’s 1843 La Canne Manual

Yes, we know. We really shouldn’t. We’re spoiling you rotten.

But heck, you just might learn something! Today, we’re giving away your free access to Rouen, France-based master of the stick, staff, kicking boot and fist Leboucher’s 1843 manual.

We can afford such generosity because someone else’s already paid for putting it online… Continue reading

Free Resources: Fabris’ German edition

Who’d have thought that university archives would ever change their time-honored policy of keeping non-academic riffraff out of their collections—and even throwing their rara open to the Great Unwashed?

The Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, where I spent many a semester doing things other than visiting libraries, has recently put a copy of Salvatore Fabris’ “Italiänische Fechtkunst” online… Continue reading