We would like to thank the Linacre School of Defence and Remko Prevo
for their permission to feature this translation of Nicolaes Petter's 1674 manual on
wrestling here on our site.
Klare Onderrichtinge der Voortreffelijke Worstel-Konst
[Clear Education in the Magnificent Art of
Written by Nicolaes Petter, 1674.
Englished by Remko Prevo, 2000.
This translation contains all the "explications" of the plates in Petter's
original; I hope that I will be able to add a translation of the introduction at some
point. Also, I do not, at present, have the time or disk space to scan the images from the
book. This is a great loss, as the images are most excellent. I suggest that those without
access to them take a look at this page,
where a few examples can be found. I would also like to thank Mr. Prevo for his work in
translating a book which promises to be rather useful.
After the introduction (not translated yet), Mnr. Petter begins:
As it is usual, and mainly amongst the Dutch, where there is any sort
of quarrel or discord between people that has risen so high that a physical fight follows,
that they punch each other on the chest and use the heavier fist punches later on during
the fight, we have decided to start of with the chest punches, those being the actual
beginning to start the fight: later we shall discuss all grips in order.
No. I. About chest punches
When A wants to punch B on the chest, then B can - while leaning a bit sideways - make A
to miss. As A is leaning over because of the punching, this gives B the opportunity to
grab A behind the neck. Being pushed downwards A then has to fall over.
2. Chest punch in a different way
A hits B on the chest. After being hit, B twists his left or right leg, depending on where
the punch is coming from, around the right or left leg of person A. He then pushes with
his left hand As right arm downwards and with his left hand he grabs A behind his
buttocks at his trousers. Doing this, A has to fall over the leg that B has put forward.
3. In a different way
A hits B on the chest. Seeing this, B takes As right arm under As armpit with
his left hand and with his right hand B grabs As left wrist. By putting his left leg
behind As right leg, B can then make A fall backwards.
4. In a different way.
A hits B on the chest. B grabs A on the wrist with such a formidable power thus trying to
twist the arm.
Because A may try to resist to this, he turns under Bs arm thus trying to get loose.
When A is turning under Bs arm, B takes As hand (the wrist of which he had
taken with his left hand) and pushes it behind As back. This gives B the opportunity
to actually brake As hand.
7. Resistance by A.
A steps back and puts his right leg around Bs right leg. When A leans backward, both
have to fall and A can then free himself.
Then they lie fallen down because A twisted his leg around Bs leg.
The one who stands up first, has the advantage to be able to grab the other at the collar
with his left hand and at the trousers with his right hand. In this way, he can force the
other person to walk forwards.
When B does such a thing, which has been shown in the previous picture, A can resist this
in the following way. He moves his right hand backwards and takes Bs right hand at
the wrist, turning under Bs arm.
Having turned under Bs arm, A pulls Bs arm downwards and puts his left foot at
Bs knee. A can then push B with his head backwards and make him fall on his back as
is shown in the next picture.
Thus being thrown down, and A lying on Bs body, A grabs B with the left hand at the
throat and keeps his right arm closed on the chest. With his right hand, A holds Bs
left hand on the ground and twists his leg around his leg. This prevents B from being able
to get up. Lying on B, A can hit B on his face with left side of his head without any
About the chest punches
As in the beginning of the first part when A hits B on his chest with his fist, in the
second part B hits C on the chest with both hands and put his left foot on Cs right
foot. C then grabs B under his arms or his sleeves at his armpits.
Thus having grabbed B, C then puts his left foot right in the middle of Bs body.
Having put his foot there, C then throws himself backwards thus forcing B, who was holding
on to Cs sleeves, to fall over C.
But if B is familiar with Cs technique, feeling that C wants to fall, B lets loose
of Cs arms and with his right hand he takes Cs foot at his toes and with his
left hand at Cs heel. He then wrings Cs foot around, which can cause great
pain and discomfort for C.
But we can clearly see how C can resist this. He can kick Bs left arm with his right
leg with such force that Bs left hand gets loose. But B, falling into C, can free
himself again by grabbing C at the throat. Grabbing Cs right arm with his left hand,
he forces Cs left leg, which he was wringing the foot of, inwards, leaving C lying
However, C can again resist this by pushing Bs left foot away with his right leg. He
turns his right hand out against Bs thumb thus forcing B to fall. When Bs
falling down, C grabs B at his hair, hurling B to the ground.
Dealing with Waist Grips.
After the chest punches, the waist grip follows, which will be shown here.
C grabs D around his waist with both hands. D then puts his left hand behind Cs arm
and putting his right hand with the thumb under Cs nose, D pushes Cs head
backwards and twisting his right leg around Cs left leg.
C can prevent the above by pushing his left hand through Ds arm and turning it loose
in such a way that he can free his face while D is still holding Cs arm.
When D is holding Cs arm, he can wrest his right hand free and turning himself
behind Cs right arm thus pushing C forward while pushing his elbow on Cs back
to suppress the force of Cs arms.
Cs arm is no longer suppressed when he turns around a little and puts his right arm
over Ds left hand close to his body and when turning his whole body a little forward
it can happen that Ds hand will be broken.
Now its necessary that D prevents the breaking of his hand, the fingers of which are
now very much wrenched. He grabs Cs right wrist with his right hand, using also his
left hand, which gets then loose. He turns round, with both hands firmly holding onto
Cs hand. When turning, D puts Cs right arm on his left shoulder and pulls it
down with all force which causes extreme pain for C and gives a good opportunity for D to
break Cs arm.
But this opportunity is taken away from D when C put his left hand on Ds left arm
and his right knee on Ds lower back. D then has no choice but to let go of Cs
However, D doesnt give up; Having let go of Cs right arm, he grabs Cs
right arm again with his right hand, turns round and with both hands he turns Cs
hand or arm. He pulls the arm towards him with his right hand and puts his left hand on
Cs shoulder. In this way he pushes C forward, forcing him to fall down.
About the Hair Grips
We will not show this in another way than showing the beginning of these grips when D is
grabbing Es hair with his fingers, hurling it around, having his hands in between
D pulls E backwards by his hair and turns him around. He puts his elbow onto Es
spine, which gives him the opportunity to hit E on the face from behind with his other
Before this happens, still being held at his hair by D, E swiftly turns round; D and E are
then facing backwards to each other. D puts his buttocks against Es buttocks and
pulls him with great force thus forcing E to fall down over D.
E having fallen down, does not stay down but gets up and grabs D from behind at his sleeve
or arm. Grabbing Ds right wrist with his right hand, E pushes Ds arm inwards
and puts his left foot just under Ds knee. He then pushes D to make him fall
(although this picture does not show that).
About the grips that can make the stronger from the two win.
E grabs F underneath the arms and F grabs E at the inside of his arms. This seems to give
E most advantage.
But F lets loose his right arm of Es left arm. After that he lets go of his left arm
as well holds it in front his body, holding with his left arm Es right arm under his
armpit. He then turns a little which gives him the opportunity to break Es hand.
Assuming that E would kick him, as the picture shows.
That is why F lets go of his arm and turns around completely which enables him to hit E in
the neck without E being able to do much against it even though E is holding F at his
pants with his right hand.
But E does not give up and ducks to avoid Fs punch. As F was trying to hit Es
neck with all his force he then hits himself and falls down because of his own force.
F thus falling down lands on his right arm. He puts his left knee behind Es
buttocks, grabs Es left foot with his left hand and pushes him over with his knee.
The Sixth Part
About two chest grips
The first chest grip is that F grabs G at the chest whereupon G grabs F under the elbows
with his left hand.
But being grabbed like that, G hits Fs right hand with his right hand and wrings it
until F has to let go of Gs chest. His chest now being free, G turns Fs right
arm completely while putting his left hand behind Fs left hand thus forcing F to
About the chest grips in a different way.
In this part the chest grips will dealt with in whole different way thats why
this part is separate from the other because in the previous part the grip is made loose
and here it happens in the following way.
H grabs G at the chest. With his left hand G hits Hs hand loose and must grab behind
Hs sleeve of the arm G has just hit loose. In this way Hs hand is driven away
from the chest.
H puts his left hand through his arm that was hit loose, he turns around a bit so that he
is standing partly behind G. Standing like this, H can then force G to fall forward or in
any other way, how ever he wants.
Noticing that he is about to fall forward, G then kicks Hs left leg away with his
right leg. In this way Hs hand looses it force and is even caught behind Gs
right arm. Forced in this way, H risks having his hand broken by G.
To prevent this from happening H grabs Gs arm with his right hand above Gs arm
and his left hand below Gs elbow. In this way, H can force G backwards. This makes
Gs leg useless.
About fist punches.
H and J are both ready to hit each other with their fists. Standing like this (although
the picture doesnt show this) one could kick the other to make him fall.
H tries to hit J. But seeing this J ducks and H misses. J grabs Hs left foot in
order to make him fall.
Feeling that hes falling, H kicks J with his right knee against Js buttocks
thus making him fall as well. H also tries to grab Js left leg but he cannot reach
When both got up to their feet again to hit each other with their fist again, H hits J
first. J immediately grabs Hs arm at the shoulder with his right hand. With his left
J grabs Hs right leg thus forcing him to fall. This can also be done in another way,
which will be shown in the next picture.
J makes H fall down, holds his arm and pulls him round. He grabs Hs left shoulder
with his left hand and puts his left knee in Hs lower back. He thus bows H backward
thus making him fall down.
But in order not to fall, H has to try to get loose by wresting his shoulders. He can then
grab one of Js hands, holding it and turn it (in this case Js left hand)
backwards around Js back. He can put his other hand on the arm as well and thus make
J fall or at least force him to.
How to carry someone away during a fight.
This treatise contains an amusing entertainment for the reader, which is why he must
pay attention. Because it shows the carrying away of the opponent that had often much
wrath against the person he was fighting with and despite this has to accept being carried
away helplessly. This has often been done by the author.
J and K are ready to grab each other and Ks threatening to hit J. J hits Ks
right wrist with his right hand and bows down. He grabs Ks behind the knee with his
left hand. Pulling Ks left arm over his shoulder he can then carry him where ever he
If K is not expecting this, he just has to accept to be carried away on Js shoulder
even though he is bigger and heavier than K.
If K knows the following grab, he would push Js head down. In this way J is no
longer able to carry K away.
J feeling that his head is being pushed down, grabs Ks left arm on the outside and
puts his head back up. With his left hand he lifts Ks left leg and thus throws him
About the throat grips.
These grips will be dealt with in a whole different manner compared with the chest
grips, which were discussed in the sixth part.
The first throat grip.
K grabs L at the throat. L, throwing down his hat, turns his head outwards underneath
Ks arm. This makes Ks hand completely useless.
The second throat grip.
K grabs L at the throat with his right hand, threatening to hit him with his left hand.
Expecting this, L then raises both hands and hits down on Ks underarm. K is thus
forced to let go.
The third throat grip.
K grabs L at the throat in the same way as was shown in the last picture. Again L raises
both hands but now hits Ks elbow. K is again forced to let go.
The fourth throat grip.
Again, K grabs L at the throat. Noticing this, L then grabs this arm of K with both hands.
With his right hand he grabs Ks wrist and with his left hand he grabs the arm just
above the elbow, while he bends his arm inwards. In this way, it is almost impossible for
K to free his hand. Should this happen though, by twisting it for long time, L can then
press Ks hand against his chest, while he kicks Ks foot. Alternatively, he can
kick Ks balls with his knee, which can provoke quite an unpleasant feeling.
The Eleventh Part
About the fight against knives
The unreasonable and careless villains, whose mind cannot be put to reason by any
means, often resort to the greatest danger. No fight even the smallest ones, they think,
cannot be fought without a knife, which hides a great danger. The peace loving man is able
to guard against this as follows.
First M kicks L with his left foot and with his right hand he hits Ls face.
L feels in his pocket to reach for his knife. At the moment he wants to bring out the
knife from his pocket, M puts his left hand through Ls arm and twists Ls arm
round. In this way, it is impossible for L to use his knife.
In case L brings out the knife quicker, M grabs Ls right wrist with his right hand
and grabs Ls arm with his left hand. In this way he can wrench Ls arm.
M wrenches Ls arm completely and puts it on his shoulder.
To break Ls hand that holds the knife, M can bring the arm over his head and put it
on his other shoulder to break the arm more easily.
When he his holding Ls arm as shown in figure 3, M can also wrench Ls arm
behind his own back and put his left foot behind Ls knee.
Having put his left foot behind Ls knee, M pulls the arm a bit higher and forces L
to fall forward. Putting his left knee on Ls lower back and pulling the arm even
higher he renders L completely helpless.
Still holding Ls wrist with his right hand and with his left hand on Ls arm
(as shown in figure 3), M can wrench Ls hand towards his own chest and kick away
Ls right leg with his left foot. This makes L fall backward and this enables M to
hurt L with his own knife.
When L has pulled the knife and prepares to stab M from above, M grabs Ls wrist with
his left hand and grabs Ls elbow with his right hand at the same time. He can wrench
Ls arm outward and render him helpless.
If L wants to stab M, M can kick the knife from Ls hand using either of his feet to
kick under Ls wrist.
The Twelfth Part
About how to push someone over using ones head or how to throw someone over
When M is standing opposite N, he can run forward bowing his head down and thus push N
over running his head into Ns stomach. However, when noticing this N steps a little
aside and M misses. N then places his left hand on Ms neck and his right hand on
Ms trousers. He pushes M forward and makes him fall.
When M is running towards N with his head bowed down, he can drop on one knee and grab N
strongly at his knees using both his hands. When he tilts his head upwards again he can
easily throw N over his head.
The Thirteenth Part
About grabbing shoulders and neck and fast kicking.
N and O have grabbed each other at the shoulder using both of their hands and are both
trying to unbalance the other and trying to get hold of the other persons legs. When
N, being the strongest, is able to push O sideways he kicks away Os right leg with
his left foot.
Expecting this however, O lifts his foot slightly and N misses. When O puts his foot down
again behind Ns leg which enables him to kick away Ns foot.
But N then lets go his right hand of Os arm and grabs him at the left shoulder. At
the same time he lets go of Os right hand and places his left hand around Os
neck. He pushes him downwards, having put his left leg behind Os left leg to make
him fall backwards.
Feeling that he cant remain standing, O lets go his left hand of Ns shoulder
and places his right hand around Ns waste. He kneels down on his left knee and grabs
Ns leg just above the foot with his left hand. In this way he can make N fall
This last one is another special way to make the opponent fall down, because O can place
his left foot behind Ns left leg and quickly grab N at the throat. In this way he
can make N fall backwards very easily.