Master Sigmund Ringeck's Commentaries on Johann Liechtenauer's Fechtbuch   - c. 1389 to 1440

HACA is proud to offer for the first time a modern English translation of one of the most important Medieval fighting manuals.  Translated into New High German by Christoph Kaindel.  English translation by Joerg Bellighausen with additional editing by J. Clements.  This section is the first of a series by Ringeck.

Note: This translation is only as reliable as is so far known and ARMA makes no claim as to its accuracy.  

This is the beginning of the interpretation of the Knightly Art of the Langenschwert, written down in rhymes by the grand Fechtmiester of the Medieval German school, Johannes Liechtenauer. He recorded his teachings in secret words, so that the art may not be commonly spread. These secret phrasings were later interpreted and commented on in a book by Sigmund Ringeck, at the time Fechtmiester of Albrecht, Count Palatine of Rhine and Duke of Bavaria.

Footwork

Note: This is the first tenet of the long sword: learn to strike blows equally well from both sides if you want to learn to fence well.

Note: If you want to strike from the (your) right side, make sure, your left foot is forward (at the beginning); if you want to strike from the left side, the right foot must be forward.

If you strike an Oberhau from the right side then, follow the blow with your right foot.

If you do not the blow is wrong and ineffective, because your right side stays behind. Because of this the blow will fall short and cannot travel in its proper arc towards the left side. If you strike from the left side and you do not follow the blow, it too is wrong,. That is why no matter from which side you are striking follow the blow with the same foot. So you will succeed in all techniques. This is how you shall strike all blows.

Tactical Basics

When you are closing to an opponent, do not watch his blows and do not wait for what he might use against you. Because all fencers, who just wait for their opponents blows and do not do anything else than warding them off, do not succeed very often. They are defeated very often.

Note: Always fence using all of your strength! When you're close, strike at his head and at his body, so he may not be able to change through (Durchwechseln) in front of your point. After the blow, from the bind, strike light blows at his next opening, as is described in the section about different blows and other techniques.

Note: This tenet is addressed to left-handers and right-handers. If you are a right-handed fencer and you are closing to an opponent and you think you can hit him, do not strike the first blow from the (your) left side. Because you are weak there and you cannot resist, if he binds strongly against your blade. Because of this, strike from the right side, you can work strongly "Am Schwert" ("on the sword") and you can use all techniques you like. So, if you are left-handed, do not strike from the right side, since left-handers are usually not used to strike effectively from the right side and vice versa.

Note: Above all other things, you must understand the principles of "before" (Vor) and "after" (Nach), because the entire art of fencing is based upon it. "Before" means, pre-empting him with a blow or a thrust against an opening before he can hit you, so he must defend/displace (Versetzen). So, be flexible in your defence and aim with your sword at one opening after the other, so he cannot get through with his own techniques. But, if he rushes in, start wrestling.

"After" means: If you do not succeed with the "before", wait for the "after". These are the defenses against all techniques he uses against you. So, if you have to displace him, make the displacement ‘simultaneously" (Indes) and from the bind, strike immediately at his nearest opening. So you win the "before" and he remains in the "after". Also, you should –during the "before" and "after" –notice ‘simultaneously" (Indes) how you can "work" against the strong or the weak of his sword.

This means: The strong of the sword reaches from the crossguard to the middle of the blade, with it, you can hold opposed, if somebody binds against it. The weak reaches from the middle of the blade to the point. Here you cannot hold opposed. If you firmly understand this, you can "work" and defend yourself very well.

Princes and Lords learn to survive with this art, in earnest and in play. But if you are fearful, then you should not learn to fence. Because a despondent heart will always be defeated , regardless of all skill.

Overview of The Fighting Techniques

Note: these are the names of the main techniques of the art of the long sword, whose names are chosen in such a way that you may understand them better. There are seventeen techniques and they start with the five strikes.

1. The first strike is the strike of wrath (Zornhau)
2. The second one is the "crooked strike" (Krumphau)
3. The third one is the Zwerchhau
4. The fourth one is the squinting strike (Schielhau)
5. And the fifth one is the "parting strike" (Scheitelhau)
6. Sixth there are the four basic guards
7. Seventh there are the four techniques of displacement (Versetzen)
8. Eighth there is the Nachreissen ("Traveling after")
9. Ninth there is the Overrunning (Ueberlaufen)
10. Tenth there is the setting aside (Absetzen)
11. Number eleven is the changing through (Durchwechseln)
12. The twitching (Zucken)
13. The running through (Durchlaufen)
14. The cutting off (Abschneiden)
15. The pressing of the hands
16. The "Hanging"
17. And finally there is the Winding

The Fighting Techniques:

The Strike of Wrath and the Winding

Note: When your adversary strikes at you from his right side with a strike from above (Oberhau), then hit with a strike of wrath from your right shoulder against it. Strike with your true edge and in your strong. When he is weak at the sword then, thrust into his face along his blade.

When you thrust against his face from the strike of wrath and he notices this and displaces the thrust with strength, pull your sword upwards, away from his. And then strike to the head from the other side, also along his blade.

When you strike a strike of wrath and he displaces it and remains strong at the sword, hold strongly against it. With the strong of your sword, slide up to the weak (schwech) of his blade, wind the hilt in front of your head while remaining on the sword (am schwert) and thrust into his face from above.

When you thrust from the Winding as described and he displaces the thrust by lifting up his arms and his hilt, stay in the Winding and take the Ort (point or thrust) down between his arms and breast.

Note: When you engage at the sword ("binden") with strength and your adversary pulls his sword upwards and strikes at your head from the other side, then bind strongly with the true edge and strike him on the head.

You must notice immediately, if someone is weak or strong at the sword if he binds at your sword with a strike or a thrust. If you have noticed that, you shall know simultaneously, if it is better to fight him in the "before" (Nach) or the "after" (Vor). But don’t engage rashly in close-combat (Krieg), this is nothing else than Winding (Winden) at the sword.

In close-combat you should do the following: if you strike him with the strike of Wrath and he displaces it, lift up your arms and, at the sword, wind the point to the upper opening. When he displaces (Versetzen) the thrust, stay in the winding and thrust to the lower opening. If he follows your sword in the displacement (Versatzung), lead your point through under his sword (disengage under – "durchführen") and thrust to the other opening on his right side. This is how you can defeat him in close-combat.

Mutieren and Duplieren against the four openings:
These are the four openings you should aim at in combat. The first opening is the right side, the second opening is the left side above the belt. The other openings are the right and left side below the belt. Already pay attention to the openings when you are closing in, aim at the ones he (your adversary) exposes.

Thrust with the "long point" (Langer Ort), use the "traveling after" (Nachreissen) and all other opportunities. Don’t pay attention to what he’s up to, fence securely and you’ll hit so outstandingly, that he’ll not be able to get through with his own techniques.

If you want to break one of the four openings by force, then "Dupliere" at the upper opening, against the Starke (strong) of his sword, and then "Mutiere" to another opening. Against this, he cannot defend himself and he will not be able to either strike or thrust.

Duplieren: When you strike a strike of wrath (Zornhau) or any other Oberhau and he displaces it with strength, with the left hand, immediately thrust the pommel of your sword under your right arm. With crossed hands, behind his blade and in between the blade and his body, strike him diagonally through the face. Or strike him on the head.

Mutieren: If you bind against his sword, with an Oberhau or otherwise, wind the short edge at his sword, raise your arms and thrust at the lower opening from the outside along his blade. You can use that from both sides.

The "Krumphau": This is how you should strike the Krumphau at the hands. When he attacks you from his right side with an Oberhau or Unterhau, jump out of the strike with your right foot towards his left side and with crossed hands strike against his hands using the point.

This is how you can Absetzen ("set aside") the cuts from above with the Krumphau: If he attacks you from his right side with an Oberhau, step towards his left side with your right foot and put your point in the Schrankhut. Practice this from both sides. From the setting aside you can strike him on the head.

If you want to weaken a master, then while he strikes an Oberhau from his right side strike a Krumphau with crossed hands against his sword. When you strike him with the Krumphau against his sword, from the sword immediately strike upwards against his head with the short edge. Or after the Krumphau wind the short edge at his sword and thrust him into the breast.

When he strikes an Oberhau from his right shoulder, pretend as if you are going to bind against his sword with a Krumphau. But let your strike fall short, lead your point trough under his sword and wind your hilt over your head and to your right side. Then thrust him in the face.

This is how you can break the Krumphau: If you attack him from your right side with an Oberhau and he displaces this with a Krumphau with crossed hands from his right side, then strongly hold your sword against his. And "shoot" (thrust) the point at his breast with your arms extended.

Another defense against the Krumphau: If you attack him from your right side with an Oberhau and he displaces (Versatzung) this with a Krumphau with crossed hands from his right side and if he pushes your sword to the ground, then wind towards your right side, raise your arms over your head and thrust at his breast from above. If he displaces that, stand as you are, with the hilt in front of your head and nimbly work with the point from one opening to the other. This is called the "noble war" and with this you’ll confuse him so much , that he will not know how to defend himself against your attacks.

The Zwerchhau

The Zwerchhau counters (literally "breaks") all downward strikes made from above. Do it like this: If he strikes an Oberhau at your head, "jump" (make a large, explosive step) to his left side with your right foot, while you jump, turn your sword, so that your hilt is high in front of your head and your thumb is down (on the flat of the blade) and strike at his left side with your short edge. So you catch his strike with your hilt and hit him simultaneously on the head.

This is how you can work with the stark (strong) from the Zwerch: If you strike with the Zwerch, pay attention to strike strongly with the strong of your sword against his blade. If he strongly holds against it, strike him -at the sword- on the head behind his blade with your hands crossed. Or cut him trough the face.

When you bind at his sword with the strong of your sword with the Zwerch and he strongly holds against it, push down his sword to your right side with your hilt. And immediately strike again with the Zwerch to the right side of his head.

If you bind against his sword with the Zwerch and he is "soft" at the sword, place the short edge at the right side of his neck, jump behind his left foot with your right foot and tear him over with the sword.

If you bind against his sword with the Zwerch and he is "soft" at the sword, push his sword down with the Zwerch and lay the short edge at his throat.

A defense against the upper Zwerch:

When you bind at his sword with an Oberhau or another strike from your right side and he strikes with the Zwerch at your other (left) side, forestall this with a Zwerch to his neck under his sword.

This is how you can strike to the four openings with the Zwerch: When you close in with your adversary with the "Zufechten", at the right moment, jump towards him and strike with the Zwerch to the lower opening of his left side. This is called "striking towards the plow" ("zum Pflug schlagen").

When you have attacked the lower opening with the Zwerch, immediately strike another Zwerch to the other side, at his head. This is called "striking towards the ox" ("zum Ochsen schlagen"). And then strike swiftly alternating the Zwerch towards the plow and the ox, crosswise from one side to the other. Then you can disengage from him with an Oberhau to the head.

When you strike the Zwerch, you shall always jump to his flank, namely towards the side on which you want to hit him. So you can hit his head. And pay attention that you cover the front of your head with the hilt while jumping.

The "Fault" (Feint):

All fencers who rely on displacing are deceived and defeated with the fault. When you close with him, feint any Oberhau to his left side. From there (when he wants to displace it) you can easily hit another opening.

The "Verkehrer":

If you bind at your adversaries sword with an Oberhau or an Unterhau, turn your sword so that your thumb is down and thrust to his face from above. So you force him to displace the thrust. While he displaces, grab his right elbow with your left hand, place your left leg in front of his right leg and toss him over.

The Double Feint:

Here, you must deceive him twice while closing in. When you come close to him with the Zuefechten, jump towards him with the left foot and feint a Zwerch to the left side of the head. But then turn the blow over and strike to the right side of his head. If you have attacked him on the right side of the head as described, strike immediately at the same spot. Then go over his sword with the short edge and your hands not crossed, jump to your left side and cut through his face with the long edge.

The "Squinter":

The Squinter is a strike which primarily "breaks" the strikes and thrusts of those fencers, who rely only on their strength. Do it like this: If he attacks you from his right side, strike from your right side with the short edge and extended arms against the weak of his sword and hit him on the right shoulder. If he changes through, thrust him into his breast with your arms extended. You should strike like this, too, if he faces you in the guard of the plough or if wants to thrust you from below.

Note: You should always deceive him with your line of vision. Pay attention, if he fights short (feints).

You will know this when he does not extend his arms when striking. You should strike then, too, move your point trough under his sword and thrust him into the face.

Note: The Squinter breaks the "long point" and this is done as follows:

When he faces you and points his point against your breast or face with extended arms, place your left foot forward and look at his point. Feint a strike against his point, strike strongly against his sword with the short edge and "shoot" (thrust) , with a forward step with the right foot, your point against his throat, with your arms extended.

When he strikes an Oberhau, look at his head, as if you intend to strike him there. But then strike against his blow with the short edge and then strike at the hands with your point, along his blade.

The "Parting Strike"

Note: the parting strike is aimed at the face or breast. Do it like this: If he is in the guard Alber, strike vertically downward with the long edge. And while striking, keep your arms up high and move your point to his face.

If you move the point at his face from above with the parting strike and he displaces the point with the (his) hilt up, turn your sword, lift the (your) hilt high above your head and thrust him down into the breast.

When you strike a parting strike and he displaces with the hilt high above his head, then this displacement is called "the crown". From there you can rush in.

If he breaks the parting strike or any other Oberhau with the crown and tries to rush in, cut him in the Arm under his hands and push upward, so that the crown is broken. Then turn your sword from the low cut into a high one and free yourself in this way.

The Four Guards

There are only four basic positions which are useful in combat, this are Ochs, Alber, Pflug, and vom Tag.

The first guard: Ochs (the Ox)
Stand with your left foot forward, hold your sword at the right side of your head, your point directed at his face.

The second guard: Pflug (the Plough)
Stand with the left foot forward and hold your sword at your right side above your knee, with your hands crossed, your point directed at his face.

The third guard: Alber (the Fool)
Stand with your right foot forward and hold your sword in front of you with your arms extended, your point directed at the ground.

The fourth guard: vom Tag ("From the Roof")
Stand with your left foot forward and hold your sword at the side of your right shoulder or above your head with your arms extended.

And in this book, you’ll find written down how to fence from these guards.

 

7. The Four Displacements (Versatzungen)

You have heard previously, that you shall fight only from four guards. Now, you shall get to know the four displacements, which are four strikes.

The first strike is the "crooked strike" (Krumphau). It counters (literally "breaks") the guard (Hut) ochs.

The second strike is the Zwerchhau. It counters the guard Vom Tag.

The third strike is the "squinter" (Schielhau). It counters the guard Pflug.

The fourth strike is the parting strike (Scheitelhau). It counters the guard Alber.

And beware of all displacements used by bad fencers. Note: Strike, when he strikes, thrust, when he thrusts. And in this chapter and in the chapter on the five strikes you shall find written down how you shall strike and thrust.

A Technique against a Displacement:

If a strike of yours has been displaced, note: if an Oberhau of yours is displaced, stay in the bind, move your pommel over his forward hand and tear it down; and strike him on the head simultaneously.

A Second Technique against a Displacement:

If you strike an Unterhau from the right side and he falls on your sword (i.e., he pushes it downwards), so that you cannot lift it up, move the pommel over his sword and, with a snapping motion, strike him on the head with the long edge. Or, if he falls on your sword on your left side, strike him with the short edge (Kurze Schneide).

A Third Technique against a Displacement:

If you strike an Oberhau from the right and if you want to end the fight, then note: when he displaces, immediately strike around (i.e., to the other side) with the Zwerchhau. Grab the blade of you sword with the left hand and thrust into his face. Or attack one of the other openings you can reach best.

A Fourth Technique against a Displacement:

If you thrust at his face at the Halb Schwert (half-sword) and he displaces this, immediately strike him on the other side of the head with the pommel. Or jump with the right foot behind his left foot, move your pommel around his neck from the right shoulder (i.e., his right side) and tear him down over your right leg.

8. The "Traveling After" (Nachreissen):

There are two kinds of Nachreissen, and you should learn both. Use the first against an Oberhau. If he raises the sword to strike, travel after him with a strike or a thrust and hit him in the upper opening before he can complete the strike. Or fall on his raised arms with the Lange Schneide (long edge) and push him away from you.

Another Nachreisen

When he strikes an Oberhau and brings the blade down with the strike, travel after him with a strike on the head before he can get his sword up again. But if he wants to thrust at you and pulls the sword back to prepare for the thrust, travel after him and thrust at him, before he can do it himself.

The "Abnahmen" from the outside

Note, there are two "Abnahmen" from the Outside, which are two "Nachreisen" at the sword (am Schwert). Do them like this: If his strike falls short, travel after him. If he displaces that, stay at the sword (maintain blade contact) and check whether he's hard or soft in the bind. When he pushes up your sword with strength, place your blade on the outside of his blade and thrust at his lower opening.

The second Abnahmen from the outside

Also, if you fence against him with low strikes or other techniques, and he forestalls this and winds against your sword from above, so that you cannot move it up, maintain stronglcontact with his sword from below. If he then attacks yopur high opening follow with your sword, take the weak of his blade with your long edge, push it down and thrust into his face.

The "Fühlen" ("feeling") and the word "Indes" ("while" or "during")

You shall learn and understand both the word "Fühlen" and the word "Indes", because these two belong together and together they account for the greatest art and skill in fencing. Therefore remember: if one binds against the others sword, you shall notice –right in the moment when the blades make contact- whether he has bound hard or soft. And as soon as you have noticed this, remember the word "Indes": this means that you should attack the next opening immediately and nimbly, hard or soft. So he will be defeated before he knows it himself.

Likewise, you shall remember the word "Indes" during all binds at the sword, because "Indes" dupliert" and "Indes" mutiert, "Indes" rushes through and "Indes" takes the 'Schnitt', "Indes" wrestles and "Indes" disarms him, "Indes" –in the art of fencing- does, what your heart desires.

"Indes" is a sharp word, which cuts all fencers, that don't know anything about it. And "Indes is the key, which unlocks the art of fencing.

A third Nachreisen

When he strikes short in front of you, travel after him with a strike to the high opening. If he moves up and winds against your sword from below, note: as soon as the swords clash together, fall on his arms with the long edge and push him away from you. Or cut through his face. Practice this from both sides.

 

 

*The following translation is provided courtesy of "Alex and Almirena".

Fighting Techniques.

The Overrunning.

When he crosses swords, with a cut or thrust to the lower openings, then you will not set him aside. Rather wait, until you may strike or cut at his head. So you defeat him because the oberhau and thrust have longer reach then unterhau.

The Absetzen

You must learn the art of setting aside so that his cuts and thrusts may be broken.

Do it like this. When he stands before you, as though to strike your lower opening, then take the guard of the plow on your right side to open your left. When he strikes to your left wind against his sword to your left and take one step with your right foot toward him: so you achieve your thrust and he has been displaced.

The Second Set-aside.

When you stand opposite him in the guard of the plow on your left side and he strikes towards your open left side move your sword high to your left side, with the hilt before your face. Take one step towards him with right foot and thrust through his face.

The Change Through

Do it like this: if he wants to engage you in a bind against Cut or Thrust,
so let the point/thrust slide through under his sword and stick/stab him in
the other side. There you find him exposed.

The Twitching.

When you move in to strike him from your right with an Oberhau to the head and he binds your sword, take a single step towards him, maintaining pressure against his sword. Then jerk your sword backwards and away from his to disengage. Then strike his head from the other side. If he sets this aside, then hit him on the other side and work skilfully to his upper openings with Duplieren and other pieces.

The Walkthrough.

When he holds his sword aloft to strike you a powerful blow then will you hold your sword with the left hand on the pommel above your head and the blade over your back. Duck under his right arm and spring your right foot behind his right foot. In the spring grip him with your right arm around his body. Take him on the right hip and throw him to the ground.

A Second Walkthrough.

When he holds his sword aloft to strike you a powerful blow then will you hold your sword with the left hand on the pommel above your head and the blade over your back. Duck under his right arm, leave your right leg in front of his and grip him with your right arm around his back, then throw him behind you.

First Sword Wrestling.

When you come in, let you sword out in your left hand and hold it in with your right. Knock his sword away with the hilt out of your right side. Spring your left foot in front of his right, grip him with your left arm about his body take him on the left hip and throw him to the ground. Be careful to make no mistake.

Second Sword Wrestling.

When you come in, let you sword out in your left hand and hold it in with your right. Knock his sword away with the hilt out of your right side. Spring with the left foot behind his right. Grip him with the left arm around the chest, throw him over your leg behind you.

A Third Sword Wrestle

When you come in, let you sword out in your left hand and hold it in with your right. Throw the pommel over his right arm, and tear it downwards. Grab his right elbow, spring your left foot before his right and pull him over your leg so that he goes over your right side.

A Fifth Sword Wrestle.

If someone comes in close to you, then use your left hand and drive with it over his right arm. Seize his sword at the handle between his two hands and pull it to your left side. Thus you take the sword from him and it will go badly for him.

Taking a Sword.

If he binds your sword by engaging it or by other means, then seize both swords in the centre of the blades with the left wrong hand. Hold them together firmly, and drive through with your right hand to your left side with the pommel down, over both of his hands. And then pull upward to your right side thus you take both swords.

The Pieces with the Buckler

The First Piece

If you strike an Oberhau, then set the pommel of your sword inside at your buckler to your thumbs. And thrust from below high up to his face, wind against his sword, or let it snap over. This works for both sides.

The Second Piece

If you strike an Unterhau and he executes an Oberhau from his right shoulder, then wind against him on your left side against his shield, then you are doubly protected. Wind then on your right side and work towards his face. If he repels this, by lifting his shield, then strike toward his left leg. This works for both sides.

The Third Piece

Just as before from the buckler. From the Wechselhau strike from left and from above against his sword and strike him then to the left side of the head, and wind towards his unprotected place, and thrust him in the face. If he repels this with shield and sword, then strike with the true edge to his right leg. This works also for both sides.

The Fourth Piece

Out of the middle (horizontal cut) cut (Mittelhau): Strike the Zwerch to both sides and the Scheitelhau with the true edge, and then thrust him in his privy parts.

The Fifth Piece

Out of the Sturzhau do it thus, as if you want to thrust over his shield to the left side; and drive through with the point down and thrust at him within the shield to the body. And wind immediately to your left side. If he repels this, then strike with the true edge to his right leg.

The Sixth Piece

Take the blade to the buckler in your left hand and wind against him as if with the half-sword. If he strikes or thrusts high to your face or low to your leg, then loosen the right hand and set him aside with the shield and sword. Grab then with your right hand on his right side from below to his shield, and turn him on your right side; thus have you taken his shield.

It follows: A repetition of the Liechtenauerschen Note-Stanzas with general tactical statements.

Wrestling

The First Piece: Neck-lever/hold

Let yourself be seized by him, even if you could prevent it. If he has seized you under the arms around the chest and pressed you against him, then he intends to lift you up. In that case, you must let yourself sink down and seize him under the knee. Resist his pressing and bend him with both hands so that the head goes behind over his back. In this way you, as a weaker one, can throw a strong man to the ground.

The Second Piece: Throw at the Hair

If you want to seize someone and he sets an arm-lever/hold, then let go immediately of his arm and grab him in the hair. Tear him by the hair to your shoulder, and then run his head against the wall. Thus he is defeated.

The Third Piece: Throw

Note: If you and your opponent approach each other and he pulls both arms to you, then step with the left side forward. Let the left arm slide rapidly wrongly around his neck, the right between his legs. In this way throw him over the head: then he is stunned.

The Fourth Piece: Out-levers/Out-locks (breaking wrestling holds?)

If you and an equally strong opponent approach each other, then you MUST not hesitate. If you seize him in full run, he cannot prevent it. Grab him from below and throw him in that way. But take care that it does not happen to you!

The Fifth Piece: Throw over the Shoulder

From a full run, seize his right hand with your left and hold on tightly. Duck through under his right arm, pass your left hand through and seize his thigh. Take him then on the shoulders and throw him on his head.

The Sixth Piece: Turning your Opponent

If you and your opponent approach each other, then grab his left arm with your left, and his left leg with your right arm. Pull (tear) at him quickly, then he must turn his back to you. Then you can hit him on the head or punch him to the ground.
However, if he ducks rapidly and slips through under your arm, then he has repelled this technique.

The Seventh Piece: Leg Pull

If you and your opponent approach each other, then lock both arms in front of the chest and punch him against the neck. Then bend down, seize his leg underneath the calves, and throw him.

The Eighth Piece: Finger-lever/hold

Seize one of his hands with both your hands, in any case two fingers right next to each other, and tear them apart.

The Ninth Piece: Punch to the Neck

In approaching: punch against him with the second hand against the neck; and then wrestle.

The Three Wrestles

The First Wrestle

The first entrance to wrestling: lead your lower arm over his upper arm in front of his neck, and the other arm in the hollow of the knee. This works for both sides.

The Second Wrestle

One break: Turn over the hand that is above, and seize him in the front at the neck, with the other hand on his leg. If you can't achieve the first wrestle-hold, then turn over (or change) both hands, so that one is at his neck and the other is at his leg. This works for both sides. This break is called the Leg-break (at the leg set technique) at the arm.

The Third Wrestle

Strike your lower arm over that of his, seize also with the second hand and shift the foot of the same side to the rear. And throw him in front of you on his face. This works for both sides.
Or else seize with both hands interlinked, pull him down by the neck and step him (or I think its more likely that the word treten here is intended to convey kicking) with the feet behind you.

These are the three Wrestles. One can execute these from the approaching-in on both sides, and also the defence techniques from them.

Counter-techniques

If someone holds you under the arms and intends to carry you away or throw you with force:

Counter-technique 1

Attack him with both arms to his throat and press there.

Counter-technique 2

Turn his head around with both hands, one at the chin, the other one at the back of his head.

Counter-technique 3

Both thumbs to the throat and the other fingers in his eyes.

Counter-technique 4.

Press both thumbs against his temples.

Counter-technique: Finger-lever/hold

When someone grabs you from behind around the hips, seize the index finger of his upper hand. Turn yourself around to face him and step yourself behind him. From there you can wrestle as it pleases you. And also bend his finger.

Counter-technique: Leg-pull

When someone grabs you from behind around the hips, then turn yourself around a little and step with both feet close to his feet, on any side. Seize the next leg with both hands above the knee. If he does not release you, then throw him on his head.

Counter-technique: ?

Seize someone from behind you between the hands, and press him with that.

Holds

The First Hold

Seize in the wrestle with your right hand to his right arm behind his right hand, and seize with your left hand at his elbow. And lay his arm in your arm, step behind him, and hold him firmly. If you do not have him defeated, then seize his right leg under the calf with the right hand and throw him on his nose. And hold him with both hands, or with one hand, as you please, and you can also alter which hand you use on his arm.

The Second Hold

If you throw someone onto his back, then attack him with the left knee on his right arm, exactly on the joint. And attack him with the left arm on his neck, and press hard. Seize his left hand with your right, and hold him then with your left hand then you can do whatever you please with the right hand. This works also for the left side.

The Third Hold

If you wish to throw someone onto his back, then seize his legs (in falling) under the knee with both hands. And lift, as high as you can, and attack him between his legs with both knees into the testicles. And bend down, so that you can hold both of his legs with one hand, then you can use your other hand as you please.

Ground techniques

The First Ground Technique

If you wish to apply the first ground technique, then allow yourself to fall down. Lift the knee as high as possible and hold him firmly about the back. Pull him with you on the knee; if you then stretch out your leg, he will slide off. Follow through with both the hands and feet, and immobilize him with one of the holds.

The Second Ground Technique

If your opponent applies an upper grasp, then duck down until your head is under his chest and pull him with you. Bend your knee, seize him with any hand between the legs and throw him over you. Then throw yourself over him to make a hold.

The Third Ground Technique

If a man has you under him, then observe which of his hands is above. Seize on the same side at his arm. This is called a Leg-break and is often used in wrestling. Seize with the full strength of your hands and your legs and with your entire body, until you have brought the man under you. Then make one of the holds described above.

Death-blows

The First Death-blow

Seize the man with the left hand above the belt, where you want. At the same time punch with your left fist with your full strength against his heart. Then seize him with wrestling, whichever you can do best, and follow the wrestling with breaks and Widerbrche (this is a tricky word it could mean illegal breaks, unnatural breaks, or opposing breaks). You can apply the same breaks and opposing breaks in all situations: on horseback, on foot, prepared (I assume this means either armoured or armed) or unguarded, in coming in close, lying down or standing.

The Second Death-blow

Seize the man with the left hand above the belt and punch your knee from underneath against his testicles. Then set about immediately with strong wrestling. In all wrestles set the holds, when necessary, and also the ground techniques. Afterwards use also the death-blows and the throws over the leg (leg-breaks).

The Third Death-blow

Seize the man with the left hand above the belt. With the right fist, punch him as hard as possible against the temples. Then set about immediately with strong wrestles.

The Fourth Death-blow

Punch him with both fists against the neck, as hard as you can. After that, wrestle.

The Fifth Death-blow: Hip-throw

Punch him with the right hand against the navel, as hard as you can. Then seize his right arm at the height of the biceps with your left hand. With your right arm, grab him tightly around his left side. Hold him firmly by the jacket or the hose (pants, breeches, whatever), move your backside in front of his hips, so that your right leg stands in front of his right, and throw him thus over the hip.

A Break against the Fifth Death-blow

If someone wants to throw you over the hip, then sling his left arm around the neck. Tear him downward to your left side, then you throw him.

An Opposing Break against the Break against the Fifth Death-blow

If someone wishes to break your first piece, as described, then bend backwards, as if you were going to fall to the rear, seize his left leg with the left hand and tear (pull) it upwards: thus you throw him.

Variation on the entrance to the Fifth Death-blow

Seize his right arm with the left hand at the height of the biceps. Grab him around the left side with your right arm. Set your right leg just inside to his right. At the same time turn him around to your right side and seize his right leg just under the buttocks with your left hand: thus you throw him.


Leg-Breaks


The First Leg-break

This is the usual wrestle at the arms, which is called Leg-break drive it by force. And if you seize his right arm, then step with the right leg to the rear and set the left foot in front of his leg. Then punch him in front of you over the hip.

The Second Leg-break

Seize whichever hand he reaches toward you. Grab the arm with both hands behind his hand and turn your back in front of his stomach. In turning around, lift his arm on your shoulder and force it down. Thus you break his arm. If he tries a counter-grip, then turn yourself around and wrestle.

The Third Leg-break

If someone stretches his hand forward and wants to attack you with clasping around you, punching, or wrestling, then seize his hand. Take it from underneath with the left. With the right hand drive through under the same shoulder, close in and step with the right foot behind his right leg. Press him to the rear over your hip, and hold him tightly with a grip.

The Fourth Leg-break

Seize whichever hand someone is using to grab hold of you, as in the previous piece. And drive through with the head and body under the same arm, and then press hard against his arm. If you then pull away his following foot, he will fall.

The Fifth Leg-break

There are two breaks possible against the leg:

The First Break

Seize his leg with both hands, one over the ankle, the other at the knee. From this comes a leg break.

The Second Break

Seize his leg with both hands over the ankle and tear it over the shoulder; with that you will break.

Under-Breaks (wrestling grip made at the legs, which throws an opponent to the ground)

The First Under-break

This is the usual wrestle at the arms, which is called under-break drive it by force. And if you seize his right arm, then step with the right leg to the rear and set the left foot in front of his leg. Then punch him in front of you over the hip.

The Second Under-break

Seize whichever hand he reaches toward you. Grab the arm with both hands behind his hand and turn your back in front of his stomach. In turning around, lift his arm on your shoulder and force it down. Thus you break his arm. If he tries a counter-grip, then turn yourself around and wrestle.

The Third Under-break

If someone stretches his hand forward and wants to attack you with clasping around you, punching, or wrestling, then seize his hand. Take it from underneath with the left. With the right hand drive through under the same shoulder, close in and step with the right foot behind his right leg. Press him to the rear over your hip, and hold him tightly with a grip.

The Fourth Under-break

Seize whichever hand someone is using to grab hold of you, as in the previous piece. And drive through with the head and body under the same arm, and then press hard against his arm. If you then pull away his following foot, he will fall.

The Fifth Under-break

There are two breaks possible against the leg:

The First Break

Seize his leg with both hands, one over the ankle, the other at the knee. From this comes a leg break.

The Second Break

Seize his leg with both hands over the ankle and tear it over the shoulder; with that you will break his leg.

Further Wrestling Techniques

The First Technique: Leg-pull

If someone has grabbed you around the arms and you are standing with the left foot forward, he standing with the right leg outside on your left and wanting to pull you over the arms, then pull your left leg rapidly back behind you. At the same time seize his right foot and punch him against the chest, then he will fall.

The Second Technique: Kick in the Knee-hollow

If someone grabs you from behind around the shoulders, then drive high with your arm in the bend of his elbow, on the side where his foot stands forward. Seize at it with your other hand and press upward and outside on the opposite side. Hold his arm with one hand, with the other seize him at the throat, and with the foot kick him in the knee-hollow of his preceding foot (the one which stands forward), which has its heel turned to you.

The Third Technique: Throw over the Leg

Move to seize rapidly with your right hand and grab the fingers of his right hand. Punch his right arm with your left hand, which you seized in front, upward. And throw him backwards over your right leg.

The Fourth Technique: Digging Throw

Punch his left hand outward with your right hand. Then drive him through with the right hand between the legs and seize him behind by the gambeson or elbows. And lift him high and punch him away from you with the left hand, thus he will fall backward on the head.

Counter-grip against the Fourth Technique

If someone drives you through with the right hand between the legs and grabs you behind by the gambeson, then bend to him and drive under from outside with both arms through his right arm, and lift him upward then he can not throw you.

The Fifth Technique: Defence against Pulling To

If someone has grabbed you by one of your hands and wants to tear/pull you with both hands close to him, then drive him through with the right hand high under his left arm on his right side. And grab him with the right on his chest and with the left in the hollow of his knee.

The Sixth Technique: ?

If someone seizes you with both hands around the chest, then drive through high with the right hand over his left and grip him tightly. Go to seize his elbow with your left hand and lock with the right foot.

The Seventh Technique: Counter against the Arm-grip

Defence against arm-grips: if someone places an arm-grip against you with their right hand, then place him in one with the left.

The Eighth Technique: Pulling Away Both Legs

Rapidly go to seize with both hands, grab him with both hands in the knee-hollows, pull towards you, and punch him with the head against his chest, thus you will throw him backwards to the ground.

Counter-grip against the Eighth Technique

Grab him from above through the armpits to the neck, and lay yourself rapidly against him. Step back with both feet, so that he cannot seize you, and press him to the ground.

The Ninth Technique: Forcing-down

If he puts his right foot forward, then pull him with the left hand on his right arm. And punch him to the ankle of his right foot, and press him down. Or drive him with the right hand at the throat and press him over backwards.

The Tenth Technique: ?

If someone holds you only at the arms, then seize his right hand with your left hand and hold him with your reversed/rotated hand. Grip him tightly, and strike high with your right hand. Drive him through under his right arm and grab him around the chest. With the left, seize his knee-hollows. (?)

The Eleventh Technique: Counter against the Belt-Grip

If someone grabs you at the belt from behind, then let yourself sink down. If he tries to lift you up, turn yourself around against him, and throw him over a barrier.

The Twelfth Technique: Throw

Go through with the right hand and seize him above the hip on his side. Drive above with the left hand through his right shoulder and grab his right hand at the joint. (?) Grip it tightly, and lift him up. And with your right hand lift his left knee, and throw him before you.

The Thirteenth Technique: Throw over the Leg

Seize his left hand with both hands and pull him onto your right side. And step with your right foot behind his right foot, drive him with your right arm to his left side and throw him over your right leg.

The Fourteenth Technique: Double Stretched Arm-grip

If he wants to grab you with both arms under your shoulders, then drive down also with both arms from outside, under his elbows; and interlock your arms under his elbows, and tear/pull upwards with strength. Thus you break his arms.
You can also grab him around the throat and push him away.

The Fifteenth Technique: The Nape of the Neck Grip

If you are high with your arms, then you can grab him high by the throat or the cheeks, and break his neck over the back. Or you must drive through with your arms under his arms.

The Sixteenth Technique: Throw over the Leg

If you have your left arm down, then drive him with the right against his throat, and step with the left foot behind him, and press him at the neck over it. Or: you can throw him over the foot, on both sides.

The Seventeenth Technique: Back-breaker

If you drove through someone with both arms under his arms, and if he is as large as you or smaller, then seize him around the middle. Interlock your hands tightly behind his back and lift him on the left side. And if you think you are capable of it, then kick him down on the knees, and break his back towards you.

If someone presses you to himself, then place your elbows on his throat or on the chest and press him hurriedly away from you. And step with your left foot backwards.

The Eighteenth Technique: Counter against the Throw over the Shoulder

If someone wants to drive your head under his arm and throw you over his right shoulder, grab him with the arm at his neck and press him swiftly to yourself. And lay yourself with the chest on top of him, and press down with your weight.

The Nineteenth Technique: Throw against Clasping from Behind

If someone seizes you when you turn your back on him, and lifts you swiftly with the arms, then bend yourself forward rapidly and throw him over you. Or grab him with one hand down at the leg.

The Twentieth Technique: Fingergrip against Clasping from Behind

If he has grabbed you from behind and has one arm under your arm, and his hands are open, then seize one finger (and rotate it), then he must let go of you.

The Twenty-first Technique: Against Grips of the Collar

If someone grabs you with his hand on your collar and grips tightly, then turn yourself through with your head under his arm, then he must let go of you. Or you can grip him tightly at the same time.
Also if he holds you by the collar from behind, turn yourself through under his arm, then he must let go of you.

The Twenty-second Technique: Against Grips of the Chest

If someone holds you by the chest with both hands, then punch his right elbow upwards, press yourself through, and grab him around the waist.

The Twenty-third Technique: Throw against Hand-freeing

If you have grabbed someone on the right arm at the biceps and you are pressing him backwards, and he then hits with his right arm from the outside over your left hand and presses his hand tightly against your chest, then drive him with the same elbow in his right side and let yourself sink down. Spring with your left foot behind his right one, seize his knee-bend with your right hand and throw him.

The Wrestling in Closing In

The First Wrestle in Closing In

Hold on to his right arm and his left, and let go of his left one. Loop your right arm around his left and throw him over the head.

The Second Wrestle in Closing In

If someone has hold of you under both arms, then hit him with your right arm under his left one, and set your arm on his chest, and throw him away from you.

The Third Wrestle in Closing In

Loop your left arm around his neck, lift him high on your left leg and throw him on your right side.

The Fourth Wrestle in Closing In

Seize his right hand with your left one, pass all the way under his raised right arm so that you reach his back (durchlaufen), take him by the right leg with your right hand and throw him over you.

The Fifth Wrestle in Closing In

Take hold of his right arm with both hands, pass through under his right arm to his back and throw him over you.

The Sixth Wrestle in Closing In

When you close in, bend down. Take him by one leg, tear/pull it upwards and hit/kick him with your left, then he will fall.

The Seventh Wrestle in Closing In

In closing in, seize both of his arms and punch him with the head against his chest, then he will fall on his back.

The Eighth Wrestle in Closing In

If he takes hold of you by the shoulders, then hit upwards with your hand from below and force his arms apart. And take hold of him to wrestle, with whichever piece you prefer.

The Ninth Wrestle in Closing In

Take hold of him with both hands from underneath, and place your elbows in both of his arms. And punch him with the head against the chest, and seize him at both legs.

The Tenth Wrestle in Closing In

Take him by both his hands and throw him on his back. (?)

The Eleventh Wrestle in Closing In

Check in your running how you approach him. Take his right arm with both of your hands, pass through underneath to his back, and break his arm.

The Twelfth Wrestle in Closing In

If you close in and take hold of him by the chest, and he you, then hit his arm away and punch with your left hand behind his left arm. Seize him by the leg with your right hand and throw him.

The Thirteenth Wrestle in Closing In

If he takes hold of you by the arm and you take hold of him in like fashion, then let go of his right arm. And seize him by the left arm through between his legs, and lift him on your shoulder. And throw him as you please. If he seizes you under the shoulders, then punch his arm away from you with your right hand and seize him then and wrestle.

True fighting on horseback and on foot

In the name of St. George this art begins here.

Here begins the true fighting on horseback and on foot. Meister Johann Liechtenauers duelling in armour begins here, that he permitted it to be written down with secret words. That is now clarified and laid out in this book, so that every fighter of the art (who already understands duelling) can understand it.

The openings of one who is armed

If you want to place an attack at a place on a prepared man, then you must detect his openings quickly. First attempt to attack him in the face, but also under the shoulders, in the palms of the hands or from the rear in the gloves, or in the hollows of the knee, between his legs and to all the members there, where the armour has his joints inside. Because it is best to attack him at these places. And you should know exactly how you can attack those openings, so that you do not aim at a further one if you can attack a closer one more easily. Practice that with all weapons which belong to the fight.

Fighting with the Spear

If two armoured men fight with each other on foot, then each should have three weapons: a spear, a sword and a dagger. And the fight should begin with the spear. So you should prepare for the first attack with two basic positions, as it is now explained.

The First Basic Position

If you are both dismounted from your horses, then stand with the left foot forward and hold the spear ready. And approach him in such a way that your left foot always remains forward. And wait so that you can throw before him. And follow the shot immediately with the sword, then he cannot aim a safe throw against you. And grasp to the sword.

The Second Basic Position

If you dont want to shoot your spear, then hold him near your right side in the lower guard and in that manner approach him. And thrust bravely from below to his face, before he does it. If he thrusts at the same time or deflects your thrust, then drive high in the high guard. Thus his point will remain on your left arm. Thrust immediately with your point over his arm into his face. If he drives high and deflects with his left arm, then jerk away downwards and set your point under his left shoulder in his opening.

The Jerking Away with the Spear

When you thrust out of the lower guard and he sets it aside with his spear, then his point goes past yours, then twitch through and thrust him to the other side. Or if he stays with the second setting aside with the point in front of the face then dont twitch, stay with the spear on his and wind to the next openening that offers itself.

Nachreisen with the Spear.

If you thrust towards him and he sets it aside and wants to free himsefl from the bind. then follow immediately with the point. If you hit him with it then shove him back with it. If he wants to fly backwards in front of your thrust and winds you to one side then walk into that side, grab him with such wrestling techniques and armholds as you find in the following descriptions.

Sword against Spear.

Parrry with the half-sword.

When you have lost your spear., and he has kept his, then set yourself in the following position. Grab your sword with the left hand in the middle of the blade and lay it in front of yourself over the left knee in the guard or else hold it on the right side in the low guard. If he thrusts high with the spear, then drive high and parry the thrust in front of your left hand with the sword on your left side and spring towards him and set your point towards him. If thats not possible then let your side fall and go under with wrestling.

To Clarify.

If he thrusts towards you and you are standing in the lower guard then set his thrust aside with the sword in front of your left hand on his right side and go over with the attack or wrestling.

 

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