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Albrecht Duerer's Fechtbuch Art - c. 1520

In its continuing quest to promote the authentic skills of legitimate Medieval martial arts, ARMA is pleased to present material from the rare Fecthbuch of famed Renaissance artist Albrecht DŁerer. DŁerer's drawings present some of the clearest and most precise representations of Medieval long-sword use. DŁerer was not a Fechtmeister and his book was never completed or published, but he evidently was a student and his sketches are among the best on the subject. As both a practicing Marxbrueder and a talented artist with a tremendous sense for detail, DŁerer's illustrations surely depict some of the most realsitic examples of period fighting techniques available.  His work contains only 13 illustrations on Langenschwert, approximately 50 on the falchion-like Messerfechten, 30 or so on dagger and more than 100 on unarmed combat.

Some reasonable observations can be made from his artwork that aid the modern practitioner. Rather than being simply depictions of hypothetical combat results it is clearly evident the participants are practicing safely together and training in techniques (presumably with blunts). The body positions are clearer than those in any other period source and convey a great sense of balance and inertia. Note the placement and distance of feet in the stances, and the wide range between the combatants. The actions are smooth and graceful and the movements clean. They also show energy and reflect speed. What is most useful from his many clear and detailed poses is how it can clearly be seen that defensive actions and counters are made as deflecting movements and never edge-on-edge blocks (not to be confused with pressing betas or closing starke-to-starke). Many Halb-Schwert techniques and Schwertnemen are shown as well as the standard Drey WŁnder of the German schools. Many of the techniques are standard familiar ones from other Fecthbucher, but most interesting are the techniques of combination of Messer and dagger. More material including translated text of the sword techniques will soon be added in the future.

Note: all these scans have been  marked as originating at the ARMA

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