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Johannes Liechtenauer

Master of the German tradition

Sooner or later, as a practitioner of European martial arts, you will be confronted with this enigmatic print from the pseudo-von Danzig manuscript: An elderly man sitting on a throne standing in front of a closed door. He looks determinedly ahead into the room at the slightly ajar door opposite him, while he holds a school sword in his right hand and a magister's staff or baton in his left.
Stately as a king, there sits the man who went by the name Johannes Liechtenauer. It was a name that would be pronounced with stateliness for centuries, because Liechtenauer - often respectfully called Master or Grand Master - is the legendary founder of the most important martial movement in Europe's martial tradition.

This enigmatic figure recorded several techniques and principles of longsword martial art in his Zettel [a cryptic poem].

 

Geselschaft Liechtenauer

Masters and manuscripts

T he martial art we learn and the weapons we use are often outdated. Liechtenauer, as Master, often conveyed his information demonstratively and orally to his students. Only the Zettel was written down. Students of Liechtenauer, such as Sigmund Ringeck, Peter von Danzig and Lew, contributed by explaining the techniques from the Zettel in so-called Fechtbücher or fighting manuscripts. Over time, fencing masters also managed to add prints to this.

These so-called Fechtbücher constantly remind us that only persons who behave generously are worthy to practice the art. They show us that fighting with, among other things, the long sword has a deeper dimension. It is precisely this deeper dimension that we also want to introduce our members to, this chivalry.

Joachim Meyer

Master within a holistic system

Despite his short life (34), the German fencing master Joachim Meyer [1537~ - 1571] made a great impression on contemporary martial art. In his Gründtliche Beschreibung der… Kunst des Fechtens [The Greatest Description of the Art of Fighting] , Meyer managed to create a fairly complete manuscript for a variety of weapons. This includes not only the longsword, but also rapier, dagger, dussack, dagger and rings [wrestling] and staff and pole weapons such as halberd and pike.

What is special about Meyer's manuscript is how complete it appears to be, but also how it provides insight into the biomechanics of posture and footwork that previous masters seem to miss. The number of prints demonstrating techniques to support the text are also plentiful.

As a guild, Meyer's system is frequently used for the various weapons . His view of a holistic system, where the skills of one weapon can be applied to another, also serves as important inspiration.

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