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Welcome to the Wiktenauer!

The free library of Historical European Martial Arts books and manuscripts

Without books no one can be a good teacher nor even a good student of this art.
~ Master Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi, ca. 1405

Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format. The Wiktenauer project started in 2009, later receiving sponsorship from the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance, and is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries. Here are a few basic categories of pages that are being constructed:

  • Master Pages host biographical information about each master, as well as the transcription and translation of his complete works. In cases of multiple copies of a master's work, the transcriptions are laid out side-by-side to facilitate the most accurate translation possible. To aid in interpretation, the writings will also be illustrated with images from the masters' work as available. A bibliography at the end of each page lists additional transcriptions, translations, and scans that are available in print. The exemplar for this category of pages is Fiore de'i Liberi. Ultimately, every master in all of the traditions of Western Martial Arts will have a dedicated page.
  • Treatise Pages host all relevant data on a book or manuscript, including description, provenance, table of contents (with links to the appropriate master pages), gallery of page scans, and bibliography of additional print resources. The exemplar for manuscripts is the Goliath Fechtbuch, while the exemplar for printed books is Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey. Ultimately, every text in the corpus of Historical European Martial Arts literature will have a dedicated page.
  • Technique Pages compile all of the relevant information from all of the relevant manuals on a particular technique, including transcriptions, translations, and images. There is also a section at the end of each page where groups may embed videos of their interpretations. The template for techniques is the Zornhaw. Ultimately, every technique mentioned in the manuals will have a dedicated page.
  • Weapon Pages provide information about how a specific weapon form is described and used in the treatises, data on surviving artifacts, an overview of archaeological research pertinent to a given weapon, and a comprehensive index of the treatises and writers that discuss each weapon.

The wiki also features pages for HEMA groups, pages for HEMA events, general information pages, and almost other topic of interest to the HEMA community you can think of. If you'd like to pitch in, simply request an account and consult How can I help?


The 2015 Wiktenauer fundraiser was a resounding success, far beyond anything we imagined when we started in 2009. It raised three times more than the extreme end of what we thought possible when we launched the campaign in January. This is amazing. However, that also means that we committed to fulfilling three times more perks than we had ever planned for. (In retrospect, the time frames I initially estimated were wildly optimistic even for the expected number of donors.) The fact that I decided to completely rewrite the gift books from scratch before sending them out also may have contributed to this. Thus, development in other areas of the wiki largely halted this year as I worked on arranging all of these gifts for our donors. Many new resources were added this year, of course, but they've all been connected to these projects—for example, Christian's excellent translation of Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck's long sword gloss, the writeup of die Blume des Kampfes, Colin Hatcher's translations from the Getty version of Fiore de'i Liberi's treatise, and the fresh new scans of Novati's facsimile of the Pisani Dossi version.

As the end of the year arrives, we're still working on fulfilling the rewards from the fundraising drive. Here's how we stand presently:

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At the moment, we're still working on purchasing about half of the intended scans, and I'm early in the process of creating Fiore Volume II. Once the scans are purchased, we'll begin distributing to donors who selected that perk; I expect this to happen in the first three months of 2016. Once the second Fiore book is finished, we'll print Volumes I and II together and send those out as well; I originally intended to have this done by the end of the year, but an illness in the family has set me back by several weeks and a date in late January seems most likely.

I want to get these three books into the hands of as many fencers as possible, so donations for books will remain open on the Indiegogo page until the Fiore books are printed. Here's a sample of what the Fiore book looks like:

In any event, I thank you for your continued patience and support, and promise that the perks will be worth even this long wait.

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
21:09, 27 December 2015 (UTC)
Featured article
Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck
Period 15th century
Occupation Fencing master
Nationality German
Patron Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Movement Fellowship of Liechtenauer
Influences Johannes Liechtenauer
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Archetype(s) Hypothetical
First Printed
English Edition
Tobler, 2001
Compilation by
Michael Chidester

Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck (Sigmund ain Ringeck, Sigmund Amring, Sigmund Einring, Sigmund Schining) was a 15th century German fencing master. While the meaning of the surname "Schining" is uncertain, the suffix "ein Ringeck" may indicate that he came from the Rhineland region of south-eastern Germany. He is named in the text as Schirmaister to Albrecht, Count Palatine of Rhine and Duke of Bavaria. This may signify Schirrmeister, a logistical officer charged with oversseing the wagons and horse-drawn artillery pieces, or potentially Schirmmeister, a title used by lower-class itinerant fencing masters in the Medieval period. Apart from his service to the duke, the only thing that can be determined about his life is that he was connected in some way to the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer—his name was included by Paulus Kal in his roll of members of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer in ca. 1470.

The identity of Ringeck's patron remains unclear, as four men named Albrecht ruled Bavaria during the fifteenth century; assuming that Ringeck was a personal student of Liechtenauer further narrows the list down to just two. If the MS 3227a is correctly dated to 1389, then Liechtenauer was a 14th century master and Ringeck's patron was Albrecht I, who reigned from 1353 to 1404. If, on the other hand, Liechtenauer was an early 15th century master (an associate or student of H. Beringer) and the Fellowship of Liechtenauer was assembled to fight in the Hussite Wars of the 1420s and 30s, then Ringeck's patron would have been Albrecht III, who carried the title from 1438 to 1460. Albrecht IV claimed the title in 1460 and thus also could have been Ringeck's patron; this would probably signify that Ringeck was not a direct student of Liechtenauer at all, but a later inheritor of the tradition. That said, Albrecht IV lived until 1508 and so the Dresden, Glasgow, and Salzburg manuscripts were likely created during his reign.

Ringeck is often erroneously credited as the author of the MS Dresd.C.487. Ringeck was indeed the author of one of the core texts, a complete gloss of Liechtenauer's Recital on unarmored long sword fencing. However, the remainder of the manuscript contains an assortment of treatises by several different masters in the tradition, and it is currently thought to have been composed in the early 16th century (putting it after the master's presumed lifetime). Regardless, the fact that he authored one of the few glosses of the Recital makes Ringeck one of the most important masters of the Liechtenauer tradition.

(Read more...)

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Wiktenauer parent organizations

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Historical European Martial Arts Alliance

An educational non-profit organization providing a range of programs and services for its members and affiliate schools and clubs, as well as serving the wider HEMA community.

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Western Martial Arts Coalition

A pan-American network of researchers and instructors dedicated to the study of traditional European, American, and related fighting arts and martial traditions.

Wiktenauer sponsors

Each year Wiktenauer holds a two-week fundraising drive to cover our server fees and fund new projects and acquisitions. The following are the organizations are official sponsors of the 2015 fundraiser; a full list of donors can be viewed on the Contributors page.

Top three 2015 donors

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Kron Martial Arts
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xKdF Network
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Schola Saint George

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Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga
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Boston Armizare
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Fechtschule Victoria
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Longpoint: HEMA Tournaments & Workshops
Noble Science Academy.png
Noble Science Academy
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Ottawa Swordplay
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Purpleheart Armoury
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The Rhode Island Fencing Academy and Club
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School of European Swordsmanship
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Sword to Sword - Kunst des Fechtens
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Système d'Armes - New Orleans
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Tattershall School of Defense