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Nuremberg Hausbuch (MS 3227a)/13v - 17v

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Draft Translation Draft translation
by Christian Trosclair

Transcription [edit]
by Dierk Hagedorn

Here it begins, Master Liechtenauer's Art of Fencing with the Sword on Foot and on Horse, Bare and in Harness. And before any incidents and confrontations, you shall note and know that there is just one art of the sword and it may have been invented and conceived many hundred years ago. And this is a foundation and core of all of the arts of fencing and Master Liechtenauer had internalized and applied it quite completely and correctly.

Not that he invented and conceived it himself, as was written before, rather he had traveled through many lands. And through that sought the legitimate and truthful art for the sake that he would experience and know it. And this art is earnest, complete and legitimate; and everything proceeds from it the nearest and shortest, simple and direct. Just as if one would hew or stab someone and that person then bound a thread or cord to his point or edge of his sword and guided or pulled that very point point or edge to the opponent's opening. For he should hew or stab according to the nearest and shortest and most decisive of all. For one would prefer to deliver just that, because that same legitimate fencing will not have handsome and painstaking parries nor wide fencing-around.

With those, people choose to procrastinate and delay themselves. As one finds according to many illegitimate masters, that say they have invented and conceived and possess for themselves from day to day some new art, better and greater. But I would like to see one that would conceive and perform just one application or one hew that does not come from Liechtenauer's art. Just that they will often mix-up and pervert an application. So with that, they give it a new name, each according to their head. Furthermore that they conceive wide fencing-around and parrying and often do two or three hews in place of a single hew. They will be praised by the uncomprehending just for the liveliness of it as they fiendishly arrange themselves with those beautiful parries and wide fencing-around and deliver wide and long hews slowly and sluggishly. With those they quite severely delay and hew-ahead of themselves and also with those give themselves firm openings because they have no measure in their fencing. And anyway, that is not called for in earnest fencing.

In some cases, it could possibly be somewhat good in school fencing for exercise and enjoyment. But earnest fencing will proceed swift, straight and quite direct without any hesitation nor delay like a string or something like it determined the measure and trajectory. When one shall slash or stab whoever stands there before them, then truly no strike or stab backwards or to the side helps him, nor any wide fencing nor multiple hews. They that would like to end it with someone, they procrastinate and delay themselves so that they preclude the moment of truth.

Rather, one must initiate their hew straight and directly to the person, to the head or to the body according to what is closest and surest. Just as he is able to attain it and judge it, swiftly and quickly and preferably with one strike. Because with four or six, he would give himself away with them. And that one comes effortlessly as opposed to all those because the fore-strike is a great advantage of this fencing as you will hear it hereafter in the text where Liechtenauer names just five hews with other plays that are sufficient for earnest fencing and teaches it according to the correct art, conducted straight and direct toward the closest and surest as it simply can approach and leaves all of the confusing work and new found hews foolishly considered by the illegitimate masters that nevertheless thoroughly depart from his art.

[13v] H|Ie hebt sich an meister lichtenawers kunst des fechtens mit deme sw°te |czu fusse vnd czu rosse / |blos vnd yn harnüsche / |Vnd vor allen dingen vnd sachen / saltu merke~ vnd wissen / |das nür eyne kunst ist des swertes / |vnd dy mag vor manche~ hvndert Jare~ seyn fvnden vnd irdocht / |vnd dy ist eyn grunt vnd kern aller künsten des fechtens / |vnd dy hat meist° lichtnaw° gancz vertik vnd gerecht gehabt vnd gekunst / |Nicht das her sy selber habe~ fvnden vnd irdocht / als vor ist geschreben / |Sonder / her hat manche lant / durchfaren vnd gesucht / durch der selbñ rechtvertigen vnd warhaftige~ kunst wille / |das her dy io irvare~ vnd wissen welde / |Vnd dy selbe kunst ist ernst gancz vnd rechtvertik / |Vnd get of das aller neheste vnd kors körtzste / slecht vnd gerade czu / |Recht zam wen eyn° eyne~ hawe~ ader stechen welde / |vnd das man im deñe eyne~ vadem ader snure an seyne~ ort ader sneyde des sw°tes bünde / |vnd leytet aber czöge |dem selben ort ader sneide off ienes blössen / [14r] |den her hawe~ ader stechen selde / |noch dem aller nehesten / · kortzsten · vnd endlichsten / als man das nür dar brege~ mochte / |wen das selbe rechtvertige vechten / |wil nicht hobisch vnd weislich paryre~ habñ / |vnd weit vm~efechte~ / mit deme sich lewte mochte~ lassen vnd vorzümen / |Als man noch manche leychmeistere vindet dy do sprechen / |das sy selber newe kunst vinden vnd irdenke~ |vnd meyne~ das sich dy kunst des fechtens von tage czu tage besser vnd mere / |Aber ich wölde gerne eyne~ sehn |der do / möchte nür ey~ gefechte / ader eyne~ haw / irdenke~ vnd tue~ / |der do nicht aus lichtnaw°s kunst gynge / |Nür das sy ofte eyn gefechte vorwandeln vnd vorkeren wöllen / mit deme / das sy im newe name~ gebñ / itzlicher noch seyme hawpte / |Vnd das sy weit vm~efechten vnd paryrn irdenken / |vnd oft vör eyne~ haw / czwene ader dreye tue~ / nür durch wolstehens wille / |do von sy von den unvorstendige~ gelobt wolle~ werden / mit dem höbsche~ paryrn vnd weit vm~efechte~ / |als sy sich veyntlich stellen / vnd weite vnd lange hewe dar brenge~ /lanksam vnd trege / mit deme sy sich gar sere vorhawen [14v] vnd zeüme~ / |vnd sich auch do mite vaste blos gebñ / |we~ sy keyne mosse yn ire~ fechte~ nicht haben / |vnd das gehört doch nicht czu ernstem fechte~ / |zonder czu schulfechten durch vbunge vnd gebrawchu~ge wille mochte is wol eczwas gut seyn / |Aber ernste vechten wil risch slecht vnd gar gerade dar gehen / |an alles lassen vnd zümenüss / |zam noch eyn° snure~ / ader zam itzlichs besunder gemessen vnd gewegen were / |wen sal eyner eyne~ slaen ader stechen / |der do vor im stet / |zo hilft in io key~ slag ader stich / vor sich vn ader hindersich / ader nebñ sich / noch keynerley weitfechte~ / |ader vil hewe / das mt eyme möchte ende~ / mit deme her sich zümet vnd last / das her dy schantcze vorsleft / |Sonder her mus ir / slecht vnd gleich czuhawe~ / czu~ mañe / czu kop / ader czu leibe / noch dem aller nehesten / vnd schiresten als her in mir gehabñ mag vnd in eiche~ / v/risch vnd snelle |vnd liber mt eyme slage we~ mt viern ader seche~ mt deme her sich möchte lassen / |vnd das iener leichte queme deñe her / |wen der vorslag / eyn gros vorteil ist / of deme vechten / |als du es als hernoch wirst hore~ yn dem texte / |Do neñet lichtnaw° / nür fümff hewe / mit andñ stöcken / |dy do nütcze sey~ czu erstem vechten / |vnd leret dy noch [15r] rechter kunst slecht vnd gerade dar brege~ noch dem aller neheste~ uvnd schireste~ / |als mag is nür dar komen / |Vnd lest alles trum~elwerk / vnd new fvnde~ hewe vnderwege~ / võ den leichmeistere / |Dy doch gru~tlich aus syner kunst dar kome~ /

Also note this and know that one cannot speak and explain or write about fencing quite as simply and clearly as one can easily show and inform it with the hand. Therefore act on your judgement and consider the best of it and therein, exercise the bulk of that yourself in play which you think is of the best in earnest. Because practice is better than empty art, for practice is fully sufficient without art but art is not fully sufficient without practice.

Also know that a good fencer shall, ahead all confrontations, command and clasp his sword certainly and surely with both hands between the hilt and the pommel. Because like this, he holds the sword much surer than when he clasps it by the pommel with one hand and also strikes much harder and surer like this, because the pommel overthrows itself and swings itself in accordance with the strike, so that the strike arrives much harder than when he clasps the sword with the pommel, because like this, he restrains the strike with the pommel, such that he may not arrive so completely and so strongly, because the sword is just like a scale. For if a sword is large and heavy, so must the pommel also be accordingly heavy, just like a scale.

| |Auch wisse das eyn guter fechter sal vör allen sachen syn swert gewisse vnd sicher füren vnd fassen / mit beiden henden / czwische~ gehilcze vnd l?c klos / |wen alzo helt her das sw°t vil sicher / |den das hers bey dem klosse vasset mit eyn° hant / |vnd slet auch vil harter vnd sürer / alzo / |wen der klos öberwirft sich vnd swenkt sich noch de~ slage das der slag vil harter / dar ku~pt / |den das her das swert mit dem klosse vasset / |wen alzo / czöge her den slag / mt dem klosse weder / |das her nicht zo voelkömlich vnd zo stark möchte dar kome~ / |Wen das swert [15v] ist recht zam eyn woge / |den ist ey~ sw°t gros vnd swer / |zo mus der klos auch dornoch swer syn / recht zam noch eyn° wogen

Also know that when one fences with someone, so shall he fully take heed of his steps and be sure in them just as if he shall stand upright upon a scale, shifting backwards or forwards according to that as necessitates itself, connected and nimble, swiftly and quickly. And with good spirit and good consciousness or consideration shall your fencing proceed and without any fear as one will hear that hereafter.

You shall also have measure in your applications accordingly as it necessitates itself and shall not step too wide, so that you may better adjust yourself to another's steps, done backwards or forwards according to that as it will necessitate itself. Also often itself necessitating two short steps for one long and often necessitates itself that one must do a little pre run with short steps and often that one must do a good step or spring.

And whatever one will readily conduct in play or in earnest, they shall make that foreign and confusing so that the opponent does not notice what this is meant to conduct against him. And as soon as [1] the opponent then comes at him and also has the measure of the opponent so that he thinks he will have and reach in the opponent well, so shall he brazenly hurry to the opponent and drive swiftly and quickly to the head or to the body. He hits or mises and shall always win the fore-strike and allows the opponent to come with nothing as you will better hear hereafter in the common lore, etc.

| |Vnd was eyñ redlichs wil treibñ czu schimpfe / ader czu ernste / |das sal her eyme vor den ogen / fremde vnd vorworren machen / |das ieñ nicht merkt was deser key~ im meynt czutreiben / [16r] |Vnd alsbald bald we~ her deñe czu im ku~pt |vnd dy moße also czu im hat |das in dünkt her welle in im wol haben vnd irreichen / |zo sal her ku~lich czu im hurte~ vnd vare~ / snelle vnd risch / czu koppe ader czu leibe / |her treffe ader vele / |vnd sal io den vorslag gewyñen / vnd iene~ mt nichte lassen czu~ dinge~ kome~ / |als du bas h°noch wirst hören yn der gemeyne~ lere etc

One shall also always prefer to target the upper openings rather than the lower and one drives in over the hilt with hews or with stabs, bravely and quickly. Because one reaches the opponent much better and further over the hilt than under it. And one is also much surer of all fencing like this. For the upper contact one is much better than the lower one. But if it comes to be as such that one were nearer to the lower, then he must target that as this often occurs.

Also know that one shall always come to the right side of the opponent in his applications. Because he may better have the opponent in all confrontations of fencing or wrestling than immediately in front of. And whoever knows this part well and delivers well, they are not a bad fencer.

Also know when one will earnestly fence, they contemplate a polished play, whichever he wishes that is complete and correct there and earnestly internalize that and keep it in his intent and spirit. Whatever he wishes upon someone just as if he would say: "This I mean to truly conduct" and so this shall and must go forward with the help of god, so it might fail him in nothing. He does what he should when he bravely hurries and charges there with the fore-strike, as one will often hear hereafter.

In all fencing
 Requisite is: the help of god of righteousness,
A straight and healthy body,
 A soundly manufactured sword,[2] especially,
Before, after, weak, strong
 Within, with that word, hearken.
Hews, stabs, cuts, pressing,
 Position, defending, shoving, feeling, disengaging,
Winding and hanging,
 Backing, strikes, springs, grabbing, wrangling,
Speed, audacity,
 Prudence, astuteness and ingenuity
Acumen, premeditation, ability
 Measure, obscuration,
Practice and good spirit,
 Motion, flexibility, good steps.
In these seven couplets[3]
 The fundamental principles
And concerns
 And the entire matter
Of all of the art of fencing are labelled for you.
 You shall consider this correctly
As you will also actually
 And in particular hereafter
Hear or read
 Each according to it's qualities.
Fencer, take heed of it
 So will these arts reveal to you the art, indeed,
Of the entire sword
 And many good lively attacks.

Motion, that beautiful word,
 Is the heart and crown of fencing
The entire matter
 Of fencing with all concerns
And the sound components
 Of the fundamentals, the movements
Are named with names
 And will be revealed better hereafter
However then one simply fights,
 So are they well directed
And stay in motion
 And not pause when he
Begins to fence with
 So he drives-in with correctness
Continually and decisively
 Bravely one after the other
Stay in a rush
 Without intervals, immediate.
So that the opponent cannot come
 To strikes therefore takes this advantage
And harming the opponent.
 Because he cannot be unstruck
From this coming.
 Just do this according to the advice
And according to the learning
 That is written now
For I say to you truthfully,
 The opponent does not defend themselves without danger.
If you understand
 He cannot come to blows with anything.

Here note that constant motion secures him in the beginning, middle and end of all fencing according to this art and lore. As such that one completes the beginning, middle and ending in one rush without pause and without the hindrance of his counter-fencer and does not allow the opponent to come to strikes with anything. Of this, the two words come: before, after. That is, the fore-strike and after-strike. Immediately and at one time as if left without any middle[5]

  1. The silver "soon" was added later above the line
  2. lit: entirely finished sword
  3. lit: verses
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Page has a round hole at this point.
  5. latin