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Andre Lignitzer

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Andre Lignitzer
Born date of birth unknown
Legnica, Poland
Died before 1452
Relative(s) Jacob Lignitzer (brother)
Occupation Fencing master
Movement Fellowship of Liechtenauer
Language Early New High German
First printed
english edition
Tobler, 2010
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Andre Lignitzer (Andres Liegniczer) was a late 14th or early 15th century German fencing master. His name might signify that he came from Legnica, Poland (German: Lignitz). While Lignitzer's precise lifetime is uncertain, he seems to have died some time before the creation of the Starhemberg Fechtbuch in 1452.[1] He had a brother named Jacob Lignitzer who was also a fencing master,[2] but there is no record of any treatise Jacob may have authored. The only other fact that can be determined about Lignitzer's life is that his renown as a master was sufficient for Paulus Kal to include him, along with his brother, in his list of members of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer in 1470.[2]

An Andres Juden (Andres the Jew) is mentioned as a master associated with Liechtenauer in Pol Hausbuch,[3] and Codex Speyer contains a guide to converting between sword and Messer techniques written by a "Magister Andreas",[4] but it is not currently known whether either of these masters is Lignitzer.

Andre Lignitzer is best known for his teachings on sword and buckler, and some variation on this brief treatise is included in many compilation texts in the Liechtenauer tradition. He also authored treatises on fencing with the short sword, dagger, and grappling, though these appear less frequently. Lignitzer's sword and buckler teachings are sometimes attributed to Sigmund ain Ringeck due to their unattributed inclusion in the MS Dresden C.487, but this is clearly incorrect.


Note that the Augsburg, Salzburg, Graz, and Rostock versions of Lignitzer's treatise on short sword fencing are erroneously credited to Martin Huntsfeld, while Huntsfeld's own treatise on the subject is credited to Lew.[5]

The text of the Krakow version of Lignitzer frequently refers to intended illustrations that were never added to the manuscript. The appropriate blank pages are included in the illustration column as placeholders. It's possible (though not likely, given what we know about its origins) that this manuscript was replicating another one with a complete set of illustrations; if this ever surfaces, the illustrations will be replaced.

Additional Resources

The following is a list of publications containing scans, transcriptions, and translations relevant to this article, as well as published peer-reviewed research.


  1. He is given the traditional blessing on the dead on folio 73r.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Fellowship of Liechtenauer is recorded in three versions of Paulus Kal's treatise: MS 1825 (1460s), Cgm 1507 (ca. 1470), and MS KK5126 (1480s).
  3. Anonymous. Untitled [manuscript]. MS 3227a. Nuremberg, Germany: Germanisches Nationalmuseum, ca.1389.
  4. von Speyer, Hans. Untitled [manuscript]. MS M.I.29. Salzburg, Austria: Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg, 1491.
  5. Jaquet and Walczak 2014.
  6. This label was apparently copied in the wrong place, and ought to accompany the next play.
  7. play
  8. The Rome version says: “Here begin the pieces with the buckler that the master Andre Lignitzer has written hereafter”.
  9. Oberhaw could be translated as “downward cut” for ease of use and clarity in English.
  10. This instruction is present in the Dresden version, but missing from the Rome version.
  11. Underhaw could be translated as “upward cut”. Can be done with the back edge or false edge, and can also be directed either at the man or at the sword. In this stuck, it appears to be a rising action to meet his sword.
  12. Dresden version specifies from his right shoulder, missing from Rome version.
  13. The position called the schilt is one described for longsword in the Kölner Fechtbuch and some of the other gemeinfechten sources, and is somewhat similar to what Liechtenauer would call an Ochs, although the point can be upward, potentially like quite a high Pflug. With the buckler in the left hand, standing like this in “two shields” with the sword in the schilt position and the shield covering the right hand, it looks very reminiscent of the schutzen position in the MS I.33. Following this line of thinking, the instruction to turn the sword to the right (out of the schutzen) and to reach (slice) through his mouth is very reminiscent of the follow-up action that the MS I.33 recommends from the schutzen obsesseo, and is also similar to what the Liechtenauer Zedel and glosses refer to as the Alten Schnitt.
  14. This instruction to wind bloß (“turn uncovered”) seems to have the sense of separating your sword and buckler while still pushing with both, keeping the hands more or less in front of the shoulders (as if sitting behind a steering wheel in a car with the hands at the “ten to two” position). The body probably has to move and turn in order to support this action, to keep the hands in front of the body rather than going out to the sides.
  15. Dresden has “holds his shield up”, Rome has “lifts his shield up”. Both could mean more or less the same thing, but I prefer “lifts” as an instruction.
  16. Wechselhaw could be translated as “changing cut”, because it goes up and down, side to side.
  17. Streÿchen could be translated as “strikes”, but in this context are specifically those striking actions from below, sweeping up with the short edge, perhaps “streaking” up from the ground to the opponent or to his sword.
  18. The same idea of separating your sword and buckler while still pushing both, keeping the hands more or less in front of the shoulders (as if sitting behind a steering wheel in a car with the hands at the “ten to two” position).
  19. Probably with a thrust, but potentially with any other pushing technique.
  20. Mittelhaw could be translated as “middle cut”, going across from one side to the other.
  21. Zwerch could be translated as “across”, in the sense of slanting across from one side to another or slanting across from one height to another, or going diagonally across from one place to another. It also has the sense perhaps of going across something, perhaps slanting across or athwart a boat, or going across your opponent’s blade or leg as opposed to simply coming onto it in whatever fashion. The Zwer is an example of a Mittelhaw, but it is important to note that the thumb is beneath the blade and the cut is performed with hand high.
  22. Schaittler could be translated as “parter”, in the sense of being something which parts another thing in two, or dividing something in two.
  23. The German transcription reads “Zwer”
  24. The German transcription reads “Schaittler”, perhaps related to "parting" in two halves.
  25. Sturtzhaw could be translated as “dropping cut”, in the sense of a ball dropping back to earth when it has been thrown upward.
  26. The treatise says schilts, plural, meaning that you thrust inside both sword and shield.
  27. Dresden version specifies to the body, missing from Rome version.
  28. If this gloss follows the Liechtenauer method of understanding the five words Vor, Nach, Schwöch, Störck, Indes and their relationship to each other, then we should look to the Blossfechten gloss for the meaning of Indes. However, there is no guarantee that this means exactly the same thing, so the word Indes could just mean “immediately” when removed from its technical context. There does not seem to be as much Winden involved with this sword and buckler treatise as there is in the Blossfechten gloss, although it is still quite possible to perform Winden with shorter blades (look at Leckuchner’s messerfechten, for example), and Lignitzer was a member of the Gessellschaft Lichtenawers and so was probably quite well aware of Liechtenauer’s understanding of the five words and how they relate to fighting.
  29. Although both the Dresden and Rome versions say bind, what they probably mean is the fastening of the hand, or the grip upon the sword.
  30. The instruction to Versetz could mean “to obstruct”.
  31. More correctly, both the Dresden and Rome versions say: “Thus, you have taken the shield from him.” However, the sudden change of tense seems a little abrupt and awkward, so I prefer to maintain the same tense as the rest of the instruction, for stylistic reasons.
  32. There is a further piece of instruction in Goliath: “Pull your left leg far back”.
  33. The instructions in Goliath are more precise: “Go through to your left side under his left armpit while holding his left arm”.
  34. “his” (in Goliath)
  35. “his” (in Goliath).
  36. “his” (in the Glasgow Fechtbuch).
  37. Goliath’s description is a bit different: “Strike out with your right hand and grab his right butt cheek”.
  38. The Glasgow Fechtbuch has another suggestion: “…or into his eyes”.
  39. “over” (in the Glasgow Fechtbuch).
  40. The instructions in Goliath are clearer: “Step with your right leg outside behind his right leg…”.
  41. Goliath goes in more detail here: “…turn to your left side and throw him over your right hip”.
  42. Goliath has a further suggestion: “You can also step with your right thigh to his left thigh during the turn and throw him”.
  43. “his” (in Glasgow Fechtbuch).
  44. Korrgiert aus »rechten«.
  45. This play is listed twice.