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The Tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer

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A note on common fencing

This article

Johannes Liechtenauer, the High Master

And before all things, you shall note and know that there is just one art of the sword, and it may have been discovered and conceived many hundred years ago, and it is the foundation and core of the entire art of fencing. Master Liechtenauer internalized and applied it quite completely and correctly—not that he discovered and conceived it himself, but rather, he traveled through many lands and sought the legitimate and truthful art for the sake of experiencing and knowing it. (Ms. 3227a)

The Fellowship of Liechtenauer

Here begins the art that Liechtenauer, may God have mercy on him, has created with his fellowship and applied with all knightly weapons. (Cgm 1507)

The Recital of the Art of Fencing

Because the art belongs to princes and lords, knights and squires, and they should know and learn this art, he has written of this art in obscure and cryptic words, so that not everyone will grasp and understand it, and he has done this on account of frivolous fight masters who mistake the art as trivial, so that such masters will not make his art common or open with people who do not hold the art in respect as is its due. (Cod. 44.A.8)

Teaching from the the Recital

And so Master Sigmund ain Ringeck, at the time known as fencing master to the highborn prince and noble Lord Albrecht, Count Palatine of the Rhine and Duke of Bavaria, had these same obscure and cryptic words of the Recital glossed and interpreted, so that any one fencer who can already fight properly may well go through and understand. (Ms. dresd. C.487)

Liechtenauer's students

Other glossators

Expanding into other weapon forms

Modifying the art for new generations

Reviving the art in the 20th century