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Longsword from the Klner Fechtbuch

(MS Best.7020; anonymous, 1500s)

Keith Farrell

Academy of Historical Arts


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and
Historical European Martial Arts Coalition

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The MS Best.7020 is an interesting manuscript dating from the 1500s. It contains some similarities to the Marxbrder
fencing syllabus described by Hans Sachs in 1548, although the content of the manuscript appears to be somewhat
unique and does not appear to be a part of the Liechtenauer tradition like so many of the other manuals. However,
some lines of text are similar to Liechtenauer's verses. The lesson will look at some of the longsword material from this
manual and will note the similarities and differences compared to the Liechtenauer tradition of unarmoured longsword
fencing. James Wallhausen made the translation of the manuscript that has been used to prepare this lesson and a
copy of it is available here: http://paleo.eskirmology.co.uk/best-7020-fechtbuch/

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The sequence of basic cuts:


1) Ouer hewe (long edge) from right shoulder, stepping out to the left to power the strike with the hips.
Think pommel, cross, step.
2) Let the point circle down and out to the right, come back up and cut an ouer hewe (long edge) from
high left to low right, stepping out to the right to power the strike with the hips.
3) Let the point circle down and out to the right, step to the left, and cut up (long edge) into the schilt
(shield; what we know as the Ochs).
4) Let the point circle down and out to the right, step to the right, and drop (short edge) to the head.
5) Let the point circle down and out to the left, keep the pommel high, circle the pommel round to the
right behind the back, drop the pommel to shoulder height, step to the left and cut a myttel hewe (long
edge) from the right.
6) Let the point circle up and down behind, raise the pommel to the shoulder, step to the right and cut a
myttel hewe (long edge) from the left.
7) Let the point circle up and down behind, take a left foot forward stance, bring sword to the right
wechsel, cut up through the face with the short edge, step forward with the right foot, and cut down
through the face to the left with the long edge.
8) Draw the sword to the left wechsel, cut up through the face with the short edge, step forward with
the left foot and cut down through the face to the right with the long edge.

The four positions: Upper right, upper left, lower right, lower left; like what we know as Vom Tag and
Pflug on the right and the left.

The four engagements on the sword: With each movement, step forward and strike: [to his] upper
left opening, binding with the short edge; then [to his] upper right opening, binding with the long edge;
then [to his] lower left opening, binding with the short edge; then [to his] lower right opening, binding
with the flat.

The lion (der leue): Place yourself in dy wage and with your head not too high, cut the four points
with strength so you have a lions bite, and you may make another two good strides forward.

The wing (der flogel): Bind to his upper left with the short edge, strike at his lower right opening
with the long edge, back round and vertically down to his head with the short edge, then round and
down with the long edge into the lower left position.

The flinch (das verzoking): Pretend to bind him on the right but cut round from the left; from a left
cut, if he makes to bind with you, cut round from the right; if he makes to bind with you, circle out with
the point and cut down with the long edge through him into the lower left position. Thus you are not
open to exposure/feeling (fuhlen).

The iron door (dy yser porte): Start in lower left position, let the point sink to the ground; cut the
flogel and strike round (short edge) from the right into the schilt, then strike (long edge) from the left
down into the trench cut (den gassen hewe) on the right.

The fool (der olber): Start in the lower right position, then turn the point and hold the schilt in
front of the head therewith to break what the opponent strikes from the roof.

The squinter (der schilder): Feint left and strike right, or feint right and strike left, so you proceed
against the opponent with a joyful expression.

The bell ringer (der scheller): Chime once, twice, three times against his blade so that you make
his openings.

The ox (der ocks): Place the pommel at the chest and thrust at his face. Cut round with the flogel
(including short edge follow-up) and then do the squinter (feint left and cut right).

The golden cut (den gulden hewe): Aim to bind him from your right with two or three strikes after
each other (eg: wechsel, ouer hewe, short edge low bind (like what we know as a Zwerhaw)) then step
to the left and let fly at his head.