Transcriptions | Johannes Lecküchner | Foreword

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These are the writings of Hans Lecküchner from Nürnberg on fencing with the Langes Messer, which he has formulated and written himself, the text and the explanations, for the high born Prince and Duke Philip Pals-grave of the Rhine, Steward, Elector and Duke of Bavaria.

The Foreword

 

If you will mind,
regarding fencing with the Messer,
learn things that grace you,
that flatter in jest or earnest.
Then you may startle
and awaken the masters artfully.

Here begins the foreword to the Langes Messer. One who wants to fence with the Messer shall learn the right arts and act according to these written arts and skills. Then he will stand his ground in front of princes and lords. Corresponding to his arts he shall be better paid and he shall not show his skills to other masters or teach them. For there are many masters of the sword who don't know about the art of fencing with the Messer and don't discover it properly. Those who can use these skills, they will find many serious pieces to surprise the masters and decide artfully that they will be hit, pushed, thrown forward or held tight against their will.

One who only displaces,
will be harmed by any art.

After the Master has spoken the foreword, he gives you a good lesson. This is the first. When you come to the man in the Zufechten, you shall not stand and wait for his strikes. Those fencers who aim to displace things, they will be harmed gravely. If they like to displace and therefore

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don't use proper arts, and when they don't do anything but displacing, they will be hit and weakened in all their doings.

Indes, before and after, these words
are the base of all arts.
Test for weakness and strength cunningly
if you want to fence artfully.

Here the Master speaks and names the base of fencing with the Messer as Indes, Before and After. You shall understand that you need to remember those two things; the before and the after. Additionally the weakness, the strength and the Indes, for this is the base of all fencing arts. If you listen and understand these things and don't forget the Indes in all the pieces that you do, then you will be a good master with the Messer and teach princes and lords to let them succeed with their arts in jest and in earnest.
This is the before: If you are faster with the strike than he, so that he has to displace it, bring the Messer in front of you immediately or into another piece and don't let him take the offence. Then you have bound him in the before. If he is faster than you with the attack or the strike and you must displace, react immediately with the Messer or another piece, then you regain the before with the after. This is the before and the after.
Most of all, you shall also know about the strength and the weakness of the Messer. Remember: from the cross to the middle of the blade, that is the strength. From the middle to the point, that is the weakness. How you shall fence with this and what the Indes is; that's to be taught in the following.

Learn six strikes,
from one hand against the arms.

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Place the left hand on the back,
to your chest if you want to reach out to the weapon.

Here the Master teaches how to pose and behave when fencing with the Messer. First, you shall fight with one hand in Messer fencing and have the other hand on your back. If you want to fight with the empty hand, like taking his Messer, grappling or trapping the arm, then turn the hand from the back to the chest to push it over his arm from the inside. Second, there are six hidden strikes named and mentioned in the text. Many good pieces evolve from these, for those who know to execute them properly and use them skilfully. How you shall execute them with three pieces will be taught below.

Zornhau, Wecker,
Entrüsthau, Zwinger, Gefer and Winker

Here the Master identifies the six hidden strikes and how they are named to make it easier for you to understand the pieces based on them. He says the first is called Zornhau, the second Wecker, the third Entrüsthau, the fourth Zwinger, the fifth Geferhau and the sixth Winker. Those are six and there are additional main pieces as you will hear in the following.

The guards, displacing,
the Nachreißen, the Überlaufen and Absetzen,
the Durchwechseln, Zucken,
Durchlaufen, the cuts, pushing,
Ablaufen, Pnehmen,
Durchgehen, Pogen, taking the Messer,
the Hängen and winding to the openings

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Strike the blows: learn arduously.

Here the Master names the other main pieces; they are seventeen.
First are the four guards. They are addressed where the text speaks of guards.
The second piece is called displacing. This is addressed when the text speaks of displacing.
Third is the Nachreißen. This is addressed when the Nachreißen is mentioned.
Fourth is the Überlaufen. This is addressed where it says lauf über.
Fifth is the Absetzen. This is addressed where Absetzen is mentioned.
Sixth is the Durchwechseln. This the master addresses when he speaks of wechsel durch.
The seventh is called Zucken. This is addressed when he speaks of Zucken.
Eighth is the Durchlaufen. This is addressed where it says lauf durch.
Ninth is the Abschneiden or the four cuts. This is addressed where the cut is mentioned.
The tenth is called pushing the hands. This is addressed when he speaks about pushing.
Eleventh is the Ablaufen. This is addressed when he talks about the Ablaufen.
Twelfth is the Pnehmen. This is addressed where it says pnimm.
Thirteenth is the Durchgehen. This is addressed where it says geh durch.
Fourteenth is the Pogen. This is addressed when he speaks of the Pogen.
The fifteenth is called taking the Messer. This is addressed when it says take the weapon.

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Sixteenth is the Hängen. It is addressed when Hängen is spoken of.
Seventeenth is the Winden with the Messer. This the master addresses when he says wind to the openings.
These are the main pieces, there are twenty-three.

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