A Falchion / Langes Messer Fencing Treatise by Johannes LeckÃ¼chner (1482)
LeckÃ¼chner's Langes Messer treatise is freely available as a PDF document for training and research purposes (646 pages, 47 MB). It contains:
- Part 1 â€“ An introductory section about LeckÃ¼chner's Messer fencing, weapons and the author's approach on the manuscripts.
- Part 2 â€“ The main part of the document features
- all illustrations from codex Cgm 582,
- transcription of the text,
- English translation of the text,
- plus a transcription and translation of differing contents in LeckÃ¼chner's Heidelberg codex Cpg 430 as footnotes.
- Part 3 â€“ A concordance table of the manuscripts Cgm 582, Cpg 430 and Cod.I.6.4o.3 (Jude Lew), list of figures and bibliography.
About the author
Dr Grzegorz Å»abiÅ„ski (Upper Silesia, PL), historian and archaeologist. Apart from medieval and early Renaissance martial arts, his research interests also include weaponry studies and archaeometallurgy. He is currently employed at the Institute of History of Jan DÅ‚ugosz Academy in CzÄ™stochowa, PL.
Russ Mitchell (Texas) is a historian and experimental archaeologist specializing in medieval arms and armor. He holds teaching ranks in several martial arts and has a special focus on Central and Eastern-European weaponry.
Falko Fritz is a historical fencer from Hamburg. Since 2009 he holds the weekly training for Langes Messer at Hammaborg â€“ historischer Schwertkampf e.V.
Gerhard Gohr is instructor for Langes Messer at Der Fechtsaal, Krefeld, and an experienced interpreter of LeckÃ¼chner's techniques.
The translation in the PDF document is independent from the partial translation by Falko Fritz found online on this website (see below).
The source Cgm 582 is an illustrated manuscript in early new high
German, completed by Johannes Lecküchner, priest in Herzogenaurach,
in the night of the 19. January 1482. Presumably it was made for
Philip the Upright, Elector Palatine of the Rhine from 1476 to 1508.
The book contains 216 folios
sized 30 x 20.7 cm and it's written in a bastarda. Today it is kept
in the Bayrische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The text itself is a
copy of an earlier manuscript by the same author, Cod.
Pal. germ. 430, Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, which is without illustrations.
The Messer fencing book by Johannes Lecküchner is unique in
several aspects, compared to other medieval German fencing books:
The presentation of fencing techniques with all the three elements
illustration, verse and detailed explanation is not to be found in
any other comparable manuscript from the 15. century. Additionally,
the book deals with Messer fencing only, it is not a compendium of
knightly martial arts in general.
Even though, the teachings are clearly based in Master Liechtenauer's
tradition. The alignment of the chapters, the description of guards
and hidden strikes, the verses and many texts themselves have their
counterparts in the sources covering the Longsword, e.g. the manuscript
44 A 8 (“Peter von Danzig“), 1452.
Still Lecküchner extends Master Liechtenauer's system and
renames several techniques. All in all he lists 23 main pieces including
six hidden strikes, five of which have an equivalent in Liechtenauer's
Longsword, plus 17 additional main pieces. However, the extent of
the chapters differs greatly: While 132 pages are dedicated to disarming
techniques (“taking the Messer“), there is only one single
page about the “Zwinger“ (the Schielhau in the Longsword).
It might be concluded that the Zwinger was only added to complete
the handing down of Liechtenauer's verses.
The three most extensive chapters add up to more than half of the
book: Taking the Messer, Durchlaufen and Überlaufen - all of
them techniques that mostly end up in wrestling, be it wrestling
with the Messer, with the arms or throws and takedowns. It is fair
to assume that this emphasis on wrestling is a consequence of having
a shorter weapon (compared to the Longsword) and an empty hand for
The translation is based on the transcription by Carsten and Julia
Lorbeer, Johann Heim, Robert Brunner and Alexander Kiermayer of the
Gesellschaft für pragmatische Schriftlichkeit, which is downloadable
document. To give a starting point for Messer fencing, the
first pages of each chapter were translated.
It was tried to use modern language as close as possible to the
original text and avoid interpretations. Obvious mistakes like confusing “his“ and “your“ or
right and left were corrected in some few cases. On many pages Lecküchner
repeats the verse or its beginning in the explanation; these repetitions
were replaced by the annotation [Rep.v.].
Ablaufen - running off
Abnehmen - taking off
Abschneiden - cutting off
Absetzen - setting off
Ansetzen - setting on
Duplieren - doubling
Durchgehen / geh durch - go through
Durchwechseln / wechsel durch
- change through
Durchlaufen / lauf durch - running
Eber - guard position, “boar”
Einlaufen - running in
Entrüsthau - hidden strike, “disarming strike”
Geferhau - hidden strike, “danger strike”
Hängen - hanging
Halbhau - “half strike”
Indes - simultaneously, instantly
Langes Messer - long knife
Luginsland - guard position, “look over the land”
Messer - knife
Messernehmen - taking the Messer
Mordschlag - strike with the
Mutieren - mutating
Nachreißen - jerking after
Oberhau - strike from above
Pastei - guard position, “bastion”
Pnehmen / pnimm - removing(?)
Pogen - arc / bow
Schrankhut - “barrier guard”
Sonnenzeigen - showing the sun
Stier - guard position, “bull”
Überlaufen / lauf über - running over
Unterhau - strike from below
Wecker - hidden strike, “wakener”
Winden - winding
Winker - hidden strike, “waver”
Zornhau - hidden strike, “wrath strike”
Zornhau-Ort - Zornhau-point
Zucken - jerking / snatching
Zufechten - approaching in fencing
/ getting into striking distance / engagement
Zwinger - hidden strike, “forcer”
Complete scan of Cgm 582 as PDF
Complete scan of Cgm 582 online
of the text
Falko Fritz, October 2010