At Scholar Victoria we focus on the Longsword as it was used in the 15th and 16th century German sources, introducing a variety of weapons and styles to suit the interests of the individual. We also train 19th century sabre as period short courses.
15th Century Longsword Fencing
The 15th century was the heyday of the Longsword, seeing its use across most of Europe. Our 15th Century syllabus is drawn from writings in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer and is presented in parallel contrast with our 16th century fencing classes. While the source material for these systems do include sections on fighting in harness (armour), known as Harnisfechten, and descriptions of using the longsword while mounted (Rossfechten), typically we teach only the Blossfechten (unarmoured) techniques.
Liechtenauer himself seems to have been a fencing master of the late 14th/early 15th century, however we have no direct writings or historical records of his existence. The entire body of his fencing system has been passed on to us through other writers from the 15th century. This system was recorded as a series of verses known as the Zettel, and various authors reproduced these verses, adding their own explanation of the techniques described therein.
Our own syllabus uses these commentaries (often called “glosses”), in particular we lean heavily on the following authors:
With supporting material from:
Specifically the recitals and commentaries from these authors are used in teaching the Longsword.
16th Century Fencing
Our 16th century syllabus is drawn primarily from the works of Joachim Meÿer (ca. 1537 – 1571), a 16th century fencer from Germany, and arguably the last major figure in the tradition of the German Swordsmanship attributed to Jonannes Liechtenauer. Meÿer wrote several influential fencing texts which culminated in his extensive 1570 work, printed just before his death.
His works represents an important transition in writing style from early German texts to a more elaborate renaissance style of writing. They also show a transition between popular weapon types of the time, and the influence of other European fencing styles (such as the Italians) on German martial arts.
In addition to the longsword (the classical weapon of the Liechtenauer tradition) Meÿer’s syllabus also covers use of the dussack (a short sabre like weapon common to the era) as well as the sidesword (an elegant single handed sword), the dagger, staff, and more military polearms such as the halberd and pike.
19th Century Sabre
Our fencing syllabus is rounded out with sabre fencing systems from the 19th century.
Sabre fencing is fun and effective way to quickly learn a the principles of fencing which can then be applied to any other weapon.
It has fewer protective equipment requirements than fencing with a Longsword, and yet still allows fencers to achieve high levels of technical excellence and compete in international level events.
Our sabre syllabus draws on the text of John Musgrave Waite, “Lessons in Sabre, Singlestick, Sabre and Bayonet, and Sword Feats; or, How to use a cut and thrust Sword” as well as the writings of Alfred Hutton, particularly his book “The Swordsman” from the late 19th Century