A fechtbuch is a term used to describe fencing manuals from the middle ages and renaissance periods. The term is German and means combat manual (lit. fight book) although is can also be applied to mean only German martial works from the 15th and 16th century.
A number of surviving fechtbucher survive today and a growing movement amongst historical martial arts enthusiasts are studying the works and re-learning the fighting techniques of their forebears.
Fechtbucher were often written in cryptic terms so that students familar with the basics would be able to expand their knowledge. Some are devoid of text and many discuss philosophical matters in regard to the fighting arts.
This is a selection of surving fechtbucher in approximate chronological order.
- I.33 (Royal Armouries) c.1280
- The Dobringer Hausbuch 1389
- Le Jeu de la Hache 1400
- Flos Duellatorum, 1409-1410
- Ringeck's Fechtbuch c.1440
- Jud Lew c.1440
- The von Danzig Fechtbuch 1452
- Paulus Kal 1450-1500
- Hans Talhoffer 1459, 1467
- De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi 1482-1487
- Hans von Speyer 1491
- Paradoxes of Defence 1499
- Joachim Meyer 1570
- Arte Dell' Armi 1568
- His True Arte of Defense 1594
- His Practise (in two books) 1595
- Gran Simulacro Dell'Arte e dell'uso della Scherma 1610
- Della vera Practica & scienza d'arma libri due nel primo de quali si tratta di fondament della spada solla 1624
A selection of fencing masters of particular fame who have work attributed to them.
- Johannes Liechtenauer, 14th century
- Hans Talhoffer, 15th century
- Giacomo di Grassi, 16th century?
- Fiore dei Liberi, 15th century
- George Silver, 16th and 17th century
- Camillo Agrippa 16th century
- Vincentio Saviolo 16th century
- Redolfo Capo Ferro 17th century
- Salvatore Fabris 17th century
Modern Translations and Interpretations
- Medieval Combat, Hans Talhoffer translated by Mark Rector. 15th century longsword with many other weapons as well.
- Arte of Defence, William. E. Wilson. Early 17th century rapier.
- Arte Gladiatoria, Master Filippo Vadi translated by Luca Porzio and Gegory Mele. 15th century longsword, dagger, spear and pole axe.
- Medieval Sword and Shield, Paul Wagner and Stephen Hand. 13th or early 14th century arming sword and buckler using I.33.
- The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship, "Jeffrey L. Forgeng. A fascimile of I.33. 13th or early 14th century arming sword and buckler.
- Fighting with the German Longsword, Christian Henry Tobler. 15th century longsword
- Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship, "Christian Henry Tobler. 15th century longsword