Center for Historical Fencing

A resource hub for those teaching Medieval, Renaissance, or Enlightenment Swordplay

Glossary of Historical Fencing Terms

This Glossary is a living document, updated at least once a month with the term highlighted in the monthly issue of Historical Swordplay.  More frequent additions, expansions of existing definitions, and updates may occur based on ongoing research.  Our general method is to add terms from one source at a time, expanding the definition as additional sources are consulted. 

Readers should understand that there are wide variations in how terms are used in historical texts, and that a term may have significantly different meanings in the work of different authors (or even within the work of the same author).  Where such differences exist, each core concept is listed as a separate definition of the term.  In addition, do not confuse historical terms with modern terminology.  A term may have a very different modern meaning, and the use of the modern meaning may significantly and incorrectly modify the meaning of the original text.  References to left and right are in the context of a right handed fencer.

Under Dates, the abbreviation "pos" indicates the possible range of dates for a source, and "approx" indicates a date attributed to a document that may be approximately correct but is not confirmed.  Where (a), (b), etc. appear in Dates, the Definition, and the Sources, they indicate the date and source of close variants of the definition.

Where possible entries are included for terms in their original language and separately in English.  English language entries are cross referenced to the term in the original language.  An English translation is noted below the bolded term in its original language.  In the English language entry a reference is made to the original term.  In those cases where entries are made based on English language translations and interpretations without the original language term, notes to those translated terms are included in the English language entry.  For a complete picture of the use of the term, refer both to the original language and the English translation entries.

We wish to thank two extremely valuable sources of fencing texts for their work in making documents freely available, either in the original or in transcription and translation: The Raymond J. Lord Collection at the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, curated by Jeff Lord, and the website Wikitenauer, edited online by Michael Chidester.  In addition, we are greatly indebted to the many researchers who have translated and interpreted a steadily growing body of historical fencing texts. 

Glossary - A

Dates

Weapons

Term

Definition

Sources

approx

1389

Long Sword

Abesetczen,

Absetzen

Setting Aside

Using the fencer’s sword to set aside (effectively to deflect) the opponent’s blade using opposition with the flat of the blade to defeat cuts and thrusts.  Absetzen should end with the fencer’s point turned to the opponent’s face.

David Lindholm’s translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.  David Lindholm and Peter Svard Sigmund Ringeck’s Knightly Art of the Longsword (2003).

1746

Broadsword

Advance

To press forward against the opponent, while covered by a Guard, with half steps with the right foot moving first.  The advance is executed by stepping forward with the right foot for one third of the length of the lunge, transferring weight to the right foot, sliding the left foot forward without losing contact to the ground and stopping approximately 6 inches from the right heel.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

After

see Nach

 

approx 1389

Long Sword

After Strike

see Nachschlag

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

1746

Broadsword

Ambuscade

(a) A class of offensive techniques based on creating a situation in which the opponent can be attacked when he believes he is safe or is in a position to successfully attack.  See also Leading Ambuscade and Gormon’s Throw.

(b) From a defensive posture, a quick advance to Half Sword remaining Covered with the Outside Guard while Bearing the opponent’s blade widely out of the Line.  The wide displacement creates the opportunity for an attack by the opponent to the Opening of the Inside.  If the opponent attempts to disengage, the fencer may disengage and cut the inside wrist; if he attempts a Throw to the inside, his throat is exposed to a thrust.

(a) and (b) T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Aus Der Pforten
From the Gate

The movement of placing the point of the sword to the ground in front of the fencer.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

Glossary - B

1617

Back Sword

Backe Blow

A hewing cut in Back Sword delivered from the bent right arm with the knuckles upward and the hilt as high as the right ear by turning the sword hand wrist to proffer the point of the sword toward the opponent's dagger ear.  This feint is followed by a compass blow passing with the middle of the blade close over the fencer's head to strike at the opponent's sword ear or the outside of his sword leg.  The Backe Blow can be executed also in the reverse starting with the proffer to the sword ear.  See Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Back Traverse

A Traverse executed by circular stepping first to the fencer’s right with the front foot, followed by the step to the right with the rear foot.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Baking Master

see Weckemeister

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

approx 1389, 1560

Long Sword

Barrier Guard

see Schrankhute.  One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Barring

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Battering

The action of forcefully striking the Foible of an opponent’s sword, one, two, or three times, to force it out of line and create an Opening.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Bear, Bearing

A moderately strong press with the Fort of the fencer’s sword against the fort of the opponent’s sword.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Before

see Vor

 

1560

Long Sword

Bind On

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Blinding Cut

One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Blocking

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Back Sword

Blow

A hewing cut, as contrasted with the thrust, executed with the Back Sword.  See Wrist Blow, Halfe Blow, Quarter Blow, Whirling Blow, Dunstable Backe Blow, Compass Blow, and Backe Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Bouncing Cut

One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Bout

The fencing activity in which the fencers play loose using their own judgment, using any or all guards, until a cut is either given or received by one of the fencers.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Rapier

Breake A Thrust

A parry either with the Rapier or Rapier and Dagger.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence, but is not defined or its execution described.

1746

Broadsword

Breaking Measure

Page states that the Slip is also known as Breaking Measure.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Rapier,
Back Sword

Broad Ward

(a) A Rapier and Dagger guard, with both arms held straight out from the body, at least a foot apart, and with the Rapier and Dagger hilts turned as high as or higher than the fencer's breast.
(b) As a Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

Glossary - C

1617

Rapier

Carelesse Guard

A Rapier and Dagger guard, with the point of the Rapier on the ground a foot to the side of the fencer's left side, the blade across the body, and the hilt resting on the right thigh, and with the Dagger approximately one foot forward and under the hilt of the Rapier.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Carrying A True Edge

A Throw executed perpendicular to the part of the body at which it is aimed to deliver the maximum force intended.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Back Sword

Castle Guard

A Back Sword and Dagger guard, with the sword hilt as low as the pocket of the hose and approximately one foot forward of the body and with the point straight out from the thigh and raised to the opponent's head height.  The dagger is held by a fully extended arm out from and at the level of the left cheek.  The points of the sword and dagger incline slightly inward.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Change Through

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Circle

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.  A deceptive cut executed with either the short or long edge from the bind with the hands above the head in a circular cut from one side to the other using crossed hands. 

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Clash

The meeting of your and your opponent's blades.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Clashing Cut

A cut executed by cutting to the opponent's blade. One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier,
Back Sword

Close

A progressive attack with a pass with an opposition thrust followed by closing to grappling distance to cut, thrust, disarm, or throw the opponent.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Back Sword

Compass Blow

Based on the description of the Backe Blow by Joseph Swetnam, this hewing cut with the Back Sword may be executed as a circular cut around the fencer's head from right to left, with the blade passing low over the crown of the head.  See Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.  However, Swetnam does not provide a definition or detailed description.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Constant Motion

see Frequens Motus

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1746

Broadsword

Cover

To hold the sword in a Guard to protect some portion of the fencer’s body from a Throw.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Covert Cuts

Meyer's set of six additional cuts: Blinding Cut, Bouncing Cut, Short Cut, Knuckle Cut, Clashing Cut, and Wind Cut

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Crooked Cut

see Krumphau

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1617 (a,b)

Rapier, Back Sword

Crosse Guard

(a) A Rapier and Dagger guard, with the Dagger held point up with the hilt as low as below the fencer's waist, and with the Rapier held so that the point of the Rapier is under the Dagger hand.
(b) Possibly an equivalent guard for Back Sword and Dagger.  See Crosse-Ward.

(a) and (b) Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1467

Long Sword

Crossed Point

see Geschrenckt Ort

 

1617

Back Sword

Crosse-Ward

As a Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.  May be an equivalent to Crosse Guard.

 Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Crown

A guard described by Meyer (1560) as displacing with the horizontal cross guard raised above the head.  Not one of Meyer's Main Guards or Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Crown Cut

A cut executed from Crown as a Thwart stroke into an opponent's cut from above with the fencer's long edge upward, the flat directed to the opponent's left ear, and the hands raised above the head.  The ending position of the hands is similar to that of the Squinter Cut.  Not one of Meyer's Master Cuts or Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Cut

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Cut Off

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

Glossary - D

1614,
1617

Rapier

Dazeling

An opportunistic, eyes-open attack consisting of a series of rapid feints delivered in different lines to eventually cause an opponent to create an opening into which a thrust can be delivered.

 G. H.'s 1614 monograph The Private Schoole of Defence and in Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.  G. H.'s reference is brief, and Swetnam describes the technique but does not offer a specific definition. 

1617

Rapier

Deceit

A synonym for False Play.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Disarm Upon The Outside

A bade seizure executed by receiving an attack on the Inside, Bearing the opponent’s blade to the Outside while stepping forward and pivoting to seize the shell of the hilt with the left hand, finally presenting the point to the chest.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1389,
1560

Long Sword

Displacement,
Displace

See Vorsetczen.  One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier

Distance

Separation from an opponent such that the fencer is as far away as possible while still being able to reach him when the fencer steps forward with a blow or thrust.  Swetnam suggests this is approximately 12 feet when the fencer is on guard with a weapon with a 4 foot blade.  Observing (in this case probably best understood as controlling) distance is one of Joseph Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Dividing Cut, Dividing Low Cut

Believed to be a rising Underhaw cut vertically directed along the Scheittellini.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1560

Long Sword

Double Failer

A combination of two Failers of the same type, or two of  differing types (for example a failer involving a change of the type of cut which does not connect followed by a failer which deceives a parry).

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Double Flick

A Flick followed by blade action leading to a second flick on the other side of the opponent.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Double Squinter

A Squinter Cut executed from the fencer's right against the opponent's cut; on the clash the fencer reverses his sword on the opponent's blade and slides off to his left, steps with the right foot toward the opponent's left side, brings the blade around his head, and cuts the second squinter to the opponent's head above from the fencer's right and deep in toward the opponent's left.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Doubling

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Back Sword

Dunstable Backe Blow

A hewing cut delivered with the back sword from the fencer's left shoulder to the right side of either the opponent's head or to the opponent's right leg. 

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

approx
1389

Long Sword

Dy Drey Hewe
The Three Strikes

A combination of three attacks: an Underhaw from the right side, a second strong Underhaw from the left side to displace the opponent's blade, and a final direct cut at the opponent to hit on the forehead.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

Glossary - E

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Edel Krieg
Noble War

In handwork distance a series of point thrusts delivered with the hands above and the hilt in front of your head to openings in the opponent's blade position after the bind.  Edel Krieg confuses the opponent by presenting rapidly changing threats in a variety of angles of attack.

Keith Farrell's translation of the  Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck.  Appears in teaching verse attributed to Liechtenauer.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Eyserynen Pforten
Iron Gate

A guard assumed from either foot forward with the blade inclined down to the ground. 

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

Glossary - F

1560

Long Sword

Failer, Failing

A transformation of an attack from one type of action to another directed at a different target area when the opponent attempts to parry.  This can be by avoiding the parry and transitioning to cut diagonally at another target.  Or it may be by transition of one type of cut into another; for example, an Oberhau into a Thwart Cut.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

False Edge

Term applied to the blade of cutting swords with two cutting edges.  The False or Short Edge is the edge of the blade that is the reverse of the True Edge, the edge that points toward the near end of the V formed by the thumb and the hand, and back toward the fencer in a normal relaxed grip.  Effectively it is the rearward edge of the blade.  In weapons with both edges sharpened, both  true and false edges can be used for cutting, and both can be used for parrying.  See Short Edge.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1599

Back Sword

False Fight

Any action which starts with the feet before the hand. Contrast with True Fight.

George Silver's 1599 text Paradoxes of Defence.

1617

Rapier, Back Sword

False Play

A combination of a proffer (or feint) with a withdrawal of the hand and an attack in a different line or to a different opening.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Feeling

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Fence Guard

see Schrankhute

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1560

Long Sword

First Squinter Cut

The Squinter Cut executed from a position that would allow a direct cut at the opponent at the same time as an opponent's cut to the fencer's left.  The fencer's blade turns in the air and the hands cross to cut in to the opponent's right with the short edge so that the opponent's blade falls to the fencer's right.  In the process the fencer steps to his left toward the opponent's right side.     

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Feint

A movement offering (suggesting) an attack without actually completing the attack, often with the intent of having the opponent create an opening in the attempt to Stop the incoming threat.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1389

Long Sword

First Strike

see Vorschlag

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1560

Long Sword

Flicking

A quick cut executed as a snapping motion, probably predominantly with hand, wrist, and forearm, to feint or to hit probably with the tip of the blade.  See Double Flick

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Flying

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Foible

The portion of the sword blade nearer the point of the weapon, traditionally the weak part of the blade.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Fool

One of Meyers four Main Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617 (a, b)

Rapier

Fore-Hand Guard

(a) A Rapier and Dagger guard, with the dagger held point upright or at a slight incline to the left side, and with the rapier hand under the dagger with the blade point in varying positions generally threatening the opponent above the waist.  The dagger and rapier hilts are held together as low as the fencer's waist.
(b) a Back Sword guard, see Unicorne Guard.

(a) and (b) Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Fore Traverse

A Traverse executed by circular stepping first to the fencer’s left with the rear foot, followed by the step to the left with the front foot.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Fort

The portion of the sword blade nearer the hilt of the weapon, traditionally the strong part of the blade.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Four Divisions

see Four Openings

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Four Openings

The division of the opponent into left and right sections and over and under sections creating four openings or divisions of the target: over (in modern terms high line line) left, over right, under (in modern terms low line) right, and under left.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1467

Long Sword

Free Point

see Fryes Ort

 

approx 1389

Long Sword

Frequens Motus
Constant Motion

Constant motion, as executing the beginning, middle, and end of all fencing actions rapidly and without delay.  Related to the concepts of Vor, and the Vorschlag, and Nach, and the Nachslag.  See Motus

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1389

Long Sword

From The Gate

see Aus Der Pforten

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

pos. 1353-1460, 1560

Long Sword

From The Roof

see Vom Tag

 

1467

Long Sword

Fryes Ort
Free Point

A thrust with the point delivered with the blade hanging down and the hands above the head, apparently without opposition in an open line. See Ort.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on two illustrations in the Codex. 

Glossary - G

1467

Long Sword

Gayszlen
Whipping

A slinging cut at the leg (and possibly other open lines) made with the left arm, the left hand holding the pommel, and stepping forward with the left leg.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Gate

See Pforte

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1467

Long Sword

Geschrenckt Ort
Crossed Point

A thrust with the point of the sword delivered from crossed arms on the fencer's right side with the left foot forward and the arms crossed at forehead height.  It is pictured in conjunction with an oberhau, suggesting that it is used in winding. See Ort.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex. 

1489

Long Sword

Golden Art

see Guldin Kunst

Christian Trosclair's translation of Joerg Wilhalm Hutter's copy of Nicholaues Augsberger's ca. 1489 treatise

1617

Rapier

Good Guard

An effective guard for the defence of the fencer's body, maintained as long as the fencer is within reach of an opponent's attack.  One of Joseph Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.  See True Guard.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Gormon’s Throw

An ambuscade executed from an unusual posture, with the weight on the left foot, the right foot advanced 6 to 8 inches, the body leaning to the right side, the left arm extended straight and raised so that the hand was as high as the top of the head, the right hand lowered as far as possible with the hilt toward the knee, and the blade turned outwards with the point to the ground.  When an opponent attempted a full Throw, Gormon Timed the action to rapidly raise the right arm, cutting under the opponent’s hilt from the wrist to the elbow.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Grab Over

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Guard

The position in which a fencer holds the sword to defend some part of the body.  See Good Guard, Hanging Guard, Inside Guard, Outside Guard, Saint George’s Guard, True Guard, and To Raise the Guards.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword

1489

Long Sword

Guldin Kunst
Golden Art

One of Augsburger's 5 devices that break the Liechtenauer Zettel

Christian Trosclair's translation of Joerg Wilhalm Hutter's copy of Nicholaues Augsberger's ca. 1489 treatise

Glossary - H

1617

Back Sword

Halfe Blow

A hewing cut executed with more than wrist action, but probably not with full arm action, in Back Sword.  It is slower than the Wrist Blow but faster than the Quarter Blow.  See Blow, Wrist Blow, and Quarter Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence

1746

Broadsword

Half Sword

A short or close distance.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword. The term is not defined.  This definition is based on the context of its use.

1560

Long Sword

Hand Press

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Handworks In The Sword

Meyer's set of 29 handworks including: Bind On, Remain, Cut, Strike Around, Travel After, Snap Around, Run Off, Doubling, Leading, Flying, Feeling, Circle, Looping, Winding, Winding Through, Reverse, Change Through, Run Over, Set Off, Cut Off, Pull, Hand Press, Displace, Hanging, Blocking, Barring, Travel Out, Grab Over, and Weak Pushing.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Hanging

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Hanging Guard

A Guard with the fencer with both feet on the Line of Defence, the weapon arm extended with the elbow raised and the blade extended forward and sloping down toward the opponent’s torso above the waist.  The Hanging Guard protects the fencer’s head, shoulders, and upper torso.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Hanging Point

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Back Sword

Hanging-Ward

A Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Hard

Sensation of stiffness or resistance by the opponent's blade in the bind.  See Strong.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Haw, Hau, How
Hit

A hewing cut executed with the true or false edge of the blade.  In Liechtenauer's tradition, the cut is executed with the whole body starting from a left foot forward position with a pass.  It is directed close to the head or body to deny the opponent the opportunity to change through.  See Oberhau and Underhow.

Keith Farrell's translation of the  Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck.  Appears in teaching verse attributed to Liechtenauer.

1467

Long Sword

Hefften
Tacking

A thrust with the point of the sword against the hand or foot of the opponent, executed with one hand on the grip and one hand on the blade.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on two illustrations in the Codex. 

1617

Rapier

High Guard

A rapier and dagger guard, with the dagger held arm fully extended and point upright as low as the waist, and with the rapier held at cheek height with the arm bent and the point located inside of the dagger point and close to it.  The feet should be as close together as possible.

Described as one of three high guards without a specific name being given in Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

Glossary - I

1617

Rapier

Imbrokata

A falsifying (deceptive) thrust, executed by first feinting from above toward as low as the opponent's knee, and then executed as a thrust to the opponent's dagger shoulder, dagger arm, or face.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Inside

The internal left side of the fencer’s limbs on the right side, the forward portions of the face and body, and the entire left side of the fencer (referenced to a right handed fencer).  See Outside.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Inside Guard

A Guard with the fencer with both feet on the Line of Defence, the blade sloping across the body, with the point opposite the opponent’s left temple, and the hilt opposite the opponent’s right hip.  The Inside Guard protects the fencer’s left side.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Iron Door

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Iron Gate

see Eyserynen Pforten

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1617

Back Sword

Iron-Ward

As a Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.  Possibly Iron Gate or a version of Iron Gate.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

Glossary - J

approx 1493

Long Sword

Jerk

see Zuk.

Dieter Bachmann's translation of Hugo Wittenwiller's  fechtbuch

Glossary - K

1560

Long Sword

Key

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Knuckle Cut

One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Krawthacke
Weed Hoe

An attack executed from Iron Gate by thrusting the point straight up from the ground at the opponent and then returning the point down to the ground to the Iron Gate guard, accompanied by a strong step forward simultaneously with the thrust.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

1560

Long Sword

Krumphau
Crooked Cut

(a) One of Meyer's five Master Cuts. In its broadest form Meyer (1560) defines this as any cut executed with crossed or crosswise hands.
(b) An attack which delivers the cut approximately at right angles across the line representing the axis of action betwen the fencers.

(a) Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  (b) Jeffrey L. Forgeng's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1570 The Art of Combat.

Glossary - L

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Lang Ort
Long Point

A full extension of the sword with both arms aiming the point at the opponent's chest or face, delivered left foot forward in Zufechten.

Keith Farrell's translation of the  Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck. 

1467

Long Sword

Lang Zorn Ort
Long Wrath Point

A version of the Zorn Ort (which see) in which the arms are fully extended forward at shoulder height with the blade aimed at the neck or head, possibly as either (1) a continuation of the attack when the fencer believes that the Zornhau will fall short or (2) as a deceptive conversion from the cut to a thrust. See Ort.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex. 

1617

Rapier

Lazie Guard

see Carelesse Guard

 

1560

Long Sword

Leading

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Leading Ambuscade

An Ambuscade executed by reacting to an opponent’s Bearing by slowly yielding to draw him out of the Line.  When his head is exposed, the fencer Feints to the leg and executes a Throw to the head.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Lesson

An activity by the fencer to practice attacks against an opponent, defenses against attacks, using the guards and rules of fencing, with the goal of being able to play a Bout perfectly.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Leychmeistere
Master of Play Fighting

Fencing Masters who allegedly taught exaggerated movements, invented fanciful techniques, and were not followers of the Liechtenauer art.  Term is used as a pejorative.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

1746

Broadsword

Lie Upon The Lunge

To remain in the Lunge posture. 

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Line

A straight line drawn from the center of the fencer’s body to the center of the opponent’s.  The line is the center of motion for the fencer and the middle of Guards and Throws.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Line of Defence

The straight line upon which a fencer and his opponent stand.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

 

Long Sword

Long Edge

see True Edge

 

pos 1353-1460, 1560

Long Sword

Long Point

see Lang Ort.  One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1467

Long Sword

Long Wrath Point

see Lang Zorn Ort

 

1617

Back Sword

Looke-Ward

As a Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Back Sword

Looping

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Low Cut

see Underhaw.  Two specific techniques are identified by Mains for this cut, a Winging Cut and a Dividing Cut.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1617

Back Sword

Low Guard

As a Back Sword and Dagger guard mentioned by Joseph Swetnam, but not described.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Lunge

A forward movement with the right foot with the left foot remaining fixed in place with the intention of being better able to reach the opponent.  See Lie Upon The Lunge.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

Glossary - M

1560

Long Sword

Main Guards

Meyer's set of primary four guards including: From the Roof, Fool, Ox, and Plow.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Master Cuts

Meyer's set of five primary hewing cuts: Wrath Cut, Crooked Cut, Thwart Cut, Squinter Cut, and Scalper Cut

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Master of Play Fighting

see Leychmeistere

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Middle Cut

see Mittelhauw

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Middle Line

see Zwerchlini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Mittelhauw
Middle Cut

A horizontal hewing cut delivered from left to right or right to left.  Meyer (1570) indicates that it is delivered along the Zwerchlini.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens. 

approx 1389

Long Sword

Motion, Movement

see Motus

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

approx 1389

Long Sword

Motus
Movement, Motion

Motion or movement, as the very core of fencing.  See Frequens Motus.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

1617

Rapier

Mountanto

A rising and then descending thrust delivered from a very low guard with the weapon as near to the ground as possible, the body low, and the left knee near the ground.  The opponent's rapier is displaced to the right with the fencer's dagger so that it passes under the rapier arm as the fencer simultaneously raises the weapon hand higher than his head, rotating the hand into pronation, and turning the rapier point downward over the opponent's rapier arm to hit the shoulder or breast.

 Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

Glossary - N

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Nach
After

In Liechtenauer's tradition the moment at which an attacker's attack ends.  This is part of the core concept of Liechtenauer's teaching.  Contrast with Vor.

Keith Farrell's translation of the  Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck.  Appears in teaching verse attributed to Liechtenauer.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Nachschlag
After Strike

The after strike in a fencing phrase.  Contrast with Vorschlag.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

pos 1353-1460

Long Sword

Noble War

see Edel Krieg

 

approx
1389

Long Sword

Noterczunge
Serpent's Tongue

An attack starting with the point forward as though the fencer intends to change through, followed by continually thrusting over the hilt to confuse the opponent, and finally a rapid full thrust into an opening when it appears.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

Glossary - O


approx 1389, 1467

Long Sword

Oberhau, Oberhow, Oberhaw
Over hit

A hewing stroke descending from above, generally delivered with full arm movement, although at least one picture depicts its execution with bent arms as an apparent forearm strike.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on two illustrations in the Codex.  David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1467

Long Sword

Ober Ort
Over Point

A version of the Zorn Ort (which see) in which the fencer's blade is above and to the inside of that of the opponent.  The hands are high above the head on the left side with the point hanging toward the opponent's neck or upper chest. See Ort.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex. 

1746

Broadsword

Offend

To execute an offensive action at an opponent; to attack.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword. The definition is based on the use of the term in context with offensive actions and as the opposite of defend.

1560

Long Sword

Old Squinter Cut

The Squinter Cut executed from the right Wrath Guard against a cut from above by striking into the cut, turning the short edge over the opponent's sword to strike to the head with outstretched arms and a pass step from the right.   Also termed Second Squinter Cut.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Opening

Any part of the fencer’s body not under the Cover of a Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1467

Long Sword

Ort
Point

The Point of the Long Sword.  Used with another word indicates a type of thrust with the point.  See Fryes Ort, Geschrenckt Ort, Lang Ort, Lang Zorn Ort, Ober Ort, and Zorn Ort.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex.  

1746

Broadsword

Outside

The external right side (referenced to a right handed fencer) of the fencer’s head, neck, arm, body, thigh, and leg.  See Inside.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Outside Guard

A Guard with the fencer with both feet on the Line of Defence, the blade sloping across the body, with the point opposite the opponent’s right temple, and the hilt opposite the opponent’s left hip.  The Outside Guard protects the external part of the fencer’s right side.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1467

Long Sword

Over Hew

see Oberhau

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on two illustrations in the Codex.  David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1467

Long Sword

Over Point

see Ober Ort

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex. 

1560

Long Sword

Ox

One of Meyers four Main Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

Glossary - P

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Parting Line

see Scheittellini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1617

Long Sword

Pass

see Passage

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.  Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560, 1617

Long Sword,
Rapier

Passage

Referenced as a step and depicted in Meyer (1560).  A footwork movement to close distance, to carry forward the attack, or to renew the attack.  This is not the modern pass in which the original rear foot becomes the front foot and then the rear foot again.  Rather it is half a modern pass.  The back foot crosses past the front foot, becoming the front foot, with foot and body orientation shifting as appropriate for the blade action or change of guard in progress.  The Passage in the 1600s is discussed solely as a way to deliver or renew the attack.  The Passage continues in use into the 1700s combined with disarms as a way to help command the opponent's blade. 

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.  Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier

Patience

Patience is one of Joseph Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.  Patience in the fencing context is the ability of the fencer to govern his or her conduct using reason and judgment to restrain hasty action. 

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Peacock's Tail

See Pfobenczagel

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

approx 1389

Long Sword

Pfobenczagel
Peacock's Tail

A thrust with a preparation of circling the sword point around the opponent's sword or in front of his eyes, with the attack delivered on an opening.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Pforte
The Gate

A possible alternate name for the Weckemeister.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

1617

Rapier

Place

Swetnam specifies three places, all of which appear to be physical locations on either the fencer or his opponent in individual combat.  Knowing the place is one of Joseph Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.  See Place of Your Weapon, Place of Offence, and Place of Defence.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Rapier

Place of Defence

Listed as one of the three components of the principles of fencing, but not described by Joseph Swetnam.  Based on how Swetnam describes the Place of Offence, the Place of Defence may be either (1) the portion of the fencer's body best covered by the defense he adopts or (2) the portion of the opponent's body in which he is best prepared to resist an attack.  See Place.    

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Rapier

Place of Offence

The nearest and least protected part of the body of the opponent or the part of the body where the fencer can best hit the opponent at a distance without danger to himself.  Listed as one of the three components of Joseph Swetnam's principles of fencing.  See Place.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Rapier

Place of Your Weapon

Listed as one of the three components of the principles of fencing, and described as the place for holding your weapon by Joseph Swetnam.  Based on how Swetnam describes the Place of Offence, the Place of Your Weapon may be the physical location where the fencer should hold his or her weapon in the various guards.  See Place.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Play Loose

The application of the offensive and defensive techniques and postures based on your judgment to Offend the opponent and defend yourself to his disadvantage.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Plow

One of Meyers four Main Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1467

Long Sword

Plunging Hit

see Sturtzhow

 

1617

Rapier

Practice

Frequent healthy activity conducted with moderation that allows the fencer to apply skill in combat as though he or she were in the fencing school to the great disadvantage of the unskilled and ignorant fencer.  Practice is one of Joseph Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Rapier, Back Sword

Proffer

A feint.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Pull

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.

Glossary - Q

1617

Back Sword

Quarter Blow

A hewing cut executed probably with full arm action in Back Sword.  It is slower than the Quarter Blow, but more powerful.  See Blow, Wrist Blow, and Halfe Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence

1560

Long Sword

Quickening

An acceleration of an action.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

Glossary - R

1746

Broadsword

Recover

To return to any position from which the fencer has departed.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Remain, Remaining

Remaining in the bind, and not immediately pulling away, in order to determine what type of action will be needed. One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Retreat

To retire backwards from an opponent, while covered by a Guard, with half steps with the left foot moving first, drawing the right foot back after it.  The retreat is executed by shifting body weight almost completely to the right foot, stepping back with the left foot off the ground for approximately 16 inches, and then sliding the right foot back on the ground until approximately 12 inches from the left foot.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Rapier

Reverse

A thrust delivered in answer to an opponent's attack by passing to the rear with the right foot, capturing the opponent's blade with the fencer's dagger, and then passing forward with synchronized hand and foot movement to deliver the thrust to any open target.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Reverse

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.  A follow-up to a cut executed by changing the direction of movement of the blade from a forward cut to the opponent to a cut pulling back from the opponent drawing part of the oppoent's body, such as forward hands and weapon, to you.  

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier

Right Stock, Right Stockata

A direct upward thrust from a guard with the face and body leaning backwards and the hilt as low toward the ground as possible. Contrast with Slope Stockata.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Run Off

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Run Over

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

Glossary - S

1746

Broadsword

Saint George’s Guard

A Guard with the fencer with standing with both feet square across the Line of Defence, the sword raised above his head and parallel to the shoulders.  The Saint George’s Guard protects the head and shoulders from a downward blow.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Scalp Line

see Scheidellini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1560

Long Sword

Scalper

One of Meyer's five Master Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Scheidellini, Scheittellini
Parting Line
Scalp Line

The vertical line which divides the target, top to bottom, into two halves and along which the Oberhau is delivered.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.  Jeffrey L. Forgeng's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1570 The Art of Combat.

approx 1389

Long Sword

School Fencing

see Schulfechten

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

approx 1389

Long Sword

Schrankhute
Fence Guard, Barrier Guard

A guard with the point held toward the ground on either side, allowing the fencer to displace the attack by pushing the opponent's point to the side as the fencer's sword is drawn upward and inward towards him.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Schulfechten
School Fencing

Literally school fencing, this term possibly indicates fencing as part of a training program.  An alternate explanation is fencing at a fechtschule, the public prize fights organized in Germany in the 1400s into the 1600s.  If the Doebringer manuscript is later than 1389, or if fechtschule in the 1300s can be documented, the alternate explanation becomes the more likely one.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1493

Long Sword

Schwert Nemmen
Sword Taking

One of a number of techniques that result in disarming the opponent and the fencer seizing his sword

Dieter Bachmann's translation of Hugo Wittenwiller's  fechtbuch.

1560

Long Sword

Second Squinter Cut

see Old Squinter Cut

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Secondary Guards

Meyer's set of eight secondary guards including: Long Point, Iron Door, Hanging Point, Speak Window, Key, Side Guard, Barrier Guard, Wrath Guard

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx
1389

Long Sword

Serpent's Tongue

see Noterczunge

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1560

Long Sword

Set Off

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Setting Aside

see Abesetczen

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1560

Long Sword

Short Cut

One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

 

Long Sword

Short Edge

see False Edge

 

1560

Long Sword

Side Guard

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Sinking the Body

A partial voiding action by bending the legs so that the fencer can fence below the opponent’s guard while maintaining the protection, or Cover, of his own guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Slicing Off

A slicing cut executed from strong on the opponent's blade.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.

1560

Long Sword

Slinging

Mentioned by Meyer in his 1560 fechtbuch

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.

1746

Broadsword

Slip

A withdrawal of the body or a limb out of the reach of an opponent’s cut in place of a Stop or parry.  See Slip Upon The Inside and Slip Upon The Outside.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Rapier

Slippe

An evasion of the opponent's attack on the blade, by pulling the blade back so that an attack falls short or by a change of line deceiving the opponent's engagement of the blade.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence

1746

Broadsword

Slip Upon The Inside

A Slip executed by drawing the body backwards and sideways to the right of the Line, with a return to the original position, allowing an attack to the opponent’s outside.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Slip Upon The Outside

A Slip executed by drawing the body backwards and sideways to the left of the Line, with a return to the original position, allowing an attack to the opponent’s head.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1617

Rapier

Slope Stockata, Slope Stock, Slope Stocke

An upward thrust to the opponent's rapier shoulder or breast with the weapon hand to the fencer's left side, hand in supination, and the thrust angulated.  Contrast with Right Stockata.

 Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Snap Around

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Soft

Sensation of flexibility or lack of resistance by the opponent's blade in the bind.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier

Space

Jsoeph Swetnam defines space in two distinct ways.  Keeping space is one of Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.  His first definition concerns the separation between two fencers. It is the space between a fencer and the opponent, which he notes is also described as distance.  See Distance.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1617

Rapier

Space

Joseph Swetnam defines space in two distinct ways.  Keeping space is one of Swetnam's seven principal rules of fencing.  His second defintion concerns the separation of parts of the combat into distinct phrases.  It is the timing and flow of the action so that a fencer may execute an attack, recover his weapons to the their place (see Place of Your Weapon), and assume an appropriate guard (see Good Guard), thus being prepared to either defend against the opponent's attack or to initiate a new attack of his or her own without hasty or ill conceived action.  Swetnam appears to be advocating that the fencer fence one phrase at a time with separation, even if only momentary, from the next one.     

 Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Speak Window

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Spring Off

A quick rearwards leap to retreat out of the reach of the opponent.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Squinter Cut

One of Meyer's five Master Cuts.  Meyer describes four variants: First Squinter Cut, Second Squinter Cut or Old Squinter Cut, Squinter Deceiving With The Face, and Double Squinter.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Squinter Deceiving With The Face

A cut executed by the initiation of a Squinter Cut with a face feint emphasizing a cut to the opponent's left side, followed by falling past on the left to work to the right or to work right followed by a rapid cut returning to the left.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1617

Rapier

Stokata Guard

A rapier and dagger guard, with the dagger held with the arm fully extended and at cheek height with the point threatening the opponent, and the rapier held as far back and as low as can be done.  The feet should be separated by at least three feet's distance (this may be a relative measurement of three of the fencer's feet), and the head should lean back. 

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Stop

To use the edge of the fencer’s sword in a proper Guard to receive an opponent’s attack (in classical or modern terms, a parry).

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Strichlini

see Zornlini

 

1560

Long Sword

Strike Around

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Stroke Line

see Strichlini or Zornlini

 

1560

Long Sword

Strong

The division of the blade of the sword which extends from the haft to the middle of the blade.  This section is further divided into two parts, the inner of which includes the pommel, haft, and cross guard and is used for work with these, and the outer of which is used for work in cutting and pushing.  Contrast with Weak.  See hard.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1467

Long Sword

Sturtzhow
Plunging Hit

A hewing cut delivered descending from above with a downward, plunging stroke, with the hands held at head height and the point arcing downward.  Depicted as delivered with crossed hands and a true edge cut from the right, suggesting that it could be delivered with uncrossed hands from the left.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex.  

approx 1493

Long Sword

Sword Taking

see Schwert Nemmen

Dieter Bachmann's translation of Hugo Wittenwiller's  fechtbuch.

Glossary - T

1467

Long Sword

Tacking

see Hefften

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex.  

1617

Rapier

Take A Blow Double, Defend A Blow Double

To defend against an attack with simultaneous action of the Rapier and Dagger on the opponent's blade.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

approx 1389

Long Sword

The Three Strikes

see Dy Drey Hewe

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1746

Broadsword

Throw

A cutting strike at the opponent.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Thwart Cut

One of Meyer's five Master Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Thwart Line

see Zwerchlini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens. 

1617

Rapier

Time

The actual time advantage afforded the fencer who immediately and very rapidly attacks when an opponent is either (1) not attentive to the situation or (2) is feinting and unable to recover to a guard.

 Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence, but is not defined.  Definition is based on examples.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing,

Timed

(a) The offensive technique of executing a Throw in the exact moment when an opponent’s movement in a change of Guard, posture, or positions of his limbs creates a transient Opening.  See Timeing the Hanging Guard, Timeing an Inside, Timeing an Outside, and Timeing to a St. George.

(b) The defensive technique of executing a quick change of the fencer’s sword from one Guard to another to Cover an Opening under attack. See Timeing A Guard.

(a) and (b) T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing A Guard

Executing a defensive Timeing correctly to Stop an opponent’s attack in the Line.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing The Hanging Guard

Executing a Throw in Timeing into the transient Opening exposing the underside of the arm, ribs, hip, and thigh, as the opponent changes from an Outside Guard to a Hanging Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing An Inside

Executing a Throw in Timeing into the transient Opening as the opponent changes from an Inside Guard to an Outside Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing An Outside

Executing a Throw in Timeing into the transient Opening as the opponent changes from an Outside Guard to an Inside Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

Timeing To A St. George

Executing a Throw in Timeing into the transient Opening exposing the body below the neck and the inside of the sword arm, as the opponent changes from a Hanging Guard to a Saint George’s Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

To Judge A Distance

Knowing when the fencer is able to reach any part of an opponent’s body which he is about to attack, so that the attack is neither too deeply committed nor short of the target.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

To Raise The Guards

A sequence of movements with the sword starting with the guard for one part of the body and moving successively to the other guards that defend the entire body.  See Guard.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1746

Broadsword

To Time

The act of parrying, attacking, or recovering at the correct time, not too soon or too late.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

Travel After

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Travel Out

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1746

Broadsword

Traverse

Stepping off the straight Line to the opponent in a circular motion to the left or the right around the circumference of the circle, while maintaining the relationship of the center of the circle in the center of the Line. See Fore Traverse and Back Traverse.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

1560

Long Sword

True Edge

Term applied to the blade of cutting swords with two cutting edges.  The True or Long Edge is the edge of the blade pointing in the same direction as the thumb, toward the opponent when the weapon is held in a normal relaxed grip in the hand.  Effectively it is the forward edge of the blade.  In weapons with both edges sharpened, both true and false edges can be used for cutting, and both can be used for parrying.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1599

Back Sword

True Fight

Any action which starts with the hand before the feet.  Contrast with False Fight.

George Silver's 1599 text Paradoxes of Defence.

1617

Rapier

True Guard

(a) Joseph Swetnam specifies one true guard for single rapier and one for rapier and dagger or rapier and sword.  He provides no clear definition for a True Guard, but it seems likely from the text that a True Guard is either (1) the best of the Good Guards a fencer could assume or (2) is a synonym for Good Guard.  See Good Guard.
(b) The True Guard at Rapier and Dagger has the Rapier hand held as low as the pocket of the fencer's hose with a relatively straight arm and the point raised.  The Dagger is held at the level of the left cheek, the arm fully extended, and the blade somewhat sloping toward the right shoulder.  The points of the Rapier and Dagger are within two to three inches of each other, or even joined.  The head is forward, the body bowed slightly forward, the shoulders equidistant form the opponent, and the heel of the right foot close to the middle joint of the big toe of the left foot.

(a) and (b) Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1746

Broadsword

Turkish Disarm

Page states that the Disarm Upon The Outside is called the Turkish Disarm because it is the only disarm practical for use against the scimitar.

T. Page’s 1746 text The Use of the Broadsword.

approx 1493

Long Sword

Twitch

see Zuk

 

Glossary - U

approx 1493

Long Sword

Uber Heben,
Uberheben

A position in which the fencer stands with the sword on his shoulder. Alternatively the sword may be held above the head with extended arms.  Wittenwiller states that it may be done on both the right and left sides.  An approximate translation may be "Over Rising."  This appears to be either the guard position Vom Tag or a close relative of it.

Dieter Bachmann's translation of Hugo Wittenwiller's  fechtbuch.  Beolingus, Technological University of Chemnitz online translating dictionary

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Ubersich Steyget Lini
Upward Sloping Line

The diagonal line which divides the target from bottom left to top right, or from bottom right to top left, and along which a rising Underhaw, apparently known as the Winging Cut, is delivered. 

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1467

Long
Sword

Under Hit

see Underhow

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a.

1467

Long Sword

Underhaw, Underhow, Underhauw, Unterhaw
Under Hit
Low Cut

A hewing cut delivered rising from below.  One depiction suggests that the cut may be delivered as a full arm back edge cut.  One version of the cut directed along the Ubersich Steyget Lini appears to have been known as the Winging Cut.  A second technique executed ascending on the Scheittellini is interoreted as the Dividing Low Cut.

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a. The definition is based on one illustration in the Codex.  David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.  Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1617

Back Sword

Unicorne Guard

A back sword guard in which the weapon hilt is held knuckles upward at face height, with the arm extended, point threatening the opponent's face.  Also termed the Fore-hand Guard.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Upward Sloping Line

see Ubersich Steyget Lini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

Glossary - V

pos. 1353-1460, 1560

Long Sword

Vom Tag
From the Roof

A guard position in which the fencer stands with the left foot forward and with the sword at the shoulder.  Alternatively the sword may be held with extended arms above the head.  One of Meyers four Main Guards.

Keith Farrell's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck.  Appears in teaching verse attributed to Liechtenauer.  Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

pos. 1353-1460

Long Sword

Vor
Before

In Liechtenauer's tradition, the moment in time where the fencer seizes the initiative by executing a strike or thurst against the opponent's opening before the opponent can attack.  This is part of the core concept of Liechtenauer's teaching.  Contrast with Nach.

Keith Farrell's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Sigmund Schining ein Ringeck.  Appears in teaching verse attributed to Liechtenauer.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Vorschlag
First Strike

The first strike in a fencing phrase.  Contrast with Nachschlag.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Vorsetczen
Displacement, Displace

Four displacements, two on the left and two on the right, two as oberhaw and two as unterhaw, that break the opponent's guards, followed immediately by moving into a hanging position, or that intercept and defeat attacks.  One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.  David Lindholm and Peter Svard Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword (2003).  Kevin Maurer's tanslation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.

Glossary - W

1560

Long Sword

Weak Pushing

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

approx 1389

Long Sword

Weckemeister
Baking Master

A thrust from a lower hanging on the left side which seeks with the point after the deflection.  May also be termed the Gate or Pforte.

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389.

approx 1389

Long Sword

Weed Hoe

see Krawthacke

David Lindholm's translation of the Dresden manuscript attributed to Hanko Doebringer and possibly dated to 1389. 

1467

Long Sword

Whipping

see Gayszlen

 

1617

Back Sword

Whirling Blow

A deceptive blow executed by flourishing the sword over the head two or three times (presumably in a circular manner) followed by the cut to the head, leg, or any opening.  See Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

1560

Long Sword

Wind Cut

One of Meyer's six Covert Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Winding

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1560

Long Sword

Winding Through

One of Meyer's 29 Handworks in the Sword.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch. .

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Winging Cut, Winging Low Cut

Believed to be a rising diagonal Underhaw cut directed along the Ubersich Steyget Lini.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1560

Long Sword

Wrath Cut

see Zornhau

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1560

Long Sword

Wrath Guard

One of Meyer's eight Secondary Guards.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Wrath Line

see Zornlini

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.

1467

Long Sword

Wrath Point

see Zorn Ort

 

1560

Long Sword

Wrench

A powerful pulling motion.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch.  

1617

Back Sword

Wrist Blow

A hewing cut executed with wrist action to the head or face in Back Sword.  Because it is faster, the Wrist Blow may hit an opponent who would be able to evade or parry a Half Blow or Quarter Blow.  See Blow, Half Blow, and Quarter Blow.

Joseph Swetnam's 1617 text The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence.

Glossary - Z

1489

Long Sword

Zettel

Term used in both modern English and period German dialect to refer to the teaching verses of Johannes Liechtenauer

Christian Trosclair's translation of Joerg Wilhalm Hutter's copy of Nicholaues Augsberger's ca. 1489 treatise

1459, 1467

Long Sword

Zorn Ort
Wrath Point

A combination of the Zornhau (Wrath Strike) delivered from the right shoulder as a powerful Oberhau (Strike From Above) with a point (Ort) thrust.  This may be either (1) a renewal of the attack from winding in Krieg,  (2) an eyes open continuation of the attack if the fencer sees that the Zornhau will fall short or (3) a deceptive conversion from the cut to the thrust.  The thrust is pictured with the hands above the head to the fencer's left side with the point hanging down, consistent with renewal of the attack by winding. In the renewal the blade winds by turning, or it may be used to thrust on either side over the arms of the opponent.  See Ort.  

Cory Winslow's translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 Codex Iconografico 394a.  Information on hand position is from illustrations in the Codex. The expansion of the role of zorn ort is from Jens Kleinau's commentary and translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1459 merkverse found in Thott 290 2o.

1560

Long Sword

Zornhau
Wrath Cut

One of Meyer's five Master Cuts.

Kevin Maurer's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1560 Fechtbuch

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Zornlini
Wrath Line
Stroke Line

The diagonal line which divides the target from top left to bottom right, or from top right to bottom left, and along which the Zornhau is delivered.  Also known as the Stritchlini.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.  Jeffrey L. Forgeng's translation of Joachim Meyer's 1570 The Art of Combat.

approx 1493

Long Sword

Zuk, Zucken
Jerk, Twitch

A quick pull away from the opponent's sword to reposition for another action after the fencer has executed a strong strike.

Dieter Bachmann's translation of Hugo Wittenwiller's  fechtbuch.  Beolingus, Technological University of Chemnitz online translating dictionary

1570

Long Sword,
Rapier,
Dussack

Zwerchlini
Thwart Line
Middle Line

The horizontal line which divides the target into upper and lower portions along which the Mittelhauw is delivered.  Also known as the Mittellini.

Eric D. Mains, Meyer's Cross: Understanding the First German Cutting Diagram, 2012 commentary to Joachim Meyer's 1570 Grundtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens.