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International Journal of Martial Arts - Vol. 8

[ Article ]
International Journal of Martial Arts - Vol. 8, No. 0, pp. 40-65
Abbreviation: IJMA
ISSN: 2287-8599 (Online)
Print publication date 28 Feb 2023

Historical European Martial arts in the spectrum of Martial Arts. Part 2: The use of the buckler in different fencing treatises in the Middle Ages and the early period of early modern Europe: a scoping review of literature
Sean Wauters
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussel, Martial Arts Research and Studie, Beigemsesteenweg 304,1852,Beigem, Belguim

Correspondence to :; +32 496 840 715


Introduction: Medieval and early modern sword and buckler fencing treatises of the “German” tradition or systems are often vague and incomplete. Few treatises are fully dedicated to it. Often they combine many different weapons such as grappling, dagger, onehanded or two-handed sword and pole arms. Methods: Scoping narrative review of medieval and the first period of the early modern age (renaissance) treatises in the “German” style of fencing, mainly Liechtenauer Tradition combining and reviewing different sword and buckler sources. Results: Several fencing treatises and manuscripts deal with the use of the sword and buckler, yet none of them explain the complete system. Fecht1 is the only one that is fully dedicated to the subject (100%). Others like the Liechtenauer treatises (Ms.3227a, Cod44.a.8, MS Dresd.C.487, Cod I.6.4.3°), Paulus Kal (CGM.1507, Ms.1825, Ms.KK5126), Talhoffer (Cod.icon.394a, Ms.Thott.290.2°), Durer (Ms.26-232) and others (Ms.B.26, Ms.Cl.23842, Libr.Pict.A.83, Cod.Guelf.78.2.Aug.2) vary between a ratio of less than 1% to 13% (mean= 4.6%), all lacking deep explanations sometimes even no explanations at all. Some manuscripts combine the use of the buckler with (presuming) the one-handed arming sword (Cod.44.a.8, Cod.I.6.4.3°, Cod.icon.394a, Ms.Thott.290.2°; Ms.B.26, Ms.Cl.23842, Libr.Pict.A.83, Codex Guelf.78.2.Aug.2), the messer (Cod.icon.394a, Ms.Thott.290.2°; Ms.26-232) or long-hilted sword (CGM.1507). Many of the treatises seem to be copies of each other (CGM.1507, Ms.1825 & Ms.KK5126; Ms.CL.23842 & Ms.B.26; Cod.44a8, Cod.I.6.4°.3, Ms.KK5126, Ms.Dresd.C.487, Ms.E.1939.65.341 & Ms.Var. 82). Concussion: Several medieval and early modern manuscripts and sources deal with the use of the sword in conjunction with the buckler yet none of them are either complete. This can be either in terms of a finished manuscript or complete in terms of technical explanations. For the interpretation and analyzation of sword and buckler fencing several manuscripts might have to be combined. More research is necessary.

Keywords: Historical European Martial Arts, Historical Fencing, Sword and buckler, Liechtenauer, Lignitzer, Leckuchner, Durer, Fecht1


I would like to thank mr Herbert Schmidt for his contribution, help and peer review, as well as Oskar ter Mors for his help. Special thanks to L.C., V.L.W, and V.P.W.

This work was done in collaboration with Martial Arts Research and Studies. There was no funding for this project.

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3. "Cluney Fechtbuch Cl 23842" (2023). retrieved march, 2023 from: Fechtbuch_(Cl._23842) .
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