What are Medieval Martial Arts?

At the Ritterkunst Turnhalle we study the martial tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, a 14th century fight master. The Art, as it was practiced, was recorded in a number of manuscripts which still exist to this day. Beginning in the 1990's, as access to scanned copies of these manuscripts became available through the internet, early pioneers began recreating the art from these texts.

We study the art holistically, including all of the knightly weapons, but the Longsword is the foundation of the art, and the area most modern students wish to focus upon.

In order to understand all of what is available at the Turnhalle, we can break it down into some general categories:

Ringen

Medieval German wrestling was a stand-up jacketed system where the goal is to throw the opponent to the ground. It also includes non-sporting techniques such as arm and leg breaks.

Blossfechten

Fighting out of armor is the foundation of the martial art, where tactics and techniques are learned which apply to the whole system. This includes Sword in two hands, Sword and Buckler, Messer, Dagger, and Staff.

Harnischfechten

Armored combat in the medieval treatises is focused on the duel, where each opponent has matched weapons. We study the use of Spear, Pollaxe, Sword, and Dagger in Armor, learning the special techniques used to compromise the armor itself.

Rossfechten

The ability to fight on horseback was central to the medieval Knight's identity. We work these techniques on the ground, and those who have access to a barn practice outside of class. Spear (Lance), Sword, Dagger, and Wrestling are all practiced on horseback.

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