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   The True Principles of Combat
   An underestimated martial arts treatise from the 16th century

Price: $124.95
Out of stock
Item Number: FAP000058
Author(s): Bert Gevaert
ISBN: 978-1-937439-06-4
Dimensions: 11" x 8" Color Casebound
Pages: 300 pp.
Published: Dec 2020

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER - And be sure to add the free PDF version of this title before finalizing your order!

The late 16th Century was on of great political and social upheaval, an era in which medieval knights, feudal armies, 
town levies and hired mercenaries were giving way to modern militaries, pike and shot had come to dominate the field, and swordplay was a pastime for noble and commoner alike – as often to settle affairs of honor as military manners.

For most students of European Martial Arts, the name Heinrich von Gunterrodt is known as little more than a 16th century owner of Europe’s oldest known fencing text, a c.1300 sword and buckler manuscript, called I.33. However, this Saxon nobleman was a swordsman, soldier and fencing historian in his own right. In 1579, he penned a short treatise on the history of fencing entitled De Veris Principiis Artis Dimicatorie (“Of the True Principles of the Art of Combat”) and dedicated it to Johan Albrecht, Duke of Mecklenberg. Ostensibly a history tracing the art of swordsmanship and wrestling into antiquity, the text is also interesting because of the relationships von Gunterrodt draws between fencing and unarmed combat, and his comparisons between what was taught in the fencing schools of his own day with the lessons contained in Ms. I.33. Perhaps of most interest to modern students of swordplay in this period is his scathing critique of the Marxbrüder fencing guild and public fencing contests, or Fechtschulen, which he sees as little more than crudely-skilled, drunken sporting events; a criticism that interestingly parallels contemporary writers analyzing the fencing guilds and public prize-fights in England and Spain.

This beautiful, full-color edition presents a full facsimile, transcription and translation of von Gunterrodt’s original manuscript, along with complete annotations and comparisons with other Renaissance martial arts texts. A critical analysis of the author’s practical fencing advice, by renowned swordplay researcher Robert Rutherfoord (The Art and Practice of 16th c German Rapier Fencing) is also included. Students of Historical European Martial Arts, and those interested more generally in the sweeping changes in the nature and purpose of swordplay that occurred in the
second half of the 16th century, will find this essay a fascinating addition to their libraries.


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