An Example of how the 7 Wards of I.33 are Different from the Guards in other Systems


Illustration of Dussack Guards from Meyer’s fechtbuch beside Folio 1r of MS.I.33 showing the first 4 Wards

Today on the bus I decided to read through Roger Norling’s brief intro/summary of Meyer’s Dussack again (found here:¬† It’s a great little 28-page guide that gives a good intro to Dussack and I’d highly recommend it.

The point of this post is that reading his quotations of Meyer’s descriptions of his Guards made me realize that it’s a good way to illustrate how the Wards of I.33 really are subtly different.

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The Durchtreten

Just a brief post after this past Saturday working with the Durchtritt from I.33

The Durchtritt is a technique we see in the play of 1st Ward being besieged by Halfshield, and in the play of Schutzen against 2nd Ward. The term¬†means “tread through”. The following is the only illustration of the technique in the manual, Folio 9v, the play of Schutzen against 2nd Ward.


MS I.33, Folio 9v

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Common Fencing System

Royal 2 B VII sword and buckler fighters

Royal 2 B VII sword and buckler fighters

The topic of Common Fencing is one of those recurring topics in HEMA. People have been trying to figure out exactly what the common fencing of the medieval and renaissance period looked like. This is probably due to the fact that most of the manuals we have are NOT “common” fencing but rather some sort of advanced system taught by a knight, or nobleman, or someone otherwise special, usually making hinting references to what techniques are “common”. In fact, many of the systems we have manuals for seem to be systems designed to beat the common fencing of the period.

I will not get into the Liechtenauer system and its relation to common fencing, or the common fencing with the longsword in the 15th century. Others have delved into that in more depth already and are more knowledgeable than I am about it. In this article, I will discuss the so called “common fencing” of MS I.33. I have discussed it previously in the context of the intended audience of the manual, but this article will discuss the specific techniques and style that we can gain from examining the references to common fencing in I.33. Continue reading

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Book Reviews

Just a short update. I know I’ve been quiet for the past couple of weeks. Summer got in the way of writing. Also the fact that I accidentally left a post in draft form when I had intended to publish it. But the main thing is that I’ve decided to start doing some book reviews for this site. I just have to figure out which book t o start with.

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MS I.33 and the Numerology of the Wanton Monk

I.33 contains a framework to classify an opponent’s actions into 7 “Custodia”. I.33 is distinct from most other medieval and renaissance sources in that it numbers them, and explicitly names them and refers to them by their number. It also makes some interesting comments about the Wards with respect to their numbers. Why is this? Is there any meaning behind this?
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How 5th Ward in I.33 relates to 1st Ward, and How it is held


Previously, I thought that 5th Ward was held like a “tail” guard, with the sword pointed back. But when I started to look at the 7 Wards as a comprehensive way of categorizing actions, and how 5th Ward is named as “right side”, I have changed that opinion.

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Specific Technique vs Broader Concept – Techniques in I.33, Durchtreten and Separation of Sword and Shield

MS I.33, Folio 11r and 24r, Separating Sword and Shield

MS I.33, Folio 11r and 24r, Separating Sword and Shield

In my study of I.33, I have found that there are a handful of techniques that, rather than being one specific action, are rather a concept or several variants of a technique. It is important to recognize this distinction, otherwise you will be stuck trying to fit one single specific action into multiple plays and situations where it might not fit. This is something that is blatantly obvious to people who study Fiore, or Liechtenauer, etc. and people have no trouble distinguishing between say, the broader concept of a Zucken, which can comprise of many individual variations, and the more specific applications of what exactly a “Schielhau” is*. Continue reading

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