Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat (Greenhill Military Paperbacks)

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9781853675829: Medieval Combat: A Fifteenth-Century Illustrated Manual of Swordfighting and Close-Quarter Combat (Greenhill Military Paperbacks)

This brilliant and attractive book makes one of the most influential and lavishly-drawn fencing manuals of the Middle Ages available in English for the first time. The authentic fifteenth-century techniques of master of arms Hans Talhoffer are illustrated in detail, presenting not only a unique historic record but also a visual guide for modern practitioners. Talhoffer's professional fencing manual of 1467 illustrates the intricacies of the medieval art of fighting, covering both the 'judicial duel' (an officially sanctioned fight to resolve a legal dispute) and personal combat. Combatants in the Middle Ages used footwork, avoidance, and the ability to judge and manipulate timing and distance to exploit and enhance the sword's inherent cutting and thrusting capabilities. These skills were supplemented with techniques for grappling, wrestling, kicking and throwing the opponent, as well as disarming him by seizing his weapon. Every attack contained a defense and every defense a counter-attack. Talhoffer reveals the techniques for wrestling, unarmored fighting with the long sword, pole-axe, dagger, sword and buckler, and mounted combat. This unparalleled guide to medieval combat, illustrated with 268 contemporary images, provides a glimpse of real people fighting with skill, sophistication and ruthlessness.

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About the Author:

Mark Rector is an actor, playwright, stage combatant and fight choreographer, as well as a student and practitioner of historical swordplay. He is the translator and editor of "Medieval Combat, Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch ('fight book') of 1467"

Mark Rector is an actor, playwright, stage combatant and fight choreographer, as well as a student and practitioner of historical swordplay. He is the translator and editor of "Medieval Combat, Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch ('fight book') of 1467"

From Publishers Weekly:

In 1467, Talhoffer, a Swabian fencing instructor, produced a lavishly illustrated fechtbuch ("fight-book") with 270 illuminations demonstrating techniques for nearly every weapon in the medieval knight's arsenal, as well as techniques for judicial combats between nobles and between peasants. Although long available in German, this is the first English translation of his remarkable how-to. Profusely illustratedAhere in black and whiteAthe book offers freeze-frame instructions on medieval martial arts using swords, shields, poleaxes, daggers and wrestling, both on foot and on horseback. Its repeatedly drawn figures are lifelike and even emotive, grimacing in pain or frowning with fierce determination. Many of the plates do not demonstrate step-by-step techniques, preserving instead images of a bout at the moment when one technique has prevailed over another. Without a contemporary instructor as a guide, the drawings can seem arcane and confusing, since they lack explanatory captions. Rector, a founder of the Chicago Swordplay Guild, does provide an introduction and footnotes, and along the way gives practical clarification of German martial arts and a harsh, complex picture of medieval society (particularly medieval justice), if not of specific moves. Aside from their historical merit, Talhoffer's beautiful and austere illustrations provide a visual vocabulary of historical combat that might prove inspirational for directors, artists, re-enactors or stunt coordinators; others should not be surprised to find themselves posing in front of the nearest mirror.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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