Captain of the Guild: Master Peter Falkner’s Art of Knightly Defense
In the late 14th century, the German swordsman Johannes Liechtenauer developed and codified a system of armed combat with sword, spear, and dagger that spread through the Holy Roman Empire and dominated German martial arts for nearly 300 years. By the end of the 15th century, a fellowship of swordsmen in Frankfurt known as “the Brotherhood of Saint Mark,” or Marxbruder, had been granted an imperial charter to train and test swordmasters.
Peter Falkner was a long-time member and sometime captain of this famed fencing guild, and it was during this tenure that he set about creating an illustrated fight book of his own; colorful, painted figures and short captions depict combat with a wide variety of weapons: the longsword, dagger, staff, poleaxe, halberd, dueling shield and mounted combat. Where his work excels, however, is in its extensive treatment of the falchion-like messer, and the unique variations of core techniques of the Liechtenauer canon.
In this first, printed edition of Falkner’s work, German martial arts teacher and scholar Christian Tobler includes a full translation, transcription, and analysis, combined with a photographic reproduction of the original manuscript. The end result is a lovingly rendered, English translation of a 500 year old picture-book that shows an adaptation of the Liechtenauer tradition, by a known master of its most prestigious school, as taught over a century after its foundation.