“Serious Art for Serious Fencers”: The New Secret Archives Press Catalog is Out!

Welcome to Secret Archives Press LLC’s Summer 2010 Catalog!

Here’s to the first release of what I hope will become an annual tradition for fencing enthusiasts:

Secret Archives Press LLC was founded in February of 2010 for one simple purpose: To help you clutter up your bookshelves and walls with spectacular “fencing stuff”. Not with smudged masks and bent blades, mind you — but with high-quality reproductions of images, copperplates, paintings, and artwork I’ve collected over the past decades at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars. (more…)

Published in: on April 22, 2010 at 3:25 am  Leave a Comment  
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The last Fechtschule

(Click on the image for better resolution!)

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The heraldic symbols of the Marxbrüder and Federfechter: Lion and Griffin

This early 18th-century copperplate depicts a late Fechtschule of the Marxbrüder and Federfechter. It is one of the latest documents of a contest between the members of these urban Central European fighting guilds… before they were replaced by the Schützenfeste marksmanship competitions of the shooting guilds.

Here, the Lion of St. Mark and the Griffin of the Federfechter still preside over the event at the rear of the hall… (more…)

A Fechtschule in 16th-century Germany: Excerpt from The Secret History of the Sword

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It is evident from old fencing manuscripts that a precise distinction was made in those days between the exercise of arms on the fencing floor and the contests which were held publicly, the so-called Fechtschulen.

Fencers from the era of guilds did not like to be observed during training, and did not appear in public until they had attained full mastery.

We could adduce many further proofs that public competitive fencing bouts were called “Fechtschulen” and that this is not a case of misunderstanding by us as inheritors of the tradition, but we will content ourselves with an additional passage from Rösener in which fencing students are taught among other things to behave modestly on the “teaching ground,” not to “recklessly” destroy “any weapon,”

And should not mock anyone else at all,

In exercise, it is forbidden.

And you should not beat anyone bloody

who is just beginning to fence.

From this it can be seen that fencers were to show restraint in the training school and use their weapons with caution, so that serious wounds would not occur. In the Fechtschulen, however, such wounds were often required to obtain a prize. (more…)