The School for Historical Fencing Arts mainly focuses on studying, interpreting and training the fencing art described in Johannes Georgius Bruchius's "GRONDIGE BESCHRYVINGE van de Edele ende Ridderlijcke SCHERM- ofte WAPEN-KONSTE" (Thorough description of the Noble and Knightly FENCING- or WEAPON-ART - 1671). Nicolaes Petters "Klare Onderrichtinge der Voortreffelijcke WORSTEL-KONST" (Clear Instructions to the Excellent Wrestling-Art - 1674) is our main source of information regarding unarmed self-defence. In addition we also use a number of different sources, both from the Netherlands and from other parts of Europe, such as Salvator Fabris's "Lo Schermo, overo Scienza D'Arme", Nicoletto Giganti's "Scola, overo, Teatro", en Ridolpho CapoFerro's "Gran Simularcro dell'Arte Eddelluso della Scherma".
This page first gives an overview of all known treatises on Fencing and self-defense Arts from the Netherlands. Next, an overview of some of the main, interesting sources from outside the Netherlands follows.
- BPL 3281; a 15th century Middle-Dutch dagger fighting manuscript, held in the Leiden (NL) University Library. The manuscript consists of 16 illustrations with text, and these pages may have been part of a larger work. A transcription and English translation, by Reinier van Noort, can be found here.
- "La noble science des ioueurs despee" (1538); a French translation, printed in Antwerp, of a German book written by Andreas Paurnfeindt. The book contains (coloured) woodcuts and text. Scans can be found here. Alwin Goethals of SwArta is working on a Dutch translation.
- Cod I.6.2.5, a book in the collection of the University of Augsburg (G) contains 12 plates from 1552, based on illustrations by Maarten van Heemskerck, and engraved by Dirck Coornhert (Cuerenhert). De plates show "Fechter & Ringer" (Fighters and Wrestlers), and can be found on pages 43r-49r.
- "Schermkunst"; a manuscript dated to 1595. This manuscript (call number: VAULT Case MS folio U 423 .792) is kept in the Newberry Library in Chicago (USA). It consists of 3 pages of text and 28 pages with colour illustrations. Swordplay: an anonymous illustrated Dutch treatise for fencing with rapier, sword and polearms from 1595 contains a transcription, English translation and interpretation of this manuscript.
- "Cort Bewijs' Van t'Rapier alleen. Wat veranderingen úijt het verset vanden buijten steeck connen geschieden, met de tegen-veranderinge van dien." (1602-1608), by Pieter Bailly. This short manuscript (72 F 37), that is kept in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library) in The Hague, is from Prince Maurits's personal library. It contains 24 pages, an illustrated frontispiece, and 23 folios, each with an illustration and short description of a rapier fencing technique. A transcription, English translation and interpretation by Reinier van Noort are available here.
- "Dichiaratione per intendere le ragioni sopra le quali é fondata la scientia della spada." (1600-1608) is an anonymous manuscript that was also once part of the personal collection of Prince Maurits, and which is now kept in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library) in The Hague (73 J 38). The 150 folio, illustrated manuscript is an abridged version of Salvator Fabris's "Lo Schermo, overo Scienza D'Arme". A transcription of this interesting manuscript, made by Reinier van Noort, can be found here.
- "Le Cabinet d'escrime de l'espee et poingnardt" (1600-1608) is another manuscript kept in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (Royal Library 73 J 39) in The Hague that was originally part of Prince Maurits's collection. It is a French manuscript that is provided with schematic illustrations to clarify the text. A transcription in modern French can be found here. An English translation made by Reinier van Noort is available here.
- "Des Kunstreichen und weitberümeten Fechtmeisters SALVATORIS FABRI Italiänische FECHTKUNST" (1619); a German translation of Salvator Fabris's "Lo Schermo, overo Scienza D'Arme" published by Isack Elsevier in Leiden. Scans of this book are available here.
- "Academie de l'Espée", written by Girard Thibault, and published in 1630, after Thibault's death. This French book contains a large number of very large, lavishly decorated engravings. A number of these plates can be found here. Chivalry Bookshelf published John Michael Greers English translation of the Academie de l'Espée in 2006.
- "Grondige Beschryvinge der Edele ende Ridderlijcke Scherm- ofte Wapen-konste" (1671) by Johannes Georgius Bruchius. This book, printed in Leiden, is a treatise on rapier fencing, and is the main subject of our studies. A PDF of the book can be found on this website (the direct link may not work). Leiden University has a copy of this book in their library.
A new English translation by Reinier van Noort, published in 2015, is available here.
A transcription of the Dutch text is available here.
- "Klare Onderrichtinge der Voortreffelijcke Worstel-Konst" (1674) by Nicolaes Petter. This wrestling and self-defense treatise, written by wrestler Nicolaes Petter, and published after his death, contains 71 beautiful engravings by Romeyn de Hooge. The University of Amsterdam has made beautiful scans of this book available online, on which this transcription is based. Petter's "Worstel-Konst" is our main source for unarmed self-defense.
-"L'Academie de l'admirable Art de la Lutte" (1712). This is a French translation of Petter's "Worstel-Konst", that was published in Leiden. It contains, in addition to the French text, the 71 well-known engravings by Romeyn de Hooge. A transcription of this text can be found here.
-"Handleiding voor het Onderwijs in de Schermkunst" by Christiaan Siebenhaar is a small Dutch treatise on fencing with the dueling sword (foil), sabre, long stick, short stick and rifle (bajonet), from 1858. For each weapon, it provides some basic instruction, followed by a series of solo- and/or duo exercises. A transcription of the third improved printing from 1861 can be found here. A printed version of this transcription, including all images, and together with Siebenhaar's "Wenken en Aanwijzingen", is available here.
-"Wenken en Aanwijzingen voor den Onderwijzer in de Schermkunst" by Christiaan Siebenhaar is an addition to his "Handleiding", which was published in 1877. Here, a transcription of this short booklet can be found. A printed version of this transcription, together with Siebenhaar's "Handleiding", is available here.
-"Voorschrift Bajonetvechten", a short military treatise on fighting with rifle with bayonet, published by the Dutch Royal Military Academy in Breda in 1914. A transcription of this booklet is downloadable here.
-"Voorschrift voor de opleiding in het vechten met de blanke wapens", published in Batavia in 1937, is a short military treatise on fighting with klewang (a cutlass) and carbine, rifle with bayonet, and carbine with bayonet. A transcription of this booklet is available here thanks to the Dutch Army Museum. Here you will find an English translation of Chapter 2, on fighting with the carbine and klewang, and a complete English translation is found here.
- "Trattato Di Scientia d' Arme,con un Dialogo di Filosofia" (1553) by Camillo Aggrippa. Scans of this book can be found here.
- "Lo Schermo, overo Scienza D'Arme" (1606) by Salvator Fabris. Scans of Fabris' book can, for instance, be found here.
- "Scola, overo, Teatro" (1606) by Nicoletto Giganti. Scans van this book are available here.
- "Gran Simularcro dell'Arte Eddelluso della Scherma" (1610) by Ridolpho Capoferro. Scans of the Gran Simulacro can be found here.
- "Pallas Armata" (1639) by G. A.. A transcription of this short, English booklet can be found here.
- "Deutliche und gründliche Erklärung der Adelichen und Ritterlichen freyen Fecht-Kunst" written by Jean Daniel L'Ange. This treatise was published in 1664, in Heidelberg, where Bruchius taught from 1653 until 1655. Both the title, and the style of fencing described in this book are very similar to those of Bruchius's treatise. Jean Daniel L'Ange's treatise was republished in Düsseldorf in 1708 by Charle L'Ange. A transcription of the 1664 edition can be found here. Lessons on the Thrust is an English translation of this interesting treatise, prepared by Reinier van Noort, and published in 2014.
- "Leib-beschirmende und Feinden Trotz-bietende Fecht-Kunst" (1713) written by Johann Andreas Schmidt, a student of Johannes Georgius Bruchius. This treatise shows great similarity with Bruchius's "Scherm- ofte Wapen-Konste". Scans of this interesting book are online here. An English translation of the second part, on cut-fencing, made by Reinier van Noort is available here. An English translation of the fifth part, on Caminiren (or proceeding with resolution), can be found here. In 2014, Reinier van Noort and Jan Schäfer shared this transcription of Johann Andreas Schmidt's "Leib-beschirmende und Feinden Trotz-bietende Fecht-Kunst".