Books




Here is a list of all books I have published so far. Click on a cover image to go to the preferred supplier.



The Martial Arts of Johann Georg Pascha
The weapons used in historical fencing treatises can roughly be divided into three classes based on weapon length, and thus distance at which the enemy is engaged. Most commonly described is the use of weapons with intermediate reach, such as various kinds of swords, but in addition there are works dealing with fighting with a shorter reach, such as with knives or daggers, or unarmed combat, and those that deal with a longer reach, with various pole-weapons.
This book presents translations of Pascha's works on fencing (both thrust-fencing and cut-fencing), grappling, and the use of the hunting staff and the partisan. All these translations are based on the later, most complete versions of the texts, which also included clearer and more numerous figures. These works of Pascha taken together present one of the few 17th century sources describing all three ranges of fighting. Therefore, this book provides a practice manual for historical fencers who are interested in 17th century fencing, and who want to expand their repertoire to other weapon types.


Johann Andreas Schmidt's Life-saving and Enemies-defying Art of Fencing
Johann Andreas Schmidt was a student of Johannes Georgius Bruchius in Amsterdam, and once acquired a position as court fencing master by repeatedly disarming two other fencing masters in the presence of his future employer. Furthermore, as a bet he once ejected six strong peasants from a tavern using only a staff, and he could punch a dent into an oak table using only his right fist. At least, if the Nürnbergische Gelehrten-Lexicon is to be believed.
Whether or not these claims are true, Schmidt also wrote the Leib-beschirmende und Feinden Trotz-bietende Fecht-Kunst, which was first published in Nürnberg in 1713, and which is one of the earliest German books on fencing with what can clearly be identified as a smallsword. In addition, his work is one of the few German treatises describing grappling and unarmed self-defense.


Proper Description of Thrust Fencing with the Single Rapier
Johann Georg Pascha was another German fencing master, who published numerous treatises on fencing and other arts young nobles should learn. In 1671, he signed the dedication on a book titled Proper Description of Thrust-Fencing with the Single Rapier, now known by its shelf number Mscr.Dresd.C.13.
Pascha's Proper Description of Thrust-Fencing with the Single Rapier presents a clear introduction to the German style of rapier fencing based on the teachings of Fabris, as well as many useful lessons on thrust-fencing and proceeding with resolution. Furthermore, this book offers an important insight into the early evolution of this lineage, and places many historical figures and publications in their proper context.


New Discours on the Art of Fencing
Joachim Köppe's Newer Discurs der Rittermeßigen und Weitberümbten Kunst des Fechtens, first published in Magdeburg in 1619 presents exactly what the title suggests - a fresh discourse on fencing.
Its author was not a fencing master, but a doctor attached to the University in Magdeburg, who had already written and published several works when he decided to write and publish a book about his great passion, fencing. His professional background is reflected in his Newer Discurs, making it not only an interesting, thoughtful text on fencing, but also a journey through the mind of a 17th century academic who is writing about his favourite subject. His Discourse is richly illustrated with many anecdotes, varying from his personal experiences meeting Salvator Fabris in Paris, to Athenians being strangled by the Minotaur in the Labyrinth.


Van Humbeek's Fencing with the Sabre
Leopold van Humbeek (1871-1942) was fencing master at the Royal Navy Academy in Amsterdam as well as at other military academies in the Netherlands, and at various civilian clubs. In 1912, he coached the Dutch fencing team in sabre fencing at the Olympics in Stockholm, where the Dutch team took bronze in sabre and in épée.
In 1905, Van Humbeek published his Handleiding voor het Sabelschermen, in which he gives a clear and useful description of sabre fencing, supported by 20 photographs that show the author demonstrating postures and techniques. Van Humbeek wrote that the style of fencing that he taught originated from Italy, and indeed his work fits well within the successful tradition started by the Italian maestro Radaelli, as, for example, described by Luigi Barbasetti a few years earlier. Central to this system are cuts that are made from the elbow rather than from the wrist.


Scandinavian Smallsword
In the 18th century, Scandinavia was divided between the kingdoms of Sweden (which included most of modern Finland) and Denmark-Norway (which included Greenland, Iceland and parts of modern Germany). Once the Treaty of Nystad ended the Great Northern War in 1721, it was a relatively stable and peaceful period for the two Nordic nations.
Scandinavian Smallsword presents English translations of three fencing treatises published in Scandinavia in the 18th century. Von Wintzleben's Fegte-kunst (Copenhagen, 1756) shows a style of fencing that has its foundation in the methods popular in Germany from the 17th century onwards. Vicard's Fægte-kunsten (Copenhagen, 1765) demonstrates a decidedly French style of fencing. De Bada's Fäcktare-konsten (Lund, 1733-1742), finally, describes a style of fencing that may have been based on the Spanish verdadera destreza. Together, these three books provide an interesting overview of the diversity of fencing instruction in 18th century Scandinavia.


Handleiding voor het Sabelschermen
Published in 1905, "Handleiding voor het Sabelschermen" by L. J. M. P. van Humbeek gives a clear and useful description of sabre fencing, that is supported by 20 photographs of the author demonstrating postures and techniques. It was written to be used for the light sabre, which the author states also teaches the use of the heavy sabre. The author further states that the style of fencing he teaches originates from Italy.
The author, Leopold van Humbeek (1871-1942), was fencing master at a number of naval or military academies in the Netherlands (for example in Amsterdam), as well as teaching at civilian clubs. In 1912, he coached the Dutch fencing team in sabre fencing at the Olympics in Stockholm.


Siebenhaar's instructions in the art of fencing
In the mid-19th century, not long after the Belgian war of independence, an experiment was taking place in fencing in the Netherlands. The main proponent of this experiment was Christiaan Siebenhaar (1824-1885), fencing master in the Dutch army. In his own words, the purpose of this experiment was to "introduce the Dutch language in the art of fencing" so that "soon nobody is found in the Netherlands anymore who teaches this art in a foreign language". However, the real purpose of this experiment appears to have been more ambitious than that: to create a Dutch School of Fencing - to be known as de Hollandsche Methode.
This book presents English translations of Siebenhaar's two works about fencing and its instruction. The first is his main treatise, Manual for the instruction in the art of fencing. This is followed by his Leads and directions for the instructor in the art of fencing. Combined, they present an interesting view into the development of fencing in the Netherlands in the 19th century.


The Spada Maestra of Bondì di Mazo
Bondì di Mazo's La Spada Maestra was first published in Venice in 1696. It is one of only a handful of Italian fencing books of the late 17th century, and as such provides a valuable insight into the development of fencing in Italy. In this work, Di Mazo discusses fencing with the single rapier, as well as with the rapier and dagger, rapier and targa, and rapier and cape.
In this book, Matteo Butera, Francesco Lanza, Jherek Swanger and Reinier van Noort present the first complete English translation of Di Mazo's La Spada Maestra. For fencers, this will provide a bridge between the rapier treatises of the early seventeenth century, and later classical fencing.


Dall Agocchie "Cheat Sheet"
This is a "Cheat Sheet" of Giovanni Dall Agocchie's 1572 treatises on fencing "Dell'Arte Di Scrimia". This document provides a handy, clear and well-ordered overview of all actions described in this work, based on the English translation by William Jherek Swanger.


The True Principles of the Single Sword
In the second half of the seventeenth century, the rapier commonly became lighter and shorter, with a smaller hilt, and eventually developed into the smallsword, also known as the court sword. Often, this development is associated with France, and the court of its King, Louis XIV.
It is to this King that La Touche boldly dedicated his treatise, Les Vrays Principes de l'Espée seule, in 1670, and it is this treatise that could be seen as the first work to show how fencing evolved to accommodate the changing weapon.
In this work, Reinier van Noort and Antoine Coudre present the first ever English translation of La Touche's Vrays Principes, providing a fascinating view on the development of fencing in France at a time when the rapier gave way to the smallsword.


Swordplay
Tucked away in the Newberry Library of Chicago is an anonymous manuscript entitled Schermkunst ("Art of Swordsmanship"), whose brief text and exquisite watercolours details fencing with the single sword, rapier and dagger, rapier and buckler, halberd, and full pike.
Beyond its artistic charms, however, this little book of 1595 is one of the oldest known martial arts treatises from the Low Countries and gives us a glimpse into the Art of Defense as it was practiced at a particularly volatile time in Netherlands history. Rebellion against Philip II of Spain led to independence of the Calvinist Northern provinces from Catholic Spain, and in the same year, the spice trade expedition Cornelis de Houtman set into motion events culminating in the formation of the Dutch East India Company, and a golden age of Dutch history that spanned the 17th century. This cultural and political foment is represented in the similarities between the methodology in Schermkunst and the rich traditions of England, Germany and Italy, and the inclusion of several sword and shield techniques combat representing that quintessential bogey-man of Renaissance Europe: the Ottoman Turks.
Translated and contextualized by respected Dutch swordsman and fencing researcher, Reinier van Noort, The Art of Swordplay is sure to please martial artist and military historian alike.


Of the Single Rapier
In 1671, Johannes Georgius Bruchius published the Grondige Beschryvinge van de Edele ende Ridderlijcke Scherm- ofte Wapen-Konste in Leiden, in the Netherlands. In his work, Bruchius described a style of rapier fencing that evolved from the teachings of Fabris. He presents this style through a brief explanation of the principles of fencing followed by 212 lessons.
Bruchius' weapon was the rapier: a dangerous yet elegant sword of the 17th century. Its usage was dynamic and effective, with a focus on personal safety through controlling the opponent's blade. Not only does this treatise discuss bladework by way of thrusts and parries, Bruchius teaches grappling and disarming techniques, and provides many solutions to common problems that occur during fencing practice.
Reinier van Noort first made a draft English translation of Bruchius' treatise available in 2009. In this new book, he presents his fully reworked and improved English translation of this important treatise, along with a detailed biographical study on the fencing master Bruchius.


Lessons on the Thrust
In 1664, Jéann Daniel L'Ange published the Deutliche und gründliche Erklärung der adelichen und ritterlichen freyen Fecht-Kunst in Heidelberg, Germany. This was one of the first concise and systematic treatises on the typically German style of rapier fencing that evolved from the teachings of Fabris and his German students. L'Ange presents his personal point of view on this fencing style, which includes a rather large selection of brutal grappling moves.
This first English translation of L'Ange's treatise, made by Reinier van Noort and published exactly 350 years after the original edition, provides a fascinating viewpoint on a fencing style that is underrepresented in the modern studies on historical martial arts. In this translation, Jéann Daniel L'Ange's view on fencing is presented in a way that is both close to the original, and clearly understandable by a modern reader. Meticulously cleaned scans of the 61 page size plates from the original treatise are also included.


Fencing on the Thrust and Cut
Johann Georg Paschen (1628-1678) was a fencing master and prolific author in the 17th century, producing numerous treatises on for example fencing, fighting with the pike, and vaulting.
Not much is known about Erhardus Henning, who published a small treatise on Cut-fencing in Königsberg in 1658.
This book contains both these treatises, translated into English by Reinier van Noort, founder of the School voor Historische Schermkunsten in the Netherlands. In addition, photographs of the plates of Paschen are included with the text.


De Werken van Christiaan Siebenhaar
This is a full transcription of the third edition of Christiaan Siebenhaar's "Handleiding voor het Onderwijs in de Schermkunst" (1861), which include photo reproductions of all plates included in the original. In addition, a full transcription of Christiaan Siebenhaar's "Wenken en Aanwijzingen voor den Onderwijzer in de Schermkunst" (1877) is included in this book.
Please note that all text in this book is in Dutch.


Transcription of Bruchius' Scherm- ofte Wapen-Konste
This is a full transcription of the Rapier fencing treatise written in Dutch by Johannes Georgius Bruchius, and published in Leiden in 1671. Additionally, this book contains black and white photo reproductions of all the plates contained in the original book.




Copyright 2016, Reinier van Noort.