All I Need to Know in Life I Learned from Master Liechtenauer

“Practice knighthood and learn
the Art that dignifies you.”
Be chivalrous. Be studious.

“Be a good grappler in wrestling;
lance, spear, sword and messer
handle manfully,
and foil them in your opponent’s hands.”
Find the right tool for the job, there’s plenty to choose from.  Learn to use them all.

“He who follows the strokes,
should rejoice little in his art.”
Don’t simply follow.  Be proactive.

“Do not fight above on the left if you are right-handed;
and if you are left-handed,
on the right you limp was well.”
Work from the areas where you are the most capable.  Always start from a position of strength.

“Before and After, these two things,
are to all skill a well-spring.”
Timing is everything.

“Four openings know,
aim:  so you hit certainly.”
Watch for and take advantage of opportunities.

“And test the attacks
if they are soft or hard.”
Never fight force with force.  Go around, yield, find another way.

“Learn the feeling.
The word Instantly slices sharply.”
Don’t take too long to make a decision, but make sure you have all the data before you act.

“Whoever conducts the Failer
from below he hits at his will.”
Even if you know your first attempt will likely not succeed, attempt it anyway, but have a fall back plan in mind.

“The Squinter breaks into
whatever a buffalo strikes or thrusts.”
Bullies need to be stopped.  Sometimes all it takes is a dirty look.


Verse credit:  Christian Tobler’s translation of the Van Danzig Fechtbuch as published in his book In Saint George’s Name available from Freelance Academy Press.

Musings by Pamela Muir

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