Understanding Zufechten

A very interesting  article of my  friend,  Jens P. Kleinau. I thank him for sharing  with  us.


‘Wenn dw mit dem zwuechten ze dem man kumbst so soltu nicht stil sten mit dem messer vnd seynen heuen nach wortten wenn dy vechter dy newer wellen versetzen dy werden ser geschlagen’

Approaching is the preparation for the last step. It can be done by one or both fighters at any time. In that process there is the need to assure, that the opponent’s weapon cannot reach the fighter’s own body. Bringing the own weapon between the own body and the opponent’s body is one option. It includes the downside that in most cases the fighter himself cannot use the same weapon to attack that he uses to defend. Defending and attacking in one move is possible but extremely difficult during the process of approaching. It is much easier done in the last step where the opening is already identified.


Because the “Vorschlag” cannot be won without an attack, the attack is essential. Such we are recommended not to “waste” our blade for defense-only-actions. On the other hand we need to react if we do not want to be wounded. So the first rule in Zufechten is: do not react with your weapon, but act with your feet. There is really no need to get or stay in the reach of the opponent if the situation is not benefiting the fighter.

‘Auch wisse wen eyner mit eyme ficht / zo sol her syner / schrete wol war nemen / und sicher in den seyn / wen her recht zam of eyner wogen stehen sol / hindersich / ader vorsich zu treten / noch deme als sichs gepuert / gefuege und gerinklich / risch und snelle / und gar mit guter mute und guter gewissen ader vornunft sol deyn fechten dar gehen / und an alle vorchte / als man das hernoch wirt hoeren

Auch soltu mosse haben yn deyme gefechte dornich als sichs gepuert / und solt nicht zu weit schreiten / das du dich desto las eyns – / andern schretes irholen magest / hinderdich / ader vordich zutuen / noch deme als sich woerde gepuren / und das / Auch gepuren sich oft czwene korcze schrete vor eynem langen / und oft gepuert sich das eyner eyn lewtcheyn mus tuen / mit korczen schreten / und oft das eyner eynen guten schret ader sprunk mus tuen’

Distance is the key in Zufechten, nothing else. Again we are recommended to are brave and rational. “Ubunge und guter mut / motus gelenkheit schrete gut“. Every step a fighter does, should be done to his favor. He should be aware of his steps and plan them. If he moves towards the opponent he should already know a way out. Every step should be done that way such it can be undone instantly. The posture should be chosen that one is in balance and always moving. Standing still is allowed – but only far out of reach or after the Zufechten.

Zufechten is done by the feet. Every action and reaction is done by the feet. The blade can protect or attack, it should attack.

Zufechten is finished, if the Vorschlag is done by any fighter (the end of the “Anfang” of Joachim Meyer). If Zufechten is finished, the blade is the one acting and reacting (“Mittel” or “Handarbeit” in Joachim Meyer) There is no more time for the feet. Even jumping away must be protected by the blade (“Abzug” called by Meyer). Im “Mittel” the fighter should move the blade before the feet – as recommended of George Silver-  one two or three times, that’s why it is called “Handarbeit”.

Further readings:

From:Hans Talhoffer~ as seen by Jens P. Kleinau

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s