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Welcome to the Wiktenauer!

The free library of Historical European Martial Arts books and manuscripts

Without books no one can be a good teacher nor even a good student of this art.
~ Master Fiore Furlano de’i Liberi, ca. 1405

Wiktenauer is an ongoing collaboration among researchers and practitioners from across the Western martial arts community, seeking to collect all of the primary and secondary source literature that makes up the text of historical European martial arts research and to organize and present it in a scholarly but accessible format. The Wiktenauer project started in 2009, later receiving sponsorship from the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance, and is named for Johannes Liechtenauer, grand master of the oldest known longsword fencing style; his tradition was also the best-documented of the early Modern era, the subject of many dozens of manuscripts and books over a period of more than three centuries. Here are a few basic categories of pages that are being constructed:

  • Master Pages host biographical information about each master, as well as the transcription and translation of his complete works. In cases of multiple copies of a master's work, the transcriptions are laid out side-by-side to facilitate the most accurate translation possible. To aid in interpretation, the writings will also be illustrated with images from the masters' work as available. A bibliography at the end of each page lists additional transcriptions, translations, and scans that are available in print. The exemplar for this category of pages is Fiore de'i Liberi. Ultimately, every master in all of the traditions of Western Martial Arts will have a dedicated page.
  • Treatise Pages host all relevant data on a book or manuscript, including description, provenance, table of contents (with links to the appropriate master pages), gallery of page scans, and bibliography of additional print resources. The exemplar for manuscripts is the Goliath Fechtbuch, while the exemplar for printed books is Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey. Ultimately, every text in the corpus of Historical European Martial Arts literature will have a dedicated page.
  • Technique Pages compile all of the relevant information from all of the relevant manuals on a particular technique, including transcriptions, translations, and images. There is also a section at the end of each page where groups may embed videos of their interpretations. The template for techniques is the Zornhaw. Ultimately, every technique mentioned in the manuals will have a dedicated page.
  • Weapon Pages provide information about how a specific weapon form is described and used in the treatises, data on surviving artifacts, an overview of archaeological research pertinent to a given weapon, and a comprehensive index of the treatises and writers that discuss each weapon.

The wiki also features pages for HEMA groups, pages for HEMA events, general information pages, and almost other topic of interest to the HEMA community you can think of. If you'd like to pitch in, simply request an account and consult How can I help?

Fundraiser announcement final.png

Where to begin. In 2014, we were blown away when we raised $3612, over seven times our initial goal. This year, Richard and I talked about it in December and we thought that we could probably double that total if we actually put in the time to plan and prepare properly. We set up a soft goal of $1500 (because setting a goal that you're not 100% sure you can achieve is a rookie crowdfunding mistake), but our real goal was the utterly ridiculous prospect of trebling last year's total, paired with the equally ridiculous prospect of paying for the hugely-expensive scans of the elusive Copenhagen Fabris manuscript (Ms. GKS 1868/r).

And then you, gentle readers, strolled up and with utter—even contemptuous—ease you shattered that goal over your collective knee.

Our fundraising total as of this afternoon is the truly remarkable sum of $22,710. This puts us in competition with the Pro-Gauntlet for being the second highest-grossing crowdfunding project in our little community's history (Guy Windsor's Audatia game being the untouchably high number one).

Needless to say, this sum far exceeds anything that I planned for or even hoped for. Even so, let me give you some idea of what will happen with it.

First, of course, $1500 will be set aside to cover our server costs. A reserve fund equal to one year's expenses will also be set aside for a rainy day.

Second, we'll be creating and distributing swag. That's approximately 325 patches, 150 t-shirts, 80 print books, and innumerable scans and e-books. I sort of forgot to include shipping costs in our calculations initially, but with this fundraising total I'm sure we can make it work. The anticipated time-frames were listed in the campaign pitch, and range across the next three months. The swag should come out to between a quarter and a third of the fundraising total (plus shipping).

Third, we'll begin purchasing the scans from our stretch goals. The Scott Library got back to me and said they wouldn't scan the Glasgow Fechtbuch for us, and I expect the same answer from the Morgan Library, so Unannounced Projects I & II default to Stretch Goal 9 changing from Choose Your Own Adventure to All of the Above. Here's our list:

(Read more...)

Michael Chidester (Contact)
Wiktenauer Director
HEMA Alliance, WMAC
17:26, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Featured article
Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck
Period 15th century
Occupation Fencing master
Nationality German
Patron Albrecht, Duke of Bavaria
Movement Fellowship of Liechtenauer
Influences Johannes Liechtenauer
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Archetype(s) Hypothetical
First Printed
English Edition
Tobler, 2001
Compilation by
Michael Chidester

Sigmund Schining ain Ringeck (Sigmund ain Ringeck, Sigmund Amring, Sigmund Einring, Sigmund Schining) was a 15th century German fencing master. While the meaning of the surname "Schining" is uncertain, the suffix "ein Ringeck" may indicate that he came from the Rhineland region of south-eastern Germany. He is named in the text as Schirmaister to Albrecht, Count Palatine of Rhine and Duke of Bavaria. This may signify Schirrmeister, a logistical officer charged with oversseing the wagons and horse-drawn artillery pieces, or potentially Schirmmeister, a title used by lower-class itinerant fencing masters in the Medieval period. Apart from his service to the duke, the only thing that can be determined about his life is that he was connected in some way to the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer—his name was included by Paulus Kal in his roll of members of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer in ca. 1470.

The identity of Ringeck's patron remains unclear, as four men named Albrecht ruled Bavaria during the fifteenth century; assuming that Ringeck was a personal student of Liechtenauer further narrows the list down to just two. If the MS 3227a is correctly dated to 1389, then Liechtenauer was a 14th century master and Ringeck's patron was Albrecht I, who reigned from 1353 to 1404. If, on the other hand, Liechtenauer was an early 15th century master (an associate or student of H. Beringer) and the Fellowship of Liechtenauer was assembled to fight in the Hussite Wars of the 1420s and 30s, then Ringeck's patron would have been Albrecht III, who carried the title from 1438 to 1460. Albrecht IV claimed the title in 1460 and thus also could have been Ringeck's patron; this would probably signify that Ringeck was not a direct student of Liechtenauer at all, but a later inheritor of the tradition. That said, Albrecht IV lived until 1508 and so the Dresden, Glasgow, and Salzburg manuscripts were likely created during his reign.

Ringeck is often erroneously credited as the author of the MS Dresd.C.487. Ringeck was indeed the author of one of the core texts, a complete gloss of Liechtenauer's Recital on unarmored long sword fencing. However, the remainder of the manuscript contains an assortment of treatises by several different masters in the tradition, and it is currently thought to have been composed in the early 16th century (putting it after the master's presumed lifetime). Regardless, the fact that he authored one of the few glosses of the Recital makes Ringeck one of the most important masters of the Liechtenauer tradition.

(Read more...)

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Wiktenauer parent organizations

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Historical European Martial Arts Alliance

An educational non-profit organization providing a range of programs and services for its members and affiliate schools and clubs, as well as serving the wider HEMA community.

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Western Martial Arts Coalition

A pan-American network of researchers and instructors dedicated to the study of traditional European, American, and related fighting arts and martial traditions.

Wiktenauer sponsors

Each year Wiktenauer holds a two-week fundraising drive to cover our server fees and fund new projects and acquisitions. The following are the key donors from the 2015 drive; a full list of donors can be viewed on the Contributors page.

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Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga
Boston Armizare.png
Boston Armizare
Fechtschule Victoria.png
Fechtschule Victoria
Kron Martial Arts.png
Kron Martial Arts
Longpoint HEMA Tournaments & Workshops.png
Longpoint: HEMA Tournaments & Workshops
Noble Science Academy.png
Noble Science Academy
Ottawa Swordplay.png
Ottawa Swordplay
Purpleheart Armoury.png
Purpleheart Armoury
Schola Saint George.png
Schola Saint George
The School of European Swordsmanship.png
School of European Swordsmanship
Sword to Sword.png
Sword to Sword - Kunst des Fechtens
Système d'Armes.png
Système d'Armes - New Orleans
Tattershall School of Defense.png
Tattershall School of Defense
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xKdF Network