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Johann Andreas Schmidt

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Johann Andreas Schmidt
Born ca. 1650
Uncertain, probably Germany
Died ca. 1730
Unknown, probably Germany
Occupation Fencing master
Genres Fencing manual
Language Early New High German
Johann Andreas Schmidts, Fecht- und Exercitienmeisters Fecht-Kunst oder leichte und getreue Anweisung auf Stoss und Hieb zierlich und sicher zu fechten. (1780)

Johann Andreas Schmidt was a 17th century and 18th century German fencing master who ran his own fencing school in the Free State of Nuremburg, Bavaria, Germany. It is not known where he was born, though it was probably in Germany in ca. 1650. Sometime after 1671 (or perhaps after 1675), Schmidt studied fencing under Johannes Georgius Bruchius at the latter's school in Amsterdam. Sometime prior to 1713, Schmidt opened his own fencing school in Nuremberg.[1].

In 1713, while teaching at his fencing school, Schmidt published a very extensive fencing and exercise manual entitled Gründlich lehrende Fechtschule. In its third publication, it was retitled as, Johann Andreas Schmidts, Fecht- und Exercitienmeisters Fecht-Kunst oder leichte und getreue Anweisung auf Stoss und Hieb zierlich und sicher zu fechten. ("Johann Andreas Schmidts Fencing and Exercise Masters Fencing Arts, or an easy and accurate statement on the shock and small strikes and about safety in fencing."). The original publisher of the 1713 edition is not known, but the book was republished in 1749 in Nuremberg by Ben Endterischen Conforten und Engelbrechts Wittwe, and later in 1780 in Nuremberg, the latter republishing well after Schmidt's death and done by Christoph Weigelischen Runsthandlung in 1780.

Schmidt's lengthy fencing manual, at 342 pages in the 1780 edition, is broadly divided into four parts. The first discusses the use and fencing arts with the single rapier after the German manner, which he had learned through Bruchius, which was itself heavily influenced by the teachings of the Italian master Salvator Fabris.[2] The second covers exercises by gymnastic techniques done on the pommel horse (which in historic style is depicted as a horse-shaped apparatus with the pommels (aka handles) being the front and back of the high saddle in 18th C. style. The third parts returns to more instruction on fencing techniques. Finally, the forth part provides lessons in wrestling, holds and take downs, which appears to have its roots in the classic wrestling styles that accompanied teachings with the longsword from the previous two centuries.

Johann Andreas Schmidts died probably around 1730, probably in Nuremberg.


A copy of the third edition of the treatise is available at the New York Public Library, where it was uncovered by modern day fencing student and instructor Thomas Van Hare. Being 374 pages long, it has been scanned and published in Google Docs and is available online at Johann Andreas Schmidts, Fecht- und Exercitienmeisters Fecht-Kunst, Nurnberg, 1780.

Additional Resources


  1. Johann Andreas Schmidt. "Johann Andreas Schmidt". Frontpiece from Fechtbook by Johann Andreas Schmidt. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  2. Reinier van Noort. "Johannes Georgius Bruchius". School voor Historische Schermkunsten. Retrieved 22 February 2013.