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Ott Jud

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Ott Jud
Born date of birth unknown
Died 1448-52 (?)
Occupation Wrestling master
Ethnicity Jewish
Patron princes of Austria
Movement Fellowship of Liechtenauer
Genres Wrestling manual
Language Early New High German
First printed
english edition
Tobler, 2010
Concordance by Michael Chidester

Ott Jud was a 15th century German wrestling master. His name signifies that he was a Jew, and several versions of his treatise (including the oldest one) state that he was baptized Christian.[1] In 1470, Paulus Kal described him as the wrestling master to the princes of Austria, and included him in the membership of the Fellowship of Liechtenauer.[2] While Ott's precise lifetime is uncertain, he may have still been alive when Hans Talhoffer included the Gotha version in his fencing manual in ca. 1448, but seems to have died some time before the creation of the Rome version in 1452.[3]

Ott's treatise on grappling is repeated throughout all of the early German treatise compilations and seems to have become the dominant work on the subject within the Liechtenauer tradition.


It is difficult to say when Ott's treatise was written, and the original is certainly lost at present. The oldest extant copy is the Gotha version, which was included in a manuscript in the 1440s alongside works by Johannes Hartlieb, Hans Talhoffer, and others. The Gotha version is decidedly incomplete compared to other early renditions, suggesting that Ott was not directly involved despite its proximity to his career. Gotha was copied into several further manuscripts, including the New York (16th century), the Göttingen (17th century), and the Munich II (ca. 1820); since these are all direct copies, they offer little additional help in understanding Ott's work (apart from evidence of its continued transmission).

Two copies of Ott's work date to the 1450s, the Augsburg and Rome versions. Here we see the art of


The text of the Krakow versions of Ott frequently refer to intended illustrations that were never added to the manuscript. The appropriate blank pages are included in the illustration column for reference. It's possible (though not likely, given what we know about its origins) that this manuscript was replicating another one with a complete set of illustrations; if this ever surfaces, the illustrations will be replaced.

Additional Resources


  1. The Gotha version, as well as the Augsburg, Vienna, and Glasgow versions, all use the term tauffter Jud, "baptized Jew".
  2. The Fellowship of Liechtenauer is recorded in three versions of Paulus Kal's treatise: MS 1825 (1460s), Cgm 1570 (ca. 1470), and MS KK5126 (1480s).
  3. His name lacks the traditional blessing on the dead in Talhoffer, but receives it in the Rome (see folio 100v).
  4. vor ringen
  5. mit ringen
  6. nach ringen
  7. This is not a true transcription of the first fragment of Ott in Wassmannsdorff's manuscript. It in, instead, Wassmannsdorff's transcription of the Augsburg version, modified according to the differences he notes in his apparatus. It is placed here to offer a rough idea of the contents of this section in the absence of the actual manuscript or complete transcription. Note that the terminus at paragraph 22 isn't definitely the end of the fragment, but rather the final paragraph with relevant footnotes.
  8. das Wort »auf« ist nachträglich in anderer Handschrift klein über der Zeile zwischen den Wörtern eingefügt worden.
  9. Corrected from »deinem«.
  10. Corrected from »dein«.
  11. Korrigiert aus »rechtenn«.
  12. Korrigiert aus »rechtz«.
  13. Corrected from »dein«.
  14. There is obviously a mistake in the text. This is evident from the von Speyer version of the Ott text, which says to hold his left arm with your right. In the Goliath manuscript the relevant text says: "grab his right arm with your left hand firmly and come with your right hand to help your left". Taking into consideration the subsequent instruction on the direction of the turning through, the last record of Ott’s teaching seems to be the most logical and credible.
  15. wendt dich durch
  16. German has vallen - may be intended as "speciem".
  17. This play is placed before the previous counter in Rome and Krakow, but following Augsburg, it appears to be a second counter to the same action.
  18. This is clearly a scribal error for unndter. However, it is also clear that the text reads “vindter”. In this case, note that the following title “Unndten durchfarn” is spelled correctly.
  19. The phrase "seinen linngen arm auß, mit deiner rechten hannd, von oben nider, vnnd begreif ime damit" is struck through on MS Dresd.C.94 118r, but this manuscript's scribe seems to have not recognized that.
  20. Salzburg and Vienna I insert three plays before this one, which are included below.
  21. corrected from »sein«
  22. nym Im das gewicht
  23. The Rome version places this text before the previous play.
  24. This is clearly a scribal error for unndter. However, it is also clear that the text reads “vindter”.
  25. Ribs.
  26. This is the title given in Dresden. Gotha and Rome have Ein pruch wider das schrencken or "a counter to the barrier", while Glasgow gives Ein pruch wider Sterck, "a counter against strength".
  27. The words "In sein" are transposed, with marking indicating that they should be reversed.
  28. Schranck
  29. Should be "his right side" (against your left), which follows the preceding rhyme.
  30. S. S. 153, 43.
  31. Corrected from »seinem«
  32. The manuscript only says “vnd”.
  33. S. S. 153, 44.
  34. The above word “reiben” (rub, as in “drehen”, ‘turn’, ‘twist’) is clarified by the word “prechen”.
  35. S. S. 153, 45 and 46.
  36. Append: “linken Bein”.
  37. “deine”.
  38. S. S. 153, 47.
  39. An dieser Stelle bricht der Text ab.
  40. “klein (groβ).”
  41. Missing word, error: “Seite”.
  42. S. S. 154, 48.
  43. S. S. 154, 49.
  44. S. S. 154, 50.
  45. S. S. 155, 51.
  46. S. S. 155, 52.
  47. Dresden differs here
  48. Should be "Goller"
  49. “kannst du”.
  50. S.S. 155, 53.
  51. S. S. 155, 54.
  52. Possibly “und erfahe”, or simply “und fahe”.
  53. S.S. 155, 55.
  54. The words "seitten oder" are probably because of carelessness of the scribe.
  55. S. S. 156, 58.
  56. Interpret as “ihn”.
  57. Interpret as “Linken”.
  58. Read: “oberhalb des”.
  59. “Eile ihm”.
  60. play
  61. Possibly: für was (wofür)?
  62. ‘ohne’
  63. ‘Stangenwerfen (==schieben) und Steinstoβen.
  64. Talhoffer mentions “stainwerffen vnd stainschüben” in his list of exercises within his own vorrede.
  65. Could this be a reference to the oldest printed Fightbook, Paurnfeindt’s ‘Ergrundung Ritterlicher kunst der Fechterey’ (Vienna 1516), whose author concludes with ‘auszug dizer Ritterlichen kunst’?
  66. ‘beiwohnt’.
  67. Paurenfeindt offers his students his Fechtbuch in the same hope, that “von tag czu tag czu merren vnd bessern” (from day to day, to increase and improve).
  68. Auerswald, Berlin Ringbuch & Munich Ringbuch all begin with this affirmation: “In Sant Jorgen namen heb an. Und schaw zum ersten ob der man hoch oder nider gange das ist des ringens anefang.”
  69. Should be "his right side" (against your left), which follows the preceding rhyme.
  70. S. S. 153, 43.
  71. Missing “umb”, as in “Dich umfangen ist – dich umfängt.”
  72. The manuscript only says “vnd”.
  73. S. S. 153, 44.
  74. Should be read as “Aber”.
  75. The above word “reiben” (rub, as in “drehen”, ‘turn’, ‘twist’) is clarified by the word “prechen”.
  76. S. S. 153, 45 and 46.
  77. Should be read as “gan”.
  78. Append: “linken Bein”.
  79. “deine”.
  80. S. S. 153, 47.
  81. That is: ‘durch die seitten’.
  82. “Beiten”, is the dialect of the text for “warten”. In Rückert’s Makamen, the Schoolmaster from Hims (Schulmeister von Hims) states “beaten ist ein Wort für weilen, alt und gut; wähle nach Gefallen zwischen beiden”.
  83. “können”.
  84. “klein (groβ).”
  85. Missing word, error: “Seite”.
  86. S. S. 154, 48.
  87. In the manuscript, the remaining plays of Ott are included without a poetic rendering before this concluding section. It cannot be determined from the transcription whether space was left for those paragraphs to be rendered into verse.
  88. Lit: ‘lie down’
  89. Should be “denn”.
  90. Should be “euch”.
  91. “Wollen”.
  92. This paragraph is identical to the next one, which is probably an error since Mayr has a different paragraph here.
  93. Which is what?