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Captain of the Guild
Master Peter Falkner's Art of Knightly Defense

By Christian Henry Tobler

Captain of the Guild
Paperback, 351 pages £32.50
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9781937439095
Format: 229mm x 152mm
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Hardback, 351 pages £73.50
Published: 2013
ISBN: 9780982591161
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Subjects: Freelance Academy Press, History, Medieval Studies, Military History

In the late 14th century, the German swordsman Johannes Liechtenauer developed and codified a system of armed combat with sword, spear and dagger that spread through the Holy Roman Empire and dominated German martial arts for nearly 300 years. By the end of the 15th century, a fellowship of swordsmen in Frankfurt known as 'the Brotherhood of Saint Mark,' or Marxbruder, had been granted an imperial charter to train and test swordmasters.

Peter Falkner was a long-time member and sometime captain of this famed fencing guild, and it was during this tenure that he set about creating an illustrated fight book of his own; colourful, painted figures and short captions depict combat with a wide variety of weapons: the longsword, dagger, staff, poleaxe, halberd, dueling shield and mounted combat. Where his work excels, however, is in its extensive treatment of the falchion-like messer and the unique variations of core techniques of the Liechtenauer canon.

In this first, printed edition of Falkner's work, German martial arts teacher and scholar Christian Tobler includes a full translation, transcription and analysis, combined with a photographic reproduction of the original manuscript. The end result is a lovingly rendered, English translation of a 500 year old picture-book that shows an adaptation of the Liechtenauer tradition, by a known master of its most prestigious school, as taught over a century after its foundation.



About the Author

The Selohaar Fechtschule


    The Knightly Art

    Falkner and the Marxbruder

    General Observations on the Manuscript

    The Manuscript in Detail

    Related Manuscripts

Master Peter Falkner's Art of Knightly Defense

    Longsword (ff. 1v-18r)

    Messer (ff. 18v-44r)

    Dagger (ff . 46r-56r)

    Saint Mark (f. 57v) and Staff Fighting (ff . 58r-61r)

    Poleaxe (ff. 62r-65r)

    Franconian Rite Shield and Club Duel (ff . 65v-67r)

    Roáfechten (ff. 67v-72v)



Christian Henry Tobler has focused on the study of medieval Fechtbücher (fight books) since the late 1990s, and has published widely on swordsmanship.  He was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Historical European Martial Arts in 2013.


Publication Details:

 Paperback , 351 pages
 229mm x 152mm

 Hardback , 351 pages

BIC Code:
  HIS027000, HIS037010
 Freelance Academy Press


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