Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch

(1467 German Edition)
Published by VS Books
Paperback edition, 1999

Review by Brian R. Price


One of the first medieval fighting manuals to become known to tournament re-enactors and medieval martial artists, Talhoffer’s Fechtbuch (literally “fightbook”) has become increasingly popular over the last year.

VS Books has done a fine service in bringing this book to publications; previously those interested frequently worked from manscript copies from a crumpled old xerox machine, but this book compactly and with excellent quality presents the entire 1467 edition of this great work.

This book has 288 pages of techniques as recorded by the great German swordsmaster. While the main focus is on two-handed sword, there are significant sections relating to sword and shield work, poleaxe, warhammer, mace / baton, dagger, wrestling, and work on horseback.

While this is certainly not the “end all be all” of fighting technique, it is a worthy addition to any library on knighthood, chivalry & tournaments and will hopefully become the first of many such manuals to see publication, each offering new information for making medieval martial arts more effective and authentic.