Fencing master

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The fencing masters at Heidelberg University, around 1910.

Fechtmeister is the name for a person who teaches student , scenic or historical fencing . Other language names are Maître d'Armes , Maestro di Scherma and Fencing Master .


"The fencing student". The copper engraving from 1725 shows the university fencing floor of the University of Altdorf , the fencing master (left) teaches students in butt fencing.
Fencing lessons at the Weimar high school in 1765
"Let the alloy stay." Fencing exercises Göttingen students 1773.

The profession of fencing master has a long tradition in Germany . An important fencing master of the 14th century was Johann Liechtenauer . The fencing master Peter von Danzig (Dancksg) is named as a member of Johannes Liechtenauer's society for the 15th century in Paulus Kal's fencing book , a manuscript from 1459. In 1487, Emperor Friedrich III. the masters of the sword a letter of privilege, which was valid for the whole empire and was never overridden. The most important sentence is:

so that now, everywhere in the holy realm, no one should call himself a master of value, nor should he learn to apply himself - he must be tried and approved in his art beforehand by the masters of value.

The fencing teachers soon founded their own associations that developed joint fencing techniques. The most famous in Germany were

  • the brotherhood of our dear Virgin Mary and the prince of heaven St. Marxen (also called St. Mark's Brothers or Marx Brothers) as well
  • the free fencers from the spring to the Greifenfels (Federfechter).

The universities, which had their own university fencing masters and maintained university fencing floors, were among the most important training institutions in the art of fencing. In addition to these official fencing masters of the universities, there were often others who were not privileged by the university. These fencing masters were then somewhat disparagingly called angle fencers . Until the 17th century, the craftsmen's booths had their fencing masters.

Learning the art of fencing has become a special university discipline over time. Many universities soon employed their own fencing masters in addition to dance and riding instructors. For example, fencing instructors were employed in Jena in 1550 and in Rostock in 1560.

Fencing, dancing and riding formed the exercitia ( Latin for "exercises") at universities , the forerunners of today's university sport . They were seen as an important supplement to the studia , i.e. the theoretical subjects.

Goethe also reports in his autobiographical book Poetry and Truth that he had already received fencing lessons as a pupil in Frankfurt am Main before starting his studies in Leipzig:

Two fencing masters were in town: an elderly, serious German, who went to work in the strict and efficient manner, and a Frenchman, who took advantage of him by advancing and retreating, by light, fleeting blows, which were always accompanied by a few exclamations sought to achieve. Opinions as to which type was best were divided. The little company with which I was supposed to take the lesson was given to the French, and we soon got used to going back and forth, falling out and withdrawing, and always breaking out into the traditional screams. Several of our acquaintances, however, had turned to the German fencing master and were practicing just the opposite. These different ways of handling such an important exercise, the conviction of each that his master was the better one, really created a division among the young people of about the same age, and little was lacking for the fencing schools to have serious ones Initiated skirmishes. For there was almost as much a fight with words as it was fought with the blade, and in order to finally put an end to the matter, a competition was organized between the two masters, the success of which I need not describe in detail. The German stood like a wall in his stance, took care of his advantage, and knew how to disarm his opponent one after the other by batting and ligating. The latter asserted that it was not reason and, with his agility, continued to put the other person in suspense. He also taught the German a few thrusts, which, if he had been serious, would have sent him into the other world.
On the whole nothing was decidedly or improved, only some turned to the compatriot, including me. But I had already accepted too much from the first master, so it took quite a while before the new master could wean it off again, who was generally less satisfied with us renegades than with his primary students.

From the 17th to the 20th century there were famous fencing teacher dynasties at German universities who taught students at various universities for several generations. The best known were Kreussler , Roux and Seemann-Kahne.

Fencing master at German universities


University gymnasium (1903), also used as a university fencing floor

The first fencing master at the University of Göttingen was the Frenchman Anton Sebert in 1734. He had previously been expelled from the University of Leipzig in connection with dueling offenses . He was followed by Krösewell. The first long-time fencing master of Georgia Augusta was Anton Friedrich Kahn . The fencing masters of the University of Göttingen were repeatedly in competition with colleagues who had become well-known and were not privileged by the university. Kahn therefore left the university in frustration and became a privileged fencing master at the University of Helmstedt , since Göttingen was not ready to defend its privileges. Such was the time of the university fencing master Hermann Christoph Both (1794-1818). In 1811, however, the angle fencer Ulrici was preferred to this by the students . Angular fencers were fought heavily by the university authorities, who hoped that the fencing masters would have some control over the fencing process. The Göttingen university fencing floor was located at the beginning of the 19th century on the corner of Hospitalstrasse and Kurz Strasse. From 1818 to 1845, Johann Christoph Kastropp, followed by his son Christian Friedrich Kastropp (1846–1869), was the first fencing master family in Göttingen who held the post of fencing master for around 50 years. The university fencing ground was held during her time at the university riding stable on Weender Strasse. The castropps was followed by the highly respected university fencing master Robert Grüneklee for the period from 1869 to 1914 . Fifteen of his students became fencing masters at German universities. He also held the fencing floor at the riding stables, but had to provide alternative floors due to the excessive demand from the students. Due to this situation, Grüneklee was able to convince the university management to build its own university fencing hall at Geiststraße 4 for the first time in the history of the university, which was completed and put into operation in 1901. Under his successor, the famous university fencing master Friedrich Seemann-Kahne , who worked for the Göttingen University from 1914 to 1945, the university gymnasium built in 1902/03 at Geiststraße 6 was also used as a fencing floor. After the Second World War, fencing training in Göttingen was incorporated into the Institute for Physical Education (IfL) at the University of Göttingen and restricted to training in pure sport fencing. The preparation for the mensur, on the other hand, was left to the interested student associations, who from then on employed private fencing teachers. The first private fencing master after the Second World War was Hans von Goldacker until 1961 , who himself had been a member of the Corps Saxonia Göttingen and Pomerania Greifswald since his time as a student . Peter Pieper followed him .


Tomb of the Kreussler family in Jena

With Wilhelm Kreussler , a unique university fencing tradition begins in Jena. With the Kreusslers, Jena becomes, so to speak, a stronghold of academic fencing. There are many anecdotes to report about the fencing family Kreussler from Jena. For example, Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony, regularly invited people to fencing meetings and smaller tournaments, as he himself was an excellent fencer. At one of these meetings, a participant came in a cloak and disarmed all attendees. Finally Prince August took the rapier into his own hands and faced the stranger. The prince was quickly disarmed and shouted at the fencer: "My soul, black companion, you are Johann Kreussler from Jena or the devil himself." Kreussler recognized himself and was immediately given the task of instructing the princely fencing instructors and the prince himself. The last fencing master employed at Jena University, Christian Seemann-Kahne , also wrote a genealogical treatise on the Kreussler family of fencing masters. The Kreusslers were a fencing master dynasty with 160 years of uninterrupted activity in Jena, which testifies to the extraordinary quality of their fencing lessons. It should also be noted, however, that the Kreusslers in all probability, according to Seemann-Kahne's remarks, were not only active as fencing masters in Jena. He mentions a Gottfried Kreussler and a Heinrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Kreussler who worked in Leipzig. Some of the Kreusslers emigrated. The descendant Walter Percy Chrysler founded the automobile company Chrysler . After the Kreusslers, the Roux came to Jena as fencing masters. The fencing master family of Huguenot emigrants was widespread in universities all over Germany. Heinrich Friedrich Roux was the first of the family in Jena, who, however, was only the lead fencer with Johann Wolfgang Bieglein-Kreussler , who was not a privileged university fencing master . He only became that after his death in 1780. From July 1839, fencing lessons were given by Friedrich August Wilhelm Ludwig Roux . He retired in 1891. Christian Seemann-Kahne is also the last fencing master in this tradition in Jena.


A dynasty of a fencing master family like the Kreusslers in Jena did not exist in Leipzig at the University of Leipzig . At most, the office was passed on from father to son, but hardly beyond that. As mentioned, two Kreusslers were in all probability also active as fencing masters in Leipzig. Although neither the address books nor the personnel and lecture registers attest to this, this is suggested by a register for Heinrich Wilhelm Gottlieb Kreussler, which is in the Duchess Anna Amalia Library in Weimar, and which reveals close ties to Leipzig University. The compactata between the University of Leipzig and the City Council of Leipzig from 1605, which dealt with the boundaries of the respective jurisdiction, testify for the first time the existence of the "fencers" at the university. Previously, the master fencing craftsmen were under the jurisdiction of the council. The frequent arguments between craftsmen and students forced a new regulation. The first such incident occurred on June 6th, 1520, when a fencing master and his apprentices, after holding a fencing school at the castle, went 'in an unusual way' through the city with drums and pipes. The fencing masters came under the jurisdiction of the university with the fencing master instruction of the university first attested in 1691. A more dense tradition in the Leipzig University Archives begins in 1678. Scenes like the one described by Goethe in Poetry and Truth also existed in Leipzig. The fencing masters were (certainly not only in Leipzig) responsible for the fact that duels took place at all and that Pennalism was promoted. Richard Walter Franke noted this for Leipzig . Among them were u. a. Anton Sebert, who became the first fencing master in Göttingen in 1734. Important names in the 19th century are Johann Adolf Ludwig Werner , to whom the term therapeutic gymnastics goes back, and Gustav Berndt . The latter wanted to institutionalize the training of gym teachers at the University of Leipzig and make it an academic subject, but this initially failed. It was only added under Hermann Altrock in the 20th century, who in turn built on the previous efforts of Hermann Kuhr . The influence of the Kreussler fencing school was not limited to Jena, which was expressed in the fact that in addition to Friedrich August Ludwig Roux, his son Ludwig Caesar Roux and his grandson Paul Roux (fencing master) , who worked as university fencing masters in Leipzig, also books books about fencing brought out. With Paul Roux, who had been teaching fencing as his father's successor since March 1902, the paid university fencing master's position at the university ended in 1923 when he switched to administrative service. His successor Ernst Staberoh received the title of university fencing master , but without payment.


The old university fencing floor in Würzburg

Many fencing masters from the 18th and 19th centuries probably had a military background, as can be seen from the curriculum vitae of Kilian Krug, who applied to the University of Würzburg as a fencing master with a letter dated October 13, 1822:

1) As one of Wohnfurt Königl. The son of the district court Hassfurth, I entered French military service in my earliest youth, and with the custom, which was particularly well established in France in the military, I felt compelled to learn the art of fencing, in which I was in my youth and inclination to the military class The custom that prevailed in France made progress all the faster when I served not only in various regiments of the infantry, but also in the French cavalry, and also made it so far in the art of fencing that I also became a fencing master in France in thrusting and hitting could compete, about which I offer to submit my certificates. Besides
2) even the circumstance deserves the most gracious consideration that I am able to write a very high rescript as the main boist of the royal. Bayr. 10th line infantry regiments to the 2nd hussar regiment as fencing master was transferred. Because now I am
3) believed that I could find a place as a fencing master at some university in the kingdom, so I said goodbye and went first to Würzburg, where I was so well received by the students of the university that they asked for my acceptance as fencing master, which scripture I also had the grace to submit the grace to his Excellency Baron von Asbeck, but could not get any resolution from this, since the deceased fencing master was still alive. As a now
4) unemployed man, I looked after myself to be able to live, forced, worthy of the king. 12th Line Infantry Regiment there to go into service as the main boist, but nevertheless I have daily fencing exercises, since I give fencing lessons to the officer corps as well as to several others in the civil class, including the fencing ground of the local university several times have visited. Further
5) I speak several languages ​​than French, Italian and Spanish which is all the more advantageous for students because they have the opportunity to talk to and practice with me in the three named languages ​​at the same time, which is also given to Prof. Box himself is very well known. At last
6) I am only 33 years old, in my prime, I have served for 12 years for France and 9 years for Bavaria, and have always behaved well in both moral and professional terms, so that in the event that I arise, I am willing to submit my credible certificates and to adequately show farewells.

In response to his application, Kilian Krug was invited to a “fencing rehearsal” in which several state officials and around 50 students took part. In his report of November 1, 1822, Professor Dr. Berks to the "Royal Directorate of the Univers. And City Policey":

On my orders, Krug divided his fencing rehearsal into two sections, namely a theoretical and a practical one.
a. In view of the theoretical test, Krug first gave one of the young academics present a complete fencing lesson on the blow - then a second on the blow. The posture of the body, the kind of deficiency which Krug recommended to the fencing students, were in the same degree decent as suitable to give the body firmness and agility without any disadvantages to be worried about. Krug himself taught the individual blows and thrusts according to the usual, generally accepted rules, in a calm and clear lecture.
b. Thereupon he went on to the practical part of his fencing rehearsal, in which he first handed over and fought rapiers to the most distinguished fencers present.
He showed poise, calm and skill in this to a degree that deserved full satisfaction, all the more since Krug had continuously explained, pushed and cut for an hour and a half without any gaps in calm. After this fencing test, I am able to give my unpredictable, most submissive, most obedient expert opinion so that the applicant, taking into account the proven degree in the art of fencing, is able to take over the completed fencing master's position at the local university.

Kilian Krug finally became the new fencing master at the University of Würzburg.

Professional organizations

Fencing masters are today organized in fencing masters' associations (academies). These in turn are united in the world association, the Académie d'Armes Internationale (AAI). In Germany, fencing masters are trained in the Academy of Fencing Art of Germany (ADFD) and in the Association of Fencing Masters (VdF) founded in 1884 . The latter specializes in the student scale.

See also


  • Martin Biastoch : Duel and scale in the empire. Using the example of the Tübingen Corps Franconia, Rhenania, Suevia and Borussia between 1871 and 1895 (= GDS archive for university and student history. Supplement. No. 4). SH-Verlag, Schernfeld 1995, ISBN 3-89498-020-6 , p. 19.
  • Martin Biastoch: Tübingen students in the German Empire. A socio-historical investigation (= Contubernium. Tübingen Contributions to the History of Science. Vol. 44). Thorbecke, Sigmaringen 1996, ISBN 3-7995-3236-6 , pp. 162-163.
  • Henner Huhle , Helma Brunck: 500 years of fencing masters in Germany. Oldest privileged profession . Kunz, Kelkheim im Taunus 1987, ISBN 3-923420-08-0 , (Small writings of the Historisches Museum Frankfurt am Main 34).
  • Professional knowledge for fencing master VdF . Association of Fencing Masters, Würzburg 1968.
  • Herbert Kater (ed.): The Würzburg fencing floor and its fencing masters. Commemorative publication on the occasion of the 25th Kosen Congress in 1978 in Würzburg . Rohr, Kaiserslautern 1978.
  • Hermann Rink : The Association of German Fencing Masters from 1884 (formerly the Association of University Fencing Masters) for the 120th anniversary . Once and Now, Yearbook of the Association for Corporate Student History Research, Vol. 50 (2005), ISSN  0420-8870 , pp. 191-205.
  • Jan Schlürmann : Matriculation, Masters and Graduations. The Christian Albrechts University, its students and the art of fencing in the 17th and 18th centuries. Century . Schleswig-Holstein, H. 4 (2002), pp. 8-10.
  • Jan Schlürmann: Development lines of the “German” fencing school in the context of late medieval and early modern European fencing art . Yearbook 2011 of the German Society for the History of Sport Science eV (= Studies on the History of Sport Volume 14), Lit, Berlin 2012, pp. 9–28, ISBN 978-3-643-11922-3 .
  • Silke Schöttle: men of the world. Exercise and language master at the Collegium Illustre and the University of Tübingen 1594–1819 . Stuttgart 2016 (Publications of the Commission for Historical Regional Studies in Baden-Württemberg. Series B: Research, Volume 209). ISBN 978-3-17-031383-5
  • Peter Hauser : Academic fencing scripts and dueling manuals of the 19th and 20th centuries in German. Einst und Jetzt, Vol. 50 (2005), pp. 207-211, ISSN  0420-8870 .
  • Peter Hauser: fencing master at Swiss universities . Once and Now, Vol. 64 (2019), pp. 257–282.

Web links

Commons : Fechtmeister  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Academic Fencing  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Anna Jungreithmayer: Peter von Danzig. In: Author's Lexicon . Volume VII, Col. 432.
  2. G. Geilke: The small student fencing primer . January 18, 2006, p. 15 ( PDF document ( Memento of the original from December 17, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice . ). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.slesvigia-niedersachsen.de
  3. Goethe: Poetry and Truth, Fourth Book ( Memento of the original from August 29, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. .  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.odysseetheater.com
  4. Silke Wagener: Pedels, maids and lackeys. The service staff at the Georg-Augusts-Universität Göttingen . Göttingen 1996, p. 70, ISBN 978-3-525-35848-1
  5. Mario Todte: Fencing, riding and dancing master at the University of Leipzig (Studies on Culture and History Vol. 1, edited by Lars-Arne Dannenberg and Matthias Donath ), Bernstadt ad Eigen 2016, p. 22. ISBN 978-3- 944104-12-6
  6. Arnd Krüger : Valentin funnel's heirs. The theory-practice problem in the physical exercises at the Georg-August University (1734 - 1987). In: H.-G. Schlotter (Hrsg.): The history of the constitution and the departments of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1994, ISBN 3-525-35847-4 , pp. 284-294.
  7. ^ Wilhelm Henze: The fencing and dueling system at the University of Göttingen, 1734-1940. (Dissertation) Göttingen 1942.
  8. Today cultural center and ballet school: Alte-Fechthalle.de ( Memento of the original from August 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / alte-fechthalle.de
  9. Kösener Corpslisten 1996, 120 , 702; 142 , 844.
  10. ^ Franz Stadtmüller : History of the Corps Hannovera zu Göttingen 1809-1959. Göttingen 1963, p. 346 ff.
  11. http://www.kreusler.net/html/willkommen.html
  12. http://docplayer.org/10221746-Jenaer-sportgeschichte-in-fotos-tlz-serie-jenas-sporthistorie-in-wort-und-bild-fechten-seit-1550.html
  13. ^ Paul Roux: Anecdotes about members of the fencing master family Kreussler zu Jena . (PDF; 79 kB) ( Memento of the original from October 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.schwertkampf-ochs.de
  14. ^ Christian Seemann-Kahne: The Kreusslers in Jena. Jena 1912.
  15. ^ Hans-Georg Kremer: Outsiders or eccentrics? The fencing masters of the University of Jena , in: Ketzer, Käuze, Querulanten: Outsiders in the university milieu, ed. by Matthias Steinbach and Michael Ploenus, Jena-Quedlinburg 2008, pp. 40–54. Here p. 53. ISBN 978-3-932906-84-8 ; digital http://www.sport-geschichte-jena.de/fileadmin/pdf/Die_Fechtgeschichte_und_die_Kreusslers_fuer_Steinbach.pdf
  16. ^ Christian Seemann-Kahne: The Kreusslers in Jena. Jena 1912, p. 12.
  17. http://www.kreusler.net/html/chrysler.html
  18. http://www.kreusler.net/Kreusler_Chrysler.jpg
  19. http://www.ahnen.roux.de/pafn04.htm#52
  20. ^ Seemann-Kahne: The Kreusslers in Jena. Jena 1912, p. 43.
  21. http://ora-web.swkk.de/digimo_online/digimo.entry?source=digimo.Digitalisat_angebote&a_id=24018
  22. ^ Richard Walter Franke: On the history of duels and duels at the University of Leipzig, in: Writings of the Association for the History of the City of Leipzig 19 (1936), pp. 34–46. Here p. 35.
  23. ^ Richard Walter Franke: On the history of duels and duels at the University of Leipzig, in: Writings of the Association for the History of the City of Leipzig 19 (1936), pp. 34–46. -Richard Walter Franke: Pennalism at the University of Leipzig, in: Werner Emmerich (Hrsg.): From land and culture. Festschrift for Rudolf Kötzschke . Leipzig 1937, pp. 203-227.
  24. Todte 2016, p. 22.
  25. Herbert Kater (Ed.): The Würzburger Fechtboden and his fencing masters. Commemorative publication on the occasion of the 25th Kosen Congress in 1978 in Würzburg . Würzburg 1978, p. 15f.
  26. Herbert Kater (Ed.): The Würzburger Fechtboden and his fencing masters. Commemorative publication on the occasion of the 25th Kosen Congress in 1978 in Würzburg . Würzburg 1978, p. 17.