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German Longsword Study Guide Paperback – 28 Aug 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Fallen Rook Publishing; 1st Edition edition (28 Aug. 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 099267350X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0992673505
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 0.9 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 659,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts, based in Scotland. He teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events, and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. He has authored "Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick" and the "AHA German Longsword Study Guide", and is one of the regular contributors to the Encased in Steel online blog. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2011, and was awarded a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Instructor for research published in 2013.

Product Description

The Academy of Historical Arts is pleased to announce that our first proper publication has become available. We are setting up a new division of our organisation, called Fallen Rook Publishing, to handle the publishing activities that we believe will happen with increasing frequency over the next few years.

This book compiles the research into the subject of the Liechtenauer tradition (and its outliers) from the past three years. It is an excellent study guide for people who have learned the system from their instructors and who would like to put their knowledge into the context of the historical sources. Students with advanced skill sets and assistant instructors will find this book particularly valuable.

Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors of the Academy of Historical Arts, and teaches regularly at international events.

Alex Bourdas is one of the instructors within the Academy of Historical Arts. His studies focus primarily on the Kunst des Fechtens.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Jolliff on 15 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a truly excellent book and should be on the shelves of all who wish to engage in the serious practice of HEMA swordplay.
While it is not a how-to manual for learning the actual techniques (as the authors freely admit and that was not their purpose) it is a very well written, engaging and inspiring guide in how to get the most from the treatises and manuals that are out there. Indeed, it has already led me to re-examine my own practice and motivation, and has upped my enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge.
It is a map that will help all find their way around the vast, confusing and much argued over, territory that Historical European Martial Arts now covers.
The authors give very good guidance on the basics, explain terms well and make you aware of the principles one should keep in mind when researching, or practising the art.
It is worth owning for the bibliography alone which is not just confined to the (often hard to get hold of) books and treatises but also contains most (if not all) web addresses for pretty much everything that is worth reading or viewing that was available at the time of publishing.
If you only buy two books about the art, this MUST be one of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. H. PAGE on 18 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this and move in the same circles as the author.

This is pretty much a guide for the perplexed.

The thing about German Longsword is that though most of us do it because we like fighting with swords, it is underpinned by a few decades of scholarship meaning that one can end up feeling a bit behind when it comes to thinking and talking about it.

This book by one of the Art's foremost teachers, scholars and practitioners, pretty gives you the "in a nutshell" of what we know, where it came from, and what the most plausible reconstructions of specific techniques might be.

Think of it as a short Lonely Planet or Rough Guide introducing you to the essentials of a different world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Small book, Big value! 26 Feb. 2014
By J. Farthing - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In an age when it has become all too commonplace for pimply faced youth with barely any life (let alone martial) experience to set themselves up as 'instructors' of an art which itself has yet to be fully rediscovered; where dozens of new schools and clubs are popping up all over the world in 'McDojo' like fashion at ever increasing and alarming rates; and where 'sportification' has sadly overshadowed the focus on legitimate defensive skills and the use of historically accurate training tools and equipment... I must admit, I had some reservations about this little book. The virtual explosion of interest in the subject of Historical Fencing has not been solely limited to the classroom, club or tournament grounds either, it has also witnessed a literary 'boom' with more books on the subject being produced in the last 15 years than in the preceding 150! With the above in mind, my primary concern (or perhaps more appropriately... question) was, 'What is the need for such a book as this?' Are we not told in the extant martial literature itself that (according to Anonymous Gloss HS 3227a or 'Döbringer' manuscript) "There is nothing new that can be devised which is not already contained in Liechtenauer's art"? What then, I could not help but wonder, is the need for yet another modern attempt to interpret already complete sources of information? Given the trends (and seeming popularity) of modern authors offering their opinions and/or interpretations of original sources overshadowing those aforesaid sources themselves, I couldn't help but wonder if the world really needed 'just another guidebook'.

The answers to my aforementioned questions and concerns, I am pleased to admit, were a welcome surprise! Before offering my thoughts on the book proper and its contents, I hope the reader will indulge a few words about the authors themselves. The book is a collaborative effort between Alex Bourdas and Keith Farrell; of the former I know virtually nothing. Mr. Farrell on the other hand, I have met. I know him and I consider him a friend (to wit, I have made every effort to be objective and unbiased in this review). Mr. Farrell is young, a point which at the outset of this review I admit gives me pause, but I can assure you that Mr. Farrell's knowledge of the subject and the original source material is impressive for a person of any age. In my many 'face to face' conversations with him, he has always conveyed a passion for, and familiarity with, the subject for which I have held him in some regard.

The book itself is a slight volume, coming in at a mere 132 pages cover to cover; however, the authors seem to have made great use of such small space and manage to at least touch upon considerable content within this tiny tome. A book of this size is certainly not going to be remembered as the definitive work on the subject, but in reading it seems apparent that this was never the authors' intent. The title itself further indicates this as the book is clearly and unabashedly a 'Study Guide'. If we take that to be the authors' stated objective, then it can be said that on that count, they surely deliver. One of the most noteworthy, and indeed impressive, things about this book is that it not only serves as a self contained guide in its own right, but it also serves as a starting guide for further study. This is made possible by the fact that the book is well footnoted and the sources which the authors drew upon in their writing can be further followed, read and studied by the readers of this book. I will be the first to admit that there are elements contained within this volume with which I agree, and others with which I do not. The fact that the sources of the authors' information and research are so well listed and made openly available makes it easy to see 'where they might have been coming from' on a particular issue, and/or to follow up on points that interest the reader further or to gain greater insights into content the reader might not agree with or understand. I truly commend the authors and the book for being so well documented, footnoted and forthcoming with regard to same.

While I believe this book has the potential to confuse some readers (although again, it does make continuation of study easy for the enthusiastic reader to find out more), I feel as though the authors have made a sincere and valiant effort in attempting to explain the differences between those things which might confuse a neophyte of the subject. In fact, it is the simplistic yet obviously knowledgeable way in which the authors present the material where I think this book really shines. For persons new to the subject, or those not yet well versed in the taxonomical German nomenclature, this (albeit small) volume presents a well rounded catalog of basic concepts, terms and ideas which are refreshing to see presented in such a handy, portable guidebook. Experienced students and practitioners of the craft may find themselves lamenting that such a compact yet comprehensive guidebook was not available years ago.

In short, this book is not without its flaws, but is an impressive and noble inaugural effort from two authors whose dedicated research and study of the themes presented are in evidence throughout. For the experienced scholar of Historical Fencing studies, you will likely find nothing new or groundbreaking here, and yet this book would still make a welcome addition to your library as a quick reference guide, etc. (I have found myself drawing upon it for reference several times myself!). For those who are new to the subject of Mediæval and/or Renaissance Martial Arts (and particularly the German corpus), provided the reader is judicious and takes care to notice the authors' discussion of the differences between sport, real martial art, etc. this book certainly has the potential to be a great starting point and one that will likely eventually become a treasured volume to which you might find yourself referring back to for years to come!

-John Farthing, Deputy Director (ARMA)
Association for Renaissance Martial Arts
February, 2014

(Review originally published at [...])
A welcomed study guide for the budding fencer or experienced instructor! 19 Feb. 2015
By Shawn G Fackler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Keith Farrell and Alex Bourdas provide an exceptional and comprehensive study guide for Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) enthusiasts studying longsword in the German tradition of Kunst des Fechtens (Art of Fighting), stemming from the teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer. The book covers longsword principles in distinct detail, incorporates relevant translated material from various sources to compliment the text, and includes useful solo drills and exercises. Unfortunately, the authors only provided a very limited number of hand-drawn illustrations that just depict snap shots of various positions, not sequences of entire plays, and all are missing captions (key terms in German and English would have been ideal).

I gave the rating of four stars because the print quality of the book could be a little better given the price and for the lack of figures and captions. This book is a study guide and probably suited better for those already slightly familiar with German longsword basics; however, comprehensive and compact, this study guide is an invaluable reference for any Kunst des Fechtens enthusiast and one that should be proudly carried with your HEMA gear!

Lastly, although Amazon does not carry this title, it is available through Purpleheart Armoury and I highly recommend buying from them.
An excellent reference book! 1 May 2015
By Alja Komerlj - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book contains a distilled overview of the German longsword across several sources and masters. It is not a detailed "how to" manual and does not aim to be. Instead, it is a well referenced study guide listing different principles of the art, from guards and strikes to concepts like the 'vor' and 'nach', comparing their descriptions between sources and offering insight into their development over time. Both authors know the subject matter well and the text is clear as well as descriptive. As a long-time practitioner of historical european martial arts I use the book as a reference when I need a high level picture of a subject I am studying or teaching, or as a guide when I want to research a specific topic by following the gathered links. A lovely and handy book.
I found the book to be really helpful and easy to read and understand 1 May 2015
By Horváth András Csaba - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I purchased the book after practicing longsword, mostly early Lichtenauer stuff (MS3227a, Danzig, Ringeck) for 4-5 years. I found the book to be really helpful and easy to read and understand. It talks about early L. stuff in a very well organized way, it's a good book to recommend for beginners to get an organized overlook of these sources, but also great for advenced students to sort out all that information. I appreciated the part with the drills , but found it a bit short :) good stuff, but I would like more :)

I would recommend this book for beginners and advanced practitioners too. Also the customer service (by Keith) is great!
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