The Right Staff

Manuscript Cod.Ms.3227a of around 1390 is the first book that documented Johannes Liechtenauer’s fencing theory. Folio 78r contains the possibly oldest extant written instruction on “fencing with the staff.”

[78r] Fencing with the staff

Anyone aspiring to learn fencing with a staff should first know and observe that a right staff should be twelve spans long. And fencing with the staff derives from fencing with the sword. And as one fights with the sword, so shall he also fight with the staff. And the principles that belong to the sword, such as boldness, speed, cunning, cleverness, etc., also belong to the staff.

Using the “small span,” twelve spans would be 1.80 m.

Using the “great span,” twelve span would be between 2.64 and 3.36 m.

To use the staff in a similar way as the sword, 1.80 m would be much better.

© 2023, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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