This is my current translation of the dussack chapter in Jakob Sutor’s fechtbuch from 1612. It is a relatively short treatise, and is somewhat similar to Meyer’s method, so it can serve as quite a good starting point for beginners.
I worked from Marlon Boettger’s transcription of the treatise:
- Jakob Sutor (1612), New Kůnstliches Fechtbuch, pp. 1-19
Although I have been working with this text for more than a decade, the available translations never quite made sense in my mind. Making my own translation has been difficult, it has not been the easiest or most straight-forward text to translate, and it has required quite significant divergence in places from what was written in order to render what I think was meant and intended. Hopefully the results will be a bit easier to read and to interpret.
I have chosen to leave technical terms untranslated, to avoid imposing any unwanted interpretation or baggage on the terms. However, I realise that some people do prefer to see everything translated, including technical terms, so I have offered suggestions in the footnotes.
Please note that this translation is released under copyright, and that while I am more than happy for people to use it for their own training and study, you must contact me to request permission to use it in any publication or for any commercial use.
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From the chapter on the longsword, and in what order such fencing is described, together with the Leger of the same.
What is best about the fencing games
When fencers want to attend the Fechtschulen?
They gather their courage,
And one fights another
For gold, or for a fine wreath
For the lad who best wields the sword.
The fencers take their gold
And then drink wine happily.
Above all, we want our pay,
And we care not from whom it comes.
Therefore, without pay and drink,
The games themselves are not enough.
Description of swordfighting, from which a person can learn well the divisions of the sword, and from these, the Leger or Hutten.
Firstly, the divisions of fencing with the longsword are the beginning, middle, and end.
The beginning is the Zufechten, where you go to fight against the opponent who is in front of you. The Zufechten begins with cuts from the Leger, which include the Hauptleger and the Beyleger.
- There are four Hauptleger: the Oberhut, Ochs, Alber, and the Pflug.
- The Beyleger include Zornhut, Langort, Brechfenster, Einhorn, Schrankhut, Schlussel, Eisenport, Wechsel, Nebenhut, and Hengetort.
- The Principal cuts are the Ober, Under, Mittel, and Zornhaw.
- The Beyhawen include the Kurtz, Schiel, Glietz, Krump, Prell, Wind, Blend, Kron, Knichel, Sturtz, and Wechselhaw.
- The Meisterhawen are the Zorn, Krump, Zwerch, and Scheitelhaw.
The middle division is the Handtarbeit, when you have bound with your opponent in your fencing, having set upon them swiftly.
The second or Handtarbeit in the middle is the greatest art, requiring swiftness when performing Anbinden upon the sword, Winden, Wechseln, Nachreysen, Verkehren, Schneiden, Duplieren, Ablauffen, Umbschlagen, Schlaudern, Vorschieben, Zucken, Drucken, Absetzen, Ringen, Einlauffen, Verstellen, Werffen and Nachdringen.
In this part belong the openings, of which there are four – which is why there are four Hauptleger in the division of the person and the sword – and also belong standing and stepping correctly.
The final division is the Abzug, in which a fencer may cut away from their opponent without harm.
The pieces or parts of the sword are the pommel, point, cross, sheath, hilt, handle, and the blade.
The divisions of the blade are the strong, weak, short and long edges, to the front and rear.
- The strong of the sword is the part from the cross or hilt to the middle of the blade.
- The weak goes from the middle to the point or end of the sword.
- The long edge is the complete cutting edge from the fingers out to the very end.
- The short or half edge (also known as the back of the sword) is that which is to the fencer or turned with the thumb.
Further, there are four more divisions of the sword.
- The first part is the hilt or handle, including the cross and pommel, which are all used for Ringen, Einlauffen, Greiffen, Werffen, and other things.
- The second part is the strong, which is used for Schneiden, Winden, Drucken, and whatever else is appropriate to do.
- The third part is the middle of the strong and weak, halfway along the sword.
- The fourth part is the weak, which is used for Durchwechseln, Schnellen, Schlaudern, and whatever else is appropriate to do.
A person can be divided into upper and lower, and each of these into right and left, as can be seen in the figure drawn on the right of the image.
Fencing to the opponent’s head means above the parting of the hair on the head and below the throat and knees to both sides.
Finally, the Leger or Hutten are necessarily graceful and skilful positions and gestures of the whole body with the sword, and are divided into upper and lower, right and left.
And from the Leger spring the fencing through the beginning, middle, and end.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Leger of the Ochsen, which is for the higher part of the fencer, and has two forms: the right and the left.
In the right Ochs, stand with your left foot forward and hold your sword with the hilt near your head high to your right side, with your forward point set towards your opponent’s face.
In the left Ochs, stand with your right foot forward and hold your sword with the hilt near your head high to your left side, etc.
The person on the right side of the image lies in the Leger of the Pflug, which is for the lower part of the fencer, and also has two forms: the right and the left. It is only a thrust from below.
In the right Pflug, stand with your right foot forward and hold the sword with the hilt near your front knee, turning the tip or point to your opponent’s face, as if you would thrust out to them from below.
In the left Pflug, stand with your left foot forward, etc, and hold it similarly as you would on the right.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Leger called the Oberhut, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold the sword high over your head, with the point remaining upright above you.
The person on the right of the image lies in the Leger called the Olber, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold the sword with the point outstretched forward to the ground in front of your leading foot, with the short edge above and the long edge remaining below.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Leger called the Schrankhut, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold the sword with crossed hands, with the point in front of you towards the ground.
The person on the right of the image lies in the Leger called the Hangetort, and do it like this:
Stand with your right foot forward and hold the sword with outstretched arms before you, so that the blade hangs somewhat down towards the ground.
The person on the right of the image lies in the Leger called the Prellhaw, which can be single or double.
The single Prellhaw is done when your opponent cuts at you from above. Then go against their strike with a Zwerch, and as soon as it touches, pull the sword around your head and strike from your left to their ear with the weak of your outer flat, so that the sword bounces away, behind you again. And in this rebounding swing, pull it around your head again, and cut with the Zwerch towards their left. The person on the right of the image lies in the Leger called the Hangetort, and do it like this:
Stand with your right foot forward and hold your sword with outstretched arms in front of you and above your head, so that the sword hangs somewhat down towards the ground.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Leger called the Schielhaw, and do it like this:
Set yourself in the Oberhut or Zornhut, with your left foot forward. If your opponent cuts at you, then you also cut against them – but in your strike, turn your short edge against their strike, and hit at the same time with your hand turned inward. Step with your right foot to their left side, but take their head quickly with this turning of the hand.
The person on the right of the image lies in the Hut or Leger called the Wechsel, and do it like this:
Stand with your right foot forward and hold your sword outstretched with the point or weak to the ground near to your right side, with the short edge turned to face your opponent.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Schlüssel, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold your sword with the hilt and overturned hands crossed in front of your chest, with the short edge lying on your left arm, and the point turned to the opponent’s face.
The person on the right of the image lies in the Verkehren, and do it like this:
Bind your opponent to their left side onto their sword, and upon contact, push the hilt through under your right arm, at the same time pulling your head well to your right away from their strike. Then press their sword or arm with crossed hands in front of yourself from below, so that you constrain them and they cannot work further, but you create openings for your own work.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Zwerchhaw, and do it like this:
When you fence with someone and bind upon them from above or together with them as they strike, observe if they will strike around with the Zwerch. If so, then come to them with the Zwerch under their sword to their neck.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Hut of the Langort, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold your weapon with outstretched arms long in front of your face, with your forward point turned to your opponent’s face.
Once you recover from the Auffstreichen, step and cut from above, from your upper right to your opponent’s left ear, with such valiance that they are hard-pressed.
Then let your sword turn and sink down with the short edge to their left side, and pull your blade and hilt upward and cut in swiftly with the short edge to their right ear, with your hands crossing each other within this cut.
In the Zufechten, when you approach in the Oberhut, let your sword sink down in front of you to their left side, and pull around your head so that you step and cut a Mittelhaw with the long edge across to their left to their neck or temple.
As soon as it makes contact, pull around your head again, and cut a second Mittelhaw across from your left to their right, also to the neck.
And as soon as this touches, cut a third time with a high strike with the long edge straight from above.
These three strikes must be done swiftly, one after another.
If you have more openings, then lift your blade upward to your left and pull it around your head again, going with the flat or short edge from below from your left through their right to your own right in a wrenching motion around yourself, such that your sword flies through the air again, and cut with the short edge from above, descending with crossed hands, going near to their right ear as a high Fehler.
The person on the left of the image lies in the Leger called the Zornhut, and do it like this:
Stand with your left foot forward and hold your sword over your right shoulder such that the sword hangs down behind your back ready for a fast strike.
Further, it can break all actions from the Hut of the Ochsen, although it looks unequal to the task and can be tempting for your opponent.
If your opponent strikes at you from above, step and strike from your right with a Mittelhaw across and through the incoming cut, such that your sword flies around again with the short edge to their left ear. Then let it run off again, then pull swiftly around your head from your right to your left, and step and strike across with the flat from your left to their right ear, along the middle line.
If your opponent brings their sword into the air boldly to come to you in the Zufechten, then put yourself into the right Och (note, from where you can do the double Prellhaw).
Pull your sword around your head and cut with the inner flat from your right strongly against their sword, such that your pommel comes below in the strike and touches your forearm. In this strike, step with your right foot well around to their left.
As soon as it makes contact, pull it upward, wrench immediately to your left side and also move out with it, and strike swiftly outward with turned hand, and then once again to the same opening with the other flat.
Item: if you can reach your opponent from the Ochsen in the Zufechten, then pull your sword around your head and strike with the outer flat from your right, strongly and directly across their left ear. Then pull swiftly around your head again, and strike with the outer flat once more across to the right side of your opponent.
After both of these strikes, do whatever fencing you think is good.
If your opponent binds upon your sword with their own sword outstretched, then observe quickly how the contact is made. Then Durchwechsel nimbly below, or flick the weak flatly from the other side to their ear, etc. Think about the many fine techniques that could follow.
In the Zufechten, if your opponent strikes at you from below, then cut in above and over their sword, or see if you can come in under their blade with a Zwerch.
However, if they come below your weapon with a Zwerch, then let your sword hang away over theirs, and press down and away with your Schildt. Thus you can also reach in behind their sword with your short edge to their head.
If they have come at you with a Zwerch from below, such that you cannot come at them with the Zwerch under their sword, then catch their Zwerch with a forward push with your Schildt and push your pommel over your right arm far enough from you that you can turn the long edge over their sword into their head from below, etc.
Item: when your opponent binds upon your long edge with a Schielhaw, then they open their right side. Therefore, do not let them come like this upon your sword, but instead Durchwechsel below, and reach out to cut into their motion at their right from your left.
In the Zufechten, when your opponent has come in front of you, step and strike from your left with the short edge and crossed hands to or over the right arm. As you do this Krumphaw, step well toward them, invert your sword and wrench downward to your right side.
If they work upward with their arms, so that you cannot bring them down, then go with the pommel from the inside between their two arms. Release your left hand from the hilt, seize the blade of their sword, and wrench it upward.
This break, which the left hand is used freely, ensures that your opponent’s efforts are unsuccessful, while also pushing their arms upward with the Schneidt on their arm. Do not let them escape and come to other work against you.
If your opponent has sneakily achieved Underlauffen with their sword, so that you have both come close together, then throw your sword away from you and lean over swiftly, down in front of you, and seize both of their legs with both hands. Pull toward yourself so that they fall on their back.
When you and your opponent come so close through Einlauffen that you must wrestle, then step with your right foot between both their legs and let go of your sword with your left hand.
Wrap with the right hand and sword together going through below their right arm and around their body.
With your left hand, seize their right foot from the inside, the lower the better. Ensure that you have stepped with your right foot deeply between their legs, so that you can use that as an obstruction and can throw them over the hip. Swing them over in one strong motion and throw them on their head.
 Leger are the way you stand with the sword, so could be translated as “positions”, “guards”, “stances”, “postures”, or “attitudes”. They have the sense of being relatively temporary “encampments”, as opposed to Hutten, which could be translated in the same fashion but which perhaps have the sense of being more of a “fortified position”.
 Knab could be translated as “boy”, “lad”, “youth”, perhaps with the sense of someone who is not yet fully promoted or who has not yet become a knight.
 Zufechten could be translated as the “to-fight” or “approach” or “entry”.
 Hauptleger could be translated as “main positions” or “major positions” or “primary positions”.
 Beyleger could be translated as “other positions” or “minor positions” or “secondary positions”.
 Oberhut could be translated as “high guard”.
 Ochs could be translated as “ox”.
 Alber could be translated as “fool” or “jester”.
 Pflug could be translated as “plough”.
 Zornhut could be translated as “wrath guard”.
 Langort could be translated as “long point”.
 Brechfenster could be translated as “breaking window”.
 Einhorn could be translated as “unicorn”.
 Schrankhut could be translated as “barrier guard”.
 Schlussel could be translated as “key”.
 Eisenport could be translated as “iron gate”.
 Wechsel could be translated as “change”.
 Nebenhut could be translated as “near guard” or “low guard”.
 Hengetort could be translated as “hanging point” or “hanging guard”.
 Haupthawen could be translated as “main cuts” or “major cuts” or “primary cuts”.
 Beyhawen could be translated as “other cuts” or “minor cuts” or “secondary cuts”.
 Meisterhawen could be translated as “master cuts”.
 Oberhaw could be translated as “cut from above”.
 Underhaw could be translated as “cut from below”.
 Mittelhaw could be translated as “middle cut”.
 Zornhaw could be translated as “wrath cut”.
 Kurtzhaw could be translated as “short cut”.
 Schielhaw could be translated as “squinting cut”.
 Glietzhaw could be translated as “clashing cut”.
 Krumphaw could be translated as “crooked cut”.
 Brellhaw or Prellhaw could be translated as “bouncing cut”.
 Windhaw could be translated as “turning cut”.
 Blendhaw could be translated as “blinding cut”.
 Kronhaw could be translated as “crown cut”.
 Knichelhaw could be translated as “knuckle cut”.
 Sturtzhaw could be translated as “plunging cut”.
 Wechselhaw could be translated as “changing cut”.
 Zwerchhaw could be translated as “crossing cut”.
 Schaitelhaw could be translated as “parting cut”.
 Handtarbeit could be translated as “handwork”.
 Anbinden could be translated as “binding-on”.
 Winden could be translated as “turning”.
 Wechseln could be translated as “changing”.
 Nachreysen could be translated as “travelling after” or “chasing after” or “following”.
 Verkehren could be translated as “turning” or “inverting”. Verführen could be translated as “tricking” or “tempting”. I think that Verkehren is the technique name that was intended here, because it is a technique described later in the longsword section, whereas Verführen is not a technique that is described explicitly. However, a play from the Zornhut does mention that the position can look “tempting” for the opponent, using the word Verführung, so it could indeed be intended here as the concept of tempting your opponent to attack you – although that would be an action by your opponent in the Zufechten and would not really be part of the Handtarbeit, meaning that Verkehren is probably still more likely in this current passage.
 Schneiden could be translated as “slicing”.
 Duplieren could be translated as “doubling”.
 Ablauffen could be translated as “running off”.
 Umbschlagen could be translated as “striking around”.
 Schlaudern could be translated as “slinging”.
 Vorschieben could be translated as “pushing forward”.
 Zucken could be translated as “pulling”.
 Drucken or Rucken could be translated as “pushing”.
 Absetzen could be translated as “setting aside” or “parrying” or “defending”.
 Ringen could be translated as “wrestling”.
 Einlauffen could be translated as “running in”.
 Verstellen could be translated as “tricking”.
 Werffen could be translated as “throwing”.
 Nachdringen could be translated as “pressing after” or “following”.
 Abzug could be translated as the “pulling away” or “withdrawal” or “escape” or “extrication”.
 Greiffen could be translated as “gripping”.
 Schnellen could be translated as “flicking”.
 Schlaudern could be translated as “slinging”.
 The original phrase is außwendiger letzter Flech. I think letzter is the final part of the blade, ie the weak, and the außwendiger Flech would be the outer flat: if you have your thumb on the flat of the blade, then the outer flat would be the other side, not the side where you have your thumb (which would presumably then be the inner flat).
 The original text says Haupt rather than Hefft, but Hefft would make much more sense.
 Auffstreichen could be translated as “striking out”, and it is typically a sweeping, rising motion with the short edge from a low guard into Langort.
 The original text says Haupt rather than Klinge, but Klinge would make much more sense.
 The original text says Haupt rather than Klinge, but Klinge would make much more sense.
 Fehler could be translated as “failer” or “feint”, a strike intended to fail.
 This could be vorüberlauffen as written in the original, “the Uberlauffen before you”, or it could have been intended as vorablauffen, “the Ablauffen before you”, as you let your blade run off under theirs in order to cut around with the next action.
I think the Ablauffen makes more sense, because the Ablauffen would be an attempt to hit over their blade, whereas this instruction is explicitly to do the strike as a Fehler so that you can escape and cut around, which more consistent with Ablauffen than with Uberlauffen. Finally, the Ablauffen is described earlier in the chapter as a technique or concept in the Handtarbeit, performed with the weak, and that is consistent with what is being done here.
 This instruction doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. A long edge Zornhaw would be both more typical and also easier and more comfortable to do. Alternatively, a short edge Zwerhaw from your right would be typical and also easy and comfortable to do.
However, it could well be a genuine instruction to do a short edge Zornhaw, similar to the Zornhaw as described by Jobst von Württemberg – although this short edge action might be what Joachim Meyer would call the Glützhauw! The combination of the crossed-hand cut followed by a long edge Oberhaw from the right is very similar to what Andre Paurenfeindt describes as the Kronhaw. Both the Glützhauw and Kronhaw are techniques mentioned by Sutor near the start of the chapter, although they are not described explicitly by name anywhere in the text.
 The instruction as written was “from the right side”, but that doesn’t make sense if you have just struck from the right side and have then pulled around to strike elsewhere. I suspect the intention was to have written either “from the left side” or “to the right side [of your opponent]”, which both end up meaning the same thing.
 Schildt could be translated as “shield”. It could be the wide part at the base of your blade, or it could be a general term for your defence with the sword.
 Vergeblich aussreist could mean your opponent “leaves in vain”.
 Underlauffen could be translated as “running under” or “running below”. I wonder if this is another synonymous term for Einlauffen or Durchlauffen.
This is currently version 1 of the work, translated into English in 2023, and released on this website in 2023.