Sunday, July 01, 2012

Rules for German Foot Tournaments at the Barriers: 1596

Sketch of Elizabethan sword combat at the barriers, with the handy baskets of swords you'd expect if you were trying to break as many as you could.

Rules for a foot tournament at Kassel in 1596, as well as a description of one in Stuttgart have been posted on the Hans Talhoffer site. The main scoring mechanism was the number of lances or swords broken in the approved manner.
And because all thrusts and strikes with the lance and the sword should be aimed and executed to the head as the noblest part of the body, no one should earn any reward, who does not break his lance with a free thrust, but holds his arms next to the body while running against each other, or who does break his lance entangling his opponent.

As in the barriers rules, attributed to Tiptoft, but probably 16th c., blows below the belt, dropped weapons, and gripping the barrier are all penalized. In addition, breaking the weapon other than on the opponent, or breaking a sword by striking with the flat “shall have no reward” Fair and reasonable.
Everybody should take and draw his sword without a helper. Who uses his sword with both hands, or puts a hand on the barrier to help himself, shall have no reward, but changing the hands while striking is allowed.

Those who get so near to the barriers that their body touches it, and those who stand too far away from it, not as is right and proper, when they should perform their thrusts and strikes as required, shall withdraw without reward.

Who steps back with both legs or redraws head and body as in fear, and wants to dodge the thrust or strike, shall earn no reward.

Those who have been in recreations of this sort of fight will recognize the necessity of preventing participants from using their opponent's inability to follow then to retreat to artificial safety.
Who bolts into the sword of the opponent or holds it, and who picks up the other’s strikes, shall earn no reward on this day.

Who is pushed with the lance or stroked with the sword down to earth shall not be permitted to continue the tournaments on this day. He, who had been pushed down or had been fallen shall not have an account of his thrusts and sword strikes, they do not count.

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