Fabian von Auerswald was a German Renaissance master of Ringen wrestling. It was published posthumously in Considering the age of von Auerswald when it was first created, and considering the illustrations show an aged von Auerswald tossing around younger wrestlers, we should all be inspired by the vitality and skill the man must have possessed well into the latest years of his life. It is also notable that the woodcuts were created in the workshop of the famous artist Lucas Cranach. While treatises on wrestling existed prior to this work, they typically were smaller works contained within larger compendia of treatises from various authors that dealt with a variety of weapons and combat forms.
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Fabian von Auerswald was a German Renaissance master of Ringen wrestling. It was published posthumously in Considering the age of von Auerswald when it was first created, and considering the illustrations show an aged von Auerswald tossing around younger wrestlers, we should all be inspired by the vitality and skill the man must have possessed well into the latest years of his life.
It is also notable that the woodcuts were created in the workshop of the famous artist Lucas Cranach. While treatises on wrestling existed prior to this work, they typically were smaller works contained within larger compendia of treatises from various authors that dealt with a variety of weapons and combat forms.
It is a remarkable work that is more than a mere catalog of techniques, and we as modern practitioners should be very thankful he was able to complete it right before his death. Von Auerswald gives several techniques for fighting in this sport, and even states more than once that this game is both excellent for practicing the art and is also funny to watch.
Also, due to the clarity of the images and the fact that it deals with certain concepts not explained in earlier treatises, it provides valuable insight as a stepping stone to the earlier wrestling treatises of the German fighting arts. It is a simple action, and yet it will set up many of the following techniques.
If your opponent grasps at your arm or sleeve, make a circular motion with your arm from the inside or outside. If your opponent does not let go, you can feel feedback as to just how much strength or pressure he is giving you and make a logical follow up action. This will create a small gap at the inside of his elbow. With your other arm reach through over his arm through that gap to grasp the inside of his knee.
Keep the spine upright and straighten your legs to lift and throw him. If he has grasped your right arm with his left arm, wind your right arm over the outside of it and grab your own arm with your left hand. Pull it into you and drive your weight downward so that your top arm weakens his grip and causes him to bend forward, pulling him off balance.
There are many techniques that could come from this, but the example von Auerswald gives is called The Rear Throw. As your opponent bends downward from you weakening his arm, grab his arm with your left hand and pull him towards you. Thrust your right arm across his neck or chest to his opposite shoulder to push him backwards, and simultaneously spring your right leg behind him while grabbing his inner thigh with your left hand to pull his lower half forward and up.
Your arms will be moving as if turning a wheel clockwise, throwing him over your leg. Lower your hips below his as you pivot to face away from him, and lift him with your forward hip as you pull on his sleeve.
Step out with the right leg in front of him and pull with your left hand on his right shoulder to aid the throw. As you are in the middle of stepping back, turn to face away from him and throw him over your leg.
As soon as he releases you, step in and throw him over your hip. Further, it appears to be a key element of much of his art. You might hook from the inside or outside of your leg, and there are numerous techniques that can happen from there such as The Fork, seen below. Begin by pulling your opponent close to use an outside hook on his leg so that you can keep him from immediately stepping away. From here, move your right leg in between his.
Lift your leg up so that the back of your thigh raises him, and simultaneously pull forward and down with the upper body. Be careful: The Fork is a surprisingly harsh throw for your training partner! When performing the throw, be sure to turn your body to face the direction of the throw.
Should he attempt the Short Hip from there, drive your knee hard into the inside of his knee so that he falls forward with you on top of him. Spring in front of him, dropping your weight low so as to lift him entirely up on your hips before throwing him.
From here you will have a secure grip to pull him backward into the air. The first is the Rejected Hip itself. Pull your opponent in to hook the leg so that you can control him, with the intent to step in front of him next so that you can perform a throw over the hip.
Your opponent may not allow this throw to happen by taking a wide stance with his hips withdrawn. Grab his left leg with your left hand and put your right arm around his head, and quickly start turning him to your left. Von Auerswald says to turn as long as you wish, implying that you could spin your opponent until you are done with him.
For this video, the action is stopped without continuing the turn for clarity. The second part of this technique is an amusing follow on described in the following plate of the treatise. Drive your right hand and forearm across his face to turn him away so that you can quickly turn around, let go of his leg with your left hand and grab his left shoulder, while you sweep up that same leg with your right hand. It is vital to turn his face first because if your opponent is not turning away you will be unable to secure the leg in a dominant position with the knee pointed down.
Not only will you be holding your opponent in such an awkward position that his legs and arms look like the pipes of said instrument, but there is the added amusement that if you squeeze his leg towards his body he will involuntarily make noise from the pain as if you were playing him! He might spring out in front of you to perform the Rejected Hip.
Take your left arm over his shoulder to his neck to bring him close for control, and drop your weight so that you can seize his right leg with your right arm. Once you have him, straighten your body to bring him straight up into the air. Von Auerswald leaves it up to the reader for what to do with your opponent after that. This video demonstrates the technique by dropping the opponent straight down after the lift. The two wrestle from these positions. The game is a remarkably fun way to practice certain aspects of unarmed combat, particularly the leg hooks and counters.
Fabian von Auerswald (1462 - 1537)
Then comes a horrific wrenching of the arm that is woeful that hurts a lot. This is for rough people and is not gentlemanly. Setzet er aber den kopf dir auf ein seiten, so greiff mit der selbigen hand an seinen hals, springe zur selbigen seiten, und rucke ihn auf die erdenn. Run-through under the arm Here I grab hold of his left hand which push upwards and slip my head under his left arm and through, and step with my left leg between both his legs.
Fabian von Auerswald
FABIAN VON AUERSWALD PDF