In the history of the martial arts of Western Europe, there are a few individuals whose contributions have been instrumental in shaping the generations that followed them. Sigmund Ringeck is such a person thanks to his efforts as an interpreter of the teachings of the grand master Johannes Liechtenauer, whose works would constitute the German longsword school up to the 17th century.
In the first half of the 15th century, fencing master Sigmund Ringeck compiled a book with comments based on the fencing lessons from Liechtenauer's verses first written down in ca.1389. Ringeck's original handwritten manuscript, which contains no illustrations, is of great importance due to its detailed instruction on longsword, wrestling, sword and buckler, armored combat and mounted combat. Ringeck's greatness is that he starts with the basics and then teaches the student the secrets of the longsword step-by-step. He offers clear and precise instructions in the actual handling of the sword and how to use it to win a fight. And herein lies Ringeck's claim to posterity: he gives instruction in the true understanding of the longsword as a weapon.
Today, the longsword instruction found in Ringeck's manual has been given new life by two modern students of the arts. Author David Lindholm has translated Ringeck's text and added extensive interpretations and comments. Illustrator and sword aficionado Peter Svärd has created hundreds of instructive drawings capturing every nuance of the medieval swordsman's art. Also included in this impressive volume is advice for modern practitioners, such as physical training, evaluation of historical resources and the importance of test cutting. Finally, master swordsmith Peter Johnsson shows how to sharpen a sword and describes how the shape of the blade dictates its function.
David Lindholm has an MA in medieval archaeology and history from the University of Lund and works as a writer and archaeologist. He has been training in European swordsmanship since 1986 and has some experience in Western fencing, iaido and kenjutsu. He is a member of ARMA (the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts) and directs the ARMA study group in Malmö, Sweden.
Peter Svärd is an art director and illustrator for a Swedish Internet consultancy firm. He has been active in various medieval/fantasy societies since the late 1980s, training with swords on and off for about 10 years.