16thC German Dussack

dussack

Brief Summary

The dussack was a training weapon, used to teach people how to fight with any single-handed cutting weapon. Relatively few 16th century sources discuss the messer; instead they present dussack methods. The weapon itself was often made of wood or leather, and it was common for people to fence with dussacks at the Fechtschulen and as part of their ranking examinations in the fencing guilds.

Several fencing masters wrote treatises describing how to fight with the dussack, and it is from these sources that we are able to reconstruct the system as a modern martial art today, where we practice with modern safety gear and training equipment. Safety of participants is a high priority, as is authentic interpretation of this historical system.


Main Sources

- Anonymous. Codex Guelf 83.4 August.8°, 1591. - Mair, Paulus. MS Dresden C 93, 1542.
- Meyer, Joachim. MS A.4°.2, 1560.
- Meyer, Joachim. Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens, 1570.
- Paurñfeyndt, Andre. Ergrundung Ritterlicher Kunst der Fechterey (or Foundation of the Chivalric Art of Swordplay), 1516.
- Sutor, Jakob. New Kůnstliches Fechtbuch, 1612.


Equipment

To begin practicing this discipline in the Academy of Historical Arts, you will need the following items:

- synthetic longsword
- fencing mask
- padded gloves

The links will take you to the appropriate pages on the Corsair's Wares website, where you may purchase the necessary equipment. Buying through Corsair's Wares puts money back into the Academy of Historical Arts so that we can further our educational activities.


Protective Gear Minimum Requirements

According to the AHA Health and Safety Policy, these are the current minimum requirements to engage in activities safely for this discipline. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory, items marked in italics are recommended. Most of these items are available through Corsair's Wares; buying through Corsair's Wares puts money back into the Academy of Historical Arts so that we can further our educational activities.

- drilling with wooden/synthetic swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Hands: well padded gloves (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- sparring with wooden/synthetic swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
* Hands: well padded gloves
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- drilling with steel swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: 350N or preferably 800N rated underplastron (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Hands: well padded gloves (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- sparring with steel swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
* Head: back of head protection
* Torso: padded jacket or gambeson
* Hands: well padded gloves
* Legs: knee & shin guards
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: 350N or preferably 800N rated underplastron (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)


We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we do not mandate and price people out of the activity. It should always be possible to participate in training, even if only to a lesser degree of intensity. Obviously the more intense and less safe the activity becomes, the more protective gear is necessary to mitigate the risk of harm. You are always welcome to wear more protective gear than the minimum requirements, we will never tell you to remove protective gear (unless it poses a risk to yourself or other participants, for whatever reason).


Useful Resources

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Farrell, Keith, and Alex Bourdas. AHA German Longsword Study Guide. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, August 2013. ISBN 978-0-9926735-0-5.

For a comprehensive list of treatises, transcriptions and translations, there is no better resource than the Wiktenauer: http://www.wiktenauer.com/