Peter Faulkner

Peter Falkner (Peter Faulkner, Petter Falckner) was a 15th century German fencing master. His early life is uncertain, but he was certified as a Master of the Long Sword by the Marxbrüder in Frankfurt-am-Main some time before 1491.[1] Falkner was a witness of record to the guild's biannual treasury accounting in 1496, a task he performed again in 1506.[1] In 1502, he was elected as Captain (Hauptman) of the guild, and he seems to have served an unusual three consecutive terms.[1][2]

In the 1490s, Falkner seems to have produced at least two manuscript fencing manuals (becoming the first member of the Brotherhood of Saint Mark to do so, unless Hans Talhoffer were also a member). Sadly, only the shorter of the two manuscripts, Kunste Zu Ritterlicher Were (MS KK5012),[3] survives. This fully-illustrated manuscript includes a sword section is based on Liechtenauer's Recital and a messer section based on that of Johannes Lecküchner (though in both cases with considerable alteration and elaboration by Falkner, and several short sections on other weapons which appear to be entirely original.

The longer of the two manuscripts, known as the Falkner Turnierbuch, seems to have been destroyed by Prussian bombardment during the Siege of Strasbourg in 1870. What little we know about its contents comes from records made before this time, which seem to indicate a manuscript of at least 111 folia containing an anthology of treatises by other masters of the Liechtenauer tradition, as well as a few works of unknown origin. There is also a possible third Falkner manuscript, the apparently-anonymous MS Cl. 23842, whose illustrations bear a strong resemblance to the artwork in KK5012 and which seems to even directly allude to it.[4]

Falkner's artwork resembles to some extent the earlier treatises of Paulus Kal, which may have been his inspiration, and his art seem in turn to have influenced Jörg Wilhalm (especially if he created Cl. 23842).


Above you will direct your attention to
fencing with the messer and consider it.
So learn the method within and do it gracefully—
in friendly play or in earnest affairs.

Learn these six strikes,
on the one hand you counter against cuts.
The left hand behind the back,
or in the breast you can keep it, should you wish to grapple him.

The Zornhaw, Wecker,
Enntristhaw, Zwinger,
The Geferhaw, and The Wincker.

What comes toward you from above,

The Zorn Ortt clears it away—

and defends you from shame.

With the messer learn to takeoff.

Cut with it, or thrust—listen to this advice:

In the bind, be soft or hard.


Note these words, they are valuable: Vor, Nach, Indes.

Seek to make contact in the affair,

Or allow conflict to avoid you.

From above or below, seek his openings.