"<86r> This is about wrestling. Whoever wants to learn wrestling, he should note at first that the principles Vor, Nach, speed, courage deceit and wits etc also belong to wrestling. And know that all grace and skill comes from wrestling and all fencing comes basically from the wrestling. At first the fencing with the long knife and from that the fencing with the long swords comes and so on. " translated by Christian Tobler

Indes (Instantly/During) is often a tricky thing to teach to students. Especially with new students who have no prior sporting or martial arts background this can be more difficult. The concept of Vor (Before) and Nach (After) is much easier to explain to them. Vor being about taking the initiative in a decisive and intelligent manner to attack the opponent. Nach describing the position your opponent is now in, forcing them to act in response to your action. Both of these are simple to demonstrate with basic fencing actions.

Indes though often is a little more complex. I can tell a student that when my opponent attacked with her Oberhau forcing me into the Nach I chose (in Indes) to defend with a Zorn-Ort. I can show them this, but often I have found that they at the core still remain puzzled.

Recently I have changed my mind on how to explain Indes. Instead of using fencing as an analogy I shall use wrestling, Judo in particular as I watch and understand that better than other modern forms. Due to the slower, and larger, movements that occur in wrestling it is easier to see when the competitor decides to act in counter to his opponent. This allows me to show Indes in action in a way that is simpler to understand.

Below are some examples that demonstrate Indes very well and clearly.


Training at the Atlanta Freifechter

We here at the Atlanta Freifechter strive to emulate the fencing found in the late 16th century. So about 1550 onwards.  As well as this we do a more modern style in the form of Italian Duelling Sabre.

For our earlier studies we primarily use the work of Joachim Meyer, along with Codex Guelf 83.4 August 8 and Sutor. You can find copies of these works at:

Meyer 1560 -

Meyer Art of Combat - Translated by Dr. Forgeng and currently out of print. Will be reprinted in 2015

Codex Guelf 83.4 August 8 -

Jakob Sutor -

Our focus for the earlier studies is the Longsword, with the dagger currently being the secondary study. The classes tend to follow a similar pattern of warm-up, rote drilling, active drilling and free fencing. The ultimate goal is to get the new participant a good ground in the basics of fencing to enable them to be able to free fence with an understanding of what is happening.

We are safety conscious at the Atlanta Freifechter. It is insisted that good masks, gorget, gloves, jackets, etc. are worn for more active drills and free fencing. All steel weapons need to be burr free, with good flex in the thrust. Strikes to the back of the head, the spine, or the knee are not allowed. Deliberate thrusts to the throat are not encouraged.   

With all this in mind we still desire good, active fencing. We wish for whichever style we are doing to be effective, and in keeping with the manual/s we are studying. But it is also important that those fencing are having fun, and wish to come back for more. 

Overall, we wish for our fencers to be well tutored in the skills for Longsword, Dagger and Sabre. To know the theory of fencing, and be able to apply it. Above all though, to enjoy what they are doing.