Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Mar 18 2012

Welcome to the KDF website.


KDF was founded in 2006 with the purpose of researching, practicing and training members in the medieval fighting arts of a German tradition. These medieval martial arts were straight forward, subtle and highly effective. The central weapon was the longsword (langeschwert), a long bladed, long hilted weapon used for cutting and thrusting against both armoured and unarmoured opponents. It was a tradition that spanned 200 years.

The fighting style which KDF practices was originally taught by a Master Johannes Liechtenauer in the 14th Century. He summarised his art (that he had travelled far and wide to collect into one ‘style’) in a cryptic poem (Merkeverse) so that his art couldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Successive sword masters then had this Merkeverse written into books and added explanations (glosa) and examples and even, later, illustrations. It is from these ‘fechtbucher’ or ‘fight books’ that the modern western martial arts community has worked to translate and then interpret this formerly ‘dead’ martial art bringing it to a new life, one which keeps the spirit of the original we hope, if not the deadly context of its time.

KDF uses a specific set of interpretations based on our own practice as well as the highly influential work of Thomas Stoeppler with whom we are proud to have a close working relationship.
In addition to the longsword many of the fight books had instructions on the use of other weapons: dagger, falchion (messer), poleaxe, sword and buckler as well as wrestling techniques. KDF practices all of these disciplines as well as the longsword, although different chapters will vary on which weapons they train in and for how much of the time.

KDF has a number of ‘chapters’ spread over Europe; two in the UK (Leeds and Nottingham), The Netherlands (Tilburg), Denmark (Copenhagen), Sweden (Malmo) and most recently Germany (Jena). Lok at the ‘chapters’ link for more information on each one.
What does KDF stand for? It is short for ‘Kunst Des Fechtens’ which means The Art of Fighting and is the titles of one of the original fight books.

Each chapter will inevitably have its own training focus. Not just on the weapons studied, but also on the style of training. Al will focus on instilling the right ways of moving and the correct underlying principles first. Further development of skill may be achieved using repeated drills, or by donning a mask and using various types of sword facsimile to engage in controlled exercises or free play (once the movement and principles have been reasonably absorbed). Apart from the physical training students are encouraged to read the various fight books themselves to help better understand the system.

Then find the nearest chapter and get in touch! If there isn’t a chapter nearby, get in touch anyway, we may be able to help you start your own study group with our support, or we may know of another, non-KDF group near to you that can help.

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