Dueling scars (German: Schmisse) have been seen as a "badge of honour" since as early as 1825. Known variously as "Mensur scars", "the bragging scar", "smite", "Schmitte" or "Renommierschmiss", dueling scars were popular amongst upper-class Austrians and Germans involved in academic fencing at the start of the 20th century. Being a practice amongst university students, it was seen as a mark of their class and honour, due to the status of dueling societies at German and Austrian universities at the time, and is an early example of scarification in European society. The practice of dueling and the associated scars was also present to some extent in the German military.
Foreign tourists visiting Germany in the late 19th century were shocked to see the students, generally with their Studentcorps, at major German universities such as Heidelberg, Bonn, or Jena with facial scars – some older, some more recent, and some still wrapped in bandages.
The sport of academic fencing at the time was very different from modern fencing using specially developed swords. The so-called Mensurschläger (or simply Schläger, "hitter") existed in two versions. The most common weapon is the Korbschläger with a basket-type guard. In some universities in the eastern part of Germany, the so-called Glockenschläger is in use which is equipped with a bell-shaped guard. The individual duels between students, known as Mensuren, were somewhat ritualised. In some cases, protective clothing was worn, including padding on the arm and an eye guard.
The culture of dueling scars was mainly common to Germany and Austria, to a lesser extent some central European countries and briefly at places such as Oxford and some other elite universities. German military laws permitted men to wage duels of honor until World War I. During the Third Reich the Mensur was prohibited at all Universities following the partyline.
Within the duel, it was seen as ideal and a way of showing courage to be able to stand and take the blow, as opposed to inflicting the wound. It was important to show one's dueling prowess, but also that one was capable of taking the wound that was inflicted.
- "Dueling Scar" | 2020-04-15 | 104 Upvotes 68 Comments
La Verdadera Destreza is the conventional term for the Spanish tradition of fencing of the early modern period. The word destreza literally translates to 'dexterity' or 'skill, ability', and thus la verdadera destreza to 'the true skill' or 'the true art'.
While destreza is primarily a system of swordsmanship, it is intended to be a universal method of fighting, applicable to all weapons in principle, but in practice dedicated to the rapier specifically, or the rapier combined with a defensive weapon such as a cloak, a buckler or a parrying dagger, besides other weapons such as the late-renaissance two-handed montante; the flail; and polearms such as the pike and halberd.
Its precepts are based on reason, geometry, and tied to intellectual, philosophical, and moral ideals, incorporating various aspects of a well-rounded Renaissance humanist education, with a special focus on the writings of classical authors such as Aristotle, Euclid, and Plato.
The tradition is documented in scores of fencing manuals, but centers on the works of two primary authors, Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza (Hieronimo de Carança, died c. 1608) and his student Luis Pacheco de Narváez (1570–1640).
- "Destreza" | 2023-04-03 | 43 Upvotes 20 Comments