Gerhard Gohr – The Berliner Schule – Eiselen’s Sabre Fencing from 1836

The sabre fencing described by Eiselen in his handwritten manuscript “Das Säbelfechten zu Fuß und zu Pferde” from 1836

Weapon: Sabre

Source: Eiselen 1836

The Berliner Schule was established by Friedrich Friesen in 1808 as the fencing system taught in one of the fencing schools of the German Turner Movement in Berlin. His pupil Ernst Wilhelm Bernhard  Eiselen formalised the system in the 1810’s and wrote the first book on the Berliner Schule in 1818. In the following 50 years you will find books written by A. M. Boettcher, v. Görne / v. Scherff / Mertens, W. Lübeck, FR. W. Quehl and E. F. Seidler showing the development of the Berliner Schule during the 19. Century.

Starting with a short historical background of the Berliner Schule and its link to the German Turner movement, this course will focus on the sabre fencing described by Eiselen in his handwritten manuscript “Das Säbelfechten zu Fuß und zu Pferde” from 1836. The techniques unique for the Berliner Schule sabre fencing will be practiced in form of the historic drills. The differences in the techniques between sabre fencing and Eiselen’s cut and thrust fencing including potential reasoning will be explained. “Contraschlagen”, historic practice with minimal restrictions, will conclude the instruction.

Skill level of Participants: 3-5, advanced
Needed Equipment: Proper gear – mask, gloves, body protection and any Bügel-Säbel / stirrup-sabre (steel or plastic); basic fencing knowledge.

About the trainer – Gerhard Gohr

Gerhard Gohr is an instructor and researcher with more than 15 years’ experience in Historic European Martial Arts. 

He first joined the Freifechter, Cologne, Germany where he had the chance to learn from Stefan Dieke the basics in Hutton’s military sabre. After getting some insides in German Long Sword he started his own research activities initially on Lehküchner’s Lange Messe and Petter’s Worstelkonst. In early 2008 he founded with Marcus Hampel the HEMA group Der Fechtsaal in the area around Duesseldorf, Germany. There he is instructor for military sabre of the 19th century and is doing research on the Berliner Schule – German Sabre Fencing, other military treatise of this age like Phillip Müllers “Theoretical and Applied Introduction to Swordsmanship”, 1847 and Adolf Meyers “Deutsche Hiebstich-Fechtschule”, 1912.

In 2012 he published together with Roland Fuhrmann the transcription of C. Christmann und Dr. G. Pfeffinger “Theoretisch – praktische Anleitung des Hau = Stoßfechtens und des Schwadronhauens”. This was followed by the transcription / publication of the Berliner Schule treatise “Anleitung zum Fechten mit dem Säbel und dem Kürassierdegen” by E. F. Seidler, 1843 [2014] and „Das Deutsche Hiebfechten der Berliner Turnschule“ by E. W. B. Eiselen, 1818 [2018]. Currently he is working on the transcription of Eiselen’s „Abriß des Deutschen Stoßfechtens, nach Kreuslers Grundsätzen”, 1826 and his handwritten manuscript “Das Säbelfechten zu Fuß und zu Pferde” from 1836.