Messer & Dussack

The dussack and langes messer (“long knife”) are large knife-like swords, often featuring a long, curved cutting edge in the front and a shorter partial edge in the back. The weapons are thought to originate from Central and Eastern Europe (specifically in Bohemia in 300 AD).  The dussack & langes messer were peasants’ tools, used to cut wheat, bolts of wool, or anything that needed basic chopping.  Think of it as a “medieval machete”; later, the humble tools would become the single-edged training weapon for most of the fight schools in Europe, primarily during the 15th and 16th century.

Using a dussack or langes messer, one could train for the falchion, cutlass, Hiebmesser or Großes Messer (“big knife”). Of course both dussack and langes messer were used on the battlefield as well.  Masters Hans Talhoffer, Johannes Lecküchner, Peter Falkner and most of the masters of the time trained their students in langes messer; later, the dussack became the popular training weapon for short single edged swords.  As usage of the dussack became more widespread, various schools turned use of the dussack into a sport, The most popular of these were Masters Paulus Hector Mair (1517 – 1579), Joachim Meÿer (ca. 1537 – 1571), Hans Kufahl, Josef Schmied-Kowarzik, and the redoubtable Karl Lochner. Dussack training was used late into the 17th century.

Langes Messer

Langes messers varied in size but usually possessed a simple guard and sometimes featured thumb or hand protection on one side.  Its construction is essentially that of a large knife. Every order of society, from peasants to nobles, carried knives, and the “long knife” was no exception to the rule.

Dussacks

Dussacks had a short, thick, single-edged blade measuring between 25 and 38 inches long. A dussack was usually made of wood for training purposes, though there is a single reference to dussack also being made from leather, and at least one metal dussack is known to have survived. The dussack was gently curved and came to a point. The weapon often lacked a hilt; instead, the handgrip was merely a hole cut out of the blade; without a pommel or upper guard, it looked something like a large hole for gripping scissors.No wooden (or leather) practice dussacks are known to have survived–unsurprising given the perishable nature of the dussack–and only woodcuts and training manuals from the period document their existence.

For a more detailed look into the Dussack, I highly recommend this article written by HROARR

Works Cited

http://ejmas.com/jwma/articles/2003/jwmaart_amberger_0503.htm
http://freifechter.com/training.cfm
http://wiktenauer.com/