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"The Elderly Master: Unarmed Techniques from Fabian von Auerswald"



Fabian von Auerswald was a German Renaissance master ofRingen (wrestling). In 1537, at the age of 75, he completed a beautifully illustrated treatise on wrestling called Ringer kunst: funf und Achtzig Stücke (The Art of Wrestling: Eighty Five Techniques). It was published posthumously in 1539. This work was dedicated to the Lord John Frederick, elector of Saxony, and even states that he trained the lord’s sons as well as many of the men of his court. Considering the age of von Auerswald when it was first created, and considering the illustrations show an aged von Auerswald tossing around younger wrestlers, we should all be inspired by the vitality and skill the man must have possessed well into the latest years of his life. It is also notable that the woodcuts were created in the workshop of the famous artist Lucas Cranach. This was an expensive work to produce, and Lord Frederick, as von Auerswald’s patron, clearly felt the elderly master’s expertise was worth the expense.

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