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Lieutenant colonel Eduard Wagner

Lieutenant colonel Eduard Wagner (1905-1984) started his training in military sabre in 1923 under the tutelage of military fencing master staff captain Karel Sekanina at the Military academy in Hranice. Staff captain Sekanina taught Eduard Wagner three times a week until 1925. Upon graduation from the military academy, Wagner entered an Air observer’s course in Milovice, where he fenced three times a week in 1925-1926 under military fencing master captain Josef Ledr. Upon completion of his course Wagner served in the Czechoslovak army, first in the mountain infantry, then as an Air observer. From 1931 he served in the first dragoon regiment in Theresienstadt. As a cavalry officer he was trained to use the heavy (1kg) cavalry sabre. Understandably, this involved using the weapon while mounted on a horse. He worked as an instructor in this military discipline.

Between the years 1945 and 1955 he was employed as a scientific researcher in the Military Historical Museum in Prague. As well as work in the Hussite department, he looked after the collection of bladed weapons; determining the weapon type and making descriptions. In partnership with Dr. Durdík he worked as a military history consultant between 1954 and 1956 on the Hussite film trilogy Jan Hus (1954), Jan Žižka (1955) and Proti všem (1956). He was tasked with ensuring correct use of period military gear, clothes and weapons etc. He made several suggestions, designs and drawings, taught extras in the use of a variety of weapons and took care that all instructions were followed.

Eduard Wagner wrote and illustrated a series of publications dedicated to the history of military gear and weapons: How the Hussites fought, Naše vojsko 1946, Miliary gear and weapons of the Hussite and pre-Hussite periods Naše vojsko 1956 Hieb und Stichwaffen (cutting and thrusting weapons) Artia Praha 1965, Ars Bella Gerendi (The Thurty Years War 1618–48), Artia Praha 1979.

In 1959 Eduard Wagner became a member of the Czech Fencing Club Riegel (est. 1902). It was here that he realised his idea of the reconstruction of period fencing using period weapons and period fencing methodology manuals, thus becoming the founding father of the phenomenon of Czech historical fencing. He received this declaration from the Czech Fencing Club Riegel:

“We hereby confirm that a fencing demonstration in historical costume of the 17th century was carried out on the 29.VI.1960 in a number of permutations, and performed publicly in the quadrangle court of the Military Historical Museum in Prague on the Castle.

The only original author of this, the creator of the idea itself and the initiator of its public performance was Eduard Wagner, who has been an active member of our fencing club since 23.IX.1959.

The training of the fencers for this performance, especially the individual scene development, was undertaken by fencing master JUDR. Jan Černohorský, at his own request.“

In the mid-sixties lieutenant colonel Eduard Wagner taught his club colleague Leonid Křížek the methodology of military sabre fencing. At the present time fencing master Leonid Křížek teaches military sabre fencing in the Czech Lands Salle d’Armes, Prague, the home of the ARS DIMICATORIA school of historical fencing, and the BARBASETTI MILITARY SABRE (since 1895) club. Fencing instructor and student of Leonid Křížek, Michael Kňažko, also teaches military sabre fencing, at the Czech Lands Salle d’Armes, Prague, as well as in Taiwan.