Around 1574 a German botanist and traveller called Leonhart Rauwolf met with an Ottoman pasha along with hundreds of sipahis marching toward Damascus. Later in his book Rauwolf mentioned the Ottoman cudgel fencing (known nowadays as the game of matrak).

  The excerpts are from the English translation of Rauwolf's book - entitled A Collection of Curious Travels & Voyages in two tomes, the first containing Dr. Leonhart Rauwolf's Itinerary into the eastern countries...., compiled and translated by John Ray in 1693, 111 years after the German publication. 

Excerpts from Page 110 [2]

   Modern transcription of the 1693 text: „The Sipahis which came with the Basha, took (because they would not be idle) their diversion in running, shooting with arrows, and in fencing, or cudgel-playing, and sometimes the country people came in with them, and play with them, but not in so many sorts of arms as the fencing-masters do in our country, viz. with daggers, swords or halberds, for these are not in fashion in these countries. 

   They take instead thereof only cudgels, with them they approach towards one another three times, let not with such flourishes and neatness as our fencers do before they begin, for their long cloths hinder them. In their left hand they have a buckler which is about a foot diameter round, covered with leather and stuffed out with hair; in their right hand they have a cudgel, wherewith they strike at one another in the first bout, as the boys do in our country, but in the second and third bout, they strike cross-wise, chiefly in the third which is the last, which they take off cleverly with their bucklers and sometime they strike at one others legs, but never to hurt one another; when this is done they turn back and march off. This manner of fencing is very common in these countries.” (FB)

  A fascinating first-hand account about matrak.
  1. I have found the first citation of Rauwolf's visit of the Ottoman Empire on Silkfencing Team FB-page.
  2. Online version.

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