Posted On:5/21/2012 2:33pm
Style: bjj, sca, armored combat
Thanks for finally getting back on this. Yes, please send those links, they are always fascinating.
However, your "You realize...right? Guess not...tin-can bashing" comment seemd a little out of place in context and not in the spirit of the thread. Reading your follow-up I see it now as a good-intentioned effort to educate us in the art of medieval armored combat. The original statement sounded like you were placing a value judgement on the sport we are trying to promote.
The question of how to safely create a competitive sport out of the life-and-death struggle that was armored combat in the middle ages is always a tough one, and one with many answers based on many opinions. I've spent 25 years in an organization that decided to base its ruleset on weapons contact only, justifying it through the medieval tradition of tourneys a plaisance in which grappling etc. was not allowed. TeamUSA is participating in the version of the sport established by the Battle of the Nations, which has different rules depending on if it is a melee or a singles fight, and if singles, with which weapons and whether or not it is a "champions" fight or a "pro" fight. The most important difference is that in the melees you are out when you hit the ground, while In the singles fights you are playing for points through striking with the weapon or (sometimes) a knockdown.
(BTW, in BotN, the only singles weapons forms now used are sword & shield, sword & buckler, and hand-and-a-half sword.
We did discover that striking with weapons in melee was not always the best way to put someone down, though I'll bet with sharp falchions, axes, flails, warhammers, and so forth, and with more realistic levels of armor (which would have probably been lees than we were wearing for many of the fighters) it may have been more effective. I wonder if the purpose of all that wrestling technique in the fechtbooks was not for instruction of what to do when your weapon strikes were not effective? Just a thought, I may be wrong.
I don't know of any version of an armored combat sport in which you get to win by executing bone-breaking jointlocks, destroying your opponents' armor, or stabbing them in the eyeslot or armpit. But then again, the UFC doesn't allow elbows to the back of the head anymore, either. We are only fighting our friends, and we want to be able to fight with them again tomorrow, and drink with them tonight.
So I think what would be most effective in our sport regarding historical techniques would be stuff in which a person can be defended against, immobilized, or taken down without the use of jointlocks, chokes, or attacking the knee, and would allow the attacker to remain standing; and for the singles, would open up an opportunity to strike with the sword. Punching, kicking, and striking with the shield and with any part of the polearm is legal, BTW.
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