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  1. Grimnir69 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/07/2010 3:19pm


     Style: HEMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Here's one pretty interesting article describing "the Deeds of Arms of Jacque Lalaing".

    http://www.tavroch.nl/AoW/GOD/The%20...%20Lalaing.htm

    And here is a passage on judicial duelling in 1445 France: http://books.google.se/books?id=L-e-...ing%22&f=false It begins on page 251. Not sure how much trust to put in it, but there are details that are consistent with certain illustrations in manuscripts.

    I have seen other examples that I will try to dig up that are pretty brutal

    There's a whole lot to discuss here when it comes to medieval/renaissance combat and chivalry, like the early forms of tournaments and hastilude compared to later in the Renaissance, since they appear to have changed over time. Or, for that matter, taking hostages on the battlefield. There are examples where almost 400 knights were taken hostage and only a handful killed. And there are quite a few examples similar to this.

    Btw, In 1540 Mair has some beatiful illustrations showing a tournament on a city square, but I can't remember which city... Possibly Augsburg? I wish I could show you some of that manuscript, but it will have to wait. It is one of the most amazing ones I have seen thus far. :)

    Here is one image, at least: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ge...kampf_mair.jpg
    Last edited by Grimnir69; 3/07/2010 3:49pm at .
  2. captainzorikh is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/07/2010 8:23pm


     Style: grappling, swordfighting

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by SBG-ape View Post
    I think this can be viewed as perhaps THE essential difference between the recreationist/reenactor community & the HEMA community. In the SCA the first question is: What would be a fun Medieval themed sport? & the second question is: how do people perform within the context of that sport & it's rules? In HEMA the questions are: How did people actually fight throughout the period in question? & what rule sets & training methods can most effectively teach that style of combat today?

    The two things start from different points, it's no surprise they end up in different places.
    There's a real fine nit to pick here. the 10th part of a hair, if you will, but it's there.

    The SCA is a large group with a weak central authority, so generalizing anything in the SCA is dangerous, but...

    I would say that the SCA starts with the question "What did they do in the middle ages?" first and "How can we do it today without killing or hurting anyone?" second. This includes cooking, making clothes, knighting ceremonies, brewing, archery, fighting, and everything else.

    The basic foundation of SCA combat (rattan weapons, no striking the hands to the hands, knees, or lower legs, one shot kills, no grappling, no grabbing the blade, using the honor system to determine the kill, etc) were established in the late 1960's, when WMA as we know it today was almost unheard of.

    Up until then, the only place the general public could see knights in armor fighting was in the movies. For the next couple of decades, the SCA was the most visible alternative. I wasn't there, but I have been told that some folks looked at what books they could find and tried to interpret them into SCA combat. This was combined with trial and error, "let's see if this works," borrowing moves from other martial arts, and studies of ergonomics and geometry to try and figure out what would work. With the limited resources available, it was the best they could do.

    The group grew as fast, if not faster, than the science, so something discovered, say, in California might not make it to New York for years, while stuff in Iowa would stay in Iowa, which only partly explains why Californians like to fight with their left foot forward, New Yorkers like to fight like battleships, and Iowans have a famous shield wall (and that is a gross oversimplification, but serves to make the point).

    By the time WMA became a recognizable thing, the SCA was a large, multinational organization with tens of thousands members, and thousand-man-a-side battles at Pennsic.

    And because the SCA is such a fun game (by that I mean the whole thing, the events, the feasts, the revels, Pennsic, the opportunity to practice and show off medieval and renaissance arts and sciences with like-minded people), many people who are looking for something fun regardless of its historic authenticity show up, to the consternation of some of us who really want to see more historic authenticity.

    So I think the starting point was actually pretty close the HEMA, but the dynamics of the organizations and the times in which they began are what led to most of the differences.
  3. captainzorikh is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/07/2010 9:07pm


     Style: grappling, swordfighting

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by SBG-ape View Post
    There does seem to have been a bias among knights against archery, which was seen as a peasants way of fighting & it's true that wrestling is a very democratic art. "Anyone can wrestle", but then again anyone can also eat. The nobility tended to eat a little better then the serfs. Most fight masters were not nobility, but the famous ones were employed by them. So, in a very class-based society, knowing how to fight (& that includes knowing how to wrestle) was a powerful tool for social mobility. In 1539 Fabian Von Auerswald published a wrestling manual that, in its forward, thanks his patron lord & explains that Auerswald has been retained as the wrestling instructor to a variety of noble men & their sons. Judo Ott was the personal wrestling instructor to the lords/princes of Austria, despite the unpopular nature of Judaism in that time & place. &, as I said in my last post, Liechtenauer list wrestling as one of the primary knightly arts.

    While some particular techniques of grappling were looked down upon as "knave wrestling" & "peasant wrestling", there is ample evidence that mastery of wrestling provided a powerful tool for social elevation of the master, that nobles employed wrestling tutors (& in fact it appears likely that having a private fight master would be something of a status symbol for a nobleman), & that wrestling was an essential feature of both knightly training & knightly combat.
    Good call here, again. I shouldn't have made it sound like I thought that knights didn't wrestle.


    Quote Originally Posted by SBG-ape View Post
    This is the same reasoning that was used to justify the exclusion of grappling from duels & exhibitions around the time of the transition from rapier to small sword. It was also used to disallow off handed weapons & parrying with the off hand. It is not an argument I agree with. If the only goal is to create an enjoyable sport then the only reasonable measures of quality are how enjoyable the sport is & how well the methods used function within the rules of the sport. On the other hand, if the goal is a to teach some combative ability that will translate to a less rule restrictive environment, then criticisms can be made.
    You're doing a great job at forcing me to clarify myself and pick my words better in the future ;)

    By "in the chivalric tradition" I was trying to imply the tradition of never giving yourself an unfair advantage, and never admitting that you are unwilling to take on the same challenge as your opponent. If your opponent fights with sword and shield, do the same. If he declares he will not grapple, agree to do the same. To claim one can simply win a fight is brutish and lacking in finesse and courteoisie. But to claim one can win a fight using a greatsword (for instance), and nothing else, shows pride in a knightly skill, and to challenge that person in the skill in which they have pride is a deed of knightly courage.



    Quote Originally Posted by SBG-ape View Post
    It has been my experience that the better swordsman has the power to dictate the range of the fight. I know people who are better with a sword then me & I cannot close distance to grapple against them because they have superior footwork & are able to interpose their blade between me & their body. They are able to do this because they have learned to fence by studying the historical methods of medieval Europe & by making themselves aware of historical methods of wrestling at the sword. In my opinion, a person who cannot use their weapon to keep their opponent at their desired range cannot claim that they have developed mastery, or significant skill, with their weapon. They are missing an essential element of how to move.
    I wouldn't claim "mastery" in most anything that I do, but it would be an interesting challenge to see if I have enough skill at weapons to handle myself in a "real" fight.
  4. captainzorikh is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 1:58am


     Style: grappling, swordfighting

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyCache View Post
    This whole "It's not a fitting honor doo-eul if you do x" thing is kind of bogus. Yeah, maybe it's against the spirit of the occasion to doff your sword and shield like a hockey player shedding pads, tackle the SCA opponent, and armbar them hilariously, but it SHOULDN'T be to half sword, to grab the blade, to strike with the shield, to kick, punch, or grapple above the waist, etc.

    In particular, if you aren't throwing and tripping, your re-creation is way off base, I think. Subject to normal caveat about the variety of the vast swath of history we're talking about.

    As I mentioned in another response, many of the SCA fighting rules were made in the 1960's, when the SCA was a smaller organization and there was much less knowledge about WMA. The prevailing thought was that if you grabbed the blade you would cut your hand, and that Hollywood was wrong. Now, however, there are rules in place that allow you to grab the blade, so long as the blade is not in motion as you grab it (is, no catching the blade while it is swinging towards your head).

    As far as throwing and tripping goes, I believe that the combintation of keeping SCA combat in the sporting tradition that we are testing our skill at arms and safety considerations mean that you won't ever see trips and throws, or shield-bashing.

    So it seems one big difference between SCA rules and WMA techniques is something like the difference between muay thai or savate and MMA or shootfighiting. One is a striking-only game and the other is a striking/grappling game.

    So I suppose that watching two skilled WMA guys fighting may look more like a real fight that occurred during some part of the middle ages than even the most highly-skilled fighters in the SCA fighting by SCA rules.

    But hey, we do get to hit people in the head full-force witha great variety of solid objects, and we do get to move masses of men and women across a battlefield, we do get to fight in fields and woods, use combined arms (infantry, archers, catapults, etc) in our battles, and we do have people of all sizes, genders, ages, weights, and skill levels competing against each other in untimed, unjudged, "knockout-or-nothing," sudden death combat where we risk serious bodily injury and trust each other to admit when we are beaten.

    There's not much out there that can say they will let you do all that.

    I'll put that in the category of "doesn't completely suck."
  5. Grimnir69 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 2:04am


     Style: HEMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Of course SCA doesn't suck! Quite the opposite! It is just different for various reasons and has tons of aspects that nothing else offers, just as you said. And with TuChux and EMP, although they might not be proper parts of SCA, those differences are even smaller. And lets not forget SCA Cut & Thrust, which are also important parts of SCA fighting. :)

    Martial Sports are just about as old as Martial Arts in recorded history and are no less valuable, although with different values. They can be two sides of a single coin, but can also exist isolated by themselves. Combined they likely make you a better fighter.

    And to make things even more interesting, there is quite a strong reenactment movement in Russia and certain Eastern European countries that fight with steel and regularly stun or knock eachother unconscious. I have even heard stories of lost fingers.

    As for Hema, there is a fairly new branch called "Living Hema" that aims at doing pretty much what SCA does in group combat, although with Hema techniques and rules and with consideration for time periods and equipment. Sort of a mix of what Hema, SCA and Reenactment does. It'll be interesting to see how that develops and I might even join in. You still won't get to see full application of arm breaking, stabbing the eye slits, arm pits or groin though. So it is still sports. :)

    Hema still has quite a bit to go, in my opinion. Quite a few noblemen in the middle ages/renaissance would be trained in wrestling, unarmed, unequal, dagger, arming sword/messer/falchion, longsword, spear/staff, pollax and halberd, in or out of armour, and would also know how to apply much of this on horse.

    Most Hema practitioners do not start at the age of six though, and thus have a lot of catching up to do. Therefore most are still working hard on the longsword, the wrestling and one or two more weapons. Few practice in armour or on horse, although there are a few people who experiment with that as well. Still, I don't think anyone is even 10% of what we would have seen in the good ol days. We have some pretty good longsworders and sword & bucklers though, and even some really good wrestlers, like Ringschule Wroclaw.

    Also, as has been pointed out, Hema is only part of a much more complex picture and I hope we can fill in the "blanks" (e.g. cavalry shield work, line battle, cavalry tactics etc) eventually. It really is a very interesting and still controversial field of study.
    Last edited by Grimnir69; 3/08/2010 2:45am at .
  6. Grimnir69 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 8:37am


     Style: HEMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Here's another interesting article concerning martial training in Europe: http://www.practical-martial-arts.co...andsnecht.html
  7. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 8:37am


     Style: Bowie

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Polar Bear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by captainzorikh
    Quote:
    The some folks used geometry and physics to try to figure out the fastest and most ergonomically efficient way to throw a blow and defend oneself.
    Really. please give me an explanation of this. what is the most ergonomically efficent way to attack and defend oneself.
    The key here is "try." They didn't have any good background or access to sources so they were trying with the best tools they had available.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  8. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 8:40am


     Style: Bowie

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Dirty Rooster View Post
    Well said, that's my opinion too : but only regarding this 'Heavy' stuff that I've seen a few vids of.
    It is appallingly difficult to create equipments & rulesets in which those who approximate medieval combat will 'win' against those who only play to the rules. It is very haqrd on the refs too, in fact I've only ever seen TERRIBLE (& corrupt) referreing at bouts of more realistic types.
    That's because, today, unlike in earlier periods, not following the rules doesn't get you dead or blackballed and unable to find work.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  9. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 8:44am


     Style: Bowie

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kwan_dao View Post
    It would be interesting if you could specify which manuals you refer to. Because there is this one little problem... most of the manuals I seem to remember (and especially all those "studied" atm by recreation groups) contain advice for one on one combat. Duelling or judicial fighting.

    I do not remember Liechtenauer, Talhoffer or anyone else actually referring to warfare. There is abundandt pictorial evidence showing that medieval warfare was highly organized. Tactics and formations played a big role. Yet those manuals never lose a single word on how to keep formation when fighting with polearms shoulder to shoulder in an organized group.

    They never talk about what to do when you come under fire from enemy archers while advancing with your battlegroup. They loose not a single word on strategies how to survive the specific dangers of a crowded battlefield. On how to combine the strengths of infantry and archers. Or how to put cavalry to use.
    I recently saw a translation detailing the use of pole-arms in formation. I forget the author but you could, doubtless dig it up. It was posted to the [Western-Arts] yahoo list about a year or two ago.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
  10. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/08/2010 9:05am


     Style: Bowie

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    Quote Originally Posted by captainzorikh View Post
    As far as I can tell, ARMA seeks to study historical fighting styles as a scholaly pursuit (ARMA folks, feel free to chime in here). http://www.thearma.org/
    To the degree that they also engage in regular bouting in their scholarly attempts to re-create.

    And here's a question for you non-SCA WMA types, would yuou say what you do is "recreation" or "reenactment," or neither, or both?
    What I do is both recreation and re-creation (bearing in mind that I don't really do medieval styles). Heck, if it weren't fun (recreation) I wouldn't put the work of re-creation into it. Honestly now, what actual use is Military Saber combat to modern man?

    As for "reenactment," there absolutely HAS to be some element of that if you want to understand (scholarly) the martial system in context. One needs to realize that martial systems, weapon choices, movement styles, EVERYTHING is influenced by everything else in the historic perspective. Weapon choices, for instance, are affected by what clothing or armour is likely in use. One speculation for the popularity of the point-oriented rondel is that heavy clothing was the norm due to "The Little Ice Age" and slashing weapons just wouldn't have been effective. Movement in fencing styles was influenced by what kind of footwear was common and what the common footing (ground) was like. During the late 1700, fencing movement was influenced by the fact that "Gentlemanly garb" was very restrictive and designed to enforce an upright posture. Civilian swords were dictated by fashion and military swords by function, unless you were a high ranking officer and unlikely to use your sword (such as George Washington), in which case you were more likely to carry a gentleman's pigsticker. Longhunters, carrying a rifle, 'hawk, and longknife, wore loose, non-restricting but socially unacceptable clothing, including (often) moccasins.

    So, yes, if you really want to understand how these historic figures fought, you have to understand why they made some of the choices that they did, and that includes understanding, and sometimes "playing dress up" in their clothing.

    Same thing goes for Eastern martial arts too. The wakazashi, sitting in seiza, daisho, and a myriad of other "martial" selections were heavily influenced, or even required by, social conventions and practical limitations of the culture.

    So, yeah, sometimes you gotta reenact and "play dress up" if you really want to grok it.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
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