Demonstrations of horseback wrestling
Interpretations of mounted unarmed combat after dei Liberi, et al performed by Theresa Wendland and Julia Thut. Note that for safe demo. purposes re. falling off a moving horse, some of the techniques have been modified.
Yeah I remember seeing this; it's probably one of the only demonstrations of this kind of thing seen for the past few hundred years.
Makes me wonder how the medieval riders actually practiced these kinds of movements without actually killing each other accidentally.
Pretty much the same way as is shown in the video clip, would be my guess. OTOH stuntmen have been bulldogging each other off horses for decades.
Who are these people again? While I'm no expert on Western MA, the riding skills of these two chicks are doubtful.
For example, at 0:37 or 0:38, the blonde who got thrown decided to walk behind the horse to mount it again. Unless these horses are really timid and calm, that's begging for trouble.
When they trot, their feet are all over the place, so they are constantly off balance. Again, this makes the job that much easier for the thrower, but in a "real" situation, the rider/fighter probably wouldn't risk getting thrown off of his horse like this, especially when he was expecting to face other mounted opponents.
In addition to this, most of these throws would seriously compromise the balance of the thrower, and this is probably the reason why most of them are performed right after they turn to each other. Unless the commander of the forces who were trained in this was so brilliant that he actually managed to flank his opponent's mounted forces with his cavalry, the situation would have been a straight on CHAAARGE!
The only way that such a flanking manouver would be posssible without the enemy noticing a bunch of enemy horses on their flank and not having time to react would be if the "flankers" would be light (galloping) cavalry, and the flanked forces would be heavily armoured (trotting, hence slower moving) mounted forces.
Not only would any commander who knows anything about mounted warfare never order his light cavalry to attack the enemy heavy mounted force, but the light flankers would have a real problem if the heavy dudes brought their spears and swords to bear.
But let's assume for the sake of argument that the light forces somehow manage to suprise the enemy heavies without suffering too much losses. Who in their right mind would try to take down an armoured and better armed opponent if they were lighter without any aromour?
Looks like horseback aikido to me.
I haven't done any extensive research on mounted combat, but in general, I think that the mass combat scenarios you're imagining for these techniques may not match what they were historically intended for.
Here's Theresa Wendland's biography from http://chivalricweekend.webs.com/instructors.htm :
And here is Julia Thut's biography from http://www.hammaborg.de/en/training/start.php (N.B., Hammaborg is a Western MA group in Germany):
Theresa Wendland is a horsewoman and a scholar of the Chicago Swordplay Guild who recently made her WMA teaching debut as an instructor at WMAW 2009. She has been riding horses for nearly twenty years and has been teaching dressage for six years. Most of Theresa’s riding career has been spent focusing on classical dressage. She also has experience in jumping and eventing. Since joining the CSG, Theresa has been working to combine her knowledge of horsemanship, of the biomechanics of riding, and of equine behavior with the practice of western martial arts in an effort to understand and to reconstruct mounted combat. Theresa has been extensively researching historical horsemanship and mounted combat from the 4th c. BC to the 18th c. AD with a focus on the Italian and German medieval fighting manuscripts of the 14th and 15th centuries.
This winter, Theresa spent four weeks in Hamburg, Germany where she collaborated with Julia Thut of Hammaborg on the interpretation and reconstruction of medieval mounted combat.
Julia Thut (*1981) from Switzerland rides since her childhood days. She studied further with antique (Nathalie Penquit) and renaissance riders (Bent Branderup, Stefanie Staudinger). Her close collaboration with veterinarian Tone Lygren gave her extensive insight into the biomechanics of the horse and the resulting training aspects. She is a Hammaborg member since October 2008. She is fascinated with the roots of our culture and has the aim to connect horsemanship and martial arts in order to re-establish "rossfechten" (combat on horseback) with the emphasis on the 15th century. She trains with Swiss western rider Felix Stampfli, her Norwegian intern Sofie Jubskås and Theresa Wendlandt from the Chicago Swordplay Guild. Julia Thut is a freelance riding teacher and horse instructor and holds classes in Switzerland and the North of Europe.
So they are more towards one-on-one combat and dueling than straight up battles? Kind of like the rapier?
Originally Posted by DdlR
I think so, but again, I haven't looked into mounted combat very closely. Also bear in mind that the "mounted wrestling" is a specialized subset of what was called rossfechten in Renaissance Germany. Rossfechten generally assumes that one or both of the riders have weapons, so the mounted unarmed combat assumes that they have been disarmed.
Here's another clip for better context:
See also Julia Thut's website at http://www.julia-thut.ch/ and http://rossfechten.frilansene.no/ros...en.aspx?ID=585 for background info. on rossfechten.
Thanks for this other vid, man. This one looks a lot better, and they seemed to do a much better job, at least in terms of basic horsemanship.
This is a really cool findl. It looks like the main skill is lining up and coordinating speeds correctly, with the actual wrestling techniques being secondary. I liked the counter to that arm triangle style throw. Also this seems really dangerous, especially when you land next to the feet of moving horses.
As Theresa Wendland explained/demoed it at the WMAW conference last year, the mechanics of the throwing/counter-throwing techniques are similar to regular wrestling, taking the horse and rider as a single unit. The rider's main job is to secure a "hook" on their opponent; the horse's weight/momentum will easily dismount the opponent unless they can quickly counter the hook.
Also bear in mind that a number of the techniques in these clips have been modified for safety (gripping the training partner's shoulder rather than around the neck, etc.) and that they also sometimes hold on longer than they would in a real fight, to help the falling partner land safely.
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