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Beginners’ Sword and Buckler (from I.33)

Seventh Ward of i.33‘The devil of hell does not dare attempt that which the wanton monk dares, and the old woman full of wiles.’

The manuscript I.33 (the Royal Armouries catalogue number) is the oldest known manuscript depicting European fighting arts. It is dated to approximately 1295. It shows a Priest teaching a student or Scholar how to fight with sword and buckler (a small shield). In places we are given statements that a ‘common man’ will do one type of action, but the Priest teaches the use of a different action. …

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Currently reading: Dark Ages – Martin J. Dougherty

Dark Ages - MJ DoughertyThe ‘Dark Ages’, from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century through to the beginning of the medieval era in the eleventh century, have often been crudely depicted as an era of mass illiteracy, ignorance and of terrifying heathen hordes swarming across the European continent, leaving devastation in their wake. …

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Fencing in the Ancient World

Egyptian stick fighting
Egyptian stick fighting

The word “Carma” coming from Sanskrit refers to fencing in ancient times. The modern word “Escrime” is used to signify the art of “touching without being touched,”

Mankind has a history of fighting and conflict. People have tried to compensate for their physical weakness by inventing weapons to defend against or conquer animals and other humans. Weapons developed from wood, stone and then metal, lead man to try to perfect methods of combat; to maximize their most effective strengths and skills for both offence and defence – the art of fencing. …

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Bartitsu and the ‘New Art of Self Defence’

Image: Bartitsu New Art headerMr Edward William Barton-Wright was an English railway engineer who travelled widely and formulated what today we call a mixed martial art. Barton-Wright combined elements of boxing, jujitsu, cane fighting (la cane), and French kick boxing (savat) in order to create a self defence system that could be used by gentlemen on the mean streets of Edwardian London or elsewhere in or beyond the British Empire. For a short time it was so popular that even Sherlock Holmes employed a form of it in his detective adventures; a down-and-dirty form was picked up in the Robert Downey Jnr / Guy Ritchie Holmes movies of a few years ago. …

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Cut and thrust: components of the sword [Guest Post]

Cut and Thrust European Swords and Swordsmanship - Martin J. DoughertyBy: Martin J. Dougherty.

A sword, in the simplest terms, consists of a blade and a hilt. There are many sub-components of course, and not every weapon has all of them. Names for the various parts of the weapon have also varied from country to country over time. Some components (or words for them) are unique to a particular weapon, era or place. What follows is thus a general overview of the main parts of the weapon. …

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Cut and thrust: the development of the sword [Guest Post]

Cut and Thrust European Swords and Swordsmanship - Martin J. DoughertyBy: Martin J. Dougherty.

The key factor that allowed the modern long-bladed sword to develop was, of course, metallurgy. A knife blade, spear point or axe head can be made from a relatively small or very solid piece of metal, and is thus unlikely to break under the stresses of combat. As blade length increases, so does the difficulty of creating a weapon that will remain useful after a couple of blows. …

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