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Thread: Scots Martial Arts Practice?

  1. #1

    Scots Martial Arts Practice?

    So I'm starting to see names here from members of the Cateran Society. I am a member myself, and so far have worked on Highland Regimental Broadsword according to Angelo and Taylor.

    While not exactly Scottish, but still British and I'm sure many Scots participated....I am also working on London Prize Ring era bare-knuckle boxing.

    Who else here is actively pursuing Scottish Martial Arts and what are your sources and practices? Thanks!

    Keith

  2. #2
    Hey Keith, the material that I'm familiar with is the Antipugilism manual, which we call the Black Watch Broadsword (and also it's application to tomahawk) in the Cateran Society, Angelo's Naval Cutlass Exercise, Dirk techniques based off of the dirk dance and other sources, The MacGregor Method which is based off of Archibald MacGregor's lecture alongside lessons from various broadsword manuals, the art of the quick draw which is based off of some Gaelic lore, and I just started to work with Thomas Page's broadsword material.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith P. Myers View Post
    While not exactly Scottish, but still British and I'm sure many Scots participated....I am also working on London Prize Ring era bare-knuckle boxing.
    Keith
    I'm really interested to know what kind of sources you're using for your boxing. That's one thing i've neglected that I should probably study.

  3. Paul Wagner is also on SFI, he does Page and other things. David Teague does Page as well. They're the most prominent Highland Broadsword instructors outside of the Cateran Society Broadsword Academy.

    I've been asked to serve as a moderator here on this forum, and apparently there are some new things in development too, so stay tuned.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  4. #4
    In the Academy of Historical Arts, we study the Highland broadsword both with and without targe. It is a fairly new area of study, but we are really getting into it and all of our members are loving the new weapon. Our main sources are Taylor, Page and the anonymous "Anti-Pugilism by a Highland Officer", and we also draw from the Penicuik sketches as well as a host of other sources. We have also had the pleasure of studying directly from one of the three surviving manuscripts written by Donald MacBane; Ben Kerr, one of our senior instructors, wrote a masters level thesis on this manuscript and thus the Academy has had direct access to the techniques and martial teachings found in the work.

    I must say, I really love the fact that when I'm using the Highland broadsword, I don't need to worry about people smacking my fingers!
    -- Keith Farrell --
    Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook | blog
    Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook

  5. Does this mean that there is McBane material not found in Expert Sword-Man's Companion? If so, I am beyond curious, please expand on this!
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  6. #6
    I'm really interested to know what kind of sources you're using for your boxing. That's one thing i've neglected that I should probably study.

    Hey Javan!

    I'm actually researching the sources and working on a book covering the LPR era boxing methods. I have 10 old boxing manuals dating from 1867 to 1901. My favorites being those by Michael Donovan, George Benedict, and R. G. Allanson-Winn. They are all available on-line if you do a little hunting. Kirk Lawson put up a bunch of the old books for free download on his Lulu page. Just got to Lulu.com and do a search under "kirk lawson."

    Keith

  7. #7
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    Hey Chris,
    Sorry to disappoint but sadly no. Keith perhaps used the wrong word to describe the work, it is of course a text not a manuscript (this will be my fault as I have a bad habit of calling it a manuscript) The University of Glasgow holds the copy of Swordsmans Companion that is in the best condition of the three original copies that are known to exist. It contains the Expert Swordsmans Companion, McBane's story and his notes on Gunnery. The Academy is currently trying to negotiate a copy of the whole text as while I was studying it I found it to be dangerously fragile and in need of either restoration or copying so as to preserve it.
    Anyway hopefully as part of this project we will be able to put a whole section together on McBane as I think his story is one of the most enjoyable reads I have had in a long time.
    Other than Page, McBane and the Penicuick sketches does anyone know of another text relating to the use of the targe? (I have read the accounts of people facing it, I mean more information on it's use)

    ~BK

  8. #8
    Thanks Keith, that sounds like it will be a fun project. I'll try to find all of the names you mentioned.

  9. No additional info on its use, but we have done some work in bridging the gap between these sources. The following is quoted from a previous post:

    We’ve been working on a very interesting project lately, and it’s time now to share it with the world. This is our first complete attempt to translate the Highland broadsword arts of the 18th century to the context with which most people associate this weapon: clan warfare and the Highland Charge.

    We've developed a method of simulating the conditions of battlefield swordplay during the era of the Highland Charge. In this unique video, we put the camera behind the defending swordsman, so you can see how the Charge would look if you were there on the battlefield yourself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqlLmSOgtDE

    The tactical core of this method is derived from a combination of two sources: Thomas Page’s sword and targe instructions and the Penicuik Sketches. The Penicuik Sketches are a small collection of drawings of Highland warriors made by an eyewitness to the final Jacobite rebellion in 1746. Many people have questioned why the stances shown in these sketches do not appear to resemble Page’s sword and targe method. With the exception of a single figure, who appears to stand in a loose version of Page’s outside guard for the sword and targe, the guard positions shown in the Penicuik Sketches seem much more medieval, with the left foot often kept forward and the swordsman in a deep crouch.

    Page says that, “the Guards made by the Sword are often omitted, except the Outside.” Note that he does not say that there are not additional guards that are unique to the sword and targe- he simply says that the standard guards of the single broadsword are “often omitted,“ and he mentions only the guard with which broadsword fencers would already be familiar, the outside guard. (Later he also mentions the use of the hanging guard and the inside guard for specific tactics, both of which would also have been familiar to his readers.) Thanks to the Penicuik Sketches, we know that Page is correct to say that the Highlanders used a version of the outside guard with the sword and targe. We also know that they used several other guard positions as well, which would have been much less familiar to most broadsword fencers outside the Highlands, which may very well be why Page does not mention them. These additional guards were probably used only by the Highlanders, as they would have been seen as very archaic by most swordsmen of that era.

    Beginning with the assumption that Page was describing only a small part of the Highland sword and targe method, we asked ourselves the purpose of these additional guard positions. We found that we could apply the principles of Page’s method to the Open Guard while on a full run as in the Highland Charge. The other guards found in the Sketches work effectively as counters to the Charge, while still using the core tactics found in Page. These tactics are few in number and extremely simple, but that is exactly what we would expect to find in this sort of context.

    Most systems of swordplay are primarily for single combat. To our knowledge, this is one of the only systems based on the logic of the battlefield, in which the entire combat lasts for no more than a second before either the attacker or the defender is dead or crippled while the survivor moves on immediately to the next opponent. As far as we know, it is also the only existing interpretation that uses the Penicuik Sketches as the departure point for an actual fighting system, albeit an extremely simple one.

    Due to the inherent danger in practicing sword techniques with full weight weapons while on the Charge, you should not attempt to perform these lessons without extensive prior experience as a broadsword fencer, ideally in Page’s sword and targe style. If you do not have a highly developed ability to control your weapon, a serious injury is very possible.

    Guards

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-HvebTNWiI

    The default stance in these guards is a left-foot-forward version of Page’s “wide” stance, with the swordsman in a deep crouch. Depending on the circumstances of the fight, a right-foot-forward version may be used instead. The targe can be held in the position described by Page, or beside the head, or in any position between the two.

    Outside- This is a looser version of Page’s outside guard for sword and targe. Every time the open guard is specified in the lessons, the outside guard is an alternative option. You can also charge in the outside guard.
    Open- The sword is held up beside the body in a position to make a powerful downright blow. This can be anywhere from high above the head to as low as the shoulder.
    Hanging- This is an unusual low version of the hanging guard, designed to allow you to come up from under the opponent’s attack.
    Underarm- The sword is held under the left arm, tip pointed behind you.
    Medium- The sword is held near your hip with the tip pointed up, like a “Plow” guard. This guard is not shown in the Penicuik Sketches, but it can be found in the Morier painting of the Battle of Culloden.

    Low- The sword is lowered by your right side, like a “Fool” guard.

    Cuts

    Any of the seven cuts can be used, but 1 and 3 are by far the most common due to the nature of the fight.

    Lessons

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrzYvuJmQfU

    The attacker is always running at high speed at the defender, attempting to cut him as he runs by. The defender is standing in one of the guard positions, preparing to stop the attacker’s charge. From simply viewing the lesson being performed, what is actually happening might not be very obvious, so you should compare the lesson to the description for full understanding.

    Page tells us that “The Highlander has nothing regular in Field Attacks and generally chop Right down to an Outside.” Chopping to the outside from the Open guard on a full Charge would generally be a cut 1, unlike in single combat where an outside would be a cut 2. Therefore, in this lesson, the attacker charges in the Open guard while the defender waits to receive him. The pressure of a rapidly approaching opponent induces the defender to attempt a cut, and the attacker suppresses this cut with his targe as he chops a cut 1 at the defender. (It may seem as if there is no reason why the defender would do this if it is not to his advantage, but even in these chorographed lessons, the psychological pressure of seeing someone run directly at you with a dangerous weapon is much greater than in an ordinary bout, and this effect would be greatly magnified in real combat.)
    Page tells us that if the Highlander chooses not to chop to an outside, then “with a swinging and low Inside they endeavour to let out the Bowels, whilst every Part of his own Body is cover'd under a Target.” If you compare this lesson to lesson 3 of our regular sword and targe curriculum, you will see that it is essentially identical, except that the standard version uses Page’s outside guard and his footwork, whereas this version is performed on a Charge from the Open guard. As in lesson 1, the defender is pressured into attempting a cut, which the attacker suppresses with his targe while making his own cut- in this case, a cut 3 to “let out the Bowels.”
    Page has given us two simple options for the attacker- a chop downward or a swinging and low inside, which we interpret here as a cut 1 or a cut 3. However, it is extremely easy for the attacker to switch from cut 1 to cut 3 at the last moment. In this lesson, the attacker begins cut 1, which the defender attempts to parry with his targe. The attacker changes to cut 3 to avoid the parry, and cuts under the targe.
    Even if the attacker begins with cut 3, a simple targe parry may not be an effective response. In this lesson, the attacker begins cut 3 and the defender attempts to parry with his targe. The attacker’s forward momentum allows him to “ride” the parry upward as he runs by, slicing through the defender’s neck or face despite the parry. As in the first few lessons, the attack works because the Charge panics the defender into doing something less than optimal. Trying to block with the targe is a natural and instinctive response for a man under pressure, but it will not work.
    Page uses a technique we call the Bind. To perform this technique against an attack by your opponent, “receive it not upon the Target, but upon the Fort of your Sword; and at the same Moment by pushing your Target against his Hilt, drive his Sword sideways and downwards out of the Line, by which his Head will be expos'd defenceless; at which you may safely Throw, because his Sword will be held down by your Target, and his Left Arm and Target will be held down by his own Blade.” To view this technique as described by Page, see lesson 7 from our regular sword and targe curriculum. The difference here is that the Bind is not performed from an invitation (as in Page) but on a full run. The attacker begins cut 1, and the defender parries with his sword in order to attempt the Bind. The attacker’s forward momentum, however, gives him the advantage in using the exact same technique. The attacker Binds and kills the defender as he runs by.
    Page uses another type of bind, which we call the Lift. To perform the Lift, you must parry your opponent’s attack with your sword and then “with your Target, which will be then under his Hilt, throw up his Sword and Arm, that you may have a free Passage for your own Sword, which you have lower'd and shortned in your coming about; and with a sudden Push slanting upwards, thrust in the Point between the Ribs on the Right Side, which commonly finishes the Affair.” To view this technique as described by Page, see lesson 8 from our regular sword and targe curriculum. The difference here is once again that the Lift is not performed from an invitation but on a full run. The attacker begins cut 1, and the defender parries with his sword in order to attempt the Lift. The attacker’s forward momentum, however, gives him the advantage in using the exact same technique. The attacker Lifts and kills the defender as he runs by.
    Up until now, the attacker has prevailed in every engagement, because the defender responded to the psychological pressure of the Charge by doing something that might have worked in single combat but would not work as well against a charging opponent. Now we will examine how the remaining guards shown in the Penicuik Sketches can be used as effective counters to the Highland Charge. In this lesson, the defender assumes the low version of the hanging guard shown in the Penicuik Sketches. This allows him to come up from underneath the initial attack, giving him the extra control he needs in order to achieve the Bind and kill the attacker. While this version of the Bind doesn’t look exactly like what Page describes, it is merely a variation on the same tactic.
    In this lesson, the defender takes the medium guard shown in the Morier panting of Culloden. By Lifting with his targe and stabbing up from below, he can avoid any attempt to get control of his weapon. In addition, the attacker’s forward momentum will cause him to run directly on to the point of the sword with great force.
    In this lesson, the defender takes the Underarm guard shown in the Penicuik Sketches. This allows him to cut into the attack with tremendous force, driving it so far out of line that the Bind is easily achieved.
    In this lesson, the defender takes the Low guard shown in the Penicuik Sketches. This allows him to Lift with the targe and stab up from underneath. Once again, the attacker’s forward momentum will cause him to run onto the tip of the sword. If the defender drops to one knee as he stabs upward, the resulting scenario is exactly like that depicted on one of the Pictish symbol stones from ancient Scotland.

    Additional Notes

    It might seem odd that the Highland Charge is depicted as being used against another Highlander, but this was actually fairly common at one point in history- the MacDonalds and their allies performed a Highland Charge against the Campbells at Inverlochy, and again against the Mackintoshes at Mulroy four decades later.

    The tactics of this style require the defender to avoid committing to his technique until the last possible moment, when the attacker’s momentum has become too great for him to easily change what he’s doing. (The successful counters also come up from underneath or knock the weapon off-line, so that it will not matter if the attacker tries to change his cut as in the lessons.) At this crucial moment, the defender is likely to suddenly change his guard position in order to counter the attack in an unanticipated way. If he misjudges the timing, all the advantage is with the attacker. This is not shown in the lessons because it would detract from their clarity, but it seems to be a crucial aspect of bouting in this style.

    To bout in the Penicuik Style, stage a series of ten charges- five with one fencer as the attacker and five with the other. You can think of this as a small melee between two clans, involving ten warriors on each side. Each charge lasts only until one fencer runs past the other, whether one of them is hit or both of them or neither of them. Doubles count against both fencers, but if both fencers are un-hit then both “survive”. At the end of the ten charges, the clan with the greatest number of surviving warriors wins the bout.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmzXg1lN3Bg
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  10. #10
    I am also interested in bareknuckle pugilism, but more of the Broughton- and pre-Broughton-Era. But anyway also the Material from the LPR-Era is great, I also like Donovan´s work.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko G. View Post
    I am also interested in bareknuckle pugilism, but more of the Broughton- and pre-Broughton-Era. But anyway also the Material from the LPR-Era is great, I also like Donovan´s work.
    Hi Heiko!

    There are some sources for the Broughton Era. But they are not as numerous, as detailed, or as internally consistent as the sources for the LPR Era. That's one of the reasons I chose to focus on the LPR era. Another reason is that in addition to the Scots Martial Arts we are doing in the Cateran Society, I am also interested in what has been called "Victorian Martial Arts", including the 19th century saber methods. I also consider LPR style boxing to fall within this category. Yet a third reason....way back when about 10 years ago I was one of the original participants in the Bartitsu revival. But I didn't stick with it and wandered off to other topics. I've rekindled my interest recently and this book on LPR style boxing would be my contribution, since the boxing Barton-Wright used to develop his Bartitsu was the LPR style.

    Keith

  12. #12
    So I am your man, because I am also interested in the victorian era. I was some years very active in personal researches concerning the Colonial Era of Germany and the German Schutztruppe in Africa and also the British Empire was in my focus, also the changes in late Edo-Japan. I love the second half of the 19th Century and now with my focus on Scottish Martial Arts I am very active interested in the Highland Regiments from their beginning until the 21st century with main-focus on the 18th Century and the Victorian era. Also Bartitsu, la Canne Vigny, Defense dans la rue, military saber and bayonet are part of my interestin this context, also I try to include techniques from there into our own practice (f.e. our method of cudgeling is a mixture of Broadsword Fencing, La Canne Vigny, Bata and also FMA, tanjojutsu etc.). And of course in this context I read the material of the LPR-Era and the later of Scientific-Boxing under MoQ-Rules. You are right, there is much more material form this periods, which can also give a light on the older way of pugilism (where Mendoza is the best source, I think).

  13. #13
    P.S.: If you are interested in how we use the Walking-Stick or Cudgel, here is a short trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/ew9q0-s0ZV8

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko G. View Post
    P.S.: If you are interested in how we use the Walking-Stick or Cudgel, here is a short trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/ew9q0-s0ZV8
    I like the bout between you and Alex it was a close call with the triangle choke near the end.

  15. #15
    Thanks Javan
    Yes it was, I was lucky that I came out of it. I did the mistake before, when I disarmed Alex, I let him the time to close in for grappling. Not so clever to take myself the advantage of the cudgel through this. But because of this situations, I like that bout very much, one of my favourites.

  16. #16
    Hey Heiko!

    So I am your man, because I am also interested in the victorian era.

    ---Sounds like we have a lot in common!

    Also Bartitsu, la Canne Vigny, Defense dans la rue, military saber and bayonet are part of my interestin this context,

    ---Are you in contact at all with Alex Kiermeyer of "Ochs"? He teaches Bartitsu and military Saber amongst many other things. I met him in Houston last year. Very nice guy, and very good at what he does!

    P.S.: If you are interested in how we use the Walking-Stick or Cudgel, here is a short trailer: http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/ew9q0-s0ZV8

    ---Good stuff! Thanks! I think it is a crying shame that it is no longer acceptable for a gentleman to carry a cane in polite society!

    Keith
    Last edited by Keith P. Myers; 04-18-2011 at 09:30 PM.

  17. I still carry a cane! When you have back problems it helps a lot, and then it's there just in case.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith P. Myers View Post
    So I'm starting to see names here from members of the Cateran Society. I am a member myself, and so far have worked on Highland Regimental Broadsword according to Angelo and Taylor.

    While not exactly Scottish, but still British and I'm sure many Scots participated....I am also working on London Prize Ring era bare-knuckle boxing.

    Who else here is actively pursuing Scottish Martial Arts and what are your sources and practices? Thanks!

    Keith
    I'm not a member of the Cateran Society but have taken classes with Chris at Ken Pfrenger's Recreational Violence Weekend and with Paul Wagner both there and at WMAW.

    I also work with BKB based on Allonson-Winn and classes with Ken for the Bartitsu studies I have done.

    Allen
    Gallowglass Academy
    www.GallowglassAcademy.org

  19. #19
    Yes, I know Alex via the internet a bit and I tried to organize a Bartitsu-seminar with him once, but it did not happened for several organisation reasons. But I hope to re-organize something like that with him in future, now we have new rooms and could do it there.

    I am happy you like the video. I see the way we use the cudgel as meeting between historical and modern sources as a practical method for using stick-like objects also for self-defence. Of course you cannot wear a cane today without getting to much attention (except for good reasons as Chris wrote it), but we train also with the focus on a good, stout umbrella. There are several types which are pretty useful as a weapon, if they have a metal-handle, a spike-like tip and a wooden grip. There are umbrellas f.e. which have a body like a real slim walking-stick made complete out of one peace of wood, with a metal-tip, pretty stout and heavy. Or the best choice is se so-called unbreakable self-defence umbrella, which is a special construction for self-defence, made of special material, extra heavy and unbreakable. There is now also a version with a knob-handle made of hardwood, with this you can use all the cane-techniques perfectly. And if you not live in an area with not so much rain, you can in general wear such an umbrella everywhere most of the year, even in summer, because no one can deny you use it as a parasol ;-)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Kerr View Post
    The University of Glasgow holds the copy of Swordsmans Companion that is in the best condition of the three original copies that are known to exist.
    ~BK
    You may be heartened to hear that several more copies have survived the centuries past.

    I believe our last count logged a dozen known in various public and private libraries and museums, many in Scotland and some outwith.

    Be sure you also acquire a copy with the rarest of all illustrations, portrait of the author.

    All the Best,

    Macdonald
    www.macdonaldarms.com
    www.macdonaldarms.com/armoury

  21. #21
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    That is really interesting, the librarians at the National Library and the Uni Library must have been a little out of date with their information. The Academy is in the process of trying to get a copy fully digitized for online viewing as a central part of the Triquetra/SFI project, the problem is that the fold out nature of the pages makes them quite fragile. Do you have a list of available copies I could perhaps see, I am quite taken with McBane and so the chance to see a portrait would be very beneficial to me.

    Thanks for the update in any case,
    ~B
    ~ Ben Kerr ~

    Triquetra Services (Scotland)
    Registered Charity (SC042086)
    Academy of Historical Arts

    "Heroes fade eventually, but Legends never die."

  22. #22
    That all sounds like a wonderful idea to me as well!

    Keith

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Kerr View Post
    ...the chance to see a portrait would be very beneficial to me.
    "That's certainly the mark of a good duellist, your Majesty - to be living."

  24. #24
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    wow totally not how i pictured him certainly fascinating though, thank you Phil for this...I didn't picture him with facial hair due to the whole explosion incident, but I guess you learn something every day
    ~ Ben Kerr ~

    Triquetra Services (Scotland)
    Registered Charity (SC042086)
    Academy of Historical Arts

    "Heroes fade eventually, but Legends never die."

  25. #25
    Hmm, now I'm tempted to grow out my facial hair and purchase a fancy blouse for lessons...

    Cool picture though, he doesn't look like the type of guy you'd want to mess with.

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