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Thread: Dirk discussion (split from Broadsword Academy Germany)

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Hello Heiko,

    I've had a brief look at some of your videos. I've not looked at all, or even most of them (you have a lot of videos!). I was just wondering what sources you work from for your dirk combat.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Bourdas View Post
    Hello Heiko,

    I've had a brief look at some of your videos. I've not looked at all, or even most of them (you have a lot of videos!). I was just wondering what sources you work from for your dirk combat.
    http://www.paladin-press.com/product...rms_and_Combat

    It's taken from the dirk dance : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dirk_dance

    As well as a couple sources mentioned in broadsword manuals, and some traditional wrestling.

  3. #3
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    Okay. I've been meaning to get a copy of Highland Knife Fighting for a while, but I've never quite gotten round to getting it. I love dagger work, although I've only looked at German material so far, and I practice Highland backhold wrestling, so having a look at the dirk seems to be a sensible thing for me to do next.

  4. #4
    Well then it shouldn't be at all hard for you to learn with that background. There are also some educational videos on it on the cateran society website that will help study of the book. There's also the online apprenticeship program.

  5. #5
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    Hey,
    I was wondering if anyone had concrete evidence of the dirk dances existance pre victorian times? I had wanted to use it in my thesis but was very strictly informed it was a modern (post-Culloden) practise lacking in historical basis and so the section got dropped. I was hoping though that due to the work of groups such as the Cateran Society that there may be some new information on this since then.

    ~BK

  6. First, a clarification- our dirk method is informed by the dirk dance, not based on it. Louie Pastore's dirk method, which is quite different from ours, is based more closely on the dance.

    Our dirk method is based primarily on two things: the stances shown in the Penicuik sketches, and the brief comments on dirk use found in MacGregor's lecture (and later referenced by James Logan). From these comments, it is clear that the dirk was often used in a reverse grip. When you use a stance like those in the Penicuik sketches with a reverse grip, you get our first two dirk guards. When you attack from our second guard you end up naturally in our third guard. Our fourth guard comes from the dirk dance, but as it is identical to the St George guard from broadsword play, it does not depend on the authenticity of the dirk dance. And our fifth dirk guard is simply what happens when you lower the fourth guard.

    As you can see, our dirk method (like any dirk method, in the absence of a manual for this weapon) is strictly a speculative reconstruction informed by the few facts we have available. If you assume that MacGregor's comments about the dirk were correct (and I see no reason why they wouldn't be) and that the stances used might have been like those in the Penicuik sketches for sword and targe (which is at least not a huge stretch) you get our dirk method.

    As for the authenticity of the dance itself, it was collected (in Nova Scotia, I believe) by the Fletts. I don't know of any more-respected researchers into the older Highland and Scottish dances than the Fletts, and they seem to have accepted the authenticity of this dance, although there were some doubts about whether it was strictly traditional or a solo adaptation of what had previously been a two-man dance. Of course the dance could have been invented in Victorian times, but as something passed down within an oral tradition, no one is in a position to say for certain. I suspect, though, that there may be some confusion with the Manx dirk dance, which has been considered "fakelore" by some researchers.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  7. PS- the Fletts mention some other dances, now lost, that were probably combative, such as Buailidh Mi Thu 's 'd Cheann ("I will strike you in the head.")
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  8. #8
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    Hey Chris,
    Thanks for getting back to me. I am a huge proponent of reconstruction through using the slivers of information that are available to us due to the lack of evidence currently (The Academy have been working on a hand to hand system based on the targe system I developed from Page, the Penicuick sketches, some clan references and McBane). Sadly though without reliable sources the Dirk dance probably still will be discounted by academics, it is one of the obnoxious parts of studying a primarily oral culture, but it doesn't mean it can't be used to assist in a general reconstruction just that it's limitations should be noted.
    Anyway Heiko sorry we hijacked your thread with questions, once I learn how to I will move these into their own thread.

    ~BK

  9. I would love to hear more about your hand-to-hand material, it seems similar to some things we've been working on for some time. For instance, here are seven fighting techniques based on broadsword tactics:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLacmMJkXn8
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  10. #10
    @Ben Kerr: No problem, I like it when a discussion evolves naturally, there is good potential for new technical exchanges.

    I think the Dirk is a weapon of many possibilities for modern martial artists, also there is not so much source material for its use, like for other weapons. But the form of antique Dirks, its hisorical and cultural context can also give a lot of information about how it was possibly used. Also it is speculative to some level, it seems logical. There are chances for newexperiments, at the moment we try out a bit how to use the Dirk on the ground or also being unarmed in the ground with a dirk-fighter over us. Also falling on the ground is not the target, in a fight it can happen also if you try to avoid it, faster as you think, you go down for any reason. So the ancient fighters could have such situations in self-defense or on battlefield also and had to solve such situations. Another thing we try out is the interception of emtpy hands, dirk fighting and the Highland Pistol. In times when pocket-pistols carryed and firelocks shot on the battlefield, we think this also could be useful in a historical context.

    Maybe the Dirk-topic could be opened by a moderator as an own thread? Seems there is a lot of potential for more exchange.
    Last edited by Alex Bourdas; 05-04-2011 at 04:12 AM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko G. View Post
    I think the Dirk is a weapon of many possibilities for modern martial artists, also there is not so much source material for its use,
    .
    My impression is that the Dirk is very similar to the medieval/renn dagger work seen in various historical manuals from Europe. There are only so many ways to move and so many things you can do with a big pointy piece of steel held in a reverse grip. If you compare the dagger work between the German and Italian sources you will find that they are very similar. I linked in a book on dagger and grappling that I put together many years ago. Take a look at the dagger section and see if things don't look familiar.


    http://www.marylandkdf.com/manuals/K...and_Combat.zip


    Keith

  12. #12
    Yes I think so too. Dirk-Fighters can learn a lot out of German and Italien sources. We had a trainer for Medieval and Renaissance Dagger in our practice as guest once and exchanged knowledge. So we already included some of the things he showed us, which are also adoptable for the Dirk. I think, we will exchange in this area of martial arts again in future.

    Thanks for the document, is it possible you uploaded this once at the Broadsword Academy site too?

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Heiko G. View Post
    Thanks for the document, is it possible you uploaded this once at the Broadsword Academy site too?

    Yes, now that you mention it, I think I did!

    Keith

  14. #14
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    I have split this thread from the Broadsword Academy thread here:
    http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sho...cademy-Germany

    I think there's a lot more potential for discussion here. I'd love to learn some more information about how people fight with the dirk, so I'll start out with some very basic questions for those of you who use dirk: does you dirk fencers prefer an overhand or a reverse grip, and do you cut much with a dirk, or is the style just focused on the thrust?
    Alex Bourdas

    Academy of Historical Arts

  15. Here's how I use the dirk:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-l_-7SeR41o

    Lots of cuts as well as thrusts, mostly a reverse grip but also a St George guard. The main thing is that we don't play for points with this weapon- a cut leads into a thrust, and then many more thrusts in quick succession.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Bourdas View Post
    I think there's a lot more potential for discussion here. I'd love to learn some more information about how people fight with the dirk, so I'll start out with some very basic questions for those of you who use dirk: does you dirk fencers prefer an overhand or a reverse grip, and do you cut much with a dirk, or is the style just focused on the thrust?
    I think I use them equally as much, the reverse grip and the forward grip, as well as cuts and thrusts. But there are a number of different cuts you can use, chops, draw cuts, thrusting like attacks can be used for push cuts, or in a grapple you can use the blade in a sawing motion to inflict a lot of damage. An advantage to having a sharp edge is that in either the reverse grip or the forward grip you can use the blade of the dirk to parry your opponents attacks against his arm or wrist (disabling his arm in the process) or your offhand to grab.

    The two guards you see in Chris' video with the dirk placed out of sight behind the leg are especially effective against an opponent who is hesitant to engage. I've used it a few times, and as soon as the weapon is out of sight people seem to forget it's there, it really lures them in.

    Here's a bout of me against a FMA instructor, unfortunately in this tournament there were no headshots or thrusts allowed, but as I said earlier it's very easy to change a thrust into a pushcut by moving the tip offline.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cc10Jrn2fwg

    Note: this was a point match, so it's considerably different than how I fight with a more realistic rule set (There would have been opportunities in that bout for me to do reverse grip thrusts to the face, especially against a shorter opponent) A couple of my more advanced students and I are currently working on dirk so I'll probably get some different videos up soon.
    Last edited by Javan M.; 05-04-2011 at 10:00 AM.

  17. #17
    As Chris and Javan wrote, the reverse grip is mostly used with cuts and thrusts. Often I use cuts as a defending motion against attacks (f.e. a quick cut to the wrist of the opponent, when he thrust at me). I recognized, that, if bout versus FMA-Knifefighters, there is a good chance to trap their weapon-hand (also if you get cut in the hand, I think this can be called a minor-cut) and stab over their defense to the head. With this I was successful some times in bouts.

    Here are some examples of Dirk-Bouts also versus different styles:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe...25/vAktlxo62M0
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe...17/cUzOJMnior4
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../8/ruvLBWYt41k
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe...12/27Y5rrIyz8k
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe...14/Lqb-641Klx8

  18. #18

    Dirk Groundfighting

    The last months we were out of coincident circumstances practicing groundfighting with the Dirk involved. On the Battlefield and in Self-defense going to the ground can be worse. The optimum is staying on the feet, going to the ground can make a fighter pretty helpless to attacks. You all know, nobody is perfect and depending on the circumstances it happens that Groundfighting is necessary. After a knock-down in the heat of a Battle or a sudden attack in self-defense a fighter can find himself on the ground. In free-sparring with the Dirk groundfighting-situations happen sometimes, this is were we first recognized the possible necessity of groundfighting.

    Just have a look at our short video. We tryed to build up a rule-set with which Dirk-fighters can test out and evolve their skills on the ground. The rules are simple and form different historical and modern sources. But I have to apologize, there is a misttake in the text, Petter´s work is from 1674, not 1679. The video was complete, before I recognized my error, but now I cannot change this mistake.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../1/IUfiFn2tTok


    Please let me know you opinion and advices, I am looking forward to the discussion. The next time, we will also make a free sparring video with Dirk-groundfighting, so the "real action" is about to come

  19. #19
    It's funny that you posted this, just last weekend my friend (a kung fu instructor) and I were practicing this very thing. We did it using a variety of different weapons (stick, knife, tonfa...) One of the things I found is that even if you can't always get a disarm (if you're the one without a knife) you can often still maneuver him into a situation where he is forced to choose to abandon the weapon if he wants to advance the position. Using a stick or a blunt object is a lot different, but you can use it to assist you in chokes or joint locks. But obviously with a dirk, cutting or thrusting requires a lot less movement to get in a "kill" and you have to be much more careful about the weapon ending up between you as you fall.

    Great video Heiko, I really like the material you presented and will be sure to try it out.

  20. #20

    Dirk & Targe

    Thanks Javan. You are right, through the better possibilities to cotnrol the position, the attacker with the Dirk is pretty quick in a position, where his Dirk becomes less useful. Of course, integration sticks or other blunt weapons into groundfighting is much easier, I just have watched a DVD of Sayoc Kali about Stickgrappling and here the stick becomes the tool to grapple very easy.

    We will make a pure bouting-video about groundfighting with the Dirk involved soon, I will post it, to show how it works in free-play (and how often it works not, of course, which teachs also a lot about the groundgame with blades involved).

    Here is another one about the Dirk, no ruleset, just some examples of bouting, when we used the Dirk with the Targe together:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj_AC...el_video_title

  21. #21

    Dirk vs Highland Psitol

    Here is another experiment we did:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/7ke245QaJtM

  22. #22

    Dirk Groundfighting Part 2

    So here is, what happened, when we did the same situation in a bout:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/tuerkefe.../0/vbHkJyx3uaI

  23. #23

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