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Thread: Unarmed Arts

  1. #1
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    Unarmed Arts

    Has anyone written a book or extensive material soley on WMA grappling and unarmed arts? I know there's material but, this may just be me, I don't see much made out of it. I've heard a few references and seen a move or two but I don't see much material on how the movements work or even just basic things like a description of the style. I have a hard time even finding a mention of various styles of grappling in the WMA. So far I've only found info on Glima, and Cornish Hugg Wrestling, with a few mentions of Irish Collar and Elbow wrestling though I have yet to find a true explanation of it. I know that there is still a group of practioners for Cornish Hugg Wrestling, does this carry on into other arts as well? Is there more danger to these arts? Please inform me if I have made a giant mistake and there is a large field of WMA practitioners? Do you know of anything else I'm missing? I want to pursue the unarmed arts and I just don't know where to start. Feel free to comment on anything pertaining to this subject .

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
    Hi Jim,

    many WMA and HEMA groups do train in unarmed combat skills, both reconstructed methods following the same process as reconstructed weapon play, and occasionally living lineage methods such as Glima, old/school Savate, Scottish Backhold wrestling, etc. Obviously, most of the living lineage methods tend to be of folk sport origin, and the more dangerous, earlier methods are more typically reconstructed from written sources.

    I am not aware of any modern reference book solely devoted to historical European unarmed combat methods.

    Tony

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by Tony Wolf

    I am not aware of any modern reference book solely devoted to historical European unarmed combat methods.
    You know, it's time for a book solely devoted to this. I'd buy it. Who else?
    To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania

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    Keith Meyers had a book that he was selling (not published) for just the cost of photocopying, but his website's down and I haven't seen him here at SF in ages.
    "O thou most magnanimous Hero! Brave and unutterably Bold Don Quixote de la Mancha! What Language shall I employ to convince Posterity of the Truth of this thy more than human Enterprize! What Praises can be coined, and Elogies invented, that will not be outvied by thy superior Merit, though Hyperbolies were piled on Hyperbolies!"
    -Miguel de Cervantes

  6. #6
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    I do have a very rough set of notes on daggerwork and some wrestling, and I did pitch a book based on them to Chivalry a while back. Never got a reply...

    I also thought it might be an idea to put something similar to SPADA together (DAGA), so lots of different manuscripts and their interpretations could see the light of day. I would quite happily edit such a collection, as well as contribute an article or two.

    Consider, we have people working with Fiore, with Silver, and with a host of German Masters. We ourselves at the far end of Africa work with Fiore, Meyer, Mair, and Durer. Something useful must come from all the work!

    James

  7. #7

    Thumbs up Unarmed HES book

    I would go for a book like that.
    Compagno, Northwest Fencing Academy

    "Axe-play is honorable and profitable for the preservation of a body noble or non noble" - Le Jeu de la Hache

    "Fights are won with basic technique performed at a high level of skill." - Maestro William Gaugler

    http://bunkaijuju.blogspot.com/

  8. #8
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    Originally posted by James Roberts
    I do have a very rough set of notes on daggerwork and some wrestling, and I did pitch a book based on them to Chivalry a while back. Never got a reply...

    I also thought it might be an idea to put something similar to SPADA together (DAGA), so lots of different manuscripts and their interpretations could see the light of day. I would quite happily edit such a collection, as well as contribute an article or two.
    Maybe we could make this into a petition thread?
    To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania

  9. #9
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    Hello all,

    My titles have some grappling in them...in particular, I highly recommend that practitioners learn the Drei Ringen (Three Wrestlings) as they're great core principles for all takedowns. I re-intepreted them for their presentation in "Fighting with the German Longsword".

    I'll be re-visiting them, and including other grappling work, in the next of my study guides, "Fighting with the German Dagger", which will likely appear sometime in 2006.

    I'd also recommend that folks look at the Italian tradition grappling that Guy Windsor includes at the sword in "The Swordsman's Companion", and the unarmed techniques that appear in Terry Brown's "English Martial Arts" (btw, I can't recommend this title enough!).

    James - I'll talk to Brian at the Pennsic War next week and have him get back to you.

    All the best,

    Christian
    Christian Henry Tobler
    Selohaar Fechtschule

    The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Author, Captain of the Guild, DVD: The Poleaxe, In Saint George's Name

    "Though I love the stout blow and the cunningly placed thrust, my greatest joy when crossing swords lies in those rare moments when Chivalry herself leans over and takes one into Her confidence."

  10. #10
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    I'd really like to see a book come out of this! But how do you define what would go in it? Would it be wrestling plates from Fiore, Silver, etc. only or would it include movements that also come from things like Glima? There is also things that have a connection to unarmed combat, I read a article on Highland Dancing having connections to a Scottish Martial art for example. There are also arts like Savate that have a following.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by J. Houchin
    I'd really like to see a book come out of this! But how do you define what would go in it? Would it be wrestling plates from Fiore, Silver, etc. only or would it include movements that also come from things like Glima? There is also things that have a connection to unarmed combat, I read a article on Highland Dancing having connections to a Scottish Martial art for example. There are also arts like Savate that have a following.
    If it was left to me, I would probably group the articles by time period, and I would probably mix dagger work in with wrestling. Fiore especially would require a mix of the two, since the daggerwork elucidates and expands on the shorter wrestling section. Several articles on different aspects of Fiore's work would be great- one on the underlying, hidden assumptions of how the wrestling works (what throws an opponent might attempt, what situations a dagger might be used in), and then some on the actual mechanics shown in the plates. Some of the sources, such as Silver, are very brief and could probably be dealt with in a very short article. Others, like Mair's 2-person plays would be longer. I would say that photos or diagrams of people's interpretations are probably what most people would like, rather than simply reprinting the plates.

    The more recent stuff, such as Cornish boxing, Glima (though quite where that fits in is anybody's guess), and some of the other stuff would be better dealt with in a second volume.

    Though, when you look at it truthfully, most of the separate texts cry out for individual, loving attention...

    James

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by James Roberts

    The more recent stuff, such as Cornish boxing, Glima (though quite where that fits in is anybody's guess), and some of the other stuff would be better dealt with in a second volume.

    Though, when you look at it truthfully, most of the separate texts cry out for individual, loving attention...

    True. I'd say go with the.. how do you say.... more 'hurt you' styles first, then switch to the more 'folk sport' styles in another volume. Not that I claim to know which are which at this point.

    On the subject of daggers... I've never actually seen a period fightbook illustration of the dagger ALONE held point up. Have I missed them, or is there an special reason that they always hold it point down?
    To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania

  13. #13
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    Does anyone have names of any German masters that wrote on the subject other than Liechtenauer and Talhoffer? Where can I find more plates/plays involving unarmed material ?

  14. #14
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    Masters Ott Juden and Andres Lignitzer have treatises on wrestling. Their works are found in the von Danzig compendium manuscript, which I have translated and awaiting publication in some yet-to-be-determined book. There are some translations currently online of parts of this work, but the translations are, despite great intentions, not so good.

    The Ringeck fechtbuch has three different anonymously authored sections on unarmed combat, one of which is a partial redaction of Ott's work. The Ringeck manuscript is translated in my first title, "Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship."

    Also, the Paulus Kal treatise, which I'm preparing for publication now, includes dagger and wrestling.

    Really though, if you want to learn unarmed work, the dagger plays throughout the tradition almost all work without a dagger in hand too. The aforementioned masters Kal and Lignitzer have dagger work, as does Martin Huntfeltz.

    All the best,

    CHT
    Christian Henry Tobler
    Selohaar Fechtschule

    The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Author, Captain of the Guild, DVD: The Poleaxe, In Saint George's Name

    "Though I love the stout blow and the cunningly placed thrust, my greatest joy when crossing swords lies in those rare moments when Chivalry herself leans over and takes one into Her confidence."

  15. #15
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    On the subject of daggers... I've never actually seen a period fightbook illustration of the dagger ALONE held point up. Have I missed them, or is there an special reason that they always hold it point down?
    I think there are 3 reasons :

    1. Drawing the dagger : The dagger was commonly worn on the right side of the hip, while a sword was worn on the right side.(edit: left of course)
    Drawing from the right hip is faster, more easy and less alerting when done with the "icepick grip"

    2. The situation: The dagger was intended to be produced at close quarters, where a sword wasnt useful anymore. In a extreme close figthing distance the tip-down grip has some advantages, even in modern knive figthing where saber or hammer- grip is preferred, the tip down grip is used in grappling or armed vs. unarmed attacker scenarios.

    3. The penetration power:
    If one had to Stab through armour or a common late mediaval mans winter dress the "icepickgrip" proviodet much more power

    Ingo
    Last edited by Ingo W.; 08-10-2005 at 01:06 PM.

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by George Hill
    On the subject of daggers... I've never actually seen a period fightbook illustration of the dagger ALONE held point up. Have I missed them, or is there an special reason that they always hold it point down?
    Well, Talhoffer most certainly illustrates this in various codices, as does Kal, the Codex Vindobonensis 11093, the "Gladiatoria" Fechtbuch, etc.

    Both forward and icepick grips were used.

    All the best,

    CHT
    Christian Henry Tobler
    Selohaar Fechtschule

    The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Author, Captain of the Guild, DVD: The Poleaxe, In Saint George's Name

    "Though I love the stout blow and the cunningly placed thrust, my greatest joy when crossing swords lies in those rare moments when Chivalry herself leans over and takes one into Her confidence."

  17. #17
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    Does anyone have names of any German masters that wrote on the subject other than Liechtenauer and Talhoffer? Where can I find more plates/plays involving unarmed material ?

    Fabian von Auerswald

    His work is contained along with others in this (german)book :

    http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASI...801138-8925657


    Ingo

  18. #18
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    First...get Christian Tobler's books. They are top notch.

    Second...well, let's just say that I have a project that I'm finishing right now which should be of a lot of interest to people. I don't want to say too much until it is 100% finished but soon...before WMAW in September...

    Best of all,

    Pete Kautz
    http://modernknives.com
    http://alliancemartialarts.com
    alliancemartialarts.com
    modernknives.com

  19. #19
    Originally posted by George Hill
    True. I'd say go with the.. how do you say.... more 'hurt you' styles first, then switch to the more 'folk sport' styles in another volume. Not that I claim to know which are which at this point.

    On the subject of daggers... I've never actually seen a period fightbook illustration of the dagger ALONE held point up. Have I missed them, or is there an special reason that they always hold it point down?
    Fiore's 9th master of dagger deals with the dagger in this position (or at least shows it in this position...probably most/all of his masters can deal with a dagger coming from this line...)

    Keith
    Keith Nelson
    fish_doc@hotmail.com
    -----------------------------------

  20. #20
    Originally posted by Tony Wolf

    I am not aware of any modern reference book solely devoted to historical European unarmed combat methods.

    Tony
    Give some of us a little more time...

    Christian is writing a text on German dagger methods, I'm writing one on Marozzo's presas and dagger material.

    Depending on how that book goes, who knows what else might come up...

    Roger
    Roger Siggs

    “It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

  21. #21
    Originally posted by George Hill

    On the subject of daggers... I've never actually seen a period fightbook illustration of the dagger ALONE held point up. Have I missed them, or is there an special reason that they always hold it point down?
    Liberi, Marozzo, most of the Germans, etc.

    You've missed them.

    Roger
    Roger Siggs

    “It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.”

  22. #22
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    Originally posted by Roger Siggs
    Liberi, Marozzo, most of the Germans, etc.

    You've missed them.
    Looks like. I'll just need to buy Christian Tobler's new book when it comes out.
    To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania

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