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Historical European martial arts

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by SeverinR, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

  2. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    This guys channel is an amazing reference for HEMA.


    The problem with Hollywood sword fights is that they don't want to injure anyone so they stand out of each others reach so in reality they would be in little to no danger. This is one of many thing.
    Ben likes this.
  3. M P Goodwin

    M P Goodwin Scribe

    I practised a very intense form of martial arts for many years and a main push was to attain a level of competence that allowed the participants freedom from fear of injury for all parties involved. That is not to say injury did not occur but the freedom from fear meant that sparring became as real as we could make it without engaging in actual mortal combat. This is an important lesson to learn as until that point any practitioner is only practising form, without content...you look good but aren't worth a wet tea bag in a real situation.

    Writing believable combat with weapons has to take into account the abilities of the combatants in my view, so for example a conscript would be less likely to stay the distance against a veteran, not because he/she is less brave per se, but simply because of the overwhelming confidence the freedom a lack of fear, through training, gives.
    Hmm...might have rambled there but combat is a passion I have, that and all butter shortbread.
    Ben likes this.
  4. Russ

    Russ Istar

    That is a solid documentary.

    I have been training in HEMA or WMA for years at an academy here in TO.

    This is their youtube channel:


    There are many texts extant that describe medieval combat from the period and they really should be required reading for anyone who plans to write medieval combat.

    If anyone has any questions on the field feel free to shoot me a line.
    Ben likes this.
  5. Swordfry

    Swordfry Troubadour

    Did any European nations ever develop any hand to hand martial arts? Whenever I try to research this, I always get results for Asian martial arts and European armed martial arts. I would think they had some regular, documented form. Most likely not like karate or whatever, but something.
  6. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Great Question. And the answer is absolutely.

    It was usually taught and learned as a subsidiary to the sword arts, and would be commonly referred to as wrestling.

    The main text I have studied (Fiore Dei Liberi's Flower of Battle) has a very significant section on wrestling and some texts from the period were dedicated totally to hand to hand combat, such as the text by Ott the Jew.

    If you need more specific references I can scare them up for you.
  7. Wrestling and boxing as they are presently all derive from olde timey martial arts.

    Here's a YouTube video for some unarmed combat: Western martial arts hand to hand fighting. - YouTube

    Something from the ARMA (which I have used infrequently): Unarmed Combat in Renaissance Martial Arts
  8. Ben

    Ben Troubadour

    I only learned about HEMA a few months ago - I've been digging into it on the Internet and YouTube and it's really amazing stuff. So glad there are people out there doing this - researching old fighting styles and figuring out how they worked. I would say some of these you tube videos are definitely worth a watch if you are writing gritty, realistic fight scenes. Even if you prefer to write whirling, less realistic fights you can probably pick up some useful insights.
  9. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Why is it the moment I saw this thread I immediately thought of the Goodies and the Lancastrian martial art of ecky thump - the martial art of whacking people around the head with a black pudding!

    Cheers, Greg.

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