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Author Topic: Fencing....with polearms?  (Read 1298 times)

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Offline MnemaxaTopic starter

Fencing....with polearms?
« on: January 22, 2010, 12:52:19 PM »
A short video of some fencing practice using a variety of medieval weapons.  Detractors of European martial arts will note that there is a definite set of martial skill in these; it's not hack and slash as they're often accused of being.

Fencing with five different medieval weapons

Offline consortium11

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2010, 01:23:59 PM »
That's pretty cool.

I must say I think there's nothing wrong with hack and slash... I think many martial arts (of both the armed and unarmed varieties) could do with far more hack and slashing.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2010, 05:10:32 AM »
The Western martial forms always get a reputation for being more hack n'slash, primarily because so few practioners wrote things down.  In the East there was an emphasis on read and writing among the nobility who were also the major figures in martial training and expertise.  During those periods of peace they would write down their techniques to teach others.  The West had no such traditions, resulting in people having to slowly piece together what the masters of such weapons might have been doing to survive.

Awesome video too.

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2010, 09:01:22 PM »
Most interesting to see polarms being used. Too many seem to focus on swords alone. If anyone has more polearm action, please do post them or PM me. I'm a big fan of them and of staff action.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2010, 09:09:17 PM »
ARMA Meyer's Halberd Techniques

I always forget how to put a youtube video in here.

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2010, 09:14:10 PM »
ARMA Meyer's Halberd Techniques

I always forget how to put a youtube video in here.

Like that? *giggles*

Thank you very much, that was lovely <3

Offline Vekseid

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2010, 10:14:38 PM »
The Western martial forms always get a reputation for being more hack n'slash, primarily because so few practioners wrote things down.  In the East there was an emphasis on read and writing among the nobility who were also the major figures in martial training and expertise.  During those periods of peace they would write down their techniques to teach others.  The West had no such traditions, resulting in people having to slowly piece together what the masters of such weapons might have been doing to survive.

Awesome video too.

Well, they did write things down, they just fell out of favor with the rise of firearms in the West (except for things like the rapier). The definitive work for pole arms was Le Jeu de la Hache or The Play of Axe. Less does survive in general, though : /

The poleaxe is seriously one of the funnest weapons to wield, in my personal opinion : )

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2010, 10:19:28 PM »

The poleaxe is seriously one of the funnest weapons to wield, in my personal opinion : )

It's a rather flexible weapon. And the range is lovely, of course <3

Offline consortium11

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2010, 05:16:57 PM »
The Western martial forms always get a reputation for being more hack n'slash, primarily because so few practioners wrote things down.  In the East there was an emphasis on read and writing among the nobility who were also the major figures in martial training and expertise.  During those periods of peace they would write down their techniques to teach others.  The West had no such traditions, resulting in people having to slowly piece together what the masters of such weapons might have been doing to survive.

Awesome video too.

I'm not a great expert on weapon based martial arts, but for unarmed forms the Western styles have never suffered for a lack of major historical writings on them. Boxing, (folk)wrestling, savate and catch wrestling all evolved for more on a "try it and see what works" as opposed to "write down the details" basis. While there are texts out there, I'd submit that it was the development of these arts through the "hack and slash" of competition that made them what they are today.

To show an example of a modern (non-European) martial art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed as an offshoot of the hybrid form of catch wrestling and Judo's ne-waza taught by Maeda. It was first really brought to prominence by the Gracie Family in the 1990's who produced a series of writings on it. However, when in the "hack and slash" of competition (be it vale tudo, mixed martial arts or grappling competitions) practitioners found weaknesses within the style and have started to adapt it to better suit its situational needs. The rigid sticking to written down forms that often infects Eastern Martial Arts (and the Lineage Wars that follow) have often done much to stifle their development.

Offline Vandren

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2010, 07:16:19 PM »
Definitely interesting stuff.  One of the problems with tracing the history of Western martial arts is that so many of them were either daily "9-5" jobs training for "tribal" warriors early on (and therefore didn't have to be written down - see the Celts, Spartans, Huns, Roman gladiators, etc.) or were regimented military training (Roman soldiers).  Most of the Eastern martial arts either a) survived into the modern day or b) were passed on in a modern form sometime in the 18th-20th centuries.  Whereas the Western arts changed significantly in the 15th-18th centuries before being outclassed by firearms.  So, a lot of Western martial arts were written down (see ARMA), but that only started happening in the 15th century, fairly late in their development and near the end of their days.  In fact, a lot of them weren't written or formalized until after their battlefield use was extinct . . . so they were only useful as an artform, sport, or for dueling.

Case in point, take a look at modern Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling.  If a modern wrestler trained in that form attempted to take on an original ancient Greek Olympian, the modern practitioner would be dead in a matter of seconds.  Whereas a modern practitioner of, say, jujutsu might have a reasonable chance against a 14th century Japanese jujutsu practitioner, because that art hasn't changed too much.

For written forms of the Western armed martial arts, check out:

Hutton, Alfred.  Old Sword Play: Techniques of the Great Masters.  Dover, 2001. (originally printed in 1892)
Talhoffer, Hans.  Fechbuch (1443) - includes sword, spear, mace, long sword, dagger, light shields
Maximilian I, von Habsburg.  Weisskunig (1506) - basically swords
Marozzo, Achille.  Opera nova de Achille Marozzo Bolognese, mastro generale de 'larte de l'armi (1536) - sword, small shield, cloak, two swords, polearms
Agrippa, Camillo.  Trattato di scienza d'arme et un dialogo in detta materia (1553) - practical sword, dagger
di Grassi, Giacomo.  Ragione di adoprar sicuramente l'arme si da offesa, come da difesa, con un trattato dell'inganno, & con un modo di essercitarsi da se stesso, per acquistare forza, gudicio, & prestezza (1570) - first surviving English-language fencing book (translated in 1594)

And numerous others (with the exception of Hutton, those come from the first 8 pages of the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection of fencing books).

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 07:17:58 PM »
I was refering to popularity, not effectiveness.  Few give the Western martial traditions as much credit as they deserve for their intricacy, effectiveness and the training involved over the Eastern traditions.

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2010, 04:04:01 PM »
As I understand it there were plenty of Western martial arts manuals, but they were deliberately written to be of little use without an instructor. The "fechtbuch" (literally "fighting book") showed illustrations of positions & techniques, but to learn how to perform them you needed a person to teach you.

Offline Vandren

Re: Fencing....with polearms?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2010, 11:22:39 PM »
The same could be said of most Eastern manuals, Avis.  At least the ones I've seen, including modern ones.  That's one reason that groups like ARMA exist today for Western martial arts.  :)

And to Pumpkin Seeds, assuming the comment was directed at my post, popularity and effectiveness are synonymous when it comes to martial arts, whether Eastern or Western.  Western martial arts went out of popularity for a couple centuries because they were no longer effective.  They eventually came back into popularity as sports and hobbies.  Many Eastern martial arts, however, had a philosophical basis that allowed them to adapt to non-combat usage and thereby retain effectiveness and popularity.  Most Eastern arts involve becoming in tune with the body and mind, using Buddhist, Shinto, Taoist, or Confucian principles or other such things as well as combat.  Most Western arts are designed to destroy an opponent as quickly as possible (which is not to say that Eastern arts don't share that goal - see iaido and most kenjutsu schools - but they had more spiritual/philosophical underpinings).