HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

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    Siegfried.
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    HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:01 am

    One thing that I really enjoy about Dark Souls is the historical accuracy that characterises most of the mundane weapons in the game. That said, it's a shame about the way they're actually used; often wide, open swings and very limited thrusts. Not that I blame them, particularly; the game has its own needs.

    But I was thinking that perhaps the visual accuracy of the arms and armour might have attracted some likeminded sorts who study or are interested in studying the historical European martial arts. These are done with a variety of weapons as well as with one's bare hands. I'm a student of the Liechtenauer tradition, Kunst des Fechtens, so it would come as no surprise that I favour longswords, poleaxes and two-handed weapons of all stripes.

    So, does anyone else around here study these historical martial arts? If so, which ones? Any favourites, or fun stories of tournaments or training sessions?
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:09 am

    Um, in a way I do. But I don't study it maybe as extensively. I know concepts of combat and what not and I can hold my own while practicing it, I just really know little of the terminology.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:43 am

    Ah, I should make something clear in this thread.

    I'm happy for anyone to contribute their knowledge and experiences, no matter how much or how little experience or learning they have. I have no interest in elitism or anything of the sort, so no-one should be shy about sharing their thoughts. The only thing I don't want to see is people looking down on others or being closed-minded about their interpretations of the texts.

    As far as my intentions go, this is a thread for open sharing, appreciation and learning about the historical martial arts of Europe (and other places! Why not?). So if someone has only a little experience or knowledge, that is certainly cool beans and their thoughts are still valid.


    Last edited by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by ViralEnsign_ on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:54 am

    Aww man you would have fit perfectly into Roosters

    Where are my fellow warriors at thread.

    I dont study a specific discipline officially. But I have had training in Tameshigiri and Iaidojutsu and on a regular basis go out to airsoft where our organisers are former NZ and Australian soldiers. They give us pretty good instrction.


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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:55 am

    Well here's a question, which form of combat is your avatar of? It looks like longsword combat with practice swords and armor, though perhaps real armor as I know they practiced with the genuine thing with armored practitioners? Kind of reminds me of diagrams I've seen of Zweihander combat.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:09 am

    Tolvo wrote:Well here's a question, which form of combat is your avatar of? It looks like longsword combat with practice swords and armor, though perhaps real armor as I know they practiced with the genuine thing with armored practitioners? Kind of reminds me of diagrams I've seen of Zweihander combat.

    It's artwork of poleaxe combat from a Talhoffer manuscript, Talhoffer being one of the most important authors on Kunst des Fechtens during its apex in the 15th century. The artwork depicts two knights locked in judicial combat; most likely the result of legal proceedings that couldn't come to a conclusion on some kind of severe accusation. When something like that happened, rules, location and time were laid out for a duel and it would be a fight to the death. Typically, the duel would take place six weeks and four days after the ruling.

    Poleaxe combat isn't too far removed from longsword combat, although it obviously contains more staff and spear elements as well.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:16 am

    I imagine it's a bit more difficult with armor though, as piercing with certain types of axes isn't an option. Though it probably has a spiked head doesn't it? I'm assuming because otherwise, that's probably a long fight.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:31 am

    Plate armour was pretty beastly indeed, but it didn't make its wearer immortal. Just almost immortal. silly

    Plate armour usually can't be pierced, even with the "slender pyramid" thrusting spikes of poleaxes. Keep in mind, however, that one of armour's major strengths was its capacity to absorb and disperse kinetic energy, so you can be struck with a weapon, stagger back a bit and be no worse for wear. If you're braced against the ground or a wall, however, that kinetic energy has nowhere to disperse. Under those circumstances, a poleaxe's thrusting spike would pierce plate.

    In addition, throwing grapples were just as effective against warriors in plate as they were against unarmoured warriors. Grapples are therefore a universal counter to heavy armours, because an adversary backed into a corner is on the ropes no matter how heavy their armour is. One of the advantages of something like a mace is that it's one-handed, leaving a hand free for grapples; on top of dealing significant impact damage and causing injury through plate armour, it also allowed its wielder to counter plate armour with other methods.

    Usually, however, plate armour was defeated by thrusting through the gaps. There would often be mail armour covering these gaps, but mail wasn't complete protection against strong thrusts. The point of a longsword or the spike of a poleaxe is likely to make it through those gaps whether they're protected by mail or not.

    In short, plate armour was defeated via grapples, bracing it against hard objects or attacking it at the gaps. Knights were trained to be aggressive and decisive fighters, so even in plate, a round of lethal combat might only last a few seconds -- certainly no longer than a minute or two.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:46 am

    I always find it funny when people think that armor makes it so you are just a slow moving rigid body. It does impede your movement yes, but you can move pretty well in armor and respond quickly. Though you of course have difficult moving as fast as someone, you can still punch. You can still swing, you can run though you'll get tired so quickly. But from when I've worn replica armor, I was able to move a lot better than most people would think. Similar to fat rolling run speed in Dark/Demon's. I'm not as fit as the player though haha.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Siegfried. on Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:59 am

    You should check out people who have extensive experience with plate armour -- they move more like a fast roller in DeS/DkS. Pretty amazing stuff, but sadly I don't own a set nor have I had the opportunity to receive plate armour training.
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    Re: HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

    Post by Tolvo on Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:00 am

    It definitely made my shoulders hurt like hell, I remember that much. It felt really awesome wearing it though.

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