Western Martial Arts

Notes from presentation at Penguicon on Saturday:

4-5:30PM Birch Fencing Demo Bob Scheltema, Brandon Scheltema Witness some non-choreographed, steel sword combat and you might just learn what Inigo Montoya and the Man in Black were talking about in The Princess Bride. The fencing demonstration (fencing, the art of defense, or from the German Fechten, to fight) will include discussions about the growing Western Marital Arts combat movement. Learn the fighting styles of the Italian Masters of Defense (Bonetti, Capo Ferro, Agrippa), along with the combat philosophies of the Spanish (Thibault), German and English schools. Western Marital Arts combat includes rapier, longsword, basket hilt and good old wrestling and kicking.

English style, following Silver’s book ..basket hilt broadswords…Strong on cuts…Silver’s “true guard” seems very much like the hanging guard in Scottish books.

German longswords..Two handed grip–off hand on pommel for leverage. If you get close, use wrestling…takedowns.

Italian rapier… thrusting

Attack your opponent’s sword hand–it will really be sufficient if you can put it out of action.

The Italian and Spanish schools were more gentlemanly. Less grappling than the English and Germans. German texts are more battle oriented, as opposed to street fighting or dueling.

Wearing period clothes, shoes, and weapons makes for a better understanding of why things were done the way they were. Smooth shoes explain tiptoe stance in one period book–that actually gives a better grip on the floor.

There were also several presentations from the Aegis Sword Academy. These had more emphasis on practical fighting than on reproduction of a specific period style, and in fact, everybody from there wore modern clothes. One presentation was:

8:30-9:30PM Birch Sword Demo: “Florentino: Case of Blades” Aegis Sword Academy The grace of fantasy’s double swords began as short sword and long knife – the weapons of a back alley fight in sixteenth century Florence.

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