Medieval/Renaissance Dagger demo

Discussion in 'Knife Arts' started by Langenschwert, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Jay Vail, an ARMA member and author of "Medieval and Renaissance Dagger Combat" (Paladin Press) has put some of his stuff up on youtube; unarmed vs dagger, dagger vs. dagger, and a couple of dagger vs. sword.

    Part 1 —

    Part 2 —

    Part 3 —

    Part 4 —

    Part 5 —

    Part 6 —

    Part 7—

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
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  2. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    Many thanks for pointing our eyes that way, Mark :tup:.
     
  3. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    Very cool! Thanks for posting those. I haven't had time to watch all of them yet but I found the first one particularly interesting. Many similarities to some of the better knife-defense systems taught today (e.g. Red Zone, etc.).
     
  4. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Thanks guys, glad you like them. The good techniques never change, really. I have Jay's book, and it's really, really good. In addition to presenting the medieval techniques, he also has some excerpts from more modern figures such as Fairbairn and Hockheim. Jay's a true student of knife arts.

    @ KenpoTex: I love your sig (I mean the quote, not the firearm ;)). I couldn't agree more.

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
  5. jarrod

    jarrod Senior Master

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    will look at it later, thanks!

    jf
     
  6. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    Thanks for posting the links. :asian:

    I'm exposing my ignorance here. I've had very little knife defense training, a small bit of knife defense techniques a couple years ago at my previous MA school.

    That said, I only watched the first clip so far, but it appeared to me that in some of the techniques, what would be the blade of the weapon is grabbed. What am I missing? Thanks. :)
     
  7. Aaron Little

    Aaron Little White Belt

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    I would argue that the clips posted are 180 degrees in both philosophy and application from Jerry Wetzel’s “Red Zone”. I see in clip one what you are referring to but it is very different.
     
  8. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Master Black Belt

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    Yup. If you're in a knife fight, you're going to get cut anyway, 90% chance... that's just the way it is. Might as well get cut while killing the other guy. Also, if you grab the knife tightly, you probably won't get cut at all in the disarm, or at worst superficially. Look at European half-swording techniques where the blade is often gripped with the off hand.

    But really, if you're unarmed vs a knife, you're probably going to die. No joke. That's not the time to worry about getting your hand cut in any case. Knife defence merely gives you a fighting chance in an already one-sided and utterly depserate situation. In all honesty, it's either that or have blood shooting out of your abdomen, neck or kidney. I'd rather have a cut hand than die in a pool of my own blood and feces. There were techniques described by men who used them for real in a violent time. They knew what worked and what didn't. Most of us are just dilletantes, if that. :)

    Best regards,

    -Mark
     
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  9. Jade Tigress

    Jade Tigress RAWR

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    Thank you! It makes sense now. :asian:
     
  10. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    I'll defer to your experience, but I was just referring to some similarities in the basic motion. For example, at about 1:00 in the first clip he's basically going from the "baseball bat" grip to a 2-on-1ish position. Granted, the energy is different, he's not jamming the attack nor is he really utilizing forward drive. I guess "kind of like" would have been more accurate than "very similar."

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that the daggers in that time period were primarily thrusting weapons and many times did not even really have much of an edge as they were designed to puncture mail. It was also common to wear heavy gauntlets thereby further reducing the chance of getting cut.
     
  11. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    It depends a lot on the situation:
    In battle, it was common to try to knock your opponent down, then kill him with your dagger through the armor -- these would be the "mercy of God" knives you are referring to there. Heavy, triangular cross-sectioned blades the would puncture even thin plate-metal, or slide between gaps.

    If you were dealing with a street attack, or a duel, the daggers would be about as sharp as today's carry knives. Heavy gauntlets would not be common in those situations, but even decent gloves (which were common) could grip a knife without much fear, as long as the knife isn't "drawn" across the hand. If you watch the blade grabs, they're done in a way that allows the hand to "move with" the blade until it's under control. That way you're not as likely to get cut right away.

    Many rapier attacks and defenses deal with a quick grabbing of the blade (and those were razor sharp on the business end) if done properly, it could save your life. There's a technique to it, which involves grabbing the flat of the blade (much easier to do on the older, longer knives shown in the video that today's short knives.)

    It's a desperate move, but it is a valid move for survival.

    On that note, the other day my two-year-old climbed up on the dinner table and got a hold of one of our table knives. (Not very sharp at all, but sharper than a butterknife.) In making a quick grab for it he actually poked me! (Not sharp enough to draw blood, fortunately!) Just goes to show that when a two-year old can get a Black belt, knives are not something to be cocky about! (And I teach knife-defense drills!)
     
  12. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    that's what I was thinking of, thanks for the clarification.
     
  13. Ahriman

    Ahriman Green Belt

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    Hmmm, very nice. Our interpretations slightly differ at places, but that's nothing unusual in this area.
    ...
    "would puncture even thin plate-metal,"
    I disagree with this part, unless you're talking about the absolutely most crappy pieces. Even 1mm thick mild steel can withstand a fair amount of abuse, especially if it's dished and most usually it IS dished. For penetrating that you'd need to have a perfect thrust with quite high power with a stationary target...
    Penetrating mail is much simpler, and even in the late 16th century it was still used for defending the armpits.
    ...
    About grabbing the blade - if it's a triangular blade, no problem, if it's a sharp cutter, well, maybe you lose a few fingers or half of your hand, but that's still better than getting killed as others said. Wearing a good leather glove comes handy nonetheless. :wink:
     
  14. thardey

    thardey Master Black Belt

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    I was.

    :ultracool
     
  15. David Weatherly

    David Weatherly Black Belt

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    Nice vids, thanks for posting them

    David
     
  16. hafoc

    hafoc Yellow Belt

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    I just found this forum, and this thread by accident. I wanted to thank Mark for posting my vids interpreting material from the old European manuals and him and all you others who took the time to look at them for their complements.
    I have been doing martial arts more than 35 years and I was really excited to find this old material a few years back. As Mark pointed out, this material was set down by men who actually fought with sharps, knives and daggers included. The material you find in these old books, which range in dates from 1420 to 1570, is consistent and very similar regardless of its country of origin. (You’ll note, if you look closely at my vids and my book that much if this material can be found in one form or another in many Asian systems as well.) The material is simple and easy to learn and apply.

    There is a lot of crap out there about knife defense made up by guys who have no idea what happens in a knife attack and who invent stuff in the comfort of their dojos, but the factors I mentioned lead me to believe that it is the TRUE STUFF that you can rely on in any real knife encounter to survive. Consequently, this material warrants close study by any martial artist who worries about knife encounters. I’ve tested it under as realistic conditions as I can manage safely, and it works. I urge you to try it too, and to pass it on to your students. I personally know people who have used the techniques illustrated in these manuals to defend themselves against real blade attacks.

    Jade Tigress brought up a question about knife takings, or blade grabs. This is a legitimate concern. Blade grabbing can be dangerous and you can be cut when you do it with a live blade, but it is may not be as dangerous as you might think. Some time ago, we performed an experiment to test the likelihood of being cut if you grasped the blade with a sharp edge against your palm. I used a mail glove with a deerskin glove over it to simulate skin. At speed, I was able to take the knife/dagger more than half the time without being cut (or cutting the glove). The remainder of the time, about 30 pct, I got essentially paper cuts in the area between the thumb and forefinger. So it can be done, although I would personally be more worried about doing it against a tac folder.

    The key is in how you apply pressure to the blade. Don’t allow your hand to slide along the edge. Rather, push directly down on the edge, which happens when you rotate the point toward the elbow along the plane of the forearm.

    If you’re still worried about disarming against an edge, you can instead press against the flat, which is also shown in the old manuals.

    BTW, dagger taking turns out to be a really important skill. If you are smaller and weaker than your adversary or if your technique fails (which often happens), you end up in a situation in which your only realistic defense is to take the knife. Fiore dei Liberi (1410, Pisani Dossi MS) addresses this matter when illustrating a dagger taking he says essentially, "if you cannot bend his arm, do this ..." You really, really do not want to end up on the ground wrestling with some guy who has a knife.

    Anyway, thanks again. All the best.

    Jay Vail
     
  17. Cryozombie

    Cryozombie Grandmaster

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    I missed these videos when this was first posted a few months ago... It was pretty cool stuff!

    I was slightly disturbed by the number of illustrations from the old manuals where they were stabbing each other in the... um... Junk.
     
  18. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    I can see how the blades of yore were intended primarily for stabbing/puncturing and not for slicing/cutting, rarely are blade today made that way or just for that specific purpose. Many of today's blades can function for both cutting and stabbing.
    Grabbing today's blade is still a very-bad-idea. Some things to consider here.
    For one thing, you can still lose a significant amount of blood from knife wounds to the hand, even the palm, so even if you disarm and incapacitate your knife wielding attacker you're in a serious world of hurt if you don't get that blood loss replaced.
    Another; the damage to your hand(s) when "allowing" them to get cut. The severed tendons, ligaments, muscles all vital to making your hand work/function. Again even if you survive and have your hand badly cut to where it's rendered useless try to imagine that. Try for an hour or even a day NOT using the hand that you think would be the one grabbing the blade. Now apply that for the rest of your life? Could you do it now?
    Have you ever been deeply cut (not shallow cuts where a few layers of skin are opened but cut down to muscle and bone) with a blade before? It hurts and hurts ALOT! Can you still function/fight in that cloud of pain? Imagine hitting, bumping that cut hand (during the fight), imagine trying to USE that hand to continue the fight.
    Honestly? Stop a moment, get up and go to your kitchen and get your sharpest kitchen knife... hold the edge to your palm or grasp it (lightly) as if it were the blade you are trying to prevent from killing you. Think a moment as you hold that edge, think about drawing quickly and hard that edge away from the grasping hand... why do you hesitate?
    You know it'll hurt like a mother don't you?
    Try this also next time you're in MA-class... you just disarmed by grabbing the blade away from your attacker, your hand is cut, deeply... therefore rendered useless... your attacker however is still capable. Now contend with them using your only hand available. ... G'wan... try it. Ball you fist up (as you probably would when it's cut) and hold it against your chest, waist and keep it there best as you may.
    C'mon be realistic, unless your techniques or present skill level can completely incapcitate your attacker in a short time and they're hell bent on hurting you (as some are or will be if you hurt them but they're still "in the fight")... it's something to think about, and practice on.
    Another factor to consider about your attacker... chances are... they're on drugs/alcohol ... you're not. Drugs have a wonderful way of dropping inhibitions and dulling the pain.

    Ergo avoid grabbing the blade, go for the hand wielding the blade, control that and open it to make it drop the blade that's intent for your innards. There are techniques (even shown in the thread's video) that show where you don't have to grasp the blade. I'd want to work on those first and foremost.

    Also one other thing to consider... there's not always ONE attacker.
     
  19. stickarts

    stickarts Senior Master

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    Just took a look at some of the vids. Interesting! Thanks for sharing! I will have to experiment with a few of those.
     
  20. hafoc

    hafoc Yellow Belt

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    MA-Caver: I understand your reluctance to grab a knife blade. This is only sensible. But to reject it out of hand as disabling in all cases goes against the weight of the evidence.

    First, you assume an incorrect method of performing the disarm. You don’t grab the blade and pull. As you note, pulling on the blade more likely than not will cause your hand to slide along the edge. You will then be cut, no doubt about it. I have students who, in their enthusiasm, try this method all the time. When that happens, I usually trot out a live blade, put it in their hands, and ask them if they want to continue with that nonsense.

    No, the way to do it is clear from the old manuals: either put pressure on the flat, or if you cannot do that, press against the edge and rotate the point toward the forearm. Either way, the weapon will pop out of the bad guy’s hand and you stand a better than 50 pct chance (more like 70, I think) of not being cut. If you had read my previous post, you would understand that we have subjected this technique to empirical analysis and experiment.

    Second, your post disregards the established medical evidence. While you can be grievously wounded by a deep cut on the hand, you can fight on. The medical and historical literature documents many such instances. For instance, in Spada 2, p. 10, Swinney and Crawford recount a knife attack in which the victim managed a blade grab defense despite suffering serious debilitating injury which one of the authors observed first hand:

    A 27 year old female was attacked by her husband with a type of serrated butcher knife. She was knocked to the floor where her husband sat on her abdomen and repeatedly attempted to stab her in the neck and chest. Despite her incredibly vulnerable position, the patient fended off multiple stab wounds, repeatedly grabbing the butcher knife by the blade. Her larger attacker repeatedly jerked the blade from her grasp inflicting multiple severe hand wounds.


    Ultimately, the patient managed to wrench the extremely sharp serrated butcher knife from her assailant by the blade. She shen made her escape and called for help.

    During the attack, the patient sustained seventeen separate wounds to the fronts and backs of her hands and lost the grasping function in three of her fingers due to tendon lacerations. In performing a through examination of her hands, I noted that the patient was also unable to flex her superficially injured right small finger.

    When asked, the patient sheepishly explained that the LAST time her husband had tried to stab her with a butcher knife (several months before), she had taken the knife away from by the blade much sooner.

    As illustrated, even severe tendon lacerations may not keep an injured bare hand from being used to disarm an opponent employing the blade grabbing technique.
    Because knife defense is surrounded by so many urban legends which people pass on as gospel technique, it is imperative that any claim or teaching be soundly grounded in the facts.123
     

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