Weapon/Tool Development/Anthropology... Formerly Blocking useless?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by lklawson, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Why? What if the goal of studying that MA is to maintain a historic art form? In that case if it "evolved" then it would be changed, different, and no longer the historic art form.

    Not every reason for studying a martial art, not every reason for the existence of a martial art, is the same and they shouldn't be thought of or treated the same.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  2. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I see your point, Kirk. But "should" is a subjective concept. In my opinion (for all that's really worth), even those maintaining a tradition should evolve. Sword styles should strive for better swords (surely we can actually make better swords today than were made 100's of years ago) and better technique - even if they are aiming to maintain a tradition held long ago. By "better sword" I don't mean necessarily a wholesale change of the weapon, but the tweaks over time that leverage what can be improved without discarding the entire concept. If they don't strive to improve (which will lead to evolution, even if only slowly), my argument would be that they are practicing a performance art (though I might still refer to it as a martial art - my usage is not consistent). My attitude is driven by what one can safely assume was the likely motivation of those who practiced the art at whatever point in time is being recreated/maintained: they likely were trying to be as good at it as they could.
     
  3. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    yes that works , like learning to load a musket, or how to avoid being shot with arrow or firing poisoned darts with your blow pipe, how to avoid being rammed by a long boat stabbed with a pike or what to do if your attacker turn up with a wooden horse.

    there are people who make a living out of being experts on historic fighting techniques, but beyond historical intresting you may have to wait a long time for the m to be any use what so ever.

    i suppose if its carefully explained to new arrivals that what they are signing up for is no more than learning something for the,sole purpose of keeping an out dates art going its ok, much like telling them they are unlikely to make much of a living out of basket weaving or making flint arrow heads
     
  4. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I understand but I don't necessarily agree.

    While better quality weapons ("swords" in your example) are probably a good idea, "tweaking" the weapon will often lose key elements of technique and therefore change the nature of the art itself, which does not maintain it as a historic artifact.

    For instance, when I teach tomahawk, I often encourage people to practice on grass while wearing historic footwear. Why? Because modern shoes often give far better "gripping" ability, particularly on modern surfaces, and changes the way that a person moves while "fighting." It, literally, changes the footwork, which is a fundamental part of the martial art. If a fundamental part of the martial art changes then it is no longer the historic artifact.

    Or Rapier fencing (which I don't study). While a better quality Rapier is a good idea, making it too heavy, tip-heavy, or somehow historically inaccurate, changes the speed and balance of the weapon, which changes the effective techniques with it.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  5. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    It's fun. Look at how popular "Frontier" recreationism is. There are dozens of "Rendezvous" here locally alone, never mind the rest of the nation. I'm aware of some organizations and clubs in the U.K. for maintaining historic "fighting arts." One such is a club which maintains historic rifle infantry unit from circa late 16th Century. I spoke with one of them a few years ago.

    While people, including those inside the recreation, joke about the viability of their skills after WWIII nukes, the zombie outbreak, or the rise of magic, the truth is that they (we) do it for any number of reasons such as developing a "link" to our own histories or even just because it is fun. That said, there is occasionally "real work" for these skills, often more than people outside of the recreation might think. Two that come immediately to mind are accademia and entertainment. Very often historians and archeologists look to learn the skills in order to get a better idea of how people lived at the time in question. Knowing how a person had to fight with a stone headed club while wearing skin footwear, and how it impacts movement, injury, what concessions and accommodations are required for the person carrying and using, and even what affects these skills and equipment has on local and broader economics. Did a tribe have to trade for chert to knap? (yes, sometimes) Did Scotland have to import their sword blades from somewhere else? (yes, usually England or France) I remember reading one archeologist who claimed that he could tell which people were the flint-knappers in a village by what repetitive stress injuries their bones show. Not only that but the entertainment industry is being pushed by consumers for ever more "realistic" fight scenes. The fight scenes from Ivanhoe in 1952 or Captain Blood in 1935 are far different from the fight scenes demanded now. The viewing public thinks they want to see "how they really fought" with those swords and weapons. (They don't really want to see because it would be a boring fight) In order to generate more accurate and realistic fight scenes, the entertainment industry turns to experts in the field. When the big-budget movie The Alamo, released 2004, a friend and teacher of mine got a contact from the movie production staff asking him to consult with them on Bowie Knife technique.

    So while most of us do these things just for fun, to gain a connection with our own history and ancestors, or just to practice a martial art that is something different from Asian arts, BJJ, or boxing, there can be opportunities for income sometimes.
     
  6. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    good god, i didn't think of tomahawks
    there is no better reason for doing anything, other than its fun, and if learning how to kill with a mammoth thigh bone is what's fun for you, rock on, all good.

    but the issue under discussion, isn't if museum pieces should exists, its that outdated arts are being instructed as relevant to a modern setting, rather than just, this is what they use to do before they had the first idea about body mechanics, its FUN, but mostly useless, unless you find yourself in possession of both a tomahawk and authentic stone age. Footwear at the right moment
     
  7. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

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    Actually...Tomahawks are still being use.
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    As I said, my view is admittedly subjective. I'd argue (though not vehemently, because I don't think it's important to sway anyone to my view) that the footwork you refer to was a compensation for the footwear's limitation. Had the tomahawk remained in common use, the technique would have evolved as better footwear made different footwork beneficial. And the proponents likely wouldn't have seen the gradual progression of footwear as a significant problem. It's a bit like golf, in that way (in my mind). As materials and craft evolved, it has changed the game markedly, but it's still clearly golf. I like the romance of wood clubs (even hickory shafts), and would probably own and play an historically accurate (to perhaps the early 1900's) set if I could afford it. But that's holding the sport back to an artificial point in time for romantic reasons.

    I can see merit in maintaining the historical form, and I don't use "performance art" as a derogatory term in this case. I just don't have a better term to use that includes the word "art".
     
  9. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    This. And I'm not sure much else matters, frankly.
     
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  10. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    I'm sure, but not as intended, riding bare back has gone out of fashion for much the same reason
     
  11. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Of course. Nevertheless, that is part of why the moved the way they did. If you want to understand how a martial art existed at the time, an important part of that was the clothing and footwear. :)

    To be honest, it is. Most recognizably, there was the Vietnam era tomahawk, but even today, some U.S. warfighters carry and use a tomahawk. It's not common, but it does happen.

    I kinda like the term "historical artifact." :D

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  12. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    As intended? The first "tomahawks" were either stone maces with lozenge type heads or were stone axes, carried and used by pre-colonial invaginates who did not have horses. The pre-colonial traders used trade axes (just the ax heads) which were mounted to local wood handles, and thus is has been since. The basic design remains the same, and a hand-ax has been a combination tool/combat-tool since the idea was invented by Og wearing his untanned anteater skins.

    It's a short ax. Hold it in one hand and chop the other guy's body. :)
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't know, Kirk. I get the feeling kids are gonna start using that term for me, someday...
     
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  14. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    You should be so lucky. I get "fossil." ;)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  15. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    well exactly, my point, they are not generaly used to chop people, so not as intended, i doubt they are much used for any sort of chopping nowdays

    the colonial years were mostly about stone age tribes running up against better technology and loosing heavily. Only a lunatic would tie a bit of stone to a handle when they could choose a,steel axe with a nice snug hole for the handle.
     
  16. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Sorry, but your history is off. The tomahawk/hand-ax has been part of kit for warfighters since they were invented. They were used against the British by the Colonials in the U.S. War for Independence. They were used in WWI as trench weapons. They were used in the Korean conflict. They are even still used sometimes by U.S. warfighters in the M.E.

    While a hand-ax may be a very niche weapon, it always has been and yet remains a viable one and it is still being used "as intended."
     
  17. jobo

    jobo Senior Master

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    no no no no
    use of a " hand axe", made by casting iron/ steel is not the same,as saying tomahawks, bits of stone held to a bit of branch by twine or vines or what ever

    you make my point, that the stone axe, last used in Europe just before the romans invaded, was replaced by a much improved version.
     
  18. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Kind of a limited interpretation of tomahawk, there... Tomahawk is a particular style of hand ax, recognizably different from a hatchet, for example. Typically, tomahawks have straighter handles, and often, less of a hammer side, though some tomahawks designed more for fighting may have a spike or other "added" incentives on the back side. Many more traditional tomahawks are made by wrapping a softer iron or steel around the shaft, then forge welding a harder/better steel for the actual sharpened blade.

    Or perhaps we need to limit knives to those chipped from a piece of stone, and not include knives made of various metals?

    But... I kind of think maybe the discussion of blades and tomahawks is drifting from the original topic of whether or not blocks are useful...
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  19. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I have read many survivalists commentaries that if they could have their choice of only one non-firearm hand weapon in the wild, it would be the hand axe.
     
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  20. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    If we look historically at medicine. And doctors who had a system developed during war. Some of it was on point. Some of it was way off.

    Systems get better.
     

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