fencing to empty hands

lonecoyote

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Is there any translation between fencing (modern sport fencing or historical fencing) and empty hand fighting? It seems like Bruce Lee thought so, after reading Tao of Jeet Kune Do. What in particular skills learned in fencing would translate to empty hand? footwork? What about two handed historical fencing, like rapier and dagger, rapier and cloak, sword and buckler, or case of rapiers. Does anyone teach empty hand applications to fencing techniques, like filipino martial artists teach empty hand applications from knife and stick work? Thank you for any replies.
 

Jonathan Randall

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lonecoyote said:
Is there any translation between fencing (modern sport fencing or historical fencing) and empty hand fighting? It seems like Bruce Lee thought so, after reading Tao of Jeet Kune Do. What in particular skills learned in fencing would translate to empty hand? footwork? What about two handed historical fencing, like rapier and dagger, rapier and cloak, sword and buckler, or case of rapiers. Does anyone teach empty hand applications to fencing techniques, like filipino martial artists teach empty hand applications from knife and stick work? Thank you for any replies.
I think there would be a number of applications; footwork, timing, speed, physical conditioning and coordination, etc. Also as FMA's know, if you are used to fighting against a weapon, empty hand applications appear almost in slow motion. I had a kenpo friend who stopped kenpo for a time to study Arnis stickfighting. When he returned, even though he had done little if any empty hand techniques, he was faster and more coordinated then he was when he left. I'd look to some of the old manuals from the Renaissance and Middle Ages regarding fencing and swordsmanship for transitions to empty hand. Forgot the names but do a search on Amazon or any other large book site and it should bring up a couple.
 

arnisador

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There was a nice discussion of this on the sit a few years back, but I can't seem to find the link! I think the conclusion was that it would be of limited value.
 
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lonecoyote

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Thanks arnisador, Johnathan Randall. There are a few things on the internet, translated manuals and drawn pictures. Thing is, the drawings are so stylized, and the language is a little stilted, so the most optimal thing would be to see it in action,or, alternatively, just try it out. From what I understand, and I might be wrong, in two handed historical fencing, one hand parries (the dagger) and the sword hand attacks. Is this anything like the "live hand" of FMA I wonder. I'm not educated well enough in either fencing or FMA to know. Interesting thoughts, thanks guys.
 
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Matt Anderson

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lonecoyote said:
Is there any translation between fencing (modern sport fencing or historical fencing) and empty hand fighting? It seems like Bruce Lee thought so, after reading Tao of Jeet Kune Do. What in particular skills learned in fencing would translate to empty hand? footwork? What about two handed historical fencing, like rapier and dagger, rapier and cloak, sword and buckler, or case of rapiers. Does anyone teach empty hand applications to fencing techniques, like filipino martial artists teach empty hand applications from knife and stick work? Thank you for any replies.
I believe there is a lot that is common to both fighting with weapons and without them. Concepts such as judgement of range, timing, tempo. balance, etc. for example. Certainly the western masters of the middle ages and renaissance practiced both and emphasized that they are inseperable compliments to each other. If we are fighting with swords and we close with each other, or one of us is disarmed, now we're wrestling! Of course wrestling, or "Ringen" in the German tradition, is more combative than modern sport wrestling. It includes kicks, hand strikes, trips, throws, joint locks, etc. Within ARMA, we focus a lot on incorporating ringen into our weapon sparring as well as training in ringen without weapons. You can see lots of example of this on our web site, in the historical manuals section and in the sparring photos and videos:
 

Jonathan Randall

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arnisador said:
There was a nice discussion of this on the sit a few years back, but I can't seem to find the link! I think the conclusion was that it would be of limited value.
Arnisador,

As a Modern Arnis expert, have you found that your weapon's training speeded up your empty hand work? It did for my kenpo friend and also a French foreign exchange student I knew in High School whose family was into fencing and who picked up TKD sparring much, much more quickly then her classmates. Even as a green belt in TKD, she'd give our TKD red belts and new black belts a run for their money. I know much of this probably had to do with her superb conditioning and her ability to take punishment - but how much do you think had to do with her experience of having foils going by her at breakneak speed? Those long metal things can hurt more than a switch, so she was tougher than her McDojang (that particular TKD school, not TKD in general) classmates who only point sparred and considered it a disaster if contact was accidently made.
 

Christopher Umbs

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A few years back, Black Belt had an article by M. Martinez on this very subject. He's out of town right now, but I'll see if I can't dig up an old copy of it.

Chris
 
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Keith Jennings

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If you take a look at John Styres’ WWII combat manual "Cold Steel", he bases his entire system on classical fencing. In his book, Styres took classic fencing techniques such as the lunge and the inquartata and adapted them for knife, bayonet, and unarmed methods of combat. You can pick up a copy of Cold Steel from Paladin Press, and it is well worth it for anyone interested in Western Martial Arts.

As Matt mentioned, Medieval styles of Western fencing involved a lot of unarmed CQC work. The style that I research and practice, that of Fiore dei Liberi’s early 15th century method of fencing, is entirely based off of Abrazare (the art of the embrace in Italian). Emphasis is placed on limb destruction, arm lock (ligadura), and violent throws. At close quarters, strikes such as low kicks to the knees and hammer fists are also utilized. The cool thing is, once you pick up a weapon, all of these same techniques apply. For example, the ligadura mezana is the middle arm lock. When applied to the wrist, this can be a triangle disarm against a knife, and when done to a sword, this is a snake (serpentine) disarm.

 
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Keith Jennings

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Christopher Umbs said:
A few years back, Black Belt had an article by M. Martinez on this very subject. He's out of town right now, but I'll see if I can't dig up an old copy of it.

Chris
If you could dig up a copy, I would be interested in seeing a copy. Sounds very interesting, and M. Martinez definitely knows his stuff.

 

Jonathan Randall

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Christopher Umbs said:
A few years back, Black Belt had an article by M. Martinez on this very subject. He's out of town right now, but I'll see if I can't dig up an old copy of it.

Chris
Thanks.

I see by your profile that you study this subject - European MA. My French friend had some wicked low line kicks and open hand strikes but she said most positively they were NOT from Savate. She had maybe five or six empty hand techniques but they were very, very street effective techniques. She took sport TKD because her foreign exchange family was into it but she'd have had a better chance of survival if somebody had grabbed her than her exchange family's daughter who was a black belt. I've been curious about this for years. What could she have learned? It was not an eastern system and not Savate. She was a Paris born huguenot who lived in Marseilles.

Edit: not a thread drift because her family attended a fencing school in France and the original poster wanted to know if European fencing had any empty hand techniques associated with it. Obviously it did, however I was too young and uninterested (why be interested in the real thing when you could learn a jump spinning crescent kick to show your classmates and practice hitting yourself in the head with foam nunchakus! LOL) at the time to ask the questions of her I would ask now.
 

arnisador

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I'd be curious what this non-Savate system was. Chausson? That's usually considered just an older form of savate.
 

arnisador

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Jonathan Randall said:
As a Modern Arnis expert, have you found that your weapon's training speeded up your empty hand work?

Oh, definitely! That's a big advantage of training in it. It speeds up the hands, the reaction time, the footowork...everything!

But I think the conclusion of the last discussion on this was that fencing's range and footwork did not translate well into empty-hand fighting. Of course, it did have some influence on JKD.
 

Sam

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Independant Motion. It's something we talk about and use constantly at my studio, and we credit the concept to fencing.
 
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