Western Martial Arts



Greetings all,

I am wondering if anyone else has had and experiance with western martial arts: Hans Talboffer, Solthurner Fechtbuch, Paradox Of Defence, etc...
One of the biggest problems I run into is the lack of a direct line of training. When I study Aikido I can trace my training back from teacher to student say around 1000 years. With WMA (western martial arts) no one has been training sword and buckler fighting for some time now and my only guide is the manuals written in the period and the people I can train with. Thus my tring is often not taken seriously by other martial arts students.
Point #2 . The popular thought that only EMA (eastern martial arts) have any validity. The more I study the unarmed combat of the germans and italians the more I see conections to other martial arts. Many throws illistrated in a 14th century itialian woodcut can also be found practiced in a modern jujitsu dojo. Different peoples different parts of the world and diffrent centurys but the same understanding of comabt, I belive that must mean something. In an effort to train as a well rounded martial artist I think it is time we looked to the WMA as another source of martial knowlage.

Despair Bear
Welcome! :)

Valid points. I've seen alot of 'poo-pooing' of non eastern martial arts by some so called experts. 1 arguement I had with an individual boiled down to "If its not chinese MA, its not MA" which totally ignored the other asiatic arts because "they all came from China". My reply was that he needed to open his eyes more.

Some folks will discount a style or art because its not 1000000000 years old. My opinion is if it works 4 ya, then its good. I mean, why get into a pissing match over "white crane gungfu is better cuz its older than Krav Magra"?

I think to find folks who have been training in the European arts, the SCA and similar organizations may present a good starting place to help in the research part. While not as obvious, there have to be a few out there.
Ah an open mind, thank you.
I have been playing with the SCA for about 10 years now, but what they use is more of a martial sport than a martial art. Still very fun mind you but when you add rules to combat then you become a martial sport rather than a martial art.
I spend a good portion of my free time doing research into WMA and the information is out there most people just dont know about it. One problem is that not too many people out there know how to read High Medevial German, and most who do (I think there are about a handfull in the country) are already working on there own research projects. So many of the best "fight books" have never been translated, or when they are it get a "rough" translation by some one who knows nothing of hand to hand combat and the translation suffers from it. So students like myself are stuck looking at pictures drawn 1000 years ago by people who where martial artists first and artists dead last.
Don't get me wrong I am not trying to start a "pissing contest" I study any martial art I can get my hands on I love'em all. I have just sorta taken it on myslef to help with the re-birth of WMA and look for people who are interested as well and hopfully point them in the right direction. There are a lot of great martial arts in the world and most people are only aware of a very small percentage of them and I fond that to be a pitty.

Despair Bear
I agree, alot of those translations are, um, hard to follow. I've skimmed through a few, Paradox Of Defence comes to mind, but its hard for an inexperienced person like myself to understand it.

I'd be interested in seeing some info on Roman sword techniques, and "Musketteer" era concepts. :)
Hmmm...... Roman I dont know of much that has survived that long. Some of the early manuals I am aware of come from the 10th century.
As for the "musketeer" era the is actualy quite a bit out there, if you know where to look that is. I don't know what the protocol is for posting links here, or even if you are interested but I can send you in the right direction. one of the hardest things about WMA is getting the propper equipment and not having to sell your soul to do so. A good replica word can run $250-$1000 depending on what you want. The modern fencing swords are not at all acseptable, they are soooooo far from a real weapon that it is almost funny (No offence to fencers ment, fencing is a very fun sport but not a martial art in my view). Look around for Agrippa, who is consitered by many the "Master" of raipier comabt. You should be able to find something by him on the web and from there the door to WMA is open for you.

Despair Bear
For someone who gets upset when people don't consider WMA as MA you shouldn't diss Fencing. They have excellent entry technique. A lot of what they do can be applied.

As for other WMA I consider boxing to be the great WMA although under sport rules it is often disguised. Both sports have excellent footwork and both can be applied in self defence.

You might want to look into such "arts" as "51 Hands" AKA "Jailhouse Rock."
I am not "diss"ing fencing at all it is a very fun sport I much like boxing, they may have martial applications but to consiter them martial arts can be naive. I play with a few martial sports and enjoy them a great deal but I would not consiter them a realistic form of combat, that attitude can be dangerous when a real encounter comes to hand.
Some problems with fencing include the straight line style of combat, especialy when you are dealing with a weapon. Also the lack of "cor'de cor" or infighting and grappling with weapons. In some styles of fenceing the hands and feet are not legal targets not is the head a face, personaly I feel the hands a great targets (hehehe, as my sparring partners soon learn).
Boxing falls to similer problems, a lack of grappling and no lower targets/kicks. As well as a lack of ability to deal with a weapon. I enjoy boxing and have a lot of fun sparring in a boxing style it can be very safe for a beginer to play with to get used to the idea of getting hit with out having to worrie about blowing out a knee or falling under pressure.
It is all real fun stuff, and a good aid in traing but I feel it should not be treated as a martial art for all the resions I have named above but that in no way lesses the ejoyment of the sports.
As to "jailhouse rock" I have never seen any deffinitive proof that such a thing exists, if you have any by all means bring it forward and let us set it upon the table and take a look as students of the martial arts. I am always looking for new and creative styles to play with and add to my experiance.

Despair Bear
Links posting policy - pretty flexible. If you're refering to a source, then post as part of your post (gee, thats redundant) :), as long as its on topic, and in the right forum. If you're posting a general "Kool site, take a look" type thing, we have a general 'Links' Forum for those. An Idea might be to put up a post in there on "Western Sowrd Techineques Links" and list a few sites under it maybe?

I agree, that the 'Sport' styles while fun, and often a great workout, are far from a 'combat' art. It's on of the reasons why I like some of the sword arts I've examined. They teach real techniques, not just how to score points.

I've also seen that alot of techniques from various arts work well with a variety of weapons. Sinwalis come to mind. I've done them with Stick, Sai, and short sword (wakasashi). Gonna try with Bokken and Butterfly swords sometime. Maybe be tracing that back, you may uncover some Spanish styles, given the spanish influence on the Philipines.

In any event, I'd be interested in more info, simply because I'm a sword nut. :) Plus, I don't think what I've seen on TV has in any way acurately represented what a 13th century knight would have done.
The difference is how you apply it and the mindset as far as I see. Facets of many sports are interchangable with the art. Doesn't mean I'd use a sport like an art if it came down to "go" time but I'd damn well use parts of it.
Sinwalis???? Never heard of it, what is it?

When I sparr with my "students" I often use EMA methods of movment certin styles of stick fighting and the like. The jump from a 32 in. stick to a 32 inch blade is not a hard one to make if you keep in mind that your angle of attack must change to cut with a blade.

Some of the older spanish stuff could be really interesting. The Swiss dominated war for some years with there polearm styles, mostly a re-introduction of the greek Phalanx. Then the Spanish developed a broadsword and buckler style that I hear had the Swiss running like crazy, I think is may have been developed as a counter to the Swiss polearm. Anyway I would be interested to see if any of that made its way over to the Philipines and was included in their stick fighting styles.

Take a look at:

They both have some good online material for WMA, enjoy.

Yes most/all of what you see in the movies with people fighting with swords is horribly horribly wrong and has almost no connection to the fighting styles of the period. As you look around you may find somethings quite suprising about sword combat, such as the ability to grab the blade of a sword with an unarmord hand as part of your attack. Nifty stuff tell me what you think when you can take a min to look at some of it. I would love to have some more people to talk to about it all.

Despair Bear
No argument there GouRonin, but too often I have seen people blur the line between martial sport and martial art with grave results. Tae-bo is a great example, while a great workout most people I have seen do not teach it as a martial art. But the students who take tae-bo think they are learning how to fight, and can get them selves in a situation where they will get hurt. Perhpas the founder of tae-bo can use it as a combat form but I have not seen anyone else who can. But I have seen people after they have been trashed who thought tae-bo woudl save them.

Despair Bear
I don't think one could classify Tae-Bo as a martial sport since I have yet to see a competition for it. At best, it could be called 'martial art-based fitness'. The few people I've encountered who have taken it have been well aware that Tae-Bo is about as combat effective as a 3-week-old melon rind.

It's a shame, since Blanks was a fairly prominent martial artist at one time.

I agree about the Tae-bo stuff. I have spoken with people who think it will save them when in trouble. Man, I can't believe people let other people get away with believing that. Case in point. I spoke with a TKD black belt who felt her Tae-Bo training augmented her punching abilities and the combination of the two made her invincable in her mind. I told her that really, the cardio Tae-bo gave her was her best bet because her TKD wasn't going to save her anymore than her Tae-bo and her best weapon was to start running.

I offered myself up in case she wanted to show me how she'd kick my *** but she declined as her Sensei made her sign a do***ent stating she was a registered weapon and would be legally more responsible if she hurt me. Oh my god I laughed. I asked her if he took money for that and it turns out he did. It was an extra 250.00$ added to her TKD black belt test. I told her that the guy rooked her for at LEAST 250.00$ because the paper meant nothing. She didn't believe me and so I called a friend of mine who was a cop and he said to her face that yeah they had a file for that do***ent, it was circular and it went out to the incinerator every night. She hasn't spoken to me since.

Even Sport TKD has some advantages but I agree that it's not realistic. The part that is good is the actual competition and use of some techniques. I probably shouldn't compare TKD and other arts like judo/boxing because the "partial art" I see myself as a stepping stone to becoming involved in a real martial art. Having said that once in a while you'll stumble across the real deal in TKD. But it's sooooo watered down and whored out it's silly.

I'm still trying to find that info on jailhouse rock/51 hands dude. I'll keep on it. I think someone here on this site had some info too.
Tae - Bo is a very large joke. In Century catalog they have a ton of Tae - Bo merchandise including a uniform and Black Belt. How do you earn that. Kim Dillman did a segment in Black Belt magazine about turning Tae Bo into practical applications with pressure points. Billy Blanks just copied a good idea and had some amazing marketing to promote his Tae Bo. Other than that he is just anoth Jane Fonda.
TB, (not tuburculosis) has it's place. It is an excellent way to get people into the school. Mommy takes Tae-Bo and little Johnny comes with her and suddenly he's in a kids program. Or maybe it keeps mommy involved and little Johnny too so the whole family keeps coming.

And you know what? I think that's ok. Whatever gets them to the school is ok with me. But don't pass it off as self-defence.

Besides, some of those ladies look sooooo hot in the spandex! Do ya hear me fellas? Hey? What?
Spandex looks great on the right body. I hate to see it on the wrong body. It is very scary to see a load bearing thong!
D'Bear -

Sinawali comes from the Tagalog word "to weave", and it refers to a common FMA drill where partners strike at each other in a pattern, usually with 2 sticks, but you can mix the weapons up for some spice. A great reaction/coordination drill. If you want more details to try them with your class, let me know, or ask over on the FMA board. There are a lot of real good arnisidores on here, and I think Renegade teaches more variety of sinawali than anyone else I've ever seen.

The TKD guy I train with teaches an 8-count drill with double sticks, yet never heard the word 'sinawalli' before. I think he learned the drill from someone else without realizing where it came from.

still embarrassed from banging said TKD guy's knuckle while doing that drill
Don't feel embarassed TKD guys usually only use their hands for eating anyway.
...but still funny!

Actually, this guy has also trained in Isshin-ryu and used to train boxers and kickboxers. He's got a wicked hook punch. He's very aware of the lack of hand techniques generally taught in TKD.