Occidental Martial Arts
July 17, 2006 9:33 PM   Subscribe

There are many organizations seeking to reconstruct European swordsmanship. Both modern and more traditional tools are being used train in this art. Well balanced and accurate replicas of swords are becoming the norm. Sparring videos for those needing more visual appeal. Of course, it’s not all about swords. A general forum for all things sword related here. Read about the father of Medieval European sword typology here. Some websites above were previously mentioned here and here.
posted by Mister Cheese (13 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm surprised you haven't mentioned the Society for Creative Anachronism, they've been around for a long time.
posted by Vindaloo at 9:44 PM on July 17, 2006

And here.
posted by homunculus at 10:15 PM on July 17, 2006

I recently bookmarked a lot of those sites, but I confess it started because I was checking out the official Highlander forums.
posted by patgas at 10:32 PM on July 17, 2006

I initially read this as "occidental marital arts" and was kinda disappointed with all the swords. But then I remembered "Hey, swords are cool!" Nice post.
posted by antifuse at 2:03 AM on July 18, 2006

patgas, I wouldn't worry about it. I got interested in Japanese swordsmanship after watching a Japanese cartoon I won't name. It all worked out in the end, and I'm sure even highlander freaks can be serious martial artists... if they really try hard.
posted by splice at 2:21 AM on July 18, 2006

Maybe I'm just being ignorant, but after watching a few of the videos, I can't help but think that if this kid had some friends, an essay about getting no disrepect, and a bitchin website his fate might have been a lot different.

I'm inclined to believe that we'll never really be able appreciate non-stage sword-fighting until we have robots with swords that can be maimed and dismembered without wearing on the conscience.

Of course, I'd also predict that we'll rue the day we give swords to robots.
posted by pokermonk at 6:25 AM on July 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

I own two pieces by Arms & Armor and I have to say that their weapons are of absolutely superior quality. If I was going to buy a sword I wouldn't even consider buying it from anyone else.
posted by baphomet at 8:35 AM on July 18, 2006

I've been doing SCA for years and wouldn't, exactly call it a serious reconstructionist exercise, though there are people in the organization who are doing just that. We also get a lot of guys who wear all black and talk a lot about how much they'd like to do the armoured fighting thing but are afraid, with all their special forces training, that they might accidentally kill some one.

As for appreciation, check out Chivalry Bookshelf. I particularly recommend Tobler's German longsword stuff. Once you start looking at these systems and realize that they have a lot more to do with strategy than speed your get a lot of appreciation quickly.

Some of the moves I am most amazed by are the ones that don't involve cutting. Instead your sword is taken out of play and your opponent is using his as a lever to casually pry one of your arms out of socket.

The other ones I like are the ones where, when you attack, I throw up a block that takes power out of your blow and puts it into my repost.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:54 AM on July 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

posted by wilky at 10:13 AM on July 18, 2006

posted by Smedleyman at 10:48 AM on July 18, 2006

I've worked with Brian Price, the publisher of the Chivalry Bookshelf line, and one of the founders of Schola St. George. My own instruction was on some of the Fiore material, particularly the longsword sections. It's fascinating stuff.

What intrigues me most about these WMA/HES schools, (SSG, The Chicago Swordplay Guild, Schola Gladiatoria, et al.,) is that they are really doing their research. The core learning materials are fechtbücher ("fight books"; Wikipedia link,) from the middle ages and beyond. They're trying for the best translations they can achieve, and they're going about it in a fairly fastidious fashion, offering up translations and interpretations for peer review, and meeting regularly to bash it out and figure out what works and what doesn’t.

For more information on swords and swordplay, and what organizations are out there, I highly recommend a trip to Sword Forum International and the Historical European Swordsmanship forum in particular.

For those who are really, really interested, there's a huge get together coming up in October.
posted by zueod at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2006

I remember playing some sort of Celtic festival in Ontario a few years back, and after our show we got to talking with this guy who had just bought a large and pointy replica sword from one of the vendors. In a past life, he was a baker's apprentice, and his girlfriend was the baker's apprentice's wife. He was the sort of person who should never be allowed within 10 feet of a weapon - too slow to actually use it, but dumb enough to try - and I keep wondering if he's going to make the news one of these days. "Baker's apprentice slays six with fake sword!! Flim at 11!"
posted by sneebler at 3:03 PM on July 18, 2006

Heh heh heh.

Thanks for mentioning A&A ;)
posted by Demogorgon at 8:42 PM on July 19, 2006

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