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Antonio Manciolino says strike that hand

The wounding of the hand, not of the enemy, is registered in the account of blows in play. Because the hand is the chief in exposing itself, thus in combat for earnest it is the most singular wound, because that member of the enemy must be offended which offends more than others, and this is the hand.  Antonio Manciolino, Opera Nova 1531
Recent posts

Better Drilling.

"I see techniques as illustrations of the real learning, principles. Students must understand the principle of what they do. I find techniques can be dangerous as the student can obsess about getting that one thing right and never understand the application." Rob Runacres

Over the years if there's one thing I've not done as much as I should and that is drilling. I should define what I think "drilling" is, as it's a common term and therefore probably understood differently. To my mind to drill means "to practice something." Simple right? However, I'd say that drilling tends to be as understood as practising a specific move or technique by rote, but that is only the most fundamental understanding.

For many people I'm sure, including myself at many times, their training has only had two modes: rote learning (solo drill and isolated specific techniques) and completely free-form sparring. But the most important thing to my mind is that as s…

Halberd Waster

Several times through my historical martial arts career I've got it into my head that I'd like to do halberd. However, the issues with a suitable waster have tended to put me off, specifically creating anything that can be used at something approaching full intention. The issue is that if you make the head from the usual materials (steel, aluminium, wood, leather etc) you have to exercise extreme caution at very slow speed because all you've made is a giant heavy mace on the end of a 6ft lever.

Recently I was working on making foam swords for another side project and while doing this it occurred to me that foam was the obvious solution to the halberd head issue. Pretty quickly I developed this simple waster.

The head is cut from EVA foam matting. This material is importantly both ultra light and pretty robust. To get a good strength I cut two head shapes out and stuck them together. The bracket to attach the head to the pole is just PVC piping with a slot cut into it for th…

Kit review: Leon Paul HEMA BOH Protector

"The latest back of the head modification for the X-Change mask - lightweight and durable - will help you achieve a higher level of protection against thrusts to the head. This system replaces the Contour Fit disk but requires the Contour Plus strap. Ships with the additional forehead pad that is used for padding."
You can find this here.

Firstly, lols for "protection against thrusts to the head" ...

Ordering

I ordered this directly from the Leon Paul website. Cost wise this was just under 60 pounds including postage to New Zealand. Postage was, as always for Leon Paul, very fast and it arrives in about 5 days.

I've had this protector for a couple of months now.

Pros

It's pretty much everything I'm looking for in back of head protection. In fact the guys from Leon Paul obviously sat down and went through the same thought process that I did for my slimline back of head protector. There are a few minor differences, mainly that the Leon Paul BOH protector is…

Some more thoughts around Meyer's Longsword and thrusting

This is a follow on from this blog post previously, with some ruminations on the whole Meyer and thrusting issue.

So, one viewpoint that I came across recently during a Meyer Longsword class was the whole idea that thrusting was not "allowed" in the fighting schools because it was too dangerous. That prescription of thrusting came about as a kind of Health and Safety measure. There is also an idea that thrusting itself was considered to be dishonorable or unsportsmanlike.

Now, one observation that I made to this was that this seems inconsistent with the treatise itself: Dussack, Rapier, pole-weapons etc all include hefty amounts of thrusting. Other people who, like me, stray beyond the longsword section of the treatise, have also often noted this. If thrusting was considered so dangerous and dishonorable, why so much thrusting in all the other weapons?

To my mind these days the strongest theory is the following: that off all the weapons in the treatise the Longsword is the …

How'd I get hit?

"Every wrestling must consist of three things. The first one is skill, the second one is speed, and the third one is the proper application of strength. Keep in mind that the best of them is speed as it prevents your opponent from countering you. It is also important to attack a weaker opponent first, an equally strong opponent at the same time as he attacks you and a stronger opponent after his attack. When you attack first use your speed, when you attack at the same time as the opponent use your balance and when you act after your opponent pay attention to his knee bendings." Otto Jud
So for the last wee while I've applying my swordsmanshp theory to assessing the weaknesses in my technique to understand where I need to work on. A large part of this revolves around answering the question: "how'd I get hit?"

Usually getting hit once is no big thing however if I'm consistently getting hit then I've got a problem. Fortunately having a good theoretica…