Monday, 14 March 2011

Thoughts on the behourd

First we must admit that we know little about the behourd and what distinguished from a proper tournament or real combat. For the moment the mists of history hide the exact definition from view. If we assume that the behourd was diminutive and milder form of tournament, and in this form young squires were given the opportunity to pressure test their training in mock combat. Assuming this to be true is it then truly logical to presume that the techniques that they would employ in the behourd would differ radically from those for use in battle, tournament, and personal combat. Would a squire learn how to use a shield aggressively, cut and thrust with accuracy and correct edge alignment, grapple in armour, only to set all that aside to use a completely different set of techniques when one of the purposes of the behourd was to display martial prowess? It certainly is possible that they learned another distinct method for use in the behourd, however it doesn’t scan as correct to me.

Considering that injuries and deaths are noted in relation to the behourd it would seem likely that it was not some special event unrelated to real fighting. The behourd, whatever the rules may have been, was I believe a somewhat less intense and potentially less dangerous form of tournament that allowed young squires an opportunity to test their skills and display their prowess. Sadly all we have is a handful of widely varying descriptions of behourds, with differing rules, required equipment, and objectives, as such there cannot, at this time, be a conclusive description.

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