Thursday, 17 March 2011

a few thoughts on my place in all this...

In thinking about things I realized that I don’t truly consider myself a martial artist, or for that matter a fencer…and I definitely don’t consider myself some modern manifestation of a knight (well, perhaps…but in my opinion the historical form of the armoured man on horseback has about as much in common with our view of knights as does my foot). For myself I am an Experimental Archaeologist or a Combat Archaeologist, and I must be honest it affects how I view HEMA.

What is Experimental Archaeology?

Simply put it is the implementation of a number of different methods, techniques, analyses, and approaches in order to generate and test hypotheses based upon archaeological source material.

Although the construction of objects based on historical evidence, and using only historically accurate technologies is a highly visible aspect of Experimental Archaeology. Ultimately, the true product of experimental archaeology is data, not the constructed item itself.

Living history, historical re-enactment, and primitive technology are occasionally associated with Experimental Archaeology. However, these activities are not necessarily concerned with archaeological or historical evidence, or they are undertaken for the purposes of entertainment rather than for research.

What is Combat Archaeology?

Combat archaeology is a sub-discipline within archaeology focused on the study of inter-group and intra-group conflict. Conflict and violence have had a hand in shaping human societies since the earliest recorded history and quite probably earlier still.

Focusing on the individual combatant, the aim of combat archaeology is to investigate conflict from a practical perspective, with a primary focus on design, manufacture and the modes of use of weaponry. This is approached from a broad range of techniques ranging from 'physical interpretation' using accurate replicas to micro-structural analysis of original weaponry.

The primary objectives of combat archaeology is to shed light on ancient and historical martial arts (along with their social functions), the technological evolution of weaponry, and the experience of the individual warrior or soldier from the perspective of the human body and mind in a combat environment.

....and no this doesn't mean I think we should all be wearing turn shoes.


Tuesday, 15 March 2011

what a great way to get hurt...

For the record the evidence on the ground for the use of two equal length blades at the same time prior to the renaissance is scanty...I am aware of this. However, it is bloody good fun:
Cuisinart of Doom!

Everyone thinks differently from everyone else, so he behaves differently in combat” “For as we are not all of a single nature, so we also cannot have a single style in combat, yet all must nonetheless arise and be derived from a single basis.” ( Meyer 1570)

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.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A thought for the future

Anyone interested in a proper late 12th century early 14th century behourd?

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Hmmm....should I post the followup entry referring to the SCA? Or should I accept that my point was made?


No better not.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Apparently this sort of thing is deeply offensive to some folks...personally I couldn't care less.

I do wonder why though: perhaps it is do to your own uncertainty? Perhaps it is envy?

Who knows for sure...but I do think that those that protest the loudest often have the most to lose.

anywho, my footing is's yours?

just because...

Just because it's awesome, I'm sharing this.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


A few random sparring videos from last nights session, some experienced folks and some new folks...there's a fair amount of promise here as well as plenty to work on*:

*like my week some films me perhaps?