Monday, January 21, 2013

Pan-European Swordplay Pan-Demonium

The Pan-European Theory for the Art of the Longsword.  Yes, that subject yet again.  Recently a few brave scholars posited and defended it against the usual GroupThink™ at a certain InterWeb™ forum.  I think it a more deserving subject than the usual ones of plastic sparring armour, practice cutting parties, and USFCA™ certification.

In any event, this theory is certainly not irrelevant, as a respected historical fencing scholar very disappointingly dismissed.  If it were, then it would not have opened doors for reasonable analogies and insights leading to workable and published interpretations of hitherto inscrutable fencing treatises.  It allows us to think across nationalistic borders regarding techniques and tactics, and helps us realise kinetics commonality despite cultural differences.  Hence its value to modern interpretation is proven.

Nor, for that matter, should it serve as nonsequitor cause for cheap-shot mockery of the very names of historical fight-masters, as a disrespectful “moderator” typically spewed.  Such banality is to be expected, and is not deserving of refutation.  Such is doubtlessly the result of fixation for only the biomechanics of knightly combat while reviling its needed ethos.  In other words, some have no respect for their elders, even as they would seek to gain their knowledge.  Or to put it in terms even they might understand:  Talhoffer would knock your block off, you ugly ape.

Pursuant to supporting the aforesaid few brave scholars, I offer the following passage from the working draft of my new forthcoming book.  I usually would not reveal one iota of my unpublished work; would not throw pearls before swine; would not reveal hard-wrought and hard-won truths to those demons of the so-called WMA Community™ who covet my blood for their cave-paintings.  Yet I make an exception here for sake of supporting my friends and furthering our beloved Chivalric Arts.  To wit:

Eventually the Chivalric Arts, the heritage of the ruling elite of the fighting nobility of Europe, became transnational in nature.  Martially speaking this was typified by what two separate pairs of modern martial scholars have already convincingly & concurrently maintained: There existed a shared body of fencing lore making for one European Art of the Longsword (Heslop & Bradak, 2010; Mele & Tobler, 2010).  Indeed, contemporary witness to the multinational nature of the art of the longsword was given by Mertin Siber in the Von Speyer Fechtbuch (1491) (1r):

Wer ere will erwerbenn vor furstenn und vor herenn Im vechtenn mit dem Swertt dz ist gutt und gerecht der volge mÿner lere der gesiget ymermere dy sechß genng halt in huott die sintt gar prißlich gutt in den woll begriffen ist vil mangeß gutte meinsterß list auß Ungern Behem ÿtalia auß Franckrich Engellant und almania auß rewßen prewßen Gretia Hollant Profant Und swevia
Whosoever will earn honour before princes and before lords by fencing with the (long)sword, he is good and righteous who follows my lore, he vanquishes evermore.  These six actions contain guards that are quite preciously good; wherein is wealful comprehension of the cunning of quite many goodly masters: from Hungary, Bohemia, Italy; from France, England and Alemania; from Russia, Prussia, Greece, Holland, Provence and Swabia.

Well, that is about all I have to say on the worthy subject.



Quoted text © Copyright 2013 of Jeffrey Hull. 

"Paladin in Hell" image © Copyright 1981 of TSR Inc. 

References Cited:

Lessons on the English Longsword; Brandon Heslop & Benjamin Bradak (auth & auth); Paladin Press; Boulder; 2010 (from early 15th Century)

There Is But One Art of the Sword; Gregory Mele & Christian Tobler (auth & auth); Chivalric Weekend guide; 2010

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