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Tony Scott




Location: Baltimore, MD
Joined: 02 Nov 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 2:04 pm    Post subject: How to Hold a Scottish Dirk?         Reply with quote

Good day.

I am having a Scottish Dirk made and while I want it historically accurate, I want it to fit comfortably in my hand as well.

Assuming you know what a dirk looks like and that the "ballocks" or "humps" are called haunches....

Some say the pinkie should go around the haunches and I have also read that the pinkie should wrap around the "juncture" of the haunches and the handle. "Juncture" to me means where the haunches meet the handle, not the haunches themselves.

I would like to think that my pinkie could rest ON TOP of the haunches but I understand the dirk was designed the way it was for a reason.

What say you all?

Thanks,

Tony
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 2:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Depends. The original dirks of the 17-18th C. had grips about 3" from inside the pommel cap to the start of the ballocks or haunchs. For a modern bloke, this is going to seem quite small. For a person of the period, it would have been quite comfortable. The problem is this: If you want something that looks right but seems small in the hand, go with a 3" grip. If you want something that looks out of proportion but feels right, put on whatever grip suits you. For a great example of what a modern dirk looks like, take a peep at the Hanwei dirks sold by virtually everybody. For a reasonably priced authentic dirk, I would recommend Mike McRae of Scotia Metalworks (see links above.) He knows what he is about when it comes to dirks, just tell him you want it authentic and he will take care of the rest
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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David Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Short story -- modified ice-pick grip, thumb on top (of the pommel cap).
David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 02 Nov, 2010 7:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:
Depends. The original dirks of the 17-18th C. had grips about 3" from inside the pommel cap to the start of the ballocks or haunchs.


Many may have had grips that small, but not all did. That's an important distinction. Happy

Happy

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Marc Blaydoe




Location: Maryland
Joined: 29 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 4:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You hold it point downward in your targe hand, so that after you knock the bayonet out of the way with your targe you can come down into his chest with the dirk as you reach beyond with your sword to strike the man in the next rank behind him.
An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
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Tony Scott




Location: Baltimore, MD
Joined: 02 Nov 2010

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 5:27 am    Post subject: But Where does the Pinkie Go?         Reply with quote

All who replied to my post -

Thank you! I do realize what is historical and in fact Mike McRae is making this dirk.

I would still like to hear what people think regarding placement of the pinkie. Around the hanunches, at the juncture (a little handle, a little haunches), or around the handle and resting on top of the haunches?

Thanks,

Tony
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This thread has a pic that illustrates a dirk and targe being held together in the manner described.





However, I seem to remember a thread around here somewhere that states that not all targe grips make this feasible. For instance, in the first pic above, the targe grip would seem to make one's grip on the dirk less than desirable. In the second, your grip on the dirk is better, but the targe might flop or rotate around your arm.

I also think that we shouldn't assume that everyone carried a dirk this way simply because there is a painting with some people doing this.

Edit: Several pages into this thread you'll find a discussion of gripping the dirk and targe together and how that may or may not have worked.

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Regarding of the dirk and targe together, I highly recommend reading "The dirk and targe: their use together" by Colin R. Rolland. it was published in The Third Park Lane Arms Fair Catalog.

Attached is one depiction of how they may have been held together.

It is asked why a person might hold and use the dirk in this fashion. It is suggested that the commonly held belief that the dirk was used offensively is quite erroneous as it is unlikely that any advantage could be made by using the slow and clumsy offensive back-handed slashes that this position would allow. After all, the hand is weighed down by the heft of the targe and the hand's movement is greatly effected by its being strapped into the shield.

Instead two suggestions are presented: the first is that it would provide easy access to the dirk should the wielder's sword become unavailable for any reason. If this were to happen, the dirk would be immediately available without delay. The second suggestion is that, by holding it point downward, a defensive opportunity has presented itself.

Because of the position and size of the targe, the upper body is quite well protected by it, but the lower torso and legs are quite exposed to a cut. The article goes on to suggest that such attacks can be parried by a lateral and downward movement of the targe so as to lock the opponent's weapon between the dirk blade and the targe's edge, "thus unbalancing the adversary and exposing him to a swift courterattack."



Happy

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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




Location: Aust Agder, Norway
Joined: 03 Mar 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 03 Nov, 2010 6:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To me it seems logical that your pinkie goes around the haunches as this enables you to keep very good control of the edge of the dirk... I also like putting my thumb over the pommel, as this will help prevent the dirk from gliding through your hand in case you hit something hard... Some dirks have so wide pommels that this feels unatural, though.

Cheers,
Henrik

Constant and true.
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