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Matt J.





Joined: 26 May 2010

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2012 10:05 pm    Post subject: Learning Medieval Combat, For Writing         Reply with quote

Interested in writing realistic medieval fiction. However, I don't really want to spend thirty years learning before I start...

How do I learn as much as possible as quickly as possible, when it comes to medieval times, wars, and combat? I think I know the basics, but I wouldn't be able to name half of the techniques used.
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Scott Woodruff





Joined: 30 Nov 2005
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 601

PostPosted: Sun 29 Apr, 2012 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I could help you more if I knew a bit more about what sort of writing you intend to do. Detailed descriptions of technique were not considered necessary to advance plot in medieval and renaissance writing, but I bet a lot of modern readers, especially the type that frequent this forum might really appreciate it. Have you read Arthur Conan Doyle's "The White Company" and "Sir Nigel?" He was a trained swordsman and I am partial to his written fight scenes. Though you will not find references to a pflug guard or a zwerchau, he really can put you into the fight. If you can write medieval fiction half as good as his, I will absolutely buy everything you produce. Another thing worth looking into is this diary account of 17th century street-fights: http://www.thearma.org/essays/reresby.html Life and death fights in a street sense tend to be a lot the same in any century, so reading modern accounts of such might be useful too. This link may be useful to you also : http://books.google.com/books?id=RtkePoWkij8C...mp;f=false
Narrowing down the time period that you intend to write about will help you get more relevent info. All of the above relates more to late medieval/renaissance. Oh yeah, and you have got to check this out. Maybe not as realistic as it could be, but still pretty darn good! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vt7I6H4kNPQ
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Matt J.





Joined: 26 May 2010

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2012 12:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As of yet, I have not read those works. Hadn't realized he was also a great swordsman Eek!. Will get on those.

Friend of mine knows something about modern muggings. Will be interesting to see how 17th Century street fights compare.

Will look into that book. Any others worth mentioning? Got a lot of useful stuff out of the Art of War.

With the video, that is a pretty good fight (much better than most movie fights)! But yeah, my friend would probably have nit-picked about realism Laughing Out Loud.


As for what type of stories I'd be interested in writing... I'm rather interested in an anachronistic setting (someone suggested a less-vicious Song of Ice and Fire). Many periods have details which interest me, so it's either that or I keep swapping between periods, largely. Inventing a new world does have the advantage of avoiding historical inconsistency.

If you have suggestions for how I might proceed, I'd be grateful. For now, I'll read the material you've mentioned.
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David Clark





Joined: 10 Feb 2009

Posts: 129

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2012 8:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you do not yet own a real sword, I heavily advise getting one and doing some test cutting. Even a hanwei or windlass will suit the purpose. Doing so will allow you to feel the way a sword moves and the effort it takes to cut and weild one. You will quickly learn that spins and twirls and other things have little place when using a blade.

Also, try to find a way to put on a shirt of riveted chain and a helm of some kind. Get a feel for the armour; experience the weight and fatigue drainage it causes when just standing around, much less running or fighting.

Also, try joining a Western martial arts class to see and learn how to hold and swing a sword or other weapon.
I also advise trying SCA combat. Though we use sticks, the intent to strike your opponent and be struck, with a level of force that is quite violent, is a real eye opener in regards to a physical combat situation.

I am sorry if you already know all this, and I am coming off as preachy or condescending.
Just my 2cents
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Matt J.





Joined: 26 May 2010

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Mon 30 Apr, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've handled a sword before. An old sabre. It got pretty tiring swinging it, but wouldn't be such a problem if I had exercised with it. Could get a new sword (lost the old one), but I really wonder which type...
Used a machete, if that helps (it'll be slower than normal blades, since it wasn't intended for battle).

That's a good idea. Might look up the weight of the armour, see if I can work out a something similar to wear.

Will see if there's anything in my area.

No no, it's fine. Had forgotten about the second one. Better that the basics be restated than forgotten.

Thanks David!
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2012 7:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Where are you located? Or you could also travel and attend some seminars where you could get a pretty good overview of whatever your interested in.

Give us some time periods and locations your interested in and someone here will probably know who to contact. Medieval in one paragraph and 17th century in the next really doesn't tell us what you are interested in...
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Matt J.





Joined: 26 May 2010

Posts: 47

PostPosted: Tue 01 May, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I move a lot, so I'll need to work it out closer to the time. The basics will probably be enough. DvDs are sometimes enough for that, but I'd prefer lessons.

That's why I'm interested in a realistic anachronistic setting. Plate armour with longsword duels interest me, mail and crusades interest me, the constant dueling of French and British society is interesting, as well as the days of mercenary bands after the black plague with the rise of the common man.

Would like to learn everything from the earliest known tribal life to the days before knights were phased out of use.... but that would take too many years.

Supposedly, I ought to focus on one particular period at a time? If I had to pick, I'd say the times around the Crusades, the days of Robin Hood. Europe around that time (mostly because of Robin Hood) is of particular interest to me--though I honestly don't hear enough about other European nations than Britain to form an opinion.
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