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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 4:32 am    Post subject: Swordsmanship-based entertainment in history?         Reply with quote

Aside from public matches between individual swordsmen or competing guilds, did Europe ever have establishments of threatrical/exhibition swordsmen comparable to the Japanese gekiken kogyo before the 20th century? I'm also wondering about the social factors that could lead to the formation of such troupes--too many swordsmen with too few wars to fight? And why didn't they just resort to banditry or gang turf wars instead?
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 11:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ooops. Forgot to provide the context. This article states that the gekiken kogyo were a transient phenomenon that occurred in the interval between the disenfranchisement of the samurai in the Meiji Restoration and their reincorporation into the modernised military and police forces towards the end of the 19th century.

www.mushinsa.co.za/file/A%20brief%20synopsis%20of%20kendo.pdf

Europe may have had some similar episodes, too, notably during the 16th century when royal and imperial authorities were trying to enact prohibitions against private warfare, so I'm curious about whether these periods produced any similar phenomena.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IIRC, Terry Brown (English Martial Arts) describes public, non-lethal gladiatorial bouts in England in the 16/17th c. The fighters took pride in a skill with the sword that allowed them to wound their opponents without dismembering/killing them. You see some of that attitude and martial tradition in Silver's rant against the rapier.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

Location: Birmingham, Alabama
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PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Download this article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/theatrefacpub/1/
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very interesting article. I had the suspicion that somebody has done some research in the area already, so I'm glad to know that it's not just wistful thinking.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 16 Nov, 2012 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Swordsmanship-based entertainment in history?         Reply with quote

It's not theater, but there certainly were sword dances performed from time to time. In the c. 1623 Die Blume des Kampfes, the section from 294r to 307r depicts the dance. http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Die_Blume_des_Kampfes_(Cod.10799)
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