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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Gents having recently gotten into western martial arts I was excited to see all the grappling shown in manuals. I used to wrestle freestyle for state and was good to see most of the techniques easily recongizable. I guess the human body did not change much in history Wink

After surfing youtube though one thing have found bizarre though is the development of this side of the art lacking somewhat. All the weapon sparring demos, martial groups, re-enactments either

1. Don't show grappling at all.
2. Attempt it but its quite poor. They appear to be self taught without formal instruction and emulate moves without the sense of balance, common sense, or true leverage. Like an aikido demonstration where the throwee helps the thrower a little too much Happy

This seems strange to me since of the entire medieval fight they are trying to recreate, grappling is one part that can be taught exactly as it was, since it is still a living sport. Enrol at a local club and you can be executing techniques as authentically as a hoplite, legionnaire or knight in no time. Why is no one taking advantage of this?

Of all the videos I have seen showing what I assume to be great skills with blades/armour etc I have not seen a single solid grappler yet.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 10:07 am    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Two grown (perhaps slightly overweight) men wrestling with plate armor and hitting a hardwood or concrete floor a terminal velocity is probably not what most people had in mind when joining a weapons based martial art group.

You'd also be hard pressed to find a hema group where all people have a set of plate armor lying around. It looks like most people (and groups) focus on unarmored fighting.


EDIT: As far as I know there is no formal HEMA training so if a teacher knows something about wrestling and grappling it's because he has prior experience.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 2:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If people want to learn to grapple, there are plenty of good ways to learn: judo, BJJ, and more. Aikido is potentially very useful for armed MA, if you can find good aikido.

You'll find 3 things at a good grappling school: skilled instructors, mats, and students in grappling friendly clothing. In principle, you should be able to find HEMA instructors skilled in grappling. However, good grapplers tend to be specialists. This is common in martial arts. The quality of grappling instruction in predominantly striking MA tends to be poor. To see the same in HEMA is to be expected.

Other things present real difficulty. Armour and weapons are not mat-friendly, and they're not necessarily friendly to the human body. Armoured grappling will chew up mats quickly! So, either train on something like grass, or potentially a sand pit or sawdust pit. Even then, landing on the cross of a sword can be bad for you. It's harder to have good safe training facilities for HEMA grappling, compared to traditional grappling MA, and HEMA grappling is significantly more dangerous.

Finally, there's the question of training time and student interest and capability. Students sign up for HEMA to swing swords. Many students will see time spent on grappling as wasted. Grappling is also much more strength and fitness intensive - need to do a lot of strength and conditioning and flexibility work. Many HEMA students will see such as a waste of time. Many HEMA students are in no condition physically to successfully do intensive grappling training.

This triad of instruction, risk, and students is why we see so little good grappling in HEMA. HEMA competition rulesets also contribute.

But it can be done. Some people who do armed grappling:
Tuchux. E.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s56IVr0fgLc
Dog Brothers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD-YBWkvrGk

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:

EDIT: As far as I know there is no formal HEMA training so if a teacher knows something about wrestling and grappling it's because he has prior experience.


Yes and no. You can argue that all HEMA training isn't "formal" because it is all revived rather than stemming from living traditions. But there are several groups that have a formal curriculum for historical wrestling based on historical sources and isn't influenced by Asian martial arts. To make a shameless plug, my own school has a fully developed curriculum for historical Ringen (German wrestling) led by Tim Hall, one of the top Ringen instructors out there. Tim's original training was modern and folk wrestling, and when he started studying HEMA under me many years ago, he naturally gravitated towards the wrestling section and developed a full curriculum based on the historical sources. Our school has a number of guys who'd never done another martial art before yet have developed the skills to medal in major Ringen tournaments.

http://youtu.be/jS0gdSM7_6g

And since the original poster was asking about it in regards to swordsmanship, you can scan through our highlight video of the Longpoint 2014 HEMA tournament below. There's plenty of examples of solid grappling skills being applied when you get to the both the Messer and Longsword section of the video (and of course in the Ringen section).

http://youtu.be/O9PiflQHYco

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Travis Canaday




Location: Overland Park, Kansas
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 4:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wrestling does seem to be underrepresented in HEMA, but some people are doing it (although most not in full harness). I would like to plug my former teacher Jessica Finley's book Medieval Wrestling. She came from a Judo background, but the book is pure German Ringen.

If you get a chance to take a class with her, I recommend it. She's great.

Travis
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 11 Dec, 2015 6:09 pm    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:

EDIT: As far as I know there is no formal HEMA training so if a teacher knows something about wrestling and grappling it's because he has prior experience.


Yes and no. You can argue that all HEMA training isn't "formal" because it is all revived rather than stemming from living traditions. But there are several groups that have a formal curriculum for historical wrestling based on historical sources and isn't influenced by Asian martial arts. To make a shameless plug, my own school has a fully developed curriculum for historical Ringen (German wrestling) led by Tim Hall, one of the top Ringen instructors out there. Tim's original training was modern and folk wrestling, and when he started studying HEMA under me many years ago, he naturally gravitated towards the wrestling section and developed a full curriculum based on the historical sources. Our school has a number of guys who'd never done another martial art before yet have developed the skills to medal in major Ringen tournaments.

http://youtu.be/jS0gdSM7_6g

And since the original poster was asking about it in regards to swordsmanship, you can scan through our highlight video of the Longpoint 2014 HEMA tournament below. There's plenty of examples of solid grappling skills being applied when you get to the both the Messer and Longsword section of the video (and of course in the Ringen section).

http://youtu.be/O9PiflQHYco




Those are some really cool video's.

But like you said Tim Hall already had prior training (and interest) in wrestling before joining a HEMA community. I'd still say most people join HEMA groups to swing sword rather than wrestle, not that I say one is superior to the other but it's just what I observe.
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Harry Marinakis




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Dec, 2015 4:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are marshal groups that allow punching, grappling, "decapitation" (pulling off someone's helmet) and a host of other techniques, but not many people (myself included) are willing to subject themselves to full contact fighting.
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Sat 12 Dec, 2015 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
Gents having recently gotten into western martial arts I was excited to see all the grappling shown in manuals. I used to wrestle freestyle for state and was good to see most of the techniques easily recongizable. I guess the human body did not change much in history Wink


I hear this and it's variant "there's only so many ways the human body can move" a lot but you have to be careful with it. There's actually a ton of ways the human body can perform even a seemingly simple task, I could literally stand in one spot and throw zornhauws all day long never doing it the same way twice and many of them would be viable. This is a bigger concern if you're trying to do the frog-dna thing with an Asian martial art, lots of the Asian stuff looks similar to a pic in an old book and works fine but there are significant differences between eastern and western approaches to many things. I've had the opportunity to fight longsword vs katana with a swordsman who has about as much time in koryu as I have in classical fencing and he had many superficially similar techniques but they were used in very different ways. For example he used a 3/4/5 defensive triangle like many traditionally trained western swordsmen would but in his style the 5/right ochs was exclusively used more like a mix between an ablauffen and a yielding parry. In your case I'm not at all familiar with what freestyle wrestling in Australia is like but if it's anything like what I've trained in here in the US then it will be pretty well in keeping with the bulk of western martial principles. I discounted Greco-Roman to focus on freestyle/folkstyle because at the time I thought the par terre was weird but I know now that was a mistake, Greco-Roman is a great base to study ringen from.

Bill Grandy wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:

EDIT: As far as I know there is no formal HEMA training so if a teacher knows something about wrestling and grappling it's because he has prior experience.


Yes and no. You can argue that all HEMA training isn't "formal" because it is all revived rather than stemming from living traditions.


That's somewhat misleading, it's better to differentiate between type 1/2/3 practitioners/styles. For instance of the 17 hauptstucke the only technique that wasn't taught in the living tradition I'm trained in was the schielhauw, nehmen was present but a little sparse due to the common conventions used today and risk aversion like Harry mentioned. The biggest difference between conservative styles now and the Renaissance era material is much of the vocabulary changed from fanciful names to boring numbers. Whether you call it third, pflug or eber it's the same technique that's been in continuous use all these centuries and even ancient sources like Magister Andreas acknowledge that.
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Michael Brudon




Location: South Pacific
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2015 4:50 am    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:


I hear this and it's variant "there's only so many ways the human body can move" a lot but you have to be careful with it. There's actually a ton of ways the human body can perform even a seemingly simple task, I could literally stand in one spot and throw zornhauws all day long never doing it the same way twice and many of them would be viable. This is a bigger concern if you're trying to do the frog-dna thing with an Asian martial art, lots of the Asian stuff looks similar to a pic in an old book and works fine but there are significant differences between eastern and western approaches to many things. I've had the opportunity to fight longsword vs katana with a swordsman who has about as much time in koryu as I have in classical fencing and he had many superficially similar techniques but they were used in very different ways. For example he used a 3/4/5 defensive triangle like many traditionally trained western swordsmen would but in his style the 5/right ochs was exclusively used more like a mix between an ablauffen and a yielding parry. In your case I'm not at all familiar with what freestyle wrestling in Australia is like but if it's anything like what I've trained in here in the US then it will be pretty well in keeping with the bulk of western martial principles. I discounted Greco-Roman to focus on freestyle/folkstyle because at the time I thought the par terre was weird but I know now that was a mistake, Greco-Roman is a great base to study ringen from.




Hi freestyle should be the same everywhere, its one of the olympic styles, the other being greco-roman. Both use par terre by the way, the difference between the sports is greco forbids leg attacks or attacks using the legs. Otherwise regarding upper body takedowns they are essentially the same and generally all the major grappling styles will have very similar if not identical ways of taking someone down. American folk is probably most similar to freestyle, those guys are very good. In fact a US national folkstyle champion is considered medal potential if he converts to greco/freestyle internationally.

I find main difference for takedown grappling(disregarding groundfight submission elements) is not so much 'east vs west' as 'clothed vs non clothed styles' even then the principles are similar and there is a great deal of cross over.

Those done with a shirt, gi, belt or top, generally can be grouped into 'collar and cuff' styles. A variety of throws and tactics will be developed or modified around the advantage of having excellent grabbing leverage of a thick shirt, belt etc. Both east and west have these styles by the way(folkstyles in europe, england, judo/jujitsu in Japan, russian sambo for examples etc)

Non clothed styles, greco, freestyle, turkish oil wrestling, american folk , mongolian/sumo (50/50 may have belts) will have many of the same throws, all of the same principles of grappling, generally more protective stances.

All of our styles cross train a lot. being a heavyweight and always short of sparring partners I used to train with judo guys, BJJ, MMA grapplers and even sumo guys from time to time. Generally its only few short minutes to roll fairly comfortably with another grapping style and exercise your or their techniques.

The possible exception is aikido. Unfortunately while the movements are based on a historical record they have lost something over time- generally not establishing real control especially for their lock based throws, and to be honest unless you are letting the other guy do the throw they generally don't work on experienced grapplers. Many are effective on the average guy sure, they form the basis for wristlocks etc used by security, but sparring between an experienced takedown grappler from one of the groups and Aikido never really works well for their guys. I think its in line with what Timo and other have said about getting sweaty and physical. Its a different type of student going along to Aikido than MMA grappling, or even Judo.

Thanks for the links to the videos of ringen I like what is developing. They are executing authentic throws from what appears to be a more collar and cuff stance.
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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2015 5:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
If people want to learn to grapple, there are plenty of good ways to learn: judo, BJJ, and more. Aikido is potentially very useful for armed MA, if you can find good aikido.

You'll find 3 things at a good grappling school: skilled instructors, mats, and students in grappling friendly clothing. In principle, you should be able to find HEMA instructors skilled in grappling. However, good grapplers tend to be specialists. This is common in martial arts. The quality of grappling instruction in predominantly striking MA tends to be poor. To see the same in HEMA is to be expected.

Other things present real difficulty. Armour and weapons are not mat-friendly, and they're not necessarily friendly to the human body. Armoured grappling will chew up mats quickly! So, either train on something like grass, or potentially a sand pit or sawdust pit. Even then, landing on the cross of a sword can be bad for you. It's harder to have good safe training facilities for HEMA grappling, compared to traditional grappling MA, and HEMA grappling is significantly more dangerous.

Finally, there's the question of training time and student interest and capability. Students sign up for HEMA to swing swords. Many students will see time spent on grappling as wasted. Grappling is also much more strength and fitness intensive - need to do a lot of strength and conditioning and flexibility work. Many HEMA students will see such as a waste of time. Many HEMA students are in no condition physically to successfully do intensive grappling training.

This triad of instruction, risk, and students is why we see so little good grappling in HEMA. HEMA competition rulesets also contribute.

But it can be done. Some people who do armed grappling:
Tuchux. E.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s56IVr0fgLc
Dog Brothers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XD-YBWkvrGk


Thanks I agree with your points Timo, which is what I suspected. Except I did not realise armour would be a problem to wrestle in having not worn it, but makes sense what you guys are saying.

I just like the idea of training as realistically as possible for the developement of the sport. Disregardiing an element of a fight even for the best reasons, may change the way the other elements are performed or the real shape of the fight. If I gave scholars a book on boxing and got them to practice for a year, they would come up with something that looks almost but not completely 'unlike' boxing Happy., to a real boxer anyway Happy However if you got them to actually punch hell out of each other for the next year, the actual look of the fight would become slightly more correct. Putting kicks in would change the punches again( cant risk slipping or using too much laterla movemment or you get a knee in the head, which eliminates a lot of punches) Put wrestling in you can't lunge with the punch or commit too much shoulder action or you are open for takedowns. Its a 50% loss of power for MMA guys trying to punch, different technique from a punch that looks the same in a book(or manuscript).

My theory is to make something that we really don't know much about look as authentic as possible, we can't miss anything.

Who knows maybe the threat of freestyle double legs or bodylocks, would force those swordsman to be constantly changing footwork a certain way, and thus changing the way we think swords are even swung. Complete conjecture and an amatuer example but this is my point.

Then again for the reasons you mention the situation with grappling 'is what it is' and is probably not going to change. As long as some of the groups are advancing it. Blabbing over Happy
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2015 12:18 pm    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
The possible exception is aikido. Unfortunately while the movements are based on a historical record they have lost something over time- generally not establishing real control especially for their lock based throws, and to be honest unless you are letting the other guy do the throw they generally don't work on experienced grapplers. Many are effective on the average guy sure, they form the basis for wristlocks etc used by security, but sparring between an experienced takedown grappler from one of the groups and Aikido never really works well for their guys. I think its in line with what Timo and other have said about getting sweaty and physical. Its a different type of student going along to Aikido than MMA grappling, or even Judo.


IMO, there are two main reasons why a lot aikido doesn't translate well to such sparring (and the same can be said for much Japanese jujitsu). First, too little training against resisting opponents. Compliant partners are good for getting the basics of the techniques, but to use against resisting opponents, you need to train with resisting opponents. Second, the techniques are intended for use against armed opponents. This makes a real difference! It's much harder to avoid the wristlocks with a weapon in your hand. I think that the locks are designed with that in mind. (At least, I find that if I let go of the weapon, it immediately becomes easier to avoid/escape the lock as it's being applied. Try to retain the weapon, and the lock works.)

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Dec, 2015 6:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good points Timo, I had forgotten like a military style, more focus on the weapon , taking it or retaining it. As you say resistance training is the big one purely from a grappling standpoint.
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Ken Speed





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2015 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's hard to generalize accurately when talking about Aikido because the style changed radically after WWII. I can't say how effective Aikido would be for armored grappling; I suppose one of the variables is, "How armored?" I think Aikido's main value to armored grappling would be in avoiding the attack and countering it.

It has been more years than I care to count since I practiced Aikido but any element of compliance in the Aikido style I was familiar with was to allow the "receiver" of the technique to do so without sustaining serious injury otherwise there would soon be no one practicing the art.
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Dec, 2015 8:36 am    Post subject: Re: grappling in armored re-enactment/sparring         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
EDIT: As far as I know there is no formal HEMA training so if a teacher knows something about wrestling and grappling it's because he has prior experience.


While pretty basic, some exist: HEMA Alliance Instructor Certification

Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association (WHFA) - La Crosse
A HEMA Alliance Affiliate

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” -Juvenal
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan, 2016 2:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
Then again for the reasons you mention the situation with grappling 'is what it is' and is probably not going to change. As long as some of the groups are advancing it. Blabbing over Happy


HEMA is young enough that complaining about why there's not enough focus on this, why not enough people are doing that, or something like that is really more counterproductive than anything else. If you want more people to do a certain thing, then go and start doing it yourself. People aren't going to get interested if there's nobody to show them how much fun and/or how useful it is, and nobody to practice with when they try to get into it.
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