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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 8:16 am    Post subject: Martial prowess between late 11th-15th century knights         Reply with quote

Guys without getting into a discussion about actual weapons, armour and styles contesting one another between periods, I was wondering in a general sense whether knightly training was more intensive in one era than another?

My gut feeling is professional warriors from an era with similar training, commitment, mix of sport and combat will develop similar skill with arms- swords and shields, grappling, spear etc to another era.

Or did some eras accomodate more of this lifestyle than others for whatever reason?
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Jeroen T




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If i look in my and other Hema clubs is that almost everyone has a favorite weapon or discipline.
So yes general training and skills but i guess everyone had a specialty.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 11:07 am    Post subject: Re: Martial prowess between late 11th-15th century knights         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
Guys without getting into a discussion about actual weapons, armour and styles contesting one another between periods, I was wondering in a general sense whether knightly training was more intensive in one era than another?

My gut feeling is professional warriors from an era with similar training, commitment, mix of sport and combat will develop similar skill with arms- swords and shields, grappling, spear etc to another era.

Or did some eras accomodate more of this lifestyle than others for whatever reason?


professional warrior is a rather ambiguous term, do you take it to mean a certain a certain level of proficiency or occupation? In my mind that word indicates someone is soldier full time, it is literally his profession and he won't go back home after the war to pick up a shovel again. So say mercenaries, frontier garrisons and men-at-arms who traveled Europe looking for a new war to fight in would classify as professional in that sense. The latter category could include people like Georg von Ehingen, John Hawkwood or Jean Le Maingre.

On the other end of the scale you could have people like the Pastons who were more concerned with estate management and law. Sure they fought in a few wars but mainly for a campaigning season before returning home to pick up whatever they did before.

You could say the first mentioned group had more experience but I won't be able to tell you if their teenage and early adult training looked any different from the latter group. My gut feeling says the quality of training was very much up to the individual and he much concern (or lack of it) he had for having a decent martial ability. We read about men-at-arms showing up on the battlefield being unable to couch a lance and we have orders from other battles were the commander told every knight/MAA who was poorly mounted or was a bad rider to dismount. Other times we heard of picked groups of cavalry performing a special task in a battle and we can assume that these were better than average.
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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 6:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Martial prowess between late 11th-15th century knights         Reply with quote

I don't think its an ambiguous question. It is a general question though, so yes it can be pulled apart very easily.

Its just a basic guess, -which knightly period was putting their knights through the best training do people think? And I meant from 11th through to 15th inclusively.
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Apr, 2016 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In the most general and basic of sense, I'd say that the best training was going to be happening around the times people knew they were going to be headed to war. If you look at the 100 Years War or the War of the Roses -both happening in your defined timespan-, for example, parties involved knew -without a shadow of a doubt- that when the next permitting season hit (because from what we know peoples/nations of the time generally had a solid consensus of "Hey! Lets not fight when it'll be a really crappy season/time for both of us, okay?" . . . not that it didn't occasionally happen . . . but for the most part it didn't), that they were going to be heading off to war. Thusly, they trained for it and prepared for it to the best of their ability. That's just part of human nature.

During times of relative peace, even into the modern era, training and preparedness get lax. People get soft. Intentional or not, it happens. Which, again, is just part of human nature. Ask a Knight or Man-at-Arms in a time of peace if he was a fit and well prepared soldier and I'm sure he'd say, "absolutely," without a bit of hesitation. After all, it was his job. However, compare him to a Knight or Man-at-Arms who knew that he was headed off to war come spring time and I'm sure there'd be a fair bit of difference in their training regimen and level of readiness.

The closer someone gets to real and assured combat the more paranoid they get about making sure their proverbial t's are crossed and i's dotted. That's coming from someone who's been to war and seen that happen in people. Some people who thought "Meh, my service contract will be up soon, what do I care about taking this training too seriously," suddenly got real serious when the stop-loss order hit and they found out they weren't going anywhere but to war. However, they still weren't as well off as the rest of us; because for the past 6 months they hadn't been taking it seriously, while the rest of us had.

That might not be a perfect, or even great, answer to your question, but I hope it at least sheds some light on a solid train of thought; and helps you get the best possible answer to your question. Maybe a follow-up question to the concept is "When and what nations were preparing for war at what times between -and including- the 11th and 15th centuries?"

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2016 6:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see your points and Pieters. So not much to pick between the eras in general, a variety of other factors having more influence then.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2016 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Brudon wrote:
I see your points and Pieters. So not much to pick between the eras in general, a variety of other factors having more influence then.


Well I suppose you could say an 11th century soldier involved in constant feuding might have some more incentive to keep up general fitness than say a Burgundian Knight around 1440. Then again maybe the latter frequently goes to tournaments.

I think we should ask our self how we should define martial prowess and training and how they correlate. To illustrate this with a quote often attributed to Napoleon.

Quote:
"one Mamluk can hold two Frenchmen at bay; 100 Mamluks are equal to 150 French soldiers; three hundred Frenchmen do not fear the same number of Mamluks; a thousand Frenchmen will beat 1500 Mamluks."


Now who was better trained? You could say the Frenchmen had better training but you could also say the Mamluks had better training. Wellington said more or less the same of British and French cavalry.

Before systematic, organized an formal training it's really had to make blanket statements.
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2016 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Michael Brudon wrote:
I see your points and Pieters. So not much to pick between the eras in general, a variety of other factors having more influence then.


Well I suppose you could say an 11th century soldier involved in constant feuding might have some more incentive to keep up general fitness than say a Burgundian Knight around 1440. Then again maybe the latter frequently goes to tournaments.

I wouldn't use tournaments as a viable comparison to true combat prowess, for the sake of this concept/debate. That's like saying an American NFL player is better trained than an American Soldier.

In the modern comparison, the athlete might have some better physical conditioning . . . but he's also only rigorously conditioned for one set of rules in a controlled game. On the other hand, the Soldier knows his way around combative maneuvers for a variety of circumstances and wielded weapons. One is prepared for a game, the other is prepared for war.

In the Medieval comparison, the Burgundian Knight is training for tournaments . . . games with set rules and limitations under controlled circumstances (where lives were not supposed to be at stake, no less). Alternatively, the 11th century soldier involved in constant feuding is training for any number of types of battles with the best weapons and armor -he can get his hands on- for situations where his life is on the line beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The controlled conditions and limitations of the sporting situation . . . and its relevant training . . . just don't match up to true war experience and the training that coincides with it. However, I will absolutely agree with Michael's statement that it's not so much just the era, but many other outside factors that have an impact on the quality of training.

Pieter B. wrote:

I think we should ask our self how we should define martial prowess and training and how they correlate. To illustrate this with a quote often attributed to Napoleon.

Quote:
"one Mamluk can hold two Frenchmen at bay; 100 Mamluks are equal to 150 French soldiers; three hundred Frenchmen do not fear the same number of Mamluks; a thousand Frenchmen will beat 1500 Mamluks."


Now who was better trained? You could say the Frenchmen had better training but you could also say the Mamluks had better training. Wellington said more or less the same of British and French cavalry.

Before systematic, organized an formal training it's really had to make blanket statements.

Generally speaking, I'd say they were equally trained. However, their specialties were entirely different . . . in the context of Napoleon's quote. Taken from that context, the Frenchmen were trained more for mass warfare while the Mamluks were trained for smaller engagements and skirmishing. That would, of course, control how an engagement between the two would pan out; and it's also how nations/peoples/factions prepare for war. Everyone always prepared for the war that they wanted to fight . . . not necessarily for the one that they would end up fighting. However, that was mostly due strategies on the battlefield, not really because of the ways wars were fought overall.

While that's changing in modern times, it's also changing mostly due to the reactionary facets of modern warfare. Training is now done with the knowing that ones opposition can and will control how the battle is fought, if they can, in order to put the opposition at a disadvantage. Thusly they try to adapt to it. In Medieval times that wasn't necessarily the case . . . even up to the wars of the Colonial and early Industrial eras, wars were generally fought with mutually agreed upon "rules".

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2016 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Joy wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
Michael Brudon wrote:
I see your points and Pieters. So not much to pick between the eras in general, a variety of other factors having more influence then.


Well I suppose you could say an 11th century soldier involved in constant feuding might have some more incentive to keep up general fitness than say a Burgundian Knight around 1440. Then again maybe the latter frequently goes to tournaments.

I wouldn't use tournaments as a viable comparison to true combat prowess, for the sake of this concept/debate. That's like saying an American NFL player is better trained than an American Soldier.

In the modern comparison, the athlete might have some better physical conditioning . . . but he's also only rigorously conditioned for one set of rules in a controlled game. On the other hand, the Soldier knows his way around combative maneuvers for a variety of circumstances and wielded weapons. One is prepared for a game, the other is prepared for war.

In the Medieval comparison, the Burgundian Knight is training for tournaments . . . games with set rules and limitations under controlled circumstances (where lives were not supposed to be at stake, no less). Alternatively, the 11th century soldier involved in constant feuding is training for any number of types of battles with the best weapons and armor -he can get his hands on- for situations where his life is on the line beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The controlled conditions and limitations of the sporting situation . . . and its relevant training . . . just don't match up to true war experience and the training that coincides with it. However, I will absolutely agree with Michael's statement that it's not so much just the era, but many other outside factors that have an impact on the quality of training.


I'd say it's closer to real combat than any kind of training I can imagine and I don't see how your analogy is applicable here? Two lines of fat men slamming together at brain damage speed bears no resemblance to 21st century combat at all whereas two or more people fighting in real armor with sharp weapons is not that far removed from combat of the day. Depending on the context of a tournament it could be excessive in violence with the only thing distinguishing it from a duel was a judge who could halt the combat. To give an example from Jean de Werchin:

Quote:
The Aragonese had settled among themselves that two of them should fall on the seneschal, in the hope of striking him down: both parties were on foot, and they expected he would be at one of the ends of the lists above the others, but he was in the middle part. When they approached, the seneschal stepped forward three or four paces before his companions, and attacked Colomat, who had that day been made a knight by the king’s hand, and gave him so severe a blow with his axe, on the side of his basinet, that it made him step back and turn half round.

And each of the others came very valiantly against the opponent they had picked out. Then Sir Jacques de Montenay threw down his axe, and with one hand seized Sir Pere de Moncada by the lower edge of his lames. In the other he had a dagger with which he sought to wound him underneath. But, as both sides seemed to be getting thoroughly worked up, the king had them restrained.


or one on one combat:

Quote:
the third day they accomplished their throws and pushes of the lance, which did not last long. On the first throw, Mendoza struck the seneschal on his little pavise, and pierced through it by more than half an arms length. On the third stroke the seneschal hit him on one of the knee lames of his cuisse, and pierced it a good three finger widths below the knee with a deadly blow so that his leg failed him and he was carried to his lodgings


As you can see the weapons match the ones one was expected to take to war, I am not yet aware of any American football teaming using pistols to shoot each other in the groin or drones to launch missile strikes. If they did that it might entice me to watch it more often Blush
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Sat 16 Apr, 2016 8:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
I'd say it's closer to real combat than any kind of training I can imagine and I don't see how your analogy is applicable here? Two lines of fat men slamming together at brain damage speed bears no resemblance to 21st century combat at all whereas two or more people fighting in real armor with sharp weapons is not that far removed from combat of the day. Depending on the context of a tournament it could be excessive in violence with the only thing distinguishing it from a duel was a judge who could halt the combat. To give an example from Jean de Werchin:

Quote:
The Aragonese had settled among themselves that two of them should fall on the seneschal, in the hope of striking him down: both parties were on foot, and they expected he would be at one of the ends of the lists above the others, but he was in the middle part. When they approached, the seneschal stepped forward three or four paces before his companions, and attacked Colomat, who had that day been made a knight by the king’s hand, and gave him so severe a blow with his axe, on the side of his basinet, that it made him step back and turn half round.

And each of the others came very valiantly against the opponent they had picked out. Then Sir Jacques de Montenay threw down his axe, and with one hand seized Sir Pere de Moncada by the lower edge of his lames. In the other he had a dagger with which he sought to wound him underneath. But, as both sides seemed to be getting thoroughly worked up, the king had them restrained.


or one on one combat:

Quote:
the third day they accomplished their throws and pushes of the lance, which did not last long. On the first throw, Mendoza struck the seneschal on his little pavise, and pierced through it by more than half an arms length. On the third stroke the seneschal hit him on one of the knee lames of his cuisse, and pierced it a good three finger widths below the knee with a deadly blow so that his leg failed him and he was carried to his lodgings


As you can see the weapons match the ones one was expected to take to war, I am not yet aware of any American football teaming using pistols to shoot each other in the groin or drones to launch missile strikes. If they did that it might entice me to watch it more often Blush


Frankly, it's still nothing like real combat. People can and have inadvertently killed each other in Boxing matches, but that doesn't make it anything close to real combat. I was using the NFL as one example, but I could use any number of sporting examples, if you'd like. Maybe you'd like to compare the sporting firearms/munitions of skeet or turkey shooting to the weapons of the military? Or Martial Arts/Boxing to real life brawls? Besides, in your first example of things getting out of hand they were literally getting out of hand and going outside the rules . . . otherwise they wouldn't have needed to be restrained and the fight broken up. You know, like when brawls break out during pro sports events or when people intentionally break the rules to illegally injure an opponent.

However, that said, here's a far closer to the brutal reality example, if you so desire. Look at MMA fighting. You don't see people intentionally ripping limbs out of sockets. People aren't being choked to death. Referees stop the fight before it goes too far. Damage is normally superficial (accidents happen, just as in any game or tournament sport). Also, most importantly, the fighters aren't going in there for the sole purpose . . . or training for the sole purpose . . . of killing someone else. Last I checked, when someone taps out, they tap out and the fight is over . . . the opponent doesn't just snap the limb in the bar-hold or choke them to death "just because".

Tournaments and such are fought under specific rules and guidelines that are set up to prevent as many injuries as possible. Even in that time period such was the case; and the training and equipment reflected that. If it wasn't the case no one would have stopped the cheating jerk from stabbing the other guy in an apparently illegal manner, from the context of the example.

Was the tip of the tournament lance the same as a war lance? Not hardly.

Were the blades of weapons for a tournament set and sharpened to the grade of intentionally trying to penetrate armor or lop limbs off? Absolutely not.

In fact, most of the equipment that we've recovered and/or has been preserved, which was ever used in a tournament, was built to an entirely different set of specifications than the equipment that was made for war. Consider the pristinely kept tournament armor of King Henry VIII, for example, which was built with massive faulds that extended all the way down to the knees, in order to prevent opponents from scoring points off of solid leg hits . . . in a tournament setting.

Similar? Sure . . . just like Air Soft or Paintball can be similar to modern combat. But of the same training and caliber as the real thing? No, for several main reasons:

1. No one in those tournament/sporting scenarios is training specifically to kill another person.

2. 1 vs. 1 or tiny scale tournament/game training is nothing like training to fight on a battlefield with a cohesive unit of hundreds or thousands of other soldiers.

3. As already touched on, the equipment is similar but different; and built to match the rules and specifications of the games. They're not made specifically for warfare, and nor do they handle or are used exactly the same.

4. The atmosphere is far less intense . . . things aren't life or death, so thusly the attitudes and training match that.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Regardless, at this point we obviously have a difference of opinions on the matter. I came in to clarify and give better examples, since the NFL example probably wasn't the best one (however if you think they're just fat men you couldn't be more wrong . . . you might want to do some research on their training . . . you'd probably have more respect for them. I hate the NFL . . . but I still respect the seriously hardcore training those athletes go through). On the other hand, for the rest of it we'll probably just have to agree to disagree.

The OP, Michael Brudon, will need to decide what information he thinks is most relevant and determine the most appropriate answers for himself.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Michael Brudon




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Apr, 2016 1:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well I probably agree tournaments aren't perfect, no, but I think about as good as any era I can think for the ability to train realistically. Similar techniques in either environment, the nature of armour allows near full force sparring which is difficult for almost any other era to do. Thirdly it still placed significant psychological stress and a degree of physical fear in competitors.

Modern training for example is the one of the most difficult to test combat reaction and individual performance. Projectiles are obviously too lethal to fire at each other, and there is no combat fear of harm, ever. You spend most of the time bored, tired, a bit stressed or pissed off, wishing you were back with your girl instead of sleeping in the rain playing war games Happy I spent over a decade in the military myself.

Again I think training an armoured knight was doing, was about the closest to war performance we will find, unless we go all the way back to our ancestor driapithecus throwing fruit at each other Big Grin

Good news is I may have Pieter locked into a direct question, since he mentioned tournaments himself. if I were to ask if one era over another displayed more 'prowess in tournaments', is there a case for the later.periods having more development in the use of their implements, as with the advancements of their armour?
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Sun 17 Apr, 2016 5:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Joy wrote:
Frankly, it's still nothing like real combat. People can and have inadvertently killed each other in Boxing matches, but that doesn't make it anything close to real combat. I was using the NFL as one example, but I could use any number of sporting examples, if you'd like. Maybe you'd like to compare the sporting firearms/munitions of skeet or turkey shooting to the weapons of the military? Or Martial Arts/Boxing to real life brawls? Besides, in your first example of things getting out of hand they were literally getting out of hand and going outside the rules . . . otherwise they wouldn't have needed to be restrained and the fight broken up. You know, like when brawls break out during pro sports events or when people intentionally break the rules to illegally injure an opponent.


I am sorry but you still haven't convinced me any modern sport comes closer to modern military action than tournament fighting came to combat of the era. I am not aware of any rules being broken in my first example, the king just decided enough was enough and stopped the fight. It seems a lot of the time a number of blows was set upon but in the above case no such agreement was in place.

Quote:
However, that said, here's a far closer to the brutal reality example, if you so desire. Look at MMA fighting. You don't see people intentionally ripping limbs out of sockets. People aren't being choked to death. Referees stop the fight before it goes too far. Damage is normally superficial (accidents happen, just as in any game or tournament sport). Also, most importantly, the fighters aren't going in there for the sole purpose . . . or training for the sole purpose . . . of killing someone else. Last I checked, when someone taps out, they tap out and the fight is over . . . the opponent doesn't just snap the limb in the bar-hold or choke them to death "just because".
It's a brutal sport but it's not the type of combat primarily used in war. I am not saying tournaments were completely without rules but the fighting itself appears to be quite lively and with lethal weapons nonetheless.


Quote:
Similar? Sure . . . just like Air Soft or Paintball can be similar to modern combat. But of the same training and caliber as the real thing? No, for several main reasons:


I still think the difference between tournaments and real combat of the day is closer than any modern recreational activity is to modern day combat. Air soft does not allow for serious harm to come to contestants nor does it account for all the technology currently present such as artillery, grenades, armored vehicles etc.

Quote:
And when they came to their axes the one who fought la Roque pierced him beneath the top of his piece, and when he felt that the iron of his axe was taken within the harness, he began to push strongly, seeking to open up the harness. And when la Roque perceived this, he held himself firm, with the intention of doing what he would do next: when he perceived that the Portuguese leaned forward to push more strongly, all of a sudden with the swiftness of his body with which he was most skillful, he stepped back so that the Portuguese fell, carried away headlong. La Roque gave him two strokes with the axe on the head, so that he was thoroughly stunned, and drew his sword to thrust him in the behind: others said that he lifted his visor and that he wanted to strike him in the face. Anyway, whatever he did, the Portuguese surrendered, and was discomfited, and taken by the guards.


Quote:
And on the other part came Herves de Meriadet and the Scotsman came to hit Meriadet with a push of the lance; but Meriadet turned aside the blow with the handle of his axe, so that the lance fell out of the hands of the Scotsman and Meriadet followed up so vigorously that before the Scotsman was able to unsling his axe he entered within, and with a throw carried him to earth. And Meriadet stepped back to let the Scotsman rise who was quick, light and of great courage, and he lifted himself quickly and ran under at the said Meriadet for the second time, and Meriadet who was a man who was one of the most redoubted squires of his time, strong, light, cool and dextrous in arms and in wrestling, received the Scotsman coolly and with great watchfulness and soon after made an entry on the Scotsman. And with that entry he gave such a great blow that he carried him to earth with a stroke of the axe, and quickly the Scotsman sought to lift himself, but Meriadet put his palm and knee against the back of the Scotsman, and again made him fall and kiss the sand. And despite the request that Sir Jacques de Lalaing had made of him, the said Meriadet, seeing the two knights wrestle together, went to aid the said Sir Jacques, but the King of Scotland threw down his baton and had them parted with the said Meriadet free in his battle to rescue his companions at his pleasure.

…if he had strived to destroy his body, he could well have done so, and lightly done it, as the arms were ŕ outrance, but he did not wish to hit him either of the times he saw him on the ground, which was nobly done, and he deserves a reputation of great honor.


Quote:
Two years later, (1445) Jacques de Lalaing took part in a tournament at Nancy (in Lorraine) before the King of France, the King of Aragon and Sicily, and the assembled nobility of France. From his first encounter, Jacques was victorious. "For," as the chronicle says, "above all else, he knew the business of arms." Striking his first opponent squarely in the middle of the shield with his lance, Jacques "carried both man and horse so rudely to the ground that both the destrier and the man who rode him were stunned." His opponent was unable to continue the combat. He defeated his second opponent by striking him in the eye-slits of his helmet with his lance, ripping it off of his head. The second knight was too stunned to continue. The crowd was apparently quite impressed with this.

Jacques' third encounter was with a knight of Auvergne. He was discouraged by his patrons, the counts of Maine and St. Pol, since this man was such a renowned jouster, but Jacques insisted on fighting. The first two courses with the lance were indecisive. On the third course, the knight of Auvergne struck Jacques in the middle of his shield and splintered his lance. Jacques, on the other hand, striking "with all his force and science," hit his opponent in the eyeslits. This blow struck so hard that it struck sparks from the helmet, bending the opponent backwards in the saddle until his back rested on the croup of his horse. His opponent, completely stunned, fell from his horse. The knight of Auvergne was carried unconscious to his lodgings; it was a full hour before he regained his memory, and he bled profusely from the mouth, nose, and ears.


Quote:
The combat took place in Valladolid on 3 February 1447, with the King of Castille acting as referee. This time the combat on foot took place first, with polaxe, sword, and dagger. The mounted combat was to occur later in the week. When the combat began, Jacques and Diego traded blows with their polaxes so fiercely that sparks flew from their armor. "Then Jacques de Lalaing, seeing how aggressive his adversary was, whirled the point of his polaxe around, and struck 3 blows on the eye-slits of Diego, one after another, in such a way that he was wounded in 3 places in the face...the first blow landed on his left brow, the second on the point of his forehead, and the third above the right eye."


I cannot really think of many modern competetive sports with rules that even approach this intensity and the chance to get killed. From what I can gather the techniques used were not to dissimilar from the ones you would use in serious combat. The fact that opponents surrendered too is something that happend on the medieval battlefield.

Quote:
1. No one in those tournament/sporting scenarios is training specifically to kill another person.

2. 1 vs. 1 or tiny scale tournament/game training is nothing like training to fight on a battlefield with a cohesive unit of hundreds or thousands of other soldiers.

3. As already touched on, the equipment is similar but different; and built to match the rules and specifications of the games. They're not made specifically for warfare, and nor do they handle or are used exactly the same.

4. The atmosphere is far less intense . . . things aren't life or death, so thusly the attitudes and training match that.


Well we cannot really look into the minds of the contenders but in some case it is clear challenges were issued for personal reasons and with neither side surrendering it was up to the judge on whether or not to let them fight on. The scale is irrelevant at this time because we still have not defined martial prowess or training and whether it is individual or group combat we are considering, you said both the mamluks and the French in a previous example were well trained. That said sometimes you could have up to 20 or 30 participants per side which is a bit more like group combat.

I am sorry but I am not entirely convinced tournaments put that much emphasis on the sport side of things as to render them a lesser subtitude to any kind of training done in those days. I suppose we could question how much the real warfare experience of an 11th century soldier was more valuable but I do not think we can dismiss tournaments as sporting events with little martial value. I do not have my books at hand but I believe it was king Dom Duarte himself who said hunting and tournaments were good training for war, don't quote me on it but his book described both in a lot of detail.
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Sun 17 Apr, 2016 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

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Pieter B. wrote:
*snip*

1. Apparently you've never heard of "close quarters combatives" . . . which anyone who was combat arms in the military trained in extensively. Pretty much all CQC training mimics facets of MMA training and fighting . . . only you'll have more things like knives and pistols involved at times. It's training for much more lethal and dangerous levels of encounters.

2. If you want modern training to simulate modern combat, then look no further than Mil-Sim munitions. Civilians can't really get or use them (because they hurt like hell and can cause very serious injury/death if not properly utilized). Funny enough, that's also training for war, and not training for tournaments or games. Things which are drastically different.

3. Again, you can be unconvinced all you want. I don't care. I even stated as much at the end of my previous post. *shrugs* Up to you, but apparently you were really hankering to try to say that a tournament is war . . . which they're not even close. You haven't convinced me any more than I have convinced you. We agree to disagree and move on, unless you're really just hankering for a last word?

Anyway . . . moving on . . .

Michael Brudon wrote:
Well I probably agree tournaments aren't perfect, no, but I think about as good as any era I can think for the ability to train realistically. Similar techniques in either environment, the nature of armour allows near full force sparring which is difficult for almost any other era to do. Thirdly it still placed significant psychological stress and a degree of physical fear in competitors.

Modern training for example is the one of the most difficult to test combat reaction and individual performance. Projectiles are obviously too lethal to fire at each other, and there is no combat fear of harm, ever. You spend most of the time bored, tired, a bit stressed or pissed off, wishing you were back with your girl instead of sleeping in the rain playing war games Happy I spent over a decade in the military myself.

Again I think training an armoured knight was doing, was about the closest to war performance we will find, unless we go all the way back to our ancestor driapithecus throwing fruit at each other Big Grin

Good news is I may have Pieter locked into a direct question, since he mentioned tournaments himself. if I were to ask if one era over another displayed more 'prowess in tournaments', is there a case for the later.periods having more development in the use of their implements, as with the advancements of their armour?


I don't know what you did in the military, but my time training in the military (I was combat arms) was not very boring. Very stressful and getting run as ragged as possible without causing serious harm . . . sure . . . But bored? . . . only very rarely and that was normally when we were able to accomplish things much faster than expected (the whole Hurry Up and Wait, as I'm sure you're aware of). Of course I guess it also depends on when was your service? That may have had a factor in training and what you were doing. It's reminiscent of my first post in the topic over a Knight in times of peace vs. one in times of war.

That said, you have reformulated a pretty good question. A question that was apparently dodged, since he spent more time bickering about the tournaments vs. war rather than trying to address the real answer on quality of training and what made for better-trained soldiers. However, also consider that your new question does change the concept of discussion quite drastically in a different direction. Again, there's a pretty large difference between war and tournaments.

While the question of whether training for tournaments vs. training for war is one left for you to decide, since you are the OP and posed the original question, adjusting it to ask about tournament prowess and tournament organizations certainly shifts the topic considerably. Regardless, I hope you can get a good answer for what you're looking for.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Gregory J. Liebau




Location: Dinuba, CA
Joined: 27 Nov 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 17 Apr, 2016 1:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben & Michael,

Are you aware of how melee tournaments were conducted in the 12th and 13th centuries? About how many men were killed? About how popes put bans on them throughout Europe to save the lives of the noble combatants? How all weapons used were weapons of war? Have you read the contemporary biography of William Marshall, or of the accidental injuries and deaths caused along the path of Ulrich von Lichtenstein's series of combats described in Frauendienst? There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of surviving accounts of early tournaments blaming the truly vicious and miltaristic style of combat for so much unwarranted harm...

Early tournaments were absolutely simulations of war, and many men were severely injured or killed during these unruly melees, in which as many as several hundred mounted and many dozens or hundreds of additional dismounted combatants would fight in cohorts based on personal and/or local allegiances for many hours at a time. The tactics and conduct of early melee tournaments were not only meant to simulate war - in many instances great lords would actually contest their strength in tournaments as an alternative to war.

Nothing during the later Middle Ages compared to the early, free-for-all spirit of the early tournament scene. Individual jousts, bohorts with blunted weaponry, etc... The evolution of the tournament has already taken contemporary scholars several excellent books to describe. I would suggest not simplifying the concept too much for the sake of a rather vague question.

-Gregory
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Ben Joy




Location: Missouri
Joined: 21 May 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 17 Apr, 2016 2:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gregory J. Liebau wrote:
Ben & Michael,

Are you aware of how melee tournaments were conducted in the 12th and 13th centuries? About how many men were killed? About how popes put bans on them throughout Europe to save the lives of the noble combatants? How all weapons used were weapons of war? Have you read the contemporary biography of William Marshall, or of the accidental injuries and deaths caused along the path of Ulrich von Lichtenstein's series of combats described in Frauendienst? There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of surviving accounts of early tournaments blaming the truly vicious and miltaristic style of combat for so much unwarranted harm...

Early tournaments were absolutely simulations of war, and many men were severely injured or killed during these unruly melees, in which as many as several hundred mounted and many dozens or hundreds of additional dismounted combatants would fight in cohorts based on personal and/or local allegiances for many hours at a time. The tactics and conduct of early melee tournaments were not only meant to simulate war - in many instances great lords would actually contest their strength in tournaments as an alternative to war.

Nothing during the later Middle Ages compared to the early, free-for-all spirit of the early tournament scene. Individual jousts, bohorts with blunted weaponry, etc... The evolution of the tournament has already taken contemporary scholars several excellent books to describe. I would suggest not simplifying the concept too much for the sake of a rather vague question.

-Gregory

That's fascinating to hear. Thank you. I'll have to look into that more at some point. However, while that accounts for early tournaments (which would also probably help with an answer for Michael's question about training and preparedness), it doesn't account for any of the later tournaments. While Pieter was talking generalized tournament information, and I was talking about generalized war information, you've brought in specific tournament information that makes a very distinct and specific comparison along the 11th-15th century timetable originally posed.

That said, you also directly hit on the later tournaments, which very much supports the points I've been making the entire time. Thusly, again, it seems as though the prospects of the OP are perhaps too vague, and both Pieter and myself are both correct on various points. However, Pieter also originally specifically mentioned tournament goers of the 14th and 15th centuries in his original posting about comparing tournament goes and those preparing for the constant feudal wars of the earlier eras. Also, from what you've described on some of the early "tournaments," they sound like little more than noble "Duels" where the two sides bring along men under their command in accordance to whatever rules of engagement the other agrees to . . . then they just fought it out as if it were a mini-war. Personally, I wouldn't really call that a tournament so much as a "nobles' skirmish".

It's taken several books already to go over the evolution of the "tournament" . . . so what would people call the early stuff? After all, for example, Stock Car Racing came about because of illegal races and competitions between bootleggers of the early 20th century, during prohibition. However, I don't think anyone today would call those early races a "NASCAR" event by any stretch of the imagination. Therefore, maybe something else that needs to be set for the prospects of the discussion is, "What constitutes a tournament?" as even your early tournaments don't sound like what most people would think of when one says "tournament", but the later Middle-Ages "pageantry" that you basically described would fit the true concept of a tournament far more closely.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 18 Apr, 2016 8:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben-

You will stop the condescending attitude and handle yourself professionally from here on. We do not want this sort of sniping on our site. Should you have any questions regarding this, you are welcome to contact me privately. Otherwise, it's time to move on as you say.


Ben Joy wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
*snip*

1. Apparently you've never heard of "close quarters combatives" . . . which anyone who was combat arms in the military trained in extensively. Pretty much all CQC training mimics facets of MMA training and fighting . . . only you'll have more things like knives and pistols involved at times. It's training for much more lethal and dangerous levels of encounters.

2. If you want modern training to simulate modern combat, then look no further than Mil-Sim munitions. Civilians can't really get or use them (because they hurt like hell and can cause very serious injury/death if not properly utilized). Funny enough, that's also training for war, and not training for tournaments or games. Things which are drastically different.

3. Again, you can be unconvinced all you want. I don't care. I even stated as much at the end of my previous post. *shrugs* Up to you, but apparently you were really hankering to try to say that a tournament is war . . . which they're not even close. You haven't convinced me any more than I have convinced you. We agree to disagree and move on, unless you're really just hankering for a last word?

Anyway . . . moving on . . .

Michael Brudon wrote:
Well I probably agree tournaments aren't perfect, no, but I think about as good as any era I can think for the ability to train realistically. Similar techniques in either environment, the nature of armour allows near full force sparring which is difficult for almost any other era to do. Thirdly it still placed significant psychological stress and a degree of physical fear in competitors.

Modern training for example is the one of the most difficult to test combat reaction and individual performance. Projectiles are obviously too lethal to fire at each other, and there is no combat fear of harm, ever. You spend most of the time bored, tired, a bit stressed or pissed off, wishing you were back with your girl instead of sleeping in the rain playing war games Happy I spent over a decade in the military myself.

Again I think training an armoured knight was doing, was about the closest to war performance we will find, unless we go all the way back to our ancestor driapithecus throwing fruit at each other Big Grin

Good news is I may have Pieter locked into a direct question, since he mentioned tournaments himself. if I were to ask if one era over another displayed more 'prowess in tournaments', is there a case for the later.periods having more development in the use of their implements, as with the advancements of their armour?


I don't know what you did in the military, but my time training in the military (I was combat arms) was not very boring. Very stressful and getting run as ragged as possible without causing serious harm . . . sure . . . But bored? . . . only very rarely and that was normally when we were able to accomplish things much faster than expected (the whole Hurry Up and Wait, as I'm sure you're aware of). Of course I guess it also depends on when was your service? That may have had a factor in training and what you were doing. It's reminiscent of my first post in the topic over a Knight in times of peace vs. one in times of war.

That said, you have reformulated a pretty good question. A question that was apparently dodged, since he spent more time bickering about the tournaments vs. war rather than trying to address the real answer on quality of training and what made for better-trained soldiers. However, also consider that your new question does change the concept of discussion quite drastically in a different direction. Again, there's a pretty large difference between war and tournaments.

While the question of whether training for tournaments vs. training for war is one left for you to decide, since you are the OP and posed the original question, adjusting it to ask about tournament prowess and tournament organizations certainly shifts the topic considerably. Regardless, I hope you can get a good answer for what you're looking for.

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Mario M.




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Joy wrote:
During times of relative peace, even into the modern era, training and preparedness get lax. People get soft. Intentional or not, it happens


I disagree with this for the medieval period.

A state of war was not a necessity for being alert, even within political entities there were constant rivalries and violent actions that had nothing to do with full scale war.

In my opinion, they were either always prepared, or payed others to be prepared for them.


Also, from the descriptions of mock fighting in the 12th/13th centuries, I would argue that those fellows were better fighters than the late medieval fellows in armor.

We are talking about men who, on a regular basis, partook in full contact mock battles numbering up to a hundred to even sometimes hundreds of men...and they did this for sport.


We are talking about the modern equivalent of having UFC matches with 50 vs 50 men in the fight.

Imagine what kind of men would be forged through such a furnace.

“The stream of Time, irresistible, ever moving, carries off and bears away all things that come to birth and plunges them into utter darkness...Nevertheless, the science of History is a great bulwark against this stream of Time; in a way it checks this irresistible flood, it holds in a tight grasp whatever it can seize floating on the surface and will not allow it to slip away into the depths of Oblivion." - Anna Comnena
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you're a boxer you train for matches, same with MMA or other sports.
If you're a soldier you train for combat, using various methods including combat simulation.
If you're a knight you train for combat, and sometimes your combat simulation had an audience.

The tournaments were not combat, they were a part of a system for training for actual combat.

That's what looks to be being overlooked, Knights weren't in training to do well in the lists, they were in training to be combatants, and the simulated combat was one aspect of that training, not the ultimate goal of training.

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

Posts: 491

PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mario M. wrote:
Ben Joy wrote:
During times of relative peace, even into the modern era, training and preparedness get lax. People get soft. Intentional or not, it happens


I disagree with this for the medieval period.

A state of war was not a necessity for being alert, even within political entities there were constant rivalries and violent actions that had nothing to do with full scale war.

In my opinion, they were either always prepared, or payed others to be prepared for them.


Also, from the descriptions of mock fighting in the 12th/13th centuries, I would argue that those fellows were better fighters than the late medieval fellows in armor.

We are talking about men who, on a regular basis, partook in full contact mock battles numbering up to a hundred to even sometimes hundreds of men...and they did this for sport.


We are talking about the modern equivalent of having UFC matches with 50 vs 50 men in the fight.

Imagine what kind of men would be forged through such a furnace.

Yeah, but more of those later period men were literate, their governments were more solidified and centralized and they had to more (emphasis of more, studying of military tactics didn't fall out with the fall of Rome) tactical manuals to study and practice. Also there was more of variety of weapons and armor around later than earlier because of advances in metallurgy and economic organization. A knight in later would see allot more bewildering weapons and armor than knights of old and probably less surprised of weird tactics. On the other hand, I think that the knights of earlier time were more psychologically prepared for lethal combat than knights of later date. Then again, these later fighters had the black death to emotionally harden them.
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Ben Joy




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Apr, 2016 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Philip Dyer wrote:

Yeah, but more of those later period men were literate, their governments were more solidified and centralized and they had to more (emphasis of more, studying of military tactics didn't fall out with the fall of Rome) tactical manuals to study and practice. Also there was more of variety of weapons and armor around later than earlier because of advances in metallurgy and economic organization. A knight in later would see allot more bewildering weapons and armor than knights of old and probably less surprised of weird tactics. On the other hand, I think that the knights of earlier time were more psychologically prepared for lethal combat than knights of later date. Then again, these later fighters had the black death to emotionally harden them.

Aside from Gregory's remarks, those are some of the best points I've seen which . . . in general . . . fall back into the regard of -ironically- it's extremely difficult to call and obviously very opinionated due to perspective. Therefore, I'd again say the OP will need to think through his question(s) posed in the thread and determine the answer he finds most satisfactory for himself . . . as several others of us obviously have our personal beliefs on the subject matter.

Personally I'd say those who are most directly involved in preparations of known upcoming conflicts are going to be some of the most battle ready . . . and those who've been veterans of the most wars/conflicts are going to be the ones with the most true martial prowess and experience. When that would fall in the timeframe given (which would be a huge mess of which nations and what times of war, etc.) would require a great deal of research to answer such a broad topic.

"Men take only their needs into consideration, never their abilities." -Napoleon Bonaparte
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