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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Fri 04 Jan, 2019 7:01 pm    Post subject: Quick question on Bollock daggers         Reply with quote

Was edge alignment in the cut not a concern with 2-edged Bollock daggers? A round grip, as opposed to oval, lens-shaped, or flat, does not seem terribly-conducive to that.

Were they just "super-stabby" daggers? Or were they used in a cut-&-thrust style as well?

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Mark Tan





Joined: 30 Nov 2016

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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan, 2019 7:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well depending on how exactly youre holding it, your hand/fingers/ thumb will be in contact with the 'balls' so you can tell where the edge is from there. Cutting is present in medieval dagger treatises but thrusting is usually a priority afaik
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan, 2019 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any time you are engaged in life and death combat with smaller bladed weapons it is critical to be able to deliver a decisively maiming or lethal blow. This is why the attacks shown in medieval dagger manuscripts always assume powerful, committed attacks with an overwhelming focus upon thrusts delivered to penetrate deeply. It is likewise the reason why medieval daggers are seldom small, and can exceed two feet in total length: you need to penetrate with a lot of blade into the opponent to ensure they will not continue fighting.

A lot of modern knife fighting techniques distort our perceptions of how daggers are used. In particular, you often see quick, repeated jabs and slashes in modern styles that are dangerous yet not well suited to decisively incapacitating your foe. While single-edged daggers are certainly capable of making horrific slashes, that was never their primary purpose. Rather, they are meant to deliver powerful stabs that pierce vital organs, arteries, and veins to conclusively end the fight.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan, 2019 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The other thing to consider is that daggers make more of what you might term slicing attacks. Such attacks are clearly capable of causing significant bleeding and tissue damage. However, it is the capacity to hew and cleave, or the capacity to stab, that causes the most dangerous wounds. The obvious problem for daggers is that they lack adequate blade mass/width to be able to meaningfully split and hew open. Therefore, they really only slice, which is significantly less effective and can be thwarted by thick enough garments. Making a distinction between these two actions of slicing and hewing helps to illustrate why daggers are not really "cut and thrust" weapons, but rather dedicated stabbing implements.
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Jeremiah Swanger




Location: Hershey, PA
Joined: 20 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Any time you are engaged in life and death combat with smaller bladed weapons it is critical to be able to deliver a decisively maiming or lethal blow. This is why the attacks shown in medieval dagger manuscripts always assume powerful, committed attacks with an overwhelming focus upon thrusts delivered to penetrate deeply. It is likewise the reason why medieval daggers are seldom small, and can exceed two feet in total length: you need to penetrate with a lot of blade into the opponent to ensure they will not continue fighting.

A lot of modern knife fighting techniques distort our perceptions of how daggers are used. In particular, you often see quick, repeated jabs and slashes in modern styles that are dangerous yet not well suited to decisively incapacitating your foe. While single-edged daggers are certainly capable of making horrific slashes, that was never their primary purpose. Rather, they are meant to deliver powerful stabs that pierce vital organs, arteries, and veins to conclusively end the fight.


Hi Craig,

Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughtful replies!

To give a little more context to my post, I happen to be studying combative arts based on Philippine Kali and Indonesian Silat. The latter uses more dedicated, deliberate strikes, so hard stabbing and chopping/hewing attacks play a larger role, whereas Kali (and its many, many sub-disciplines) focuses on speed and dynamic movement-- rapid, targeted cuts are a major focus of that system. The latter is very useful in a modern-day street fight-- probably not so much in a scenario involving armor. So, that's the lens through which I'm viewing these weapons, for better or for worse.

I have handled some Philippine Bolo that have a handle with a circular cross-section, but the handle is also usually curved downward, with the end cap or pommel hooking inward, so the only natural-feeling way to grip the weapon actually promotes precise edge alignment. I didn't see any such "idiot-proofing" in any of the bollock daggers I've been eyeballing, so that's why I wondered.

Thanks!
Jeremiah

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 440

PostPosted: Sat 05 Jan, 2019 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremiah Swanger wrote:
Hi Craig,

Thanks for taking the time to write your thoughtful replies!

To give a little more context to my post, I happen to be studying combative arts based on Philippine Kali and Indonesian Silat. The latter uses more dedicated, deliberate strikes, so hard stabbing and chopping/hewing attacks play a larger role, whereas Kali (and its many, many sub-disciplines) focuses on speed and dynamic movement-- rapid, targeted cuts are a major focus of that system. The latter is very useful in a modern-day street fight-- probably not so much in a scenario involving armor. So, that's the lens through which I'm viewing these weapons, for better or for worse.

I have handled some Philippine Bolo that have a handle with a circular cross-section, but the handle is also usually curved downward, with the end cap or pommel hooking inward, so the only natural-feeling way to grip the weapon actually promotes precise edge alignment. I didn't see any such "idiot-proofing" in any of the bollock daggers I've been eyeballing, so that's why I wondered.

Thanks!
Jeremiah

Hi Jeremiah,

that is a common reaction when people trained in Flippino and Indonesian martial arts encounter renaissance dagger fighting. Its fair to say that many 14th-16th century European fighting knives and daggers are optimized for stabbing, and Europeans in coroners' inquests, paintings, and fencing manuals tend to stab with knives more than cut. Why did they make that choice?

One of the fundamental differences between 15th century European knife fighting and Filippino/Indonesian martial arts is the clothing: European men wore long-sleeved doublets, made from several layers of strong fabric quilted together and often stuffed with bowed cotton, under heavy fulled wool coats and cloaks. Its much harder to cut through all that than through bare flesh! Men who had money or expected trouble sometimes wore linen, iron, or horn armour hidden under their other clothing.

Another is that the European fencing manuals which discuss defence against the knife seem geared towards surviving a murder attempt and battlefield emergencies, not a consensual fight. In situations like that, attackers tend to default to overhand stabs to the face and neck or underhand stabs to the belly and groin. Many European knives and daggers are well suited to those situations, but less suited to a knife duel in an empty field.

Third, if you look how Europeans carried their daggers, you will see that many of the carriages made it easier to draw overhand ("icepick grip" ) than underhand. Now, they could have worn their daggers differently, but the whole point of wearing a ballock dagger was to show the world that you had something long and hard between your legs. Holding a dagger like that is much more suited for stabbing than cutting, especially against targets wearing so much sturdy clothing.


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Travis Canaday




Location: Overland Park, Kansas
Joined: 24 Oct 2005

Posts: 145

PostPosted: Mon 07 Jan, 2019 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mark Tan wrote:
Well depending on how exactly youre holding it, your hand/fingers/ thumb will be in contact with the 'balls' so you can tell where the edge is from there. Cutting is present in medieval dagger treatises but thrusting is usually a priority afaik



This is exactly what I was thinking. It reminds me of the roundish and small grips on a gladius. It's the flat guard (for lack of a better word) above the grip that let's one know the edge alignment quite naturally.

Also, keep in mind the bollock dagger was also a fashion piece.

Travis
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