Swordsmanship-based entertainment in history?
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?
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.


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.
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.
Download this article: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/theatrefacpub/1/
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.
Re: Swordsmanship-based entertainment in history?
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)

Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2006 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Full-featured Version of the forum