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Author Topic: a Knight vs a Samurai?  (Read 43459 times)
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #180 on: January 24, 2004, 05:28:17 AM »

Quote from: Drifter Bob
I do want to add though, that I learned a lot from this thread and enjoyed reading it.  The origins of Indian martial arts, further insights into the intricasies of the fecthbuchs, the different types of tachi, Russian versus Japanese wrestling... I have a lot to think about now, for that thanks lads, you are an intelligent bunch, even those of you who are wrong! ;)

JR

Why thank you!....
Err.... waittaminnit...
;)
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #181 on: January 24, 2004, 05:30:19 AM »

Quote from: Jake Norwood
RE: ARMA and arrogance, etc.

Listen. I'm hearing a lot of "the ARMA does this" or "the ARMA does that." Bullcrap, eh! I'm the number-frickin-two guy in the ARMA and none of the totalitarian views that are being referenced here are mine or that of 95% of the ARMA. THERE IS NO OFFICIAL ARMA DOCTRINE, only official ARMA training methodologies, etc. What I think I'm seeing is "I don't like John Clement's PR skills," which has little to do with what the ARMA studies, practices, endorses, or teaches. The ARMA is the largest organization of its kind in the world, with as many members as all similar organizations added up together. It's not one man--John Clements. He's a member and the director, but not the end-all be-all of the ARMA.

Jake


I would also like to add that my opinions are those of a non-ARMA member. In regards to the rest of Jake's post, I believe I have made my perception of that organization known.
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Jake Norwood
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« Reply #182 on: January 24, 2004, 10:03:32 AM »

Quote from: Ingenious
.................For the love of GOD, this thread is growing by a page per day now.. Fri Jan 23, 2004 10:09 am was my last post.. and this one was on.. Sat Jan 24, 2004 9:35 am
Nearly a page and one-half in just under a whole day. WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!


Why? Because you just posted to it. That's 1/10th of a page longer now.


Quote
Could we just for once take a moment to look at how utterly freaking rediculous this is? Stop the egocentric postulation of who is right and who is not. This is just about ego. Take it somewhere else damnit. Like the IRC, or PM. In the chatroom you can yell at each other for all I care.. curse, swear, say anything as often as you want.


Stay off the thread. I'm not closing it. I'll close other ones, but this one is sooo far out of the ballpark that I think it's cathartic. There's been some good discussion here, and a lot of not-so-good discussion, but it stays in this thread. I'm not splitting it, I'm not closing it. It stays here until it's dead. Then it's closed.

Jake
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Muggins
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« Reply #183 on: January 24, 2004, 10:42:00 AM »

One thing I must say, is that a lot of medieval historians have recently 'discovered' that Europe was not so backwards in days gone by. Unfortunately, a lot of people look at a small picture and simply assume the big picture is the same. The Normans in Sicily is one example- trading ports based on defensible islands are always likely to be good centres of enlightenment. But in general, Europe was not at all 'enlightened'. Even using the term for the Kingdom of Sicily is misleading- Roger II quite happily plundered and pillaged while on campaign, and intellectual development was eventually discarded for realism. Similarly, despite glowing pictures by some people, Richard I did not fight Saladin to a stand still- he overextended his lines of supply, lost a large number of his noble commanders, and salvaged as much dignity as he could by claiming success.

James
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Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #184 on: January 25, 2004, 05:34:46 PM »

I gotta say I love this thread; thanks Jake for leaving it going.  Like you said, it's cathartic to read, especially after the busy work weeks I've had.  Ingenious, you need to ease-up a bit; this thread isn't the apocalypse you make it sound like. :-)

A few comments, maybe questions.

Quote
I too, love Toshiro Mfune.  He is the Japanese Clint Eastwood TIMES Charles Bronson to the power of Robert Mitchum.


Wow.  Never heard of this guy, but if he's that good then I'm impressed.

Second, to follow-on to Muggin's point, I once read a book called Cathedral, Forge, and Waterwheel which catalogued European technilogical advancement through the 'dark' and 'middle' ages.  I haven't read up on the subject much, but the book seemed pretty complete and hard-to-argue in the large part;  Europe's technology advanced, despite common beliefs to the contrary. I believe there's a parallel here with the current discussion.

Last, a couple thoughts/questions from my dimmest memories.  First, who was the bohemian guy who fought with the armored wagons?  Second, how did the Spanish actually drive out the Moors?  I don't know, but I tend to believe that there was campaign smarts in the Europeans, even if they weren't always on top of their game.

-jeff
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Drifter Bob
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« Reply #185 on: January 25, 2004, 06:02:05 PM »

Quote from: Jaif

Last, a couple thoughts/questions from my dimmest memories.  First, who was the bohemian guy who fought with the armored wagons?


Ah, I'm going back on my promise here but I couldn't resist ... that would be the Hussites, a sort of heretical christian / socialist / utopian relgious uprising in the Early Renaissance which was kind a precursor to the wars of the Reformation.  The hussites used small cannon, muskets, and crossbows from Wagon laagers, which is actually a variation of a tactic the Goths used against the Romans centuries before.  The Hussites were quite militarily successful, actually invading Germany on a number of occasions, but they were mostly commoners, with relatively few knights in the bunch.

Ok I'm out!
JR
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John Dillinger
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #186 on: January 25, 2004, 06:16:59 PM »

Thanks, hussites, which let me look up the guy - Jan Zizka.  The point I was making was a small counter to yours, Bob - there were some medeival people who did quite well beyond the level of personal or small unit combat.  This man not only fought intelligent campaigns, he introduced a new fighting system and trained an army of commoners in that system.

I'll have to look up the reconquista one day; I have a hard time believing that a group of wild-eyed incompetant warriors drove off a sophisticated civilization.  Probably a lot of politics in the mix, but still the spanish must have known something.  They certainly learned something, as they went on to form the toughest fighting forces in Europe for a time.

-jeff
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Drifter Bob
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« Reply #187 on: January 25, 2004, 07:09:49 PM »

Quote from: Jaif
Thanks, hussites, which let me look up the guy - Jan Zizka.  The point I was making was a small counter to yours, Bob - there were some medeival people who did quite well beyond the level of personal or small unit combat.  This man not only fought intelligent campaigns, he introduced a new fighting system and trained an army of commoners in that system.


I'm starting to feel like an addict, or like I"m caught in a spider web.

There were actually several leaders of the Hussites and no one guy "taught them" how to fight.  Jan Hus was the leader of the overall movement, Zizka was the leader of what became the purist element.  In any event, I think the point is that the Hussites, like the Swiss or William Wallaces Scotts, were not a knigthly army.

Quote
I'll have to look up the reconquista one day; I have a hard time believing that a group of wild-eyed incompetant warriors drove off a sophisticated civilization.  Probably a lot of politics in the mix, but still the spanish must have known something.  They certainly learned something, as they went on to form the toughest fighting forces in Europe for a time.

-jeff


Please do.  One of the first things you may note is that the union of the Christian Kingdoms and the culmination of the expulsion of Granada, the last Moorish Kingdom (the end of the Reconquista) took place in 1492, at the end of the 15th century, basically at the end of the Medieval period.  I also think that the fact that it took 7 centuries between the Frankish victory of Charles Martel at Poitiers to finally expell the moors does indeed say something about the organizational skills of the kinghtly armies.

Finally, I never said the knights were idiots.   I don't think most knights of the medieval period were literate, or very conscious of sanitation.  I don't think they were very good at strategy or operational level tactics, but they were superb fighters.  I know of very few examples where they had anywhere near equal numbers where they lost in a hand to hand fight against non-european opponents, and their victories on that level demonstrates that they fought like lions and did indeed have considerable martial skills, since their advantages of horse and lance and even armor was not always a factor (The mamelukes and the Turks, for example, had heavy armor).

JR
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John Dillinger
Jaif
Member

Posts: 327


« Reply #188 on: January 25, 2004, 07:49:48 PM »

Bob,

We honestly agree in most ways; from my reading of history, I too believe that when we talk about armies of knights, they tend to rely more on personal prowess and fall short in the details.  In anything approaching even numbers, the personal prowess was usually supreme and just showed that if a human spent his life training at something, he got good at it. :-)

However, if we move away from knighthood, the crusades, etc, and start looking at Europe in the middle ages I think you'll find mercenary companies, Norman expansions, and other areas where Europe had a thriving military practice.  In fact, the little I've read about military affairs in other areas of Eurasia leads me to believe that there wasn't that much difference across the continent.  People needed to siege castles, fought with hand-to-hand weapons, and slowly integrated gunpowder into the mix.

Last, I'd like to point out the difficulty historians face when a single organization like the church exercised vast control over the written records of the time.  It's quite possible that many details of Europe's military systems were wiped out for reasons having nothing to do with their effectiveness.

-Jeff.

P.S. I have to say that when I discovered RoS, and through it ARMA (and their works) really made my day.  I grew up arguing with people about their silly fixation with Japanese/Chinese martial arts, and said that it's ridiculous to assume that Europe was so vastly far behind in either technology (e.g. metalworking) or technique.  You can't have a group of people devoted to fighting their neighbors for generations upon generations without having some advances.
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #189 on: January 26, 2004, 12:02:56 AM »

The Goths had circles of wagons as part of their general armed system, being induced to nomadism.  At Adrianople, IIRC, the Roman army was caught between the laager serving as anvil and the Goth cavalry acting as hammer.
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Crusader
Member

Posts: 27


« Reply #190 on: January 29, 2004, 04:13:14 AM »

I guess part of what annoys me about the crowd that rants about how unenlightened/dirty/backward Western Europe was during the middle ages is that these folks often fail to take into account that Europe did in fact undergo some pretty important cultural and technological evolution over the course of the period.  Too often in this thread, one reads broad, sweeping statements making assumptions of knightly ignorance or lack of culture and hygiene that the poster applies accross the board, as if they were common to all knights, from all European states, for the whole of the time period in question.  I feel this leads to the projection of attitudes and conditions that may have been true for say, a 12th-century knight, but would not have held for a knight of the 15th century.  

As for our sudden recent 'discovery' that medieval Europeans were not really the backward losers that the average modern person often assumes they were, I feel that those who object to this and label it as "historical revision" are also confusing the earlier part of the era with the later.  There is a trend in the study of history that rejects the term "Renaissance" for the more nebulous "Early Modern Period".  I applaud the recognition that later medieval and "renaissance" Europe was not after all such a different world from the one we now live in.  Early modern Europe was, while obviously not a paradise, especially if you happened to fall ill, certainly the most powerful and developed culture on the globe at that point in history.  

Whether Contracycle wants to accept it or not, I do see the beginnings of scientific inquiry into a whole host of topics during this period, with the martial arts being firmly included amongst those.  One need only glance at some of the later manuals, with detailed and precise directions laid out along geometric lines and circles to perceive the scientific turn of mind that produced it.  Surely demonstrable similarities in the techniques displayed in various fechtbucher over the course of a couple of centuries is sufficient evidence of a coherent, master-to-student set of systematic techniques.

What has the degree of 'societal centralization' to do with whether or not a given culture possesses a set of systematic or scientific principals of teaching martial arts?  No offense, Contra, but you still haven't stated concisely, at least not to my satisfaction anyway, just which martial arts you might truly consider as conforming to your high personal standards of hailing from a readily discernable established martial tradition...
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contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #191 on: January 29, 2004, 08:37:46 AM »

Quote from: Crusader
Too often in this thread, one reads broad, sweeping statements making assumptions of knightly ignorance or lack of culture and hygiene that the poster applies accross the board, as if they were common to all knights, from all European states, for the whole of the time period in question.


Nobody has said this on this thread.  I have repeatedly taken pains NOT to say this, and to make it clear that saying a specific thing is different is a) not a value judgement and b) not a generalisation.  I am well aware that the Medieval period shows substantial technical advance over time, and that these people possessed exactly the same brains we do.

Quote

Whether Contracycle wants to accept it or not, I do see the beginnings of scientific inquiry into a whole host of topics during this period, with the martial arts being firmly included amongst those.


I have never objected to seeing the BEGINNINGS of scientific and systematic inquiry; I have objected to their being a developed such system that is discernable beyond the Fechtbuchs.  And if it is only the Fechtbuchs we are talking about, then there is no lost tradition, just the tradition that we always had and which the fencing studios employed.  I have never said that there was no investigation, I have only cast doubt on ARMA's apparent claim to have knowledge that other people do not.

Quote
Surely demonstrable similarities in the techniques displayed in various fechtbucher over the course of a couple of centuries is sufficient evidence of a coherent, master-to-student set of systematic techniques.


No, precisely because they can be independantly discovered.  Thats how science works; a thing is only safely known if it is independantly verifiable.  Simultaneous independant discovery of something about how the world works happens all the time.

Quote

What has the degree of 'societal centralization' to do with whether or not a given culture possesses a set of systematic or scientific principals of teaching martial arts?


Because non-centralised societies don't need to develop large-scale solutions to problems, only individual, personal, local solutions.  The history of the feudal period is that of the development of centralisation; the whole political project of the French crown is developing the French state as a real entity.  This is also a society that is largely superstitious, too, and I think it is going too far to project a scientific mindset into what is going on except in the latest periods.

Quote

  No offense, Contra, but you still haven't stated concisely, at least not to my satisfaction anyway, just which martial arts you might truly consider as conforming to your high personal standards of hailing from a readily discernable established martial tradition...


IIRC the last time the question was posed, it was what I would consider a SCIENTIFIC martial tradition, and I said, pretty much none.  I tell you what, you tell me what features you would expect to see in a martial tradition, and where you see these in euarope, and then I can give you a clean statement that I agree, or disagree, with your definitions and observationbs and we will all clearly be able to talk about the same thing.
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Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #192 on: February 01, 2004, 06:59:20 AM »

Without blowing our own trumpet too much, it is this idea that the Guild teachings are based upon. The design of the human body has not changed in the intervening centuries and if one combines it with the equipment of the time and the correct Intent, behind what is done you will find what should work and what generally won't. Take this information and then look at the period manuals and see if they appear to cross over. Ultimately all work done on the historical texts is Interpretive, we can not say that what is practice now is definitely what was done then.

Jonathan

Quote from: Bastoche
Quote from: Drifter Bob

JR


  I personnally think that the best way to recreate medieval or renaissance fighting is by creating an entire new style optimized for killing with the knight's tools. That is proper recreation armor and weapon. Then comparing this well controled style with old books, this could give new insight on how these guys fought. I assume that's exactly what ARMA training camp are about. Right?
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Jonathan Waller
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Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #193 on: February 01, 2004, 07:07:40 AM »

But as he said come out with killing moves! As isaid the correct Intent. Modern people who do it in the context of sport are doing just that sport. LARP is just that play, and re-enactors all use rule to govern what that do in a safe way. It is also aimed at trying to something other than actually recreating the proper combat styles.
At the end of the day, we generally can't compare the effectiveness of what we see in many of the manuals. Just because a manual has survuved does not ultimately mean that what it contains was effective.

This is where I am worried by those who work on specific manuals and then present their work as an effective fperiod fighting style. Have they recreated it correctly? and was it effective in the first place?
JW


Quote from: Caz
That would be tough as training data could not be compared to data of its actual effectiveness in real life, likely resulting in an inneffective and artificial style.  That's basically what sport, play, and reenactment type groups do, and it comes out nothing like the old texts.
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Jonathan Waller
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Hereward The Wake
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« Reply #194 on: February 01, 2004, 07:18:05 AM »

A science an art, and a craft, take your pick, i think they can all equally apply.
One has to combine several approaches.
Most people agree that the majority of the manuals were not meant to be 'how to' manuals but aid to memory. Hence I find the use of the manuals as the main source/starting point a little problematic. It s one of several contradictory elements in the field,


Bastoche wrote
My point is that sword fighting at the time was a science. That science is so old that it was probably not that far off perfection. If they could do it then, we should be able to do it now. No? Assuming their techniques were as efficient as could be, "new" techniques should converge toward their techniques. Besides, I think studying old books is a good way to go too. Assuming these books contained the best techniques known at the time...
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