The modern practice of Western Martial Arts (WMA) stems from a renaissance of the ways of combat developed in ancient Europe.  These traditional martial arts suffered and eventually died with the spread of firearms; however, techniques and principles were compiled into “Fight Books” that survived to current times.

The people who lived in those times faced the constant threat of violence, and many of these historical techniques can be transitioned into the modern, highly effective fighting style of WMA.

Half-Swording Techniques – Demonstrated

  • Half-swording techniques, a 2x4 length of wood vs an assailant with a bat. Start in a half-sword guard.

    Half-swording techniques, a 2×4 length of wood vs an assailant with a bat. Start in a half-sword guard.

  • Half-swording technique: next, a strike to the assailant's throat

    Half-swording technique: next, a strike to the assailant’s throat

  • Half-swording technique: next, a strike to the groin

    Half-swording technique: next, a strike to the groin

  • Half-swording technique: finish with an upper strike to the throat holding the2x4 with both hands.

    Half-swording technique: finish with an upper strike to the throat holding the2x4 with both hands.

The “Arts” Explained

Longsword

The Queen of Weapons. Used in the late middle ages and early Renaissance, it is the foundation of all armed combat. Principles learned with the longsword can be applied to any hand-held weapon.

Messer (long knife)

The common man’s fighting blade. It is the foundation for all one-handed weapons. Used at a closer range than the longsword or staff, messer fighting improves reflexes and defensive abilities.

Dagger

The weapon of ambush and last resort. Small blades have been used throughout history, and defending against them is one of the most desperate situations an unarmed combatant can face. Dagger fighting is the bridge that links armed and unarmed combat.

Staff

The swordsman’s worst nightmare. Combining reach, speed, ease of use and raw power, the staff is a devastating weapon. A staff can reach any target more easily than any hand held weapon. Staff fighting teaches body awareness and forces one to defend themselves head to toe. It is the foundation for fighting with all hafted weapons, from spear to halberd.

Shillelagh

Faction fighting at its finest. At The Forge, we train in Shiner Faction Irish stickfighting. Developed by Irish immigrants to Canada, this rough and ready system was used to good effect in logging turf wars in the Ottawa Valley. The Shiner Faction was truly “notorious”… come see why they were so feared.

Improvised Weapons

The best weapon is the one you have right now. By using the principles learned from traditional weapons, any object can become a tool with which to defend yourself, from an umbrella to a pool cue to a briefcase.

Unarmed

Knee to the face, punch to the midsection, elbow to the temple, fingers into the eyesockets, your body is itself a deadly impact weapon. Even more destructive is the body’s ability to grapple an opponent. A skilled grappler can control his opponent’s body standing or on the ground, can choke him, lock or break his joints, and use throws to hit him with the biggest impact weapon of all: the Earth. Wrestling is the foundation of all combat, armed or otherwise, and even armed combatants learn how to grapple using their weapons as levers. From the sweet science of boxing to devastating kampfringen (combat wrestling), we aim to be comfortable at all ranges of combat.

 

More Techniques Demonstrated