Is attacking the legs a lack of chivalry?

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Is attacking the legs a lack of chivalry?

Postby Alex H. » 07 Sep 2006 10:13

Is attacking the legs a lack of chivalry?

I'm asking because it isn't seen much despite it's obvious utility and it was apparently common practice. Wisby details huge numbers of peri mortem injuries to the lower legs. Also there is one account of knights fighting where one spears the other through the leg and this is looked down upon.

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Postby Fab » 07 Sep 2006 10:39

Not a matter of chivalry, but survivability :

Outreach.

If you strike at the legs, the other guy strikes at the head. And as his reach is better than yours, chances are you'll get hit, while he steps out of the way.

Ask Philippe Willaume of his Dijon 2004 tournament techniques :)

edit : just to add that Visby was mainly a fight with shields. so things are a bit different.
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Postby Anders Linnard » 07 Sep 2006 10:55

Fab wrote:Not a matter of chivalry, but survivability :

Outreach.

If you strike at the legs, the other guy strikes at the head. And as his reach is better than yours, chances are you'll get hit, while he steps out of the way.

Ask Philippe Willaume of his Dijon 2004 tournament techniques :)

edit : just to add that Visby was mainly a fight with shields. so things are a bit different.


Also there is no telling of what weapons were used to cut the legs.

/A
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Postby Herbert » 07 Sep 2006 10:57

I would side with Fab here. Striking for the legs attracts hits to the head. But if your opponent doesn't react that way, is too slow etc. then why not. I a fight to death I would use everything that works. If its the legs, then its the legs. I.33 never goes for the legs, Ringeck/Liegnitzer etc do go for the legs but advice to protect the head while doing so.

The armour includes leg armour also - so it was a target even when fought against other knights, I assume.

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Postby admin » 07 Sep 2006 11:09

Yeah, it's impossible to answer this question in generalities, as the specifics change everything!
For example - in unarmoured longsword striking at the leg is suicidal - Fiore says so, in black and white.
However, there are LOTS of strikes at the leg in Bolognese sword and buckler/rotella, because the shield can cover the head while you strike at the leg. So a shield changes everything.
Then we see strikes at the leg and even foot in the pollaxe material - in the Anonimous Bolognese source there are sereval stabs at the foot and Talhoffer has hits at the leg with pollaxe. This is for two reasons, I believe - 1) the weapon is longer and has a back end to cover with, and 2) armour -
Armour can change everything. If you have a great bascinet on then you may not care if someone bashed you in the head with their sword - it's not going to do much, whereas you can hook their leg or stab into the back of their knee or ankle while they are doing it. I'd happily trade a 'pling!' on my helmet for a stab into the back of the opponent's leg :).

So these things can change the leg-hitting rule:
1) Shields
2) Pole weapons
3) Armour
http://www.antique-swords.co.uk/

I like swords more than you.
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Postby Carlo » 07 Sep 2006 18:31

It largely depends upon weapons, at single weapons (backswords, sabres, rapiers etc...) attacking the leg is quite a risk. At sword and shield, the leg cut has always been my speciality and I don't hesitate to employ it at sword and buckler and sword and dagger (as Fab knows :wink: , sorry again) as well.
I think it is rarely seen at longswords, though my way of using, just for fun, is not historically accurate and so I also cut to the legs at times.
At staves, I think it's quite common occurrence, but it has to be done the right way.

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Postby Monster Zero » 07 Sep 2006 19:04

It is possible to attack the legs without exposing your head.

Takes James Brown flexibility though...
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Postby Matclarke » 07 Sep 2006 19:10

Monster Zero wrote:It is possible to attack the legs without exposing your head.

Takes James Brown flexibility though...


Or if you fight Mr McGregg-the man with a leg for an arm, and an arm for a leg
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Postby Monster Zero » 07 Sep 2006 19:18

You can also sidestep an incoming attack and chop away at the knees.
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Postby Dai D » 07 Sep 2006 20:59

Is attacking the legs a lack of chivalry?

Id rather be alive than Chivalrous (sp. But to drunk to care) :D
Milk two sugars please

Venire a visitare se si pensa che sono abbastanza difficile
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Postby Carlo » 07 Sep 2006 22:06

Monster 0 wrote: It is possible to attack the legs without exposing your head.

Takes James Brown flexibility though...


Image

What actually it takes is: a feint, a quick line change, flying out as fast as a fart.
PS: this is my first demo and, out of nervousness, I tapped Mike square on the knee :?

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Postby Monster Zero » 07 Sep 2006 22:13

You got his knee all right, however he has a straight line shot to your head.

Remember, hitting the knee isn't going to end the fight before he can cut you back there.
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Postby Carlo » 07 Sep 2006 22:19

Indeed, I like to cut no lower than the belt at single sword. I was just demonstrating how it could be done. For my money, leg cuts are good repostes, not attacks.

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Postby Monster Zero » 07 Sep 2006 22:20

Similar technique is in the FMA styles I study, except we cut to the swordarm.
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Postby Carlo » 07 Sep 2006 23:24

Here a reposte to the leg would make sense, because the sword is bound by the dagger

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Which brings me to another consideration: in the real world I'd always use a second weapon, cause if you can carry a sword, you can carry a dagger too.

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Postby Monster Zero » 07 Sep 2006 23:35

Agreed on the double weapons.

Lots of other higher priority targets available in that bind however that I'd take over the legs.
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Postby Stunt Weasel » 07 Sep 2006 23:49

Agreed, Thom. I frequently attack the legs but only under certain circumstances and from a cross like that I'd much rather strike the sword arm, head or chest (or all three) than go for a leg.

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Jarnac and Châtaigneraye

Postby Jeffrey Hull » 09 Sep 2006 04:31

I think this outstanding article answers the question quite decisively:

Duel of the Century
The Judicial Combat of Jarnac and Châtaigneraye - France, 1547
By J. Clements and Belinda Hertz

http://www.thearma.org/essays/DOTC.htm

Enjoy!
Jeffrey Hull
 

Postby Fab » 09 Sep 2006 11:05

A few inaccuracies...
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Postby Jeffrey Hull » 11 Sep 2006 05:14

Fab wrote:A few inaccuracies...


Oh how refreshing and unexpected.

Yet another flippant dismissal courtesy of Fab.
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