Here is an excerpt from a letter from the famous Sir Philip Sidney to his younger brother, Robert. The letter is dated 18 October 1580. In it, he gives advice to his brother on fencing practice. Sir Phillip was aged 26 at the time; he died 6 years later, fighting the Spanish in the Netherlands.
Here is a link to an painting, said to be of Sir Philip Sidney:
"When you play at weapons, I would have you get thick caps and brasers, and play out your play lustily, for indeed ticks and dalliances are nothing in earnest, for the time of the one and of the other greatly differs; and use as well the blow as the thrust; it is good in itself, and besides exerciseth your breath and strength, and will make you a strong man at the tourney and barriers. First in any case practise the single sword, and then with the dagger; let no day pass without an hour or two of such exercise: the rest study, or confer diligently, and so shall you come home to my comfort and credit.
Lord ! how I have babbled: once again farewell, dearest brother.
Your most loving and careful brother,
At Leicester House, this 18th of October, 1580."
Source: Shakespeare's England: An Account of the Life & Manners of His Age; ed. Walter Alexander Raleigh, Sidney Lee, Charles Talbut Onions Vol. 2, p. 395 (London, Clarendon Press, 1962)
Full text at this link:
http://books.google.be/books?id=5BoEAAA ... #PPA199,M1
bigdummy wrote:A new home for the debate, on whether steel only is ok or if shinai or nylon or padded wasters can be used, and whether fencing in a sport context is historical and can exist in parallel to fencing to kill.
My $.02 on the latter: I think sport combat has existed side-by-side with the lethal martial arts going back to early tribal times. There are many specific examples some of which have already been pointed out, I could site more maybe in another thread.
But I think it's clear from history that people always engaged in sparring or free play or whatever you prefer to call it, because you really can't learn to fight without testing it out. And training schools, neighborhoods, communities, tribes, counties, burroughs, monastaries, gangs, fiefdoms and etc. used to test each other with a wide variety of competitions.
It is I would like to point out that the historical reality from roughly the 16th century on back, and increasingly so the further you go backward in time, is that most of the sporting combat was a little rougher than we are used to engaging in today, or probably could engage in legally in most of our countries (can't fight bouts until the first guys scalp is split for example) I suspect there is a good reason why they were that rough, and it was to minimize the amount of rules so that sporting combat didn't seperate out into an actual sport.
Also IMO if you can't beat a "thug" who is strong and fast and has quick reflexes but no knowledge of historical techniques, then either YOUR techniques are incorrect or your own ability as a fighter are too feeble to be able to really become a serious martial artist. Technique may not completely trump physical ability and strength etc., but with proper training it does leverage what physical ability you have by several orders of magnitude.
In the old days of my stick fighting club we used to practice in a parking lot near a popular public basketball court in a pretty rough part of town. To keep good community relations, we used to let anyone who wanted to try sparring step up and try it out. It was a good test, aggressive guys with very good reflexes and speed are very challenging, but if you have learned timing and reach and measure, which is what realistic sparring teaches you, your technique will win out.
Which is why I highly reccomend trying out sparring with people from other Martial Arts and with fit, aggressive "thuggish" people from off the street and not just within the emerging fraternity of HEMAteers if you really want to test your 'Art'.
David A Teague wrote:
I'm under the impression the the real question from the prior thread is:
Under what type of rules should a modern longsword bout be fought?
admin wrote:I agree - in fact I'd go as far as to say that the one great bastion protecting a competitive martial art from becoming purely a sport is to keep changing rules for competition (or have lots of different rules).
Dean wrote:The shinai is one possible training device that should not make its way into sport simply because it does not behave like the weapon it is espousing to emulate. The most obvious is in the engage and the bind, and also beating.
This is for a different (and often repeated) thread. But you cannot rightly have a sport with sharp swords either.
swordflasher wrote:Well, on the original question, I guess very little gun practice is firing live rounds at criminals, but that doesn't make firing ranges unmartial.
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