I remember some hot debates about a decade ago about what Bowie Knife fighting technique would have looked like back in the day. One camp believed it would have been based primarily on military saber technique. That is what Jim Keating taught early on. But if you want to beat the hell out of your Bowie, just try using saber parries! I think Keating later modified things a bit, maybe based on feedback from Dwight McLemore, because he later seemed to put less emphasis on parrying. Lynn Thompson is the camp that uses the Bowie more like a rapier...very little to no parrying with lots of evasive in and out footwork and sniping blows. I think the best may be somewhere in the middle. I like what Dwight teaches.
As far as the Bowie design....von Tempsky's looks pretty standard and nothing special. But an interesting point....years ago Dwight provided me with a copy of a piece of artwork by Albrecht Durer that showed a robed man holding a book in one arm and a knife in the opposite hand. This knife looked almost exactly like the "typical" Bowie knife and therefore almost exactly like von Tempsky's knife. And this was from the mid 1600's! So while the Bowie design likey arose in the US independently, it had been around for awhile!
Thanks for the info on von Tempsky. I had never heard of him before, but he sounds like a very interesting fellow! I may have to get a copy of Kircher's book now!