The Great 'Triangulation' - What is it?

 

 

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Swordsmanship, or martial arts in general, are hard to simulate realistically in a competitive manner. Many martial arts have evolved into sports that we know the names of well - sport fencing (foil, epee, sabre), kendo, singlestick and so on. But these are sports that have grown out of the need to train for real fighting - they are not fighting simulations per se. There are both emotional elements which are different as well as physical and mechanical factors - to perform a successful cut in modern sport sabre is not necessarily to perform a successful cut in reality with a 19thC military sabre, and to face a safe 'sparring' weapon with a mask and other protection on is very far removed from facing sharp steel with nothing but your clothes to protect you.

Therefore, in attempting to reconstruct real historical martial arts we must use 'Triangulation'. Triangulation is the use of many different angles - varied training and 'sparring' methods, with varying equipment, aims and objectives - to estimate a central point of reality - to get a perspective on the realilty of mortal combat within a historical environment. We cannot, and do not want to fight to the death in a historical environment, using historical methods, wearing historically perfect clothes and equipment and dieing in a historically perfect manner.

Archaeologically speaking this is impossible, as we ourselves are physically and mentally a product of our time. Even if two people were willing to duel with sharp weapons to the death, they would be modern people in a modern environment using modern replicas playing a role - at best they would just be plotting another point on the 'Triangulation' map - at a very high cost!

Therefore to try and get a realistic perspective on historical combat we use many varied methods - some are arguably better than others and different groups of people have different preferences, but ultimately all our experiments and the analyses thereof help us to get a little bit closer to understanding the ancient martial arts we are students of.

- Easton 03/2005

 

 

This page was composed by Matt Easton - Last update: 07/04/2005

Contact: schola-gladiatoria@hotmail.co.uk

 

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