I have always fully understood HEMA researchers' reasons for staying mostly away from the topic of outnumbered combat, an issue rarely approached by authors and, when talked about, done so in a vague manner.

At the same time, however, I thought that this situation was unfortunate and always hoped that it would eventually change, for Jogo do Pau's preservation of both outnumbered and duelling has enabled: 

  1. The preservation of a martial heritage in its whole,
  2. more complete understanding of the tactics, in the form of the tactical purpose for which each technique was developed.

Recently though, I have been extremely pleased to witness a growing interest in the Montante, a long sword of the same length of the commonly used walking and combat staff.

On this topic, and for starters, as the following clip looks to demonstrate, the tactical constraints brought about by the need to confront multiple foes force these different weapons, staff & sword, to be used in the same manner.

Still, within outnumbered combat, the similarities do not stop here, as showcased by the following explanation of how to adapt to narrow locations. (please note that the clip was put together for demonstration purposes, and that the intended hand strikes were pulled back for obvious safety reasons)

The staff and the sword may not be brothers, but they are probably cousins at the very least, and close cousins capable of helping each other out ... at least that is what I am hoping for and, in coherence with my Portuguese roots, hope the very last thing to die.

Kind regards,
Luis Preto


Luis Preto

Masters in Sport Sciences & Jogo do Pau Instructor.

Founder of Preto Martial Arts (www.pretomartialarts.com).


Jogo do Pau

Parrying skill

Understanding footwork

Teaching sequence of technique & tactics

Outnumbered combat

Teaching of technique & tactics

Physical conditioning: A movement based approach


From battlefields to duelling: The evolution of JdP

Combat tactics: Decision making in weapon based martial arts