Tag: Combat

Review: Ontario Knives Chimera

Among the countries of the world one stands out as truly blessed with excellent knife makers manufacturing big utility/combat knives. Why that is, is hard to tell. Size is of course one factor, but perhaps also a generally high living standard combined with a still fairly common need for the knife as a tool, both for utility and for soldiering. Maybe even combined with romantic ideas about the early days of the nation with Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie, with the WW2, Korea and Vietnam wars and surviving in harsh conditions and in parts just tied to a certain common love for weapons. Or all...

Read More

The genealogy of the Glima masters recognized by the Viking Glima Federation

Lars Magnar Enoksen (b. 1960) is president of the Viking Glima Federation and its master instructor. The following text is a short presentation of the grand masters who are Lars Magnar’s most influential instructors in the art of Glima. Lars Magnar began his apprenticeship in the late 1980s when he was tutored by experienced masters of Glima in Iceland which was the only place at the time where this art was still practiced in unbroken traditions since the Viking age. It should be mentioned that in the late 1980s there was almost nobody who knew of Glima in Scandinavia...

Read More

Why Fight? The Objectives of Liechtenauer’s Fencing

When we hear how people describe the art of fencing in the Middle Ages, we often hear them say that it was all about fighting to the death, or at least to harm the opponent in a way that he couldn’t continue fighting. Preferably as quickly as possible. Kill him before he kills you, that’s the way to survive. In fact, I personally think that this notion is utter nonsense. There may have been individual duels like that, no doubt, but in my opinion that was not the prime intention of the masters. So let me invite you to dig a bit deeper and explore why people fight and what that might tell us about the arts we practice. Most HEMA practitioners today can explain quite clearly, why they fight. It is challenging, it is demanding, it is fun. But what was it like back in the day when Liechtenauer’s teachings were written down? What was the actual purpose of a duel in the times of Peter von Danzig or Jude Lew? Why did the duellists risk their physical integrity and what was their aim? I’m convinced that many discussions we have in modern HEMA are actually linked to these questions, and the answers may be controversial. First of all, let us make no mistake about one crucial thing: humans are social beings and most have a strong sense...

Read More

The OODA Loop & HEMA

“Knowledge is not power. Power alone is power. What knowledge does is provide the means to determine where to focus that power, for maximum effect.”  – Carl von Clausewitz [3] The gears of war turn throughout the Ages as combat perpetually evolves. This evolution of weapons and tactics does not include a change in the process, the intent or the results. Combat is violence and a constant series of decision (making) cycles regardless of the scale in which it is conducted. To be ever more proficient physically and mentally is the goal, and few things outside of (historical) study and sweat bear such fruit. In search of this goal, as martialists we know the need to harness and improve our Fingerspitzengefühl [4], as it is an improvable skill (Richards, 2010), not some kind of third eye or an equally unattainable sixth sense. More topically specific, we also know not to go into the fight with plans to utilize particular techniques since, no plan survives first contact [5]. A self created catalogue of pre-conceived or pre-constructed tactics or maneuvers clutters the mind and slows or stalls not only the mental processing of the battlefield environment [6] but the physical application of violence as well. As such, it (a busy mind) effectively shortens the Reactionary Gap [7] and degrades combat effectiveness. One of those areas outside of sweat and historical study...

Read More

Knightly Arts: A true-hearted letter of warning of the sad state of current Christianity.

How did one train soldiers and horses for war in the 17th century? These images give a small glimpse of how this was done in Germany, quite possibly in the city of Siegen, somewhere around the first quarter of the 1600s. These illustrations are taken from Johann Jacobi von Wallhausen’s “Ritter kunst : Darinnen begriffen, I. Ein trewhertziges Warnung- schreiben wegen deß Betrübten Zustands jetziger Christenheit. II. Undersicht aller Handgriffen so ein jeder Cauallirer hochnötig zu wissen bedarff.“ of 1614, and show various forms of practice for war, both for man and horse. In my opinion they are especially...

Read More