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Combat Manuals of The Middle Ages

November 10, 2011

While many of the best known books created during the medieval ages are illuminated religious texts there were a collection of books dealing with the problems of physical violence and warfare that was a reality of daily life. They also provided advice for judicial duels which were a common method for members of the upper castes to solve legal disputes  These combat manuals dealt with principles and techniques in the use weapons such as swords, pole-arms, knives, by on foot, horse back and in combination with standing grappling. Many of these texts were lost or forgotten with the advent gunpowder in Europe, beginning the of age of firearms. People today are using these manuals to study, understand and recreate these forgotten European systems of self-defense.  Here’s one such manual translated from the original German into English:   Medieval Combat, A 15th C Illustrated Manual of Sword Fighting and Close-Quarter Combat – Hans Talhoffer

There are study groups and organization devoted to the Medieval/Renaissance martial arts of course have an online presence and can be found sites such as these:

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