HEMA knife fighting

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by idols11, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. idols11

    idols11 Valued Member

    Does anyone on this forum have any experience with HEMA knife? I got some of the manuals online and practiced them at home, the techniques seem to be effective although sometimes difficult to pull off.

    I have also trained a bit of Escrima and some of the techniques are identical, but Escrima also does trapping which to my knowledge HEMA does not.

    My question is how good do you think HEMA knife is?
  2. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    Like everything it depends on the context you're using it for and which period you're pulling from. For example are armoured fighting techniques as applicable to modern unarmoured civilian combat as another period's unarmoured knife techniques? No. Then you account for the likely presence of other weapons, type of knives, the legal system... It all factors in to how effective it is and how much modification it requires for modern use in a given context.
  3. blindside

    blindside Valued Member

    I haven't really spent much time actively researching HEMA knife, and most of my experience with it is seeing the material out of Talhoffer, so this is a limited viewpoint. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't much of the HEMA knife very dagger oriented? And most of the attacks are based on reverse grip knife positions?

    From what I remember of the Talhoffer material it seemed decent and had overlap to techniques that I see in my kali. There was a sort of spinning technique that is also in both my kenpo and kali curriculums that I don't think I could ever realistically pull off, but maybe that is just me.

    With regard to trapping, any wrap over or any time you go forearm to forearm, that is a trap, so i would be hesitant to say that it doesn't exist.
  4. Langenschwert

    Langenschwert Molon Labe

    The HEMA dagger sources are excellent for what they do. Against an attacker with a screwdriver or large kitchen knife, you will find nothing better. Against a tactical folder, less so, but still better than many. Most of the dagger material deals with a rondell, which is quite long: held in reverse grip it will reach your elbow or close to it. Remember they had to carry daggers that would give you at least a half a chance against a sword wielding opponent. While a very potent weapon (especially against heavy clothing), the rondell allows for some levering disarms which are not as useful against a modern folding knife.

    HEMA dagger work is well-worth studying, but not as a primary source of modern knife defence. You're better off with MBC/CBC for that. It will however, add some interesting things to your toolbox. The grappling focus is very impressive, and will certainly make you a better knife fighter overall. Just be aware of the context in which it developed.
  5. kuntaoer

    kuntaoer Valued Member

    When I first started to work on my research in the use of the short blade aka bowie knife, I was directed to george silver and his paradox of self defense by a couple of people who had been fencers in the states and was researching the use of the short sword.. In the 18th and 19th century a lot of the american blade work that was taught in the New Orleans area was based on the use of the sabre and cutlass. James Keating aka Master at Arms Keating out of Combat Technologies uses the fencing systems as part of the foundation in the development of his blade syllabus.
  6. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Never practiced it but have been on the recieving end of it in sparring against a guy who does Fiore. (I was for reasons which I wont explain using a smallsword).I can only give you my impressions.

    1) reverse grip
    2) passing footwork

    There is was little attempt at trapping, but from what little I know of fiore the system tends to bipass it straight to grappling. The dagger he was using was quite long (but wasn't a rondel) and with the passing footwork it feels the angle of attack veers from one side to the other, which looks disconcerting. There seemed to be an emphasis on constantly keeping the initiative and being on the attack, though this may have been the approach of my opponent rather than the system itself. The sparring played out quite predictably. Either I would stop hit him on a preparation, or he would somehow find a way past my smallsword bind the blade, get a grip on me a stab. The reverse grip down the elbow was used to parry or ward off a thrust an a few occasions, but actually made it easier for me to hit because i could realign my point quicker than he could. Got the impression that it was designed for close range affrays against other daggers, or getting the drop on a opponent before they could fully draw their sword. Again this is just an impression. Mileage may vary.

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