Shillelagh Bataireacht—some thoughts

So, over the last few months I’ve been getting into Irish Bataireacht—that’s shillelagh stick-fighting for the non-initiated. It’s like no martial art I’ve seen before. Trust my ancestors to come up with something so profoundly strange. That’s the Irish for you, aisteach ach alainn mar sin fein! What’s it all about then? Basically, it’s about … Continue reading Shillelagh Bataireacht—some thoughts

Spear and shield—some thoughts

I had the opportunity a while back to experiment with combining spear and shield both in single duels and in larger skirmishes. I wouldn’t say I’ve solved it definitively but I think I’ve got a few points worth adding to the discussion. Let’s start with one-on-one duels. This is where I think the biggest disagreement … Continue reading Spear and shield—some thoughts

“But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

So I was re-watching Game of Thrones these last few weeks, you know, as you do, and I saw an interesting fight scene. It reminded me of something I’d learned from studying primary sources in history from a lot to of different cultures and times. Basically, fighting in reality doesn’t play by nice rules where … Continue reading “But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

How to fight multiple opponents

Get a longer weapon. That’s for starters. I’ll explain more in a second but, seriously, if you could pick one thing before going into a fight like this, that’d be it. If you’re fighting solo against more than one opponent, you need every little trick and twist to get the odds even slightly back in … Continue reading How to fight multiple opponents

A hidden benefit of disarms…

You would have thought that disarms were fairly straightforward; find some tricky way to take their sword off them, they lose the sword, end of story. Sometimes disarming someone is that simple but there are times when being disarmed is the least of their worries. Let's start off with what a disarm is and when … Continue reading A hidden benefit of disarms…

Charge!—The best guards for running into battle

This might not be something you think of immediately when you start any kind of historical fencing. Most sparring takes place in duels between two people. You start off at a nice, safe distance from each other and then step into measure when you're ready. Group combat is fundamentally different. If you don't reach the … Continue reading Charge!—The best guards for running into battle

Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

No. Well that was easy. The answer's still no but I'd like to explore why that's the case. I'd also like to explore why, if you're so unlikely to succeed, we have sections on this in historical manuals. If you are so likely to fail, what's the point in trying at all? So let's back … Continue reading Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?

I hear so many instructors telling people off for trying to block a cut by swinging wildly into it. Is that really a problem though? And if it is, does that mean counter-cutting is useless or is there a way to do it properly? So yeah, it probably won't surprise you to learn that swinging … Continue reading Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?