The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

There really are only so many ways to skin a cat!

We have always said that regardless of cultural origin and period that there only so many ways that the human body will work. There are only so many ways to swing a weapon and only so many ways to move. However it is always nice when you see something that confirms it.

I came across the bottom picture while looking through a book on Kendo in The Guild Master, John Wallers library. The book was written in the early 1960’s

There are obviously minor structural differences, the Kendoist on the right is further into his attack, his arms are straighter and his hands are higher. His right foot is higher off the ground, but I would say that this is to do with fighting on sand. Otherwise his position is pretty close, to his German cousin.
Both swordsmen on the left are in almost identical positions. The Kendoka is hitting higher to his opponent’s face, but that in my opinion is because his opponent has his hands higher. The only other difference is his back leg, which is not pushing him so far forward. I interpret this as him withdrawing slightly as he counter strikes his advancing opponent. Otherwise the angling of the upper body, front leg, arms and sword is mirrored.

The picture of the Kendo is from a book written in the early 1960s in Japan. So we have two images roughly 500 years and half a world away, unsurprisingly finding the same solution to a similar tactical situation.

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