The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Friday, 21 June 2013

Some observations on historical dagger interpretations

There are a number of video on the net of people interpreting historical dagger techniques.
Generally they start ready with weapon/s drawn and out of distance  Both facing each other. Then an attack is made, most occasions with a wind up of preparing the dagger for use, and there by signalling the attack to the patient. The agent then generally closes distance with their body leading and make the "attack" with the arm rather than the weapon presented to the patient who then niftily pulls of the technique from the fight book.
Or we see two people in mask sparring with daggers, try to score hits on each other, occasionally getting in to grappling/infighting range and generally we don't see anything that looks like a historical technique

It could be said that these are training constructs, that this is a way to begin learning the techniques or other concepts through the use of the dagger. This may be true in some case and it is one use.

However much of we see is intended as interpretations of what is seen in the sources, not as training methods

What we need to remember how and when a dagger is intended to be used.  The reality is that the dagger is the weapon of last resort, when other weapons have failed or have become a hindrance because of the distance one is engaged. As such one would not be "ready", would not be out of distance and would be unlikely to be facing your opponent.

Granted there were aspect of formal challenges etc. where the combatants would make a certain number of passes armed with daggers alone. In this case however they would be armoured, which would make the need to to close to grappling infighting range essential.

If one is to training/interpreting historical dagger techniques, one needs to consider the factors that would influence their use in the historical context, it seems this something that many overlook.

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