The European Historical Combat Guild

Investigating Europe's Historical combative methods and behaviours

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Interpretation... or making stuff up?

A short last post for 2013.
This is one of a number of pieces that have been sitting in the Drafts folder, that I intend to get published as we enter the new year.
I hope that  you have all had a good 2013 and will have a better 2014...

I have seen some videos recently, and have again been reminded of the issue that comes back to the interpretation of sources...
When a video is posted claiming to be an interpretation  of some images from a MS. and then the live action shown. looks nothing like the images shown.

While I understand the idea extrapolating concepts, principles, tactics etc from techniques. However if one is going to show specific illustrations, I believe it holds that the moving interpretation you shown should contain moments where the illustrations are reflected.

For example is the MS shows the technique being done from behind someone who has been turned in the set up, then the "interpretation" shows a technique being done from the front of the opponent, then it really is not an interpretation but an extrapolation. The same thing with hand and foot positions, either do the action as illustrated and then explain why you can or may need to do it differently, or don't show the illustration.

Otherwise all I am seeing is stuff that has been made up claiming to be something it is not.

Of course once you have done a faithful interpretation of the technique etc. then show how it may be applied in different ways and under varying circumstances, but show it being done the original way first

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Nature, influence, lineage

The image below was shared on Facebook
It has obvious connections to positions seen in the Works of Fiore dei Liberi, if you are familiar with them, you can see it.

Various comments arose, going over the areas of the universal nature of certain actions and positions due to the morphology of the human body, the nature of influence and transmission in the form of lineage or teaching and the concept of a pan European combat "style".

I find it interesting that when similarities between actions in different cultures, for example medieval Japan and Medieval Europe are observed and highlighted the general response is... well because the human body is basically the same the world over... so it's not surprising that we will encounter things that look and/or operate the same way. However if someone suggests that their may be some connection via lineage or direct transmission...we consider then to be a bit strange.

Yet when the same thing is observed in a similar culture or time frame and where despite cultural differences there is over lap and similarities, the attitude often flips. Now people look for and suggest, linear transmission, direct influence... Now... if one is suggesting that the similarities could be down to morphology, and facing the same problems and having the same tools to solve them often producing similar results, is treated as a little strange!

I am not holding with any faction or view point, just airing an observation on the workings of the human mind.