Some Recommendations / Medieval / Renaissance / 18th & 19th Century / Non-English / Videos

Videos:
"Ancient Warriors"
The Learning Channel. A few episodes of this entertaining series feature good fighting and costuming. Others suffer from weak editing and narration. Covers Normans, Teutonic Knights, Samurai, Spartans, Romans, Zulu, Ninja, and many others.
"Arms In Action"
Leeds Museum series. A brief history that is very well done, interesting with excellent footage. Episodes on the Sword, the Spear, and other weapons. Highly recommended.
"Battle of Hastings"
Reenactment by the Marklander's Medieval group in Maryland. NOT REVIEWED.
"The Blow By Blow Guide to Sword Fighting in The Renaissance Style"
Mike Loades: An informative and interesting video by a renown fight master that reveals the motivations and concerns of fight directors and actor combatants. It is an instructional guide to theatrical fighting and should in no way be confused with serious practice of the martial art form.
"Crimson Steel"
Toshishiro Obata: One of the best demonstrations of Japanese swordsmanship and the cutting power of katanas. Shows basic movements and actual test cutting by a master. He also has a sequel.
"Deadly Duels"
The Discovery Channel. A three part series on the history of dueling. Parts 1 and 2 cover some interesting sword combats. Good overall fights, but suffering from poor camera work and post production editing. Excellent interviews with some noted authorities. Fight scenes range from mediocre to excellent. Narration is less informative.
"Great Battles"
This series of famous historical battles features some excellent graphic animation and some good reenactment and living history groups. Particularly the Hastings, Bannockburn, Culloden Moor, and others.
"How the Estrella War Was Won"
SCA . The video quality of this coverage of an annual SCA war in Arizona is so poor that despite heavy editing little can be seen. It also features more talking than fighting. The best action consist of only the last twenty seconds as the credits roll.
"Evolution of the Sword"
Maestro Charles Selberg, American Fencers Supply Co., San Francisco. VHS- 3S, 90 min. $40. Part of a series of instructional sport fencing videos, this one showing the development of swords leading to the modern sporting form. NOT REVIEWED ...but highly suspect according to rumor.
"Masters of Defence"
The Tower of London: A superb short history of English swordsmanship from the late middle ages to the 19th century. Excellent examples of cut & thrust, rapier, and small sword fence. Authentic weapons and armor. Very well done.
"Medieval Swordfighting - Part 1"
Compagnia De' Malipiero, Massimo Malipiero. Italy ’98.
This video is very unique in that it focuses on the teachings of a specific Medieval fight master, Fiore Dei Liberi of c. 1410, but it's also somewhat problematic. The production values are good and the effort that went into it considerable, but the interpretation is colored by the introduction of standard stage-combat sensibilities. No real insights or few actual martial techniques from Fiore are included. The staged fights are a little too staged, and there are some howlers in terms of technique (saw-toothed blades derived from parrying edge-on-edge, for example, and some extremely lame sword and shield fighting --which himself Dei Liberi didn't teach). The fight scenes and techniques are generally all approached in a theatrical style and stiffly executed. Although the material covered includes some realistic disarms and entering techniques, their application is forced and awkward. Some much needed contact-sparring and some test-cutting with sharp blades would have surely given the combatants a much deeper understanding and appreciation for their source material. Given the wealth of information that Dei Liberi has to offer, this video barely touches on  the fundamentals of his method (only a few stances and actions are even named). Criticism aside, this video offers an introduction to the work of a historical master, and its worth having in your library -- especially considering the dearth of material currently available.
"Medieval Swordfighting - Part 2"
Compagnia De' Malipiero, Massimo Malipiero. Italy ’99. - NOT YET REVIEWED
Myth of the Sword
By Hank Reinhardt. Paladin Press Video, VHS 2001.
The first in a series of videos exploring the reality and the romance of historical European swords and weaponry from the premier expert on the subject in North America and HACA founder. Mr. Reinhardt explains their form, function, attributes, capabilities, and misconcpetions. Material focuses on the early Medieval sword & shield and includes test-cutting. Finally, a reliable source that shows it like it is without all the Hollywood nonsense and duelling sport cliches.
"Now Thrive The Armorers"
The Tower of London : A mildly interesting look at the great Tower of London collection. Includes swords and firearms.
"Stage Fighting"
A university level introduction course to theatrical stage combat principles. NOT REVIEWED.
"Viking Sword Video – How to use the Viking Sword in Real Combat"
With Hank Reinhardt. Paladin Press 2001. This short informal video (5 minutes) is a useful source of early medieval sword & shield combat recreation. Hank Reinhardt offers his interpretation of Viking swordplay and in the process shows many valuable sword & shield combat fundamentals in a casual and friendly manner.   The tape covers 4 simple fights: unarmored single sword, unarmored sword and shield, lightly armored sword and shield, and full-mail Norman style sword and shield.  The video includes a superb demonstration of the effects of edge on edge-parrying/banging on sharp blades.   Also included are interesting test cutting examples on shield edges, raw meat, and mail armor.  The fighting displays are above average and give an impression of how the weapons and armor were used in the period offering students many things to consider in their own study and practice. While not a “how to tape” or an in-depth analysis of Viking martial skills, it is worthwhile viewing.
 
 

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