Samples of Medieval & Renaissance Unarmed Fighting Skills

Since the time of the Ancient Greek Pankration to Roman pugilism it has always been understood that there is a direct link between armed and unarmed fighting concepts and techniques. There is no doubt that Western fighting methods contained considerable understanding of sophisticated and highly effective grappling, disarms, take-downs, ground-fighting, and submission holds. Although this area has been absent from much of Western fencing for the last 150 years or more, and is notoriously neglected by many pursuing historical fencing today, Medieval & Renaissance Masters of Defence did incorporate these concepts into the curricula of fighting styles.

Though ARMA’s efforts remain focused on armed historical combat, we are also aware of the close and important historical relationship between the armed and unarmed as taught in period Schooles of Defence.  ARMA already incorporates many seizures, disarms, and some takes-downs as well as kicks and hand-blows into its Medieval & Renaissance weapons study (including limited use in free-sparring). However, ARMA is now beginning a more concerted and systematic effort to study these methods in coordination with experts on ground-fighting, submission-fighting, wrestling, and grappling. We are excited about the possibilities for cross-training. Many in the Asian martial arts community are also very excited to have been presented with some of the vast wealth of material now being uncovered. 

While unarmed skills must take a back-seat to weapon proficiencies in ARMA, we believe a significant shift in the martial arts community is now beginning to unfold.   As serious research into the reconstruction and replication of these sophisticated fighting methods develops, it will not be impossible to foresee in perhaps ten years or so, a fully complete and highly effective style of authentically Medieval & Renaissance unarmed Western martial art fully re-emerge as a legitimate unarmed fighting style for modern self-defense.

Below is but a small sampling of sophisticated unarmed techniques from several surviving manuals. This represents only the tip of a very large ice-berg.

CodexWTN.JPG (5898 bytes)
From the 15th century Codex Wallerstein

DLmoreTN.JPG (4093 bytes)
Fiore Dei Liberi 1410
Dltn.jpg (4697 bytes)
Fiore Dei Liberi 1410
DLmore2TN.JPG (5194 bytes)
Fiore Dei Liberi 1410
STUDER6TN.JPG (6847 bytes)
Das Solothurner Fechtbuch 1423

studertn.jpg (4785 bytes)
Das Solothurner Fechtbuch 1423

studer2TN.JPG (4869 bytes)
Das Solothurner Fechtbuch  1423

studer3TN.JPG (4551 bytes)
Das Solothurner Fechtbuch  1423

Talf1TN.JPG (4787 bytes)
Talhoffer's Fechtbuch
1443 (Ott Jud)

Talf2TN.JPG (3634 bytes)
Talhoffer's Fechtbuch 1443 (Ott Jud)

Vadi3TN.JPG (74315 bytes)
From Filippo Vadi 1480's
Vadi4TN.JPG (6789 bytes)
From Filippo Vadi 1480's
vadi5tn.jpg (6878 bytes)
From Filippo Vadi 1480's

PKkick-10.jpg (170249 bytes)
Palus Kal c. late 1400s

Lebkommerwrstlng.jpg (17048 bytes)
Lebkommer c. 1500

Auers2TN.JPG (5833 bytes)
Fabian von Auerswald 1500s

Auers1TN.JPG (7990 bytes)
Fabian von Auerswald 1500s

08b.jpg (399723 bytes)
Hans Wurm c. 1500
duerer2TN.JPG (6543 bytes)
Albrecht Dürer's art 1512
Duerer3TN.JPG (3777 bytes)
Albrecht Dürer's art 1512

Duerer4TN.JPG (5043 bytes)
Albrecht Dürer's art 1512

Achille Marozzo 1536

MeyerFechtersOL.jpg (94846 bytes)
Joachim Meyer 1570
fabristn.jpg (8800 bytes)
Salvatore Fabris 1606
OtherTN.JPG (4663 bytes)
Johanne Georg  Paschen 1659
jgtn.jpg (7865 bytes)
Johanne Georg Paschen  1659

Np1TN.JPG (6604 bytes)
Nicolaes Petter 1674

Np2tn.JPG (6530 bytes)
Nicolaes Petter 1674

auers3tn.jpg (9285 bytes)
Nicolaes Petter 1674

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