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You Can't Fight In Here! The War Room Martial Arts Thread

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by EricD, Apr 21, 2014.

  1. merino

    merino marimo

    Well, I suppose it's a kind of a skill to be able to pummel at your opponent like that, but there's no resemblance to actual duelling (or sword and buckler) techniques that I can see. Trying to recreate a fight where nobody gets killed often leads into this type of happy-slappy fighting, where the person who escalates the intensity (and dangerousness) of the fight with the least regard to their own safety, wins. In a real situation, they likely would be the one to die, because they are willing to take hits on themselves in order to land a shot. That would not last long. This is why assigning points for hits inevitably turns duels into a game of tag, as opposed to ending the bout with the first blow that can be considered to incapacitate the opponent.

    Someone who has better knowledge of medieval arms and armour might be able to elaborate better on the exact ways in which their kit is hideously mismatched and unhistorical – I just know that it is.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
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  2. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    While I do think the fighting is ... unhistorical, what with being everyone being balls to the walls crazy knowing full well they're gonna actually die, I do think there might be some semblance of what an actual melee would like.

    Would you say an actual melee would look something like that but slower, more careful, what have you?
  3. Kensai

    Kensai He ain't heavy, he's my cub

    The point is that the techniques they're using are all wrong. Like, fundamentally wrong. You don't step into measure without generating a threat or a cover, for example - by which I mean (in layman's terms) that before you close the distance to a range where your opponent can strike at you without having to move his feet, you have to present him with a threat so that he can't just smack you, he has to deal with your attack first, allowing you to close the distance safely. Or else you have a prepared defence waiting, and your movement into range is an invitation for him to try to strike - into the defence you've already got locked and loaded.

    This stuff is basic. It's universal to HEMA. It's actually explicitly called out, for example in George SIlver's Paradoxes of Defence, in which Silver lays out a neat system for analyzing whether you are moving in what he calls a true time or a false time. True times being those that will keep you safe and false times those that will get you hit.
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  4. Pale Wolf

    Pale Wolf For Spite And Profit! Magistrate

    Basically, the only resemblance to an actual melee is that two participants are in armour of some form, and carry swords of some form.

    At best it's a display of what skill degenerates to if you aren't good enough to actually use it under stress.

    It's not that they're crazy. It's not even that they're suicidal. They aren't using any kind of skill. You can say it's what inadequately-trained soldiers degrade to when their training falls apart, so in that sense it may be considered to bear some resemblance to an 'actual melee', but...

    They're not acting like they're actually under any kind of threat. They're not demonstrating any kind of technique. What they're doing is, as Kensai says, fundamentally wrong. If you're not demonstrating the behaviour under some kind of stress, and if you're not even using the art, in what way could it be a demonstration of anything other than 'two guys with swords bashing away at each other under copious amounts of alchohol'?

    And I'm sure there were melees like that, but they're not really standard, y'know?
  5. merino

    merino marimo

    The first distinction you have to draw is between duelling (1 on 1) and battlefield (mass) combat. Because swords weren't a primary battlefield weapon, we know very little about how they would have been used in mass combat. On the other hand, when it comes to 1-on-1, we have a wealth of manuscripts telling us what to do. Very little of that extrapolates into mass combat unfortunately.

    I recall some period sources describing battlefield combat as chaotic, all-bets-are-off situation where your only option is to simply keep moving and keep striking, but even if we take this display as such, as Kensai points out, these fighters make elementary mistakes no one with basic training would. They're not afraid of getting hurt, they constantly leave themselves open, they step into measure before striking. So no, proper battlefield combat would not necessarily have been slower or more careful, but certainly more skillful and not outright suicidal.

    The thing is, people who duelled or fought in massive battlefields weren't necessarily looking at a certain death. This is what made berserkers so infamous and feared – they went into the fight with the idea that they were going to die a warrior's death and go to Valhalla. Even an unskilled moron would be relatively fearsome if you knew they were willing to die. To be honest, I don't know how much self-sacrificing battle rage medieval combatants experienced, but I'm doubtful that it would have made them forget everything they knew about armed combat.
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  6. As far as "going down", it has its upsides and its downsides.(Speaking specifically in the context of throws and takedowns, get your minds out of the gutter!)

    The obvious downside is, as Pale Wolf pointed out, that you end up on the ground with the person you just threw, which can be a bit of a problem if you're in a bar room punch up (or, I assume, a Middle Ages battlefield, although my knowledge of that subject is "I once watched Flesh + Blood starring Rutger Hauer") where you can have the boots put to you by interested bystanders.

    The advantages of dropping down on top of the person are that you're much more likely to put them in particular out of the fight. Being thrown sucks. Being thrown and having 180 or so pounds land on you sucks even more.

    And it's much easier to move into a pin/control position, or a finishing hold like a joint lock or a choke if you follow the other person down, you aren't leaving him or her the time or space to scramble back to their feet and continue to cause you problems if your throw doesn't immediately put them out of commission.

    Honestly, I'd say it's horses for courses. There are times and places when dropping down on top of the person you've thrown is the greatest idea in the history of ever, and there are times when it's suicide. It all depends on the situation you're in.
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  7. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    Hmmm. From a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being utterly realistic and 1 being something out of God of War, how would you rank the combat from the Total War series? Obviously, it's not gonna score a ten, what with people literally flying when you get a good charge on them and archers being slow for balancing reasons, but I'd be surprised if it at least doesn't score above 5.
  8. Redfield

    Redfield Vanguard

    Georgia, USA
    Off the top of my head, one of the major issues with Total War (like most RTS) is that you have the ability to instantly issue any command to any given formation and watch them immediately respond. That alone is a mark against its realism, as it, out of necessity, vastly oversimplifies the command-and-control scheme of warfare, much less warfare prior to radios.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2015
  9. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    That's a given since it's a game, but what about the actual melee itself.
  10. The Last One

    The Last One Here because reasons

    Is the combat actually modelled to the degree necessary to properly analyse it? I thought it was pretty much just a couple of animations of dudes swinging weapons and other dudes falling down.
  11. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    You tell me.

  12. Redfield

    Redfield Vanguard

    Georgia, USA
    Yeah, that's why I too am confused at the question. All the Total War games I've played don't have particularly... in-depth animations in terms of melee combat.
  13. The Last One

    The Last One Here because reasons

    Can you provide a timestamp? I'm particularly feeling like 37 minutes of some random Internet personality.
  14. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam


    Not exactly perfect, but the methods of the programming is genius and what I assume what RL fighting would look like.
  15. Pale Wolf

    Pale Wolf For Spite And Profit! Magistrate

    Well... a two? Hykal, they aren't even touching each other. They're waving a weapon in the guy's general direction once every ten seconds and waving a shield in the opponent's general direction when defending.

    The underlying game mechanics don't sound too openly horrible, but it looks more like square-dancing than battle unless you zoom out a fair ways.
  16. merino

    merino marimo

    I feel this belongs here.

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  17. Vindictus

    Vindictus Monster in Disguise

    Seems legit.
  18. locki

    locki Aspiring Jaeger Pilot

    So out of interest. If you did have two protagonists. And they were wearing near invulnerable full plate. And for some idiotic reason they were carrying a pretty ineffective one handed sword and shield, instead of a genuine two handed armor buster, how exactly would they fight.

    Its a pretty artificial situation utterly different to a duel. Both can close in the knowledge they are effectively immune to the others blows. I'd always figured it might be quite a bit of sword bashing (like the video linked before) with little regard to defence (armor takes care of that) or there would be some feinting then a rush to close to grappling range and use of dagger.
  19. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    Use the sword as a dagger and the shield as a sharp triangle of doom, would be my guess.
  20. 100thlurker

    100thlurker atheshtarih and Enemy of the Lie Magistrate

    SMS Odette II
    Noone on staff cared much about recreating, as best they could, real combat. The primary objectives are precisely like those of stage fighting or movie coreography. They just mo-capped what they felt looked good.
    Two men-at-arms simply would not bother with something as self-evidently useless. They would either enter a grapple as you accurately surmise or halfsword (which has a fair chance of amounting to the same thing).
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  21. Weero

    Weero Taijiquan Initiate

    Sorry about bringing the thread up again, but there's something I've been wondering about.

    I've recently started learning Chen-style Tai Chi (one month now) from an instructor who was taught by Michael Tse. I've been going through the warm-up exercises almost every day, and my body feels extremely limber compared to before, and I unconsciously move differently all the time by now.

    You know how in stories when a character remarks they can tell a person is a warrior/martial artist by the way they move? I was never quite sure how accurate that was until now. If only one month of going through the warm-up and the 19 step form of Tai Chi is enough for myself to start moving differently, I wonder how much several years would change the way you move.

    Is this type of change normal for most, if not all, fighting styles?
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  22. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    How different are you talking about here? Smoother? More energy?
  23. Weero

    Weero Taijiquan Initiate

    Smoother and more balanced, basically.
  24. merino

    merino marimo

    I wouldn't say I can spot martial artists in the street, but I can easily spot a beginner who's done another martial art before. When you're doing something physical, even if it's just a warm-up, it's pretty obvious from the way you move or hold a weapon that you have previous experience, whatever it may be. It can be a good or a bad thing. I've also seen some pretty awkward and weird things from people who had a lot of trouble with basic body coordination, so even slight experience contrasts strongly against that.
  25. Pale Wolf

    Pale Wolf For Spite And Profit! Magistrate

    There's also just flat-out practicing on the street, working on internalizing the motions and turning them into 'something you do naturally and automatically', which I totally do.

    And, well, if you get to the point where that sort of movement is natural and automatic, you may find yourself using it in daily life automatically, particularly when you're in a context where it's useful - I have found myself doing rapierlike footwork to squeeze through narrow spaces and the like and I'm not even that good at rapier.

    I'm not really able to spot other people doing it, but I can definitely spot myself doing it.
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