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REH's Fighting Styles


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#61 the black stone

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:00 PM

nighthawk, rafael, i have yet to find anything that connects howard to any fighting system [be it filipino or western] other than regular boxing. i do not see a style of fighting that conan does that signifies a system. he was a primal warrior and being that his world was mythical or prehistoric or antideluvian, it can only be considered to be fiction and howard did not have any idea of the fighting systems that we have knowledge of today--research groups today have the knowledge of fighting systems from all over the world and the texts that go along with it. howard probably just saw what boxers of the time did and watch rough and tumble, pier 6, oil field fights[whatever] and observed what happened and used that in his writing--ralph g

#62 RafaelKayanan

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 04:20 AM

nighthawk, rafael, i have yet to find anything that connects howard to any fighting system [be it filipino or western] other than regular boxing. i do not see a style of fighting that conan does that signifies a system. he was a primal warrior and being that his world was mythical or prehistoric or antideluvian, it can only be considered to be fiction and howard did not have any idea of the fighting systems that we have knowledge of today--research groups today have the knowledge of fighting systems from all over the world and the texts that go along with it. howard probably just saw what boxers of the time did and watch rough and tumble, pier 6, oil field fights[whatever] and observed what happened and used that in his writing--ralph g



I don't disagree with that, that's why I suggested that FMA could not be the sole style of REH's Conan. It would have to be anything from any system that captures the essence of REH's writing, and even that is open to interpretation by whomever is reading the stories. What I enjoyed and envisioned in my mind reading Conan stories at fifteen is not the same battle I see in my mind now... however the best part is that the fights are still great and unlike other writers, it is vague enough to allow the reader to use their imagination of what "power" or "style" is actually being used. So they stand up over time. The power is in the writing of the attitude and essence of the Cimmerian, not a specific style or system of fighting. It is not a manual on swordsmanship but a manual of what it means to be a great pulp writer.

#63 deuce

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Posted 13 December 2008 - 04:40 AM

nighthawk, rafael, i have yet to find anything that connects howard to any fighting system [be it filipino or western] other than regular boxing. i do not see a style of fighting that conan does that signifies a system. he was a primal warrior and being that his world was mythical or prehistoric or antideluvian, it can only be considered to be fiction and howard did not have any idea of the fighting systems that we have knowledge of today--research groups today have the knowledge of fighting systems from all over the world and the texts that go along with it. howard probably just saw what boxers of the time did and watch rough and tumble, pier 6, oil field fights[whatever] and observed what happened and used that in his writing--ralph g



I don't disagree with that, that's why I suggested that FMA could not be the sole style of REH's Conan. It would have to be anything from any system that captures the essence of REH's writing, and even that is open to interpretation by whomever is reading the stories. What I enjoyed and envisioned in my mind reading Conan stories at fifteen is not the same battle I see in my mind now... however the best part is that the fights are still great and unlike other writers, it is vague enough to allow the reader to use their imagination of what "power" or "style" is actually being used. So they stand up over time. The power is in the writing of the attitude and essence of the Cimmerian, not a specific style or system of fighting. It is not a manual on swordsmanship but a manual of what it means to be a great pulp writer.


Very well said, Mr. Kayanan. :)

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#64 Quarternog

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 06:23 PM

I don't disagree with that, that's why I suggested that FMA could not be the sole style of REH's Conan. It would have to be anything from any system that captures the essence of REH's writing, and even that is open to interpretation by whomever is reading the stories.


In my personal opinion, the "living and breathing" martial art that best translates Conan into the real world would be indeed FMA - that being the very reason I chose it to practice.

#65 Kortoso

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 09:39 PM

In my personal opinion, the "living and breathing" martial art that best translates Conan into the real world would be indeed FMA - that being the very reason I chose it to practice.


Welcome Quarternog!

That's the reason I joined the FMA years ago; that plus the fact that Bruce Lee gave it his seal of approval. ;)

Having since trained in some other bladed arts, I've become convinced that FMA techniques for short rattan sticks do not translate to long steel swords without some modification... :)

#66 the black stone

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Posted 27 December 2008 - 10:42 PM

without a GREAT DEAL OF MODIFICATION and taking into account they have no handguards[for the most part] this changes silat/kali "swordplay" ionto something pretty different from western swordplay--by the way i know plenty of living and breathing western sword systems ---so i do not understand that statement.---ralph g

#67 Quarternog

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:32 AM

Welcome Quarternog!

That's the reason I joined the FMA years ago; that plus the fact that Bruce Lee gave it his seal of approval. ;)

Having since trained in some other bladed arts, I've become convinced that FMA techniques for short rattan sticks do not translate to long steel swords without some modification... :)


Thank you!
What kind of modifications exactly? I suppose long steel swords are certainly going to be much heavier than the one handed machetes most FMA styles use mostly.
I haven't crosstrained in many weapon arts yet, but I can tell for sure that FMA is closer to Conan than Korean Haidong Gumdo (I'm a blue belt in that) or Kung Fu styles that have weapon forms (quit that after a month). Maybe Muay Boran, but I've never met anyone that taught that.

#68 the black stone

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 02:43 PM

filipino swordplay [bolo, kriss, kampilan, barong] is based MAINLY [THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS] on timecuts . this means that the exponent places himself in a position by which he can attack the person's weapon hand , arm or torso in MOSTLY 3 RANGES [largo, medio or corto]-----the swords or blades are not really used for parrying due to the fact that they do no have handguards, hilts, or cup[shells] like european weapons . an example may be that the exponent uses ELASTICO OR SWAYING ---a method of LARGO MANO [LONG RANGE] by which he may cut the opponent's weapon hand but his own body is displaced and leaning away from the weapon attacking him . this means that if he misses his time cut, his body is not in danger of being cut by his foe's bolo or barong. this is very different even from filiupino bstick methods as even stickfighters have to make adjustments to blade in filipino systems.-----european systems TEND to use parry and riposte systems by which they have a guard to blows or cuts coming at them , after the guard is successful they counterattack with a sword cut [foil, saber, epee] . the older broadsword, saber systems for heavier weapons employ molinellos [which are circular or can be half-circular cuts and parries in one motion] .the older system of rapier contained the use of the rapier itself and the help of a back-up weapon for parrying [dagger, buckler, cloak, another rapier] -----there are many experts in the older systems still teaching today in many states in the usa and abroad. here in new york, we have maestro ramon martinez , he is A LIVING , BREATHING EXPONET OF A MAJORITY OF THE OLD CLASSICAL SYSTEMS. the closest style i think to what conan may have done would be the systems represented in the old german fechtbuchs ranging FROM ABOUT the 1400's -1550's or so . complete systens of two handed swordplay, sheild fighting, messer[short sword] , dagger, and a wrestling system that pre-dated judo/jiu jitsu in written instruction . -----the modification from filipino to large swordplay depends upon your instructor's knowledge of filipino " bladed" methods [different from stickfighting] and his knowledge of european weapons play as well. many filipino instructors today study both filipino. indonesian and european weapons systems. there are some filipino systems that are 30-50 percent adaptive of european systems already .there is a great deal of difference in cutting with a sword and impacting with a filipino rattan or kamagong stick [edge knowledge, principles of no handguard , draw and push cuts etc,etc,] --i hope this helps --ralph g

#69 Kortoso

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 05:44 PM

Black Stone, have you done any tameshigiri?

#70 the black stone

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:10 PM

kortoso, not on straw or mat, but i have taken hanging 64 ounce soda bottles [several]filled with water and used smatchets, bolos and kukris to cut them--i hung them so they could move. i found that every weapon has a different "sweet" spot.-----ralph g

#71 the black stone

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:24 PM

kortoso, the reason i keep on bringing up hand protection [cups, hilts, shells] is that in real filipino blade work [not stick, baston, garrotte, yontok] the hand or wrist or low forearm is often the first target of oppurtunity . almost all european weapons have some type of hand protection . this changes one of the most prominent strategies [kill the fang and the snake must die] of the filipino fighting systems.ols time eskrimadors really did not do a great deal of blocking/parrying with the sticks because they had no guards, and your stick could hit and rebound,or hit and slide into the other guys hand ---so they combined movement with a hand hit [sometimes followed by a check with the rear hand depending on range]---the kampilan is one of the traditional muslim weapons in the filipino systems that have a handguard and was used like a short two handed or bastard sword--real powerful cleaving motions---ralph g

#72 Kortoso

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 07:08 PM

almost all european weapons have some type of hand protection .

A sweeping generalization. Such guards were not common in Europe until the Renaissance. (Although we see them in Spartan blades and in some gladiator swords, so it may have been a conscious choice to leave the guards off.)

The principle is: "Create a threat before you create a target". This means that you should not move your hand toward your opponent unless your blade is also on its way to its target. This way, your opponent has to contend with the threat first, and worry about cutting your wrist later. This is spoken of by the Elizabethan sword master George Silver as well as Japanese sword arts based on Toyama-ryu (to name a couple of handy examples).

BTW, counter-cutting is common in the European and Japanese styles as well.

Here's some tameshigiri in the manner that I see Conan doing it. Notice how different the body moves compared to FMA. Little weapon, little moves; big weapon, bigger moves - and I would expect bigger effects. ;)


#73 the black stone

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:01 PM

its not sweeping, it depends on how far back you are going. counter cutting is much harder [to the opposing limb] if there are some type of hand guards---yes, there are stop-hits in epee, backcuts in broadswrd /saber directed at forearm /lower wrist but again, they are not as easy when their is no hand protection.how many japanese sword systems have fencing/bouting ? i know of kendo[which in reality is their form of " singlestick" like ours is to broadsword/saber] but mostly today japanese swordplay [kenjitsu/iaido and many others are two man kata based. the gent on youtubes moves are pretty wide, he is using large cuts with a great deal of body torque because of what he has to cut through, however, i agree that this is something that i can see conan doing ---if the gent had to cut through only human skin then he could do so with draw cuts and push cuts , he is also telegraphing his cuts with shoulder blows [the most easily seen] unlike elbow or wrist cuts, but for the heft of the weapon , it is a good example.kortoso, i am not going back to the time of falcatas, kopis, gladius but to the time of recorded instructional manuals. i agree with the weapon threat going to an unguarded area making it harder for a counter wrist cut. i also think that silver's manual is one of the best and designed for combat and not dueling .-----ralph g

Edited by the black stone, 28 December 2008 - 09:16 PM.


#74 the black stone

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:31 PM

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#75 the black stone

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 07:45 PM

"i whipped out my bowie knife and closed with the other. i parried his stab and my counterstroke ripped across his belly muscles" -----BLACK CANAAN-----GENTS, OBSERVE THIS fighting stance from an old knife fighting manual,--this grip holding the bowie upside down and slashing the stomach and eviserating it, was very popular down south and in texas. you would parry with the spine of the knife and cut with the hooked like -scimitar end of the bowie [which was sharpened]. i have done a great deal of reserach in the history of the use of the bowie knife . this was one of the known styles , after cutting with the hook part , the upside down grip [real natural sharp of the blade]ripped across or up into the stomach or across it causing the man to spill his entrails. there are several historical documents/documentaries in which this was detailed. --this could be a guess or maybe right on but i believe howard's description of the fight above may indicate that howard was familiar with this upside down grip. i know in the movie " the iron mistress" if i remember correctly alan ladd as "bowie" held the blade upside down as well. in the documentary " the real west" [channel 13] , it indicated that men held the big bowies upside down as well---i am not trying to claim anything here just putting this out for thoughts---ralph g

Edited by the black stone, 08 January 2009 - 07:47 PM.


#76 Kortoso

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:01 PM

Knife fighting is one of those hot-button topics; it brings out the airchair theorists and those who are quick call BS at the slightest provocation. But you are right that probably Bob had some second or third-hand knowledge of this.

Probably you have seen this:

http://www.alliancem...com/review9.htm

I have the book listed and I am skeptical about how much of it goes back to Bowie, or anyone who has been in a real knife fight, however.

I suspect that Cimmerians, who have only recently learned to make steel swords, might have only recently been using shorter weapons (flint, copper, whatever). It might stand to reason that the sword techniques might be adapted from knife-fighting. :rolleyes:

Another "fun" bit on knife-fighting:
http://www.gutterfig...tyersBowie.html




#77 the black stone

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:14 PM

gutterfighting is the org i belong to--i am an instructor under carl cestari and clint sporman there---ralph g

#78 the black stone

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:15 PM

But you are right that probably Bob had some second or third-hand knowledge of this.----------agreed, i do not think this method was uncommon down south and in texas.----ralph g

#79 the black stone

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 08:16 PM

kortoso, do you have thorpe's book on the bowie knife?---ralph g

#80 Kortoso

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Posted 08 January 2009 - 10:48 PM

Ralph, which Thorpe are you talking about?