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(2001) Kampfringen Medieval Combat Grappling Basics & Fundimentals- Keith P. Myers

(2001) Kampfringen Medieval Combat Grappling Basics & Fundimentals- Keith P. Myers

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Kampfringen: Medieval Combat Grappling
by Keith P. Myersversion 1/28/2001Introduction:
The following is meant as a way to organize the material and jog one’s memory of what a particular technique
consists of. It is not meant to be a detaileddescription of the techniques nor a replacement for the original sourcematerials. It is a supplement and guide for training only. As such, it is subject to continuing evolution and change.It draws primarily on the 15
century works of Hans Talhofferand uses the method presented in his writings as the
basis or foundation for the rest. Hence the use of the terminology….”kampfringen.” “Ringen” is the German word
for wrestling/grappling, but was generally meant to refer to any fighting performed without a weapon. Thus,
striking and kicking methods were also included. “Kampf” is the German word for fight/combat. Therefore theterm “Kampfringen” can be translated as “combat grappling” to distinguish it from the less deadly sportive forms.
The medieval version resembles the more modern-day World War II Combatives approach. Many of the historic
“fechtbuchs” or fighting manuals state that grappling is the foundation of all the weapons skills. Battlefield combat
usually ended up at close-quarters wheregrappling skills were imperative, even with the weapon still in hand.Lots of overlap is seen when comparing the grappling methods with close-in fighting with the longsword,and especially when fighting with the dagger. In fact, working through the techniques in my previously written
“Dolchfechten Primer: Medieval Use of the Dagger” makes an excellent introduction to the kampfringen methods.Talhoffer’s material is supplemented with input from the grappling sections of the Codex Wallerstein, the Goli
Fechtbuch, and Marozzo’s “Opera Nova.”
A Note on the References:
The main source for this work is Mark Rector’s translation of Talhoffer’s 1467 text published as “MedievalCombat.” References cited in the form of “P190” refer to plates from thi
s work. The other Talhoffer source is histext of 1459 as made available on-
line by the Royal Library Denmark. References cited in the form of “49R” or“51V” refer to this source (R for “recto” and V for “verso”, or the front and back of the original pa
ge). The other
major source is the Codex Wallerstein/Vom Bauman’s Fechtbuch written in the late 1300’s/early 1400’s.References in the form of “CW39L” or “CW39R” refer to this source (L and R for the left and right sides of the
plate). Two other source
s offered some minor supplementation. First is the Goliath Fechtbuch of the early 1500’s.
It has lavish illustrations, but of the 130 plates devoted to grappling, only ¼ of them are illustrated. The rest is text.This will undoubtedly become a major source for medieval grappling once it is translated from the Old German.
References in the form of “G231” refer to this source. And finally, Achille Marrozo’s work of 1536 as translatedand interpreted by Pete Kautz in his book “Mani Contra il Coltillo:Hands Against the Knife”, though not a Germanwork, is used as well. References in the form of “M15” refer to this source. Including all of the reference notations
for each technique may seem a bit tedious, but it is meant to show how prevalent these techniques were across
several different sources. This really was not just Talhoffer’s own style, but a common fighting method of the era.
The references will also allow you to check the different sources in the event that something is not clear. Thesesources are all available on-line at the AEMMA webpage by going to:http://www.aemma.org/onlineResources/library_H.htmI can be reached for questions or comment at: myers4321@aol.com
Part One: Fundamental TechniquesI.Ready Positions:Few of these are actually shown. Either they are considered to be so basic that they are just implied andnot discussed, or they are not well defined and it is just left up to the individual to arrive at something with which heis
comfortable. Talhoffer does show an unarmed defensive position in P77 in which he says “this is anadvantageous stance for a disarmed man.” It seems to be a variation of the longsword stance and shows an
individual standing with feet almost twice shoulder width, one leg advanced, knees slightly bent, and hands heldforward at waist level. The Goliath Fechtbuch seems to actually cover ready positions in G228 and G251 and shows
an individual standing with feet only about 6 inches apart, knees bent in a “squat” position, and hands held close in
and at waist level as if palming a ball.II.The Clinch/Tie-Up Positions:1.Double Arm: (P190, P204, 49R, G232, G257)This is the basic starting position for a friendly grapple or training session, andcan set-up many of the
techniques that will be described in upcoming sections. You have grabbed both of the opponent’s upper arms from
the inside and he has grabbed both of yours from the outside or vice versa. Alternatively you could each grab oneon the inside and one on the outside. From here you would each try to off-balance the other by pushing and pullingback and forth or using a foot sweep to gain advantage. You can also transition to any of the other tie-up positionsthat will be described anduse them in the same way. This forms the core of a good training drill by using this back and forth play to set up any of the throws, takedowns, armlocks, etc. that will be described. Your partner canprovide just enough resistance to keep you honest whil
e you are learning to apply the techniques. Since he doesn’tknow exactly when you are going to apply the move, he is less likely to just “play along.” As you both get better
you can also add the counter moves. From the back & forth grapple for balanceand position your partner launches atechnique at an opportune time to which you respond with the counter. As you let the exchange go and becomemore and more open, you enter into free-sparring.2.Shoulder-Waist: (P191, 52R)You both are bent over, ea
ch grabbing with one hand to the partner’s shoulder from either the inside oroutside and the other grabbing the partner’s waistband or belt from either the inside or outside. Generally, either
both of your grabs will be from the inside while his are outside or vice versa.3.Double-Waist: (P195, 50R)You both are bent over, each reaching around the waist of the partner to grab one of your hands/wrists withthe other behind his back. One arm will go over and the other under his arms and vice versa.4.Single-Arm: (P196, 57R)This one is more of a transitional position and less of a primary tie-up. You are grabbing his forearm nearthe elbow from the inside while he does the same from the outside or vice versa. Your Lft to his Rt or vice versa.5.Neck-Arm: (Implied/suggested by P219)
This one is seen often in modern wrestling but only implied in Talhoffer’s manual. You both are bent over,
each grabbing/hooking the partner around the back of the neck with one hand and behind the upper arm with theother.
II.Basic Holds, Joint-Locks, and Chokes1.Over-The-Shoulder Armbar #1: (P182, CW39, CW60R, G322, M12, M20)You can tell by the number of references that this was a very common technique. Grab his extended Rtforearm with both your hands at the same time, pivot to your Rt (clock-wise) 180 degrees to place his extended Rtelbow across your Lft shoulder. Lift up with your legs as you pull down with your arms to hyperextend his elbow.It is commonly shown as a defense against a straight thrust withthe dagger.2.Over-The-Shoulder Armbar #2: (P193, 55R)In this variation, do a smaller pivot to your left or counter-clock-wise as you step with your Rt leg betweenhis legs and duck under his extended Rt arm.Hyperextend his arm across your left shoulder and back of the neck.On both of these OTS armbars be sure and keep his elbow pointed to the ground and his hand palm up.3.Over-The-Shoulder Armbar: The Wrong Way (CW40L)This is similar to #1, but ratherthan pivoting to your Rt to lay his Rt arm across your Lft shoulder, youhave pivoted to the Lft and layed his Rt arm across your Rt shoulder. This leaves you in a position vulnerable to acounter, which we will see in a following section. Should you fi
nd yourself pivoting in the “wrong” direction,simply step forward, duck under, and do OTS Armbar #2. We’ll assume the fechtbuch illustrates this in order to
show how easily is it countered.4. Front Choke: (P197, 56V)You are facing the opponent,he is bent forward, and you have one arm wrapped around his neck placinghis throat in the crook of your elbow. Grab your wrist with your other hand and pull to tighten the choke. Shown
as a defense against a “pass through” or attempted waist grab & thr
ow.5. Side Choke: (P198, G241)This one is similar to the front choke, except that you and the opponent are facing in the same directionrather than towards each other. He is bent over at your side and you have wrapped one arm around his neck.Thechoke can stand alone, or become a throw when combined with the leg hook as described in the next section.6. Rear Choke: (suggested by P213)You are behind the opponent and are both facing in the same direction. Wrap one arm around his neck asbefore to catch his throat in the crook of your elbow, grab your wrist with the other hand, pull him off-balancebackwards as you tighten the choke. Implied by P213 which actually shows wrapping the arm around the neck from behind as part of a throw rather than as a choke.7. Arm Drag: (P212, P213, CW33R, CW46L)Used as a transition move to set-up the opponent for any number of techniques. Grab him by the wrist withone hand and the upper arm with the other. Pull or push to unbalance him and gainthe advantage for applying yourfollow-up technique. The grab to his upper arm can be from the inside, the outside, from above, or from underneath.8. Neck Drag: (P205, 58V, CW70L)This is another way to set-up the opponent for a follow-up. You arefacing the opponent. Grab behind hisneck with both hands and clasp your fingers. Pull him forward and down and keep him off-balance by pushing,pulling, stepping etc. You must keep his head below the level of your own.9.Double Downward Grab: (P181, 63R)Used to defend against a straight thrust to the abdomen whether with a weapon or a punch. Hike your bodyback and grab downward onto his wrist/forearm with both hands. Can easily transition into an OTS Armbar.10. Downward Bent Armbar #1:(P206, P179, 62R, CW68L)Grab his Rt wrist with your Rt hand; pull and twist to roll his arm over; pivot to your Rt as you pressagainst the back of his elbow with your left hand. Becomes a throw if you step in front of his Rt leg with your leftas youpivot and lever him across your leg onto the ground.

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