Friday, March 30, 2012

Hammer play in recent games

I love to play role-playing video games. As a medievalist and WMA practitioner, this has to be carefully done lest my head 'spode from all the fantasy armour and weapons. Let's not even get into the fighting styles (that much spinning around would make me dizzy as hell).
However, I've been playing Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amular: Reckoning recently and I have to say that while there are still issues (just remember that they are fantasy games) I'm really pleased by the hammer play that appears in both.

Specifically, there are special moves where you use the queue of your hammer to set up your opponent so you can then smack them in the head.

As far as reality for the hammers, Skyrim does much better. Evidence:

Skyrim warhammers:

Both of those are Iron Warhammers, other models in the game to have a top spike.

Here are the hammers from Reckoning:

Obviously reality (and physics) have less concern for the designers of Reckoning - but hey, it's a game!

I'm just happy that I get to schtup someone in the face before crushing their head ;-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Upcoming project

I have a theory about pollaxe usage with a short haft. By "short" I mean:

Average = User's Height +/- 1 foot

Shorter than average =  User's Height - 1.5 feet

The main reasoning behind my theory is actually a picture featured in Sydney Anglo's book Medieval & Renaissance Martial Arts in the polearms section (sorry but I don't have the book handy, so I don't have a page number) - but here is a low res copy from the ARMA site

It's the one on the right.

It's hard to see here, but it depicts French and Portuguese knights fighting in the lists with axes. What is intriguing is that all of the axes are Short and that the knights are gripping them with their main hand almost directly under the head of the weapon and the back hand approximately halfway down the haft.

My theory is that this grip gives you approximately the same queue space as an Average axe, while still allowing, with grip movement, similar abilities to strike with the croix. Naturally, a Short axe will change the tactical nature of your fight - more grappling and close play, possibly some lack in the ability to make throws.

As soon as I finish putting new flooring in my downstairs, and can clean out my garage (meaning I can actually get to my axes again) I will start taking measurements, etc.

I will keep you posted.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review - "Armizare" by Robert Charrette

I just finished Fiore dei Liberi's Armizare: The Chivalric Martial Arts System of Il Fior di Battaglia by Robert Charrette.
First off, buy this book. Seriously. This is, by far, the best overview of Armizare yet. The organization of the book, the writing, and the photography are all clear and easy to understand. Okay, some of the photos (which are black & white) make it difficult to clearly tell relative blade position - but hey, it's hard to tell in the manuscripts too. Rather than do a page-by-page review, I will give overall opinions. For the most part, I agree with Charrette's interpretation of Armizare. What falls outside the "most part" are really just slight differences - I tend to hold Frontale more off to one side or the other, depending on which foot is forward for example. The weapons and armour shown throughout the book are gorgeous.
This may seem like a weak review, but the book, and the research within, speaks for itself. If you are just generally interested in the art of Fiore dei Liberi, buy this book. If you are a student of the German masters and are curious about what "them Eye-talians do" (I'm looking at you Teague *wink*), pick up this book. If you are already a student of Armizare, then you need this book. Need.