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The Sword and the Fist: How Fencing Influenced Fighting

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Photo by Orlando Barria/EPA

Unarmed combat was the trade of the street urchin or penniless thug more than the professional soldier. Fist fighting was peasant business and yet many of the earlier written records of actual systems of unarmed combat are found in military manuals, though they are often an afterthought tacked on after pages devoted to the discussion of armed tactics.

Whether it was the Jixiao Xinshu (‘New Treatise on Military Efficiency) written by the Chinese general Qi Jiguang in the 1550s, or Fior di Battaglia (‘The Flower of Battle’) by the Italian, Fiore de’i Liberi in 1404, armed martial arts methods were closely linked to unarmed ones and considered just two parts of a whole. Examining how swordsmanship and unarmed fighting influenced each other, particularly after they had become separate disciplines, makes for an interesting study.

Strength versus Length

Ernest Hemingway recalled in the memoir of his time in Paris, released posthumously as A Moveable Feast, his attempts to teach Ezra Pound to box:

Ezra had not been boxing very long and I was embarrassed at having him work in front of anyone he knew, and I tried to make him look as good as possible. But it was not very good because ….View original article

Source:: fightland.vice.com