sábado, 1 de outubro de 2016

HEMA: From its identity to its unique challenges

Upon teaching Jogo do Pau at HEMA events, I realized trainees are given access to a wide range of martial systems, including both unarmed (ringen) and armed combat arts (including both sword and stick systems).

Similarities in striking anglebetween sword and staff
Personally, I see the practice of HEMA's full martial spectrum similar to that of a decathlon track and field competitor. 

In short, a potentially very adaptable martial skill-set that constitutes an extremely demanding multi-discipline training experience.   

However, like in track and field, for different reasons (from lack of training time, to weapon specific motivational factors) some trainees focus on one discipline. Here is where marketing usually plays a role, making certain disciplines "cooler" than others.

Facing multiple foes,who cunningly surround their opponent
One of HEMA's lesser sought out disciplines is Jogo do Pau. Given that I instruct Jogo do Pau, I would complain about how unfair this is ... if not for the fact that fairness is nothing but a human concept, towards which the energy that governs life is, by definition, a stranger to.

Instead, I'd prefer to point out that, unlike HEMA's remaining weapon systems, Jogo do Pau is a living tradition that preserved the practice of both duelling and outnumbered combat

ThereforeJogo do Pau's unbroken lineage of several centuries culminated in a fully structured curriculum that carries the potential of being useful to HEMA's interpretation of ancient manuals ... a blueprint if you will, similar to what is offered by living grappling systems to ringen.

To achieve such benefit, does one need to learn the whole system that makes up Jogo do Pau? 

 Well, it was like that until recently, but not any longer.

Different starting positions:A "battle" of strengths & weaknesses
The DVD "FROM BATTLEFIELDS TO DUELLING: The evolution of Jogo do Pau" presents how the art's skill-set developed over time, as an adaptation to a variety of combat circumstances. 

Simply put, how outnumbered combat and duelling against opponents of different traits brought about specific adaptations to combatants' selection of:
  1. Starting position 
  2. Parrying technique 
  3. Defensive footwork 
  4. Counter attack selection  
  5. Striking technique
Tactical analysis of German longsword
Additionally, a thorough and straight forward top-down presentation concerning the combat use of the tactics that make up German longsword. 

In doing so, our goal was to promote the optimization of fencers' tactical decision making.

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