European Martial Arts


Well-Known Member
As I'm sure we all know by now, Europe had its own collection of martial arts. There's a number of interesting discussions over on reddit. This is an interesting one posted this week.

Anyway, while explaining why people care more about Eastern Martial Arts than Western Martial arts, someone posted the following idea. It is really cool.
Movies and Hollywood further cemented the exotic East Asian martial arts and popularized them. Nobody's made a movie of a plucky young French Knight in training using the best secrets of a German fencing manual brought to him by an old sword master to right injustice and fight the bitter and disillusioned just-returned-from-a-Vatican-prison Knight Templar in a final epic battle. But there are hundreds of similarly themed Kung Fu and Karate movies. Ninja mania in the 1980s finally cemented the role of East Asian martial arts in the public's mind and fully pushed Western traditional arts out completely.
elblanco on Ask Historians Subreddit


KING (In Land of Blind)
Staff member
Well the "secret" technique was more Spanish than German, and the opponent wasn't a Knight Templar but instead a high courtesan (still Catholic though on account of also being French); but otherwise that quote is pretty well describing the Jarnac and Châtaigneraye duel in 1547.


Well-Known Member
Good website specializing is western martial arts.

Favorite essay. There is no best sword.


Well-Known Member
Thanks daniel_gudman and pacifist. Interesting links.


Well-Known Member
European martial arts seem to be having somewhat of a resurgence with the growing popularity of stuff like HEMA.

Speaking of which, Matt Easton does a good job in terms of debunking myths about European martial arts and historical weapon fighting in general.