This page will focus entirely on weapon use for the Northeast Ohio Fianna. Once again I state that these are my views on combat and they do not reflect the ideas of all of the Fiannas, just me. Some of what you read here will seem pretty violent, I make no apology for this. After all this is a web page about weapon combat. What else would you expect. I will be going over the use of the following weapons: 1. Shortsword, Why shortsword and not long sword or claymore you ask. I am proficient in the use of the shortsword and I can only teach what I know. And the other reason; Fianna was a roving band of hunters who needed to travel light. Imagine running through the forest with a claymore strapped to your back. 2. Dirk, With the dirk I include all short to medium blades from a sgian dhu to a lang sgian. This is a important item to carry with self preservation in mind. Now I am not telling you to break the law and carry your Crocodile Dundee replica knife in public but if it comes down to business when I have my family with me and trouble breaks out you better believe my sgian will come out. When protecting a loved one I'll choose to worry about the legal ramifications of my act after the fact. 3. Spear, Well what can I say? It's a spear. Throwing, stabbing or whatever works best in a given situation. This is a very important celtic weapon. All celtic warriors owned a spear. In fact it was the weapon of choice for many of them. 4. Staff, Whether it be the staff of a celtic shaman or the hiking staff of a backpacker or Highlander. A staff makes a good weapon. Find yourself one. 5. Stick, Not just a dead branch off a tree (although that would work) I am talking about a two foot club of wood. I suggest rattan for training with as it can take a beating without turning to crap too soon.
Angles of attack1. Strike from your right side in a diagonal down motion to the left side of your opponents head, neck, shoulder area. 2. A backhand strike from over your left shoulder to the right side of your opponents head,neck, shoulder area 3. A forehand strike horizontaly from the right side of your body into the left side of your opponents body 4. A backhand strike from your left into the right side of your opponents body 5. A straight thrust on a high middle or low line. 6. An overhand thrust with the point of the weapon, palm of the hand facing the earth. This thrust should be done on the same side of the body that the weapon is being held. 7. An overhand thrust with the point of the weapon, palm of the hand facing the sky. This thrust should be done on the opposite side of the body from where the weapon is held. 8. After a #7 thrust circle your weapon down and around in a short circle bringing it down verticaly inti the top of your opponents head. 9. An upward diagonal slash at your opponents knee midsection or even head from the right side 10.An upward slash just the same as #9 but to the left of his body. 11.A big vertical down chop similar to #8 but this one is not just a short circle but a big chop as if you were cutting wood. 12.A horizontal slash straight up into the groin or anything else directly above it. Use the back of the weapon or turn for the blade. more to come
LungeHere is one of my favorite techniques in weapon fighting. First stand with your sword arm in the lead. Now thrust the sword at your opponent with out moving any other part of your body. A split second after you start your thrust step forward with your lead foot and push strongly with your back leg. This will gain you a great deal of distance if you want it to. The reason that you move the sword first is so you do not telegraph your intent. Your non weapon hand (if not encumbered by a shield) can be cast back as a counter balance to your sword arm. An added tip, You may want to arch your back slightly when doing the lunge to avoid getting drilled by a thrusting attack. Lastly recover to your original position through the same route in reverse.
Jump LungeThis is basically the same move as above but instead of just stepping forward you actually leap. Mind you this is a terribly risky thing to do but I have used it with good results in my weapon sparring. Sometimes if the shot is there it really suprises your opponent.
Parry counter attackWhen your opponent attacks with either a slash to your inside high line or a thrust, parry his blade with yours. Once you feel his blade is completely stopped by yours strike at him directly from the blocking position you were in. Do not draw back your sword, just go from that position. It is not a power shot, but remeber this is a sword we are talking about. When you have a nice sharp blade in your hands you can do a terrific amount of damage without exerting too much force.
How to create terrible bleeding wounds on your foeSure this sounds horrible but as they say war is hell. I learned this from my friend Kevin who is a world traveling madman full of arcane combat knowledge. When executing a slash from your right side (if you are right handed) you must do the following; When the blade first cuts into the meat of your target turn the cutting edge of your blade out then continue the slash and follow up witha nice thrust for good measure. This will make a wound that is almost like a flap and it will bleed much more than a straight gash. Practice this on food with a steak knife if you have to. Once you understand the rotation of the blade during the cutting action you will see the wisdom of my words.
How to thrust to the bodyWhen thrusting with your sword into the torso it is important to make sure that before you hit target you twist the blade from vertical to horizontal either to the left or the right it doesn't matter. You do this so your blade can make it through the ribcage without getting caught up on the bones. When you practice your thrusting always add this twist to it. It's a good habit to learn.
Drill # 11. Strike at your opponnent at angle #1 2. Follow with a #4 angle back hand slash to the mid section 3. Now thrust to the middle on the #5 angle strike 4. Thrust upwards to the face or throat, follow thru with your thrust so that your swords point is aiming past the left side of your shoulder 5. Now strongly slash at the #2 angle in a back handed manner 6. Finnally #5 thrust to the gut of your opponnent
A nice feint attackThrust at a point about 6" diagonally over your opponents right shoulder or left it really doesn't matter. When he leans to one side to avoid the stab that would miss him anyway, from your most extended thrust position slash diagonally down across his body. DO NOT retract the blade before you slash. It is a set up that will surprise both you and your training partner every time you use it. Him because it comes from nowhere and you because you can't believe that it can work on the same person over and over. If it seems that an opponent is catching on to your ploy, keep em' honest by actually thrusting at their shoulder every once and a while.
Drill # 21. Lean way back to avoid a forehand slash to the head. 2. Lunge to the midsection of your opponent. If you stab him then this drill is over if he leans back and avoids your thrust go on. 3. Instead of drawing back after the thrust, move foreward into close range. Place your nonweapon hand on his sword arm to check any attacks he may offer. Strongly knee your opponent in the side of his thigh, right along the seam of his trousers giving him a massive charley horse. This knee is given to soften up an opponent 4. Pound his face with the pommel of your sword 5. Without drawing back from your punch slide the edge of your sword across the neck of your opponent. In other words onec your fist/pommel hits his face stop! Do not draw your hand back. Now directly from this position do a drawing cut on your opponents neck. Alot of damage can be done with such a cut. Remember you are drawing the entire length of the blade across the neck. 6. Finish with a #1 strike.
StaffThe staff is one of the oldest weapons known to man and perhaps one of the most neglected. It is a wonderful aid in a walk through mountainous areas such as the highlands. It is a great tool of defense for those unable or unwilling to carry a blade. And lastly it can be a devastating offensive weapon when wielded by some one trained in it's use.
GripThe staff should be held (once again assuming everyone in the world is right handed) with the front end in th left hand. The grip of the left hand should be such that the palm of the hand is pointing to the sky. The rear of the staff should be held in the right hand with the palm facing down. It should used in a motion similar to a person rowing a kayak.
Striking Drill #11. right diagonal down strike to the right hand side of the opponents neck 2.left diagonal up strike to the left hand side of the opponents ribs or groin. 3. same as # 1 4. left horizontal strike to the left hand side of the opponents head 5. slide hands to a close grip and bring down the end of the staff in a vertical strike as though you were chopping wood.
How to blockWhen holding the staff in a normal position the hands will be about shoulder width apart. When you block an incoming strike with the middle of your staff slide your hands further apart so they don't get smashed. When you have finished blocking move your hands back to their original position. More to come
Striking drill # 21. straight thrust into the face of your opponent 2. a diagonal down strike with the rear end of your staff to the upper part of your opponents body 3. follow all the way thru with that last strike so that the butt end of the staff is now pointing at your opponent. Now thrust with the butt end into your foes body 4. a diagonal downward slash with the front end of your staff to your opponents front thigh (charley horse region) 5. a diagonal upward strike with the butt end of the staff into the chin of your foe. (this also works well to clear a weapon out of the way for the next technique) 6. finish with a hard thrusting foot push to the hip of your opponent, setting him on his ass, and for good measure you better give him one more good axe like swing with your staff
Striking drill # 31. Standing with your left foot in the lead, block a downward strike to your head. Remember to space your hands out when blocking so they don.t get hit. 2. when his weapon is still caught up with yours, thrust kick to the hip area with your right foot pushing him back and off balance. After you kick plant your right foot forward into the lead position. 3. Precisely when your foot plants forward strike at the #2 angle with the left end of your staff. Put your weight behind this, time the foot with the strike. 4. Now circle the right end of your staff high and vertical, and bring it down on the hand or hands holding the weapon. 5. From the last move do not set up for another shot. Go directly from his hands up the arm into his throat with the right end of your staff.