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On this page I will be discussing various techniques I use in my reconstruction of Celtic Combat. These are my own personal ideas and do not reflect the ideas of any Rigfennidh but me, the author. Whenever possible I have stayed away from the Oriental Arts in my reconstruction. Instead I placed Indo-european martial components from Pagration, Glima, boxing and Greco-R***n Wrestling. I am looking for info on Highland wrestling. I have also included techniques from Catchascatchcan Wrestling that has it's foundation in the Britsh Isles. But most importantly I used common sense and included the truths of combat that I have discovered myself. I think it is very important to remain free and relaxed and move in a natural free way while practicing celtic fighting. The Celts were a free people therefore I find that rigid movements and unatural postures are not fitting for the Celtic Warrior. I plan on adding pages devited to various topics such as defense and advanced theory. Please check back often to see what new tidbits of violence I have left for you. If you have any question, or if something doesn't seem to click, drop me a line.

Ranges of armed combat

1. Projectile range- at this range the only way to attack your opponent is through the use of throwing or projectile type weapons such as spears, slings, bows, knifes, darts, etc..... 2. Long Weapons Range- Thrusting weapons such as spears and lances are the main weapons of this range but some of the longer swords ie. Claymore fall into this range as well. Long range attacks can also be made by using the linge manuever with shorter weapons. 3. Medium Range- here the use of most weapons can be realized. In this range your are close enough to your opponent that you can easily strike him and he in turn can easily strike you. 4. Close range- This range is dominated by the shorter thrusting and slashing weapons such as short swords and dirks. Longer weapons are some what limited in this range. Not to say they have no use here but if you had to do battle in a phone booth would you take a claymore or a dagger. In this range many empty handed maneuvers can be executed as well. But care must be taken to keep your limbs out of the way of the opponents weapon. 5. Weapons grappling range- In this range ( not a very good one to be in I might add, but better to be prepared for than not ) The use of weapons is limited to dirks and the butts of some weapons. Chokes using the shafts of hafted weapons can also be employed.

Ranges of empty handed combat

1. Long range- In this range you are close enough to kick your opponent but still far enough away to retreat from his kicking attack. 2. Medium range- This range is your basic boxing range. All types of punches and kicks can be deployed. 3. Clinching range- This is the getting down to business range that I look for in a fight. Welcome to the land of elbows knees and headbutts. In the sport of boxing this is where the fighters rest and the ref separates them. Not so in real combat. From this range many of the fights will automaticaly go to the next range. 4. Grappling range- This range is the wrestling range. here various chokes strikes and locks are used to end the confrontation. This is a very important range. You cannot survive too many fights without the use of some form of grappling. Whether it be offensive or just being able to defend against a grappling attack.


Good footwork is very important to the well rounded fighter, celtic or otherwise. It will be your best defense in some situations and your best weapon in others. Here I will outline a basic structure of footwork based on boxing and fencing footwork. First off we must talk about stance. Right now I am only dealing with unarmed fighting. In a later section I will discuss stance and its' relation to weapon combat. First stand naturaly in a normal upright posture. Then step forward with your left foot. only move your foot the normal distance you move it when taking a step. Now, turn your right foot out at a 45 degree angle. make sure your feet are about shoulder width apart. Your feet should look like this | in relation to each other. / Now raise your hands to eye level keeping your elbows bent at 45 degree angles with yourhands about one foot from your face. Make sure you are looking through your hands at the space your opponent will occupy. Keep your front foot pointing directly at your opponent. Remember to practice this stance on both your left and right sides. I will now go through the basic footwork. 1. Step and slide to the front. With your front foot step towards your opponent. Wait until your foot is where you want it to be, now slide your rear foot up to its original distance from the front foot. Remember not to lunge (you will do this later) just keep everything smooth and relaxed. 2. Step and slide to the rear. With your rear foot step back away from your opponent. When your foot is planted slide your front foot back to its original distance from the rear foot. This is a wonderful means of defending against attacks whether they are strikes or grappling attacks. It's incredible how well just not being in range works as a defense. For example; Your opponent punches at you with his lead hand. Instead of trying to block it with force on force contact, you step and slide to the rear. Fading back just enough to nullify his attack but not so far as to make a counter attack by you be out of easy range. This may seem difficult to those of you with out much experience in combat but I assure you that if you take the time and practice this step you will be able to use it like it's part of you. 3. Step and slide to the inside. Now what do I mean by inside? When I use the term inside I am referring to the open part of the body. Meaning If you are standing in the fighting stance that I gave a little earlier with your left leg in the front. Anything to the right of your left hand is considered inside and anything to the left of that hand would be considered outside. Now back to the step. Step with the foot that is closest to the direction you wish to go. If you are standing with your left foot in the front. And wish to go inside move your right foot to the right, you can move it directly to the right or angle the step to the front or rear. Now slide your left foot to its original distance from the right. 4. Step and slide to the outside. This is the exact opposite of the previous step. If you wish to move to your left or outside, step with your left foot to your left and slide your right foot to its original position. and like the step to the inside the angles can varie according to the situation. Step 3 and 4 are great for out flanking your opponent. 5. Circle to the inside.Keeping your front foot planted firmly, pivot on it to the inside. 6. Circle to the outside. Do the opposite of #5 more to come

Natural striking weapons

1. Headbutt 2. Fist or open hand 3. Elbow 4. shoulder and hip 5. Knee 6. Shin and foot

On Defense Empty hands

In defending against punches it is very important not to reach out and try to catch the punches before they reach you. This is one of the best ways to get cracked a good one. Keep your defense tight to your body and to your head. It is better to absorb a punch on your forearm that is lying against your chin than to try and block it on the way in. Blocking the way you see traditional Martial Artists block punches is pure stool sample. Try blocking one of Tyson's hooks with one of those traditional blocks and I tell you good luck. The only way to fight a boxer is to know how to box and wrestle him and conversely the best way to fight a wrestler is to know how to wrestle but box him. In other words never play your opponents game. understand what he does but don't play up to his strengths. The same applies to weapons combat as well. Don't be taken in by the Hocus-Pocus of the martial arts world. An ass whooping in China and one in Scotland is still an ass whooping none the less.

Recreating empty handed techniques

1. When engaged in clinch position with your opponent, wrap your arms around
   his waist drawing him close. While squeezing towards your self with your
   arms push forward on his chest with your chest, now push him backward 
   using your legs. This will cause him to fall backward, unless you let go
   of him you will fall ontop of him. If you choose to follow him to the 
   ground quickly crawl up his body and assume the mounted position by 
   kneeling astride your opponents chest. Get your knees up under his armpits
   but not onto his shoulders as you can be thrown off. Now rain heavy blows
   down upon your foe. Sure it may not look pretty but it sure works good
   and it's simple and natural.
2. Another takedown very close to #1. When engaged in the clinch range grab 
   your opponent the same way as in #1 but instead of pushing him over with
   your legs, give him a nice sharp pushing kick to the back of his knee
   with your right or left foot using your heel. When you feel his knee start
   to buckle apply downward pressure to the back of his knee with the same 
   foot you kicked with. Once again you can remain standing or follow him to
   the ground.
3. A defense against a tackle. ( this ones pretty choice, I can tell you this
   because I was forced to use it one night ) When your attacker goes for a 
   double leg tackle usually their head will go to the left or right of your
   waist. When you feel what side his head is on you need to get a good front
   headlock, now sprawl with your legs to the rear. You should end up on the 
   ground with your attackers head under your chest. Now you must apply
   pressure to the sides of his neck causing him to visit dreamland in approx
   7 seconds. Do not squeeze directly on his throat as this will crush his
4. Closing the Distance with a Kick. Once again from a left lead, kick to the 
   knee of your opponent with your rear leg. This kick should be performed
   as though you were walking through a door foot first. Also try to get the 
   feel of a strong push with all your weight behindit rather than a snappy 
   kick. At the completion of this kick your foot that was in the rear will 
   be in the front and you will have gained several feet of distance. The knee
   is just one of the targets for this kick, also try the front of the hip,
   and the groin. At the same moment your rear foot hits the ground in it's
   new position throw a powerful jab with the same side hand. When you put your
   step and punch together you get much more power.
5. A nice striking combo - In the old texts many references were made to not
   just punching but kicking as well. What follows is a nifty and natural 
   combo that will take you from kicking range all the way into grappling.
   First take a small shuffle step and kick extremely low. I am talking no
   higher than the knee on this one. Try to hit the inner part of your foes
   front shin with the outer part of your shin. Now instead of retreating to
   see what happens plant your kicking foot down while at the same time
   throwing a straight cross with your rear hand followed by a front hook to
   the head and another straight cross. Now if every thing has gone as 
   planned(it never will) Your foes should be on queer street at this time.
   Now thrust forward (not upward) with your front knee into his midsection
   this should cause a bending reaction. Follow up with a move such as # 3
   above only modify it to meet the situation (not going for a tackle but
   having his head low enuff for you to wrap around it) 

Combat links

Pagration Martial Art of Ancient Greece: My website devoted to Pagration
Glima Page: Wrestling of the Vikings
Cinaet's weapon page: How to use a number of weapons.
The Art Of Brawling: Empty Handed Combat Page Of RigFennidh Fearghus
Verbal Combat: RigFennidh Uilidha's Verbal Combat Page
Cian's Warrior/Druid Page: Druids as Warriors? Find out here.
Cian's Celtic Combat Page: Our RigFennidhFiannas thought on combat

Rigfennidh Cinaet Maol MacEideard MacKeltoi
Fianna of North East Ohio