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Weapons, body type and fighting style (Middle Ages

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Picard View Drop Down
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    Posted: 07 Jul 2019 at 21:04
I have been doing research on how body type affects weapons and combat. From what I had found out:
  • Different body types may have developed partly as adaptation to different weapons. Short, stocky build (endomorph) is ideal for strength-based weapons, such as clubs (indeed, Neanderthals seem to have used predominantly clubs). Modern Western ideal of pronounced musculature, wide shoulders and somewhat narrow hips (mesomorph) seems to be a representation of an archer ideal. Thin, linear build (ectomorph) is ideal for javelin throwing.
  • When it comes to fighting, endomorph is a bull-rusher. Fast, strong, but tires relatively quickly. Endomorphic person relies more on wrestling/grappling moves and binding opponent's weapon. Ectomorphic build would be more conductive to a protracted duel, and relies on speed, mobility and quick closing actions.
  • Heavy people do well with a sword and a shield, as shield can be used to push the opponent, or rush in and get a quick kill. If that fails, person can fall back on the defensive, expend a minimum of energy and simply wait for the opponent to attack. A person with thin, lanky build is better suited for a spear, as it can be used for quick, precise attacks, control distance and allow person to dart in and out.
  • When it comes to swords specifically, heavily built person is better suited for a sword-and-shield approach, while thinner guy might want to use a longsword in order to increase reach advantage.
  • It appears that slight build is not that much of a disadvantage when using mace or a warhammer (unlike what some think, even GRRM apparently).
  • It is definitely not disadvantage with a sword - while strength is a good quality to have, great physical strength does not give much advantage. Speed and endurance is more important. And of course, skill.
  • The Book of the Courtier states that "men thus huge of body are also unfit for every exercise of agility", and that fighting would favour "strength, and lighteness, and supleness". So likely average height, and mesomorphic, possibly ectomorphic, build.
  • According to Johannes Lichtenauer, a knight should rather be agile than strong, nimble than muscular, and have good muscular coordination skills rather than brute force. This again points to slight to medium (ectomorph to mesomorph) body type.
  • Due to requirements of marching, wiry guy with endurance is closer somatotype to historical warriors. Likewise, armour tires person out, so endurance is more important than raw strength.
  • Illustrations in manuals show knights to be fit, but lean. So again, modern idea of huge brute wielding a warhammer is a misconception.
  • Medieval knights had similar fitness levels to professional footballers and tennis players. Keep in mind, we're talking European football here, not American everything-ball-with-ramming. This again points to endurance being prized, which would lead to overall lighter build. Modern-day professional jouster had body fat percentage of 8%.
  • In unarmored sword fighting, height and reach are more important than strength (obviously).
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franciscosan View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Jul 2019 at 13:06
Probably good rule of thumb, but I think there would be exceptions.

I don't know if it would be counted as an exception, but Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) was illiterate until late in life, but what he was able to do is 'read' the body of his opponent and thus get out the way in a very quick response to what they did/were doing. One might likewise be able to see something like that with armed combat, if it wasn't for the fact that in the developed world most people have some level of literacy.  Literacy, I imagine, imposes a certain structure on phenomena, with a priority of left to right (in European based countries), and top to bottom.  Ali did not have that, and I also imagine that such an absence would help out medieval knights as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2019 at 12:42
Picard

The blue links in your post lead to a number of different web sites, and posts under other names.

On the face of it, it looks like plagiarism.

Can you explain this to me please?

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It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote franciscosan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2019 at 13:24
I think that people eager to share some discovery they've found often fail to attribute their sources.  In scholarship this gets pounded into students as plagarism, something that people outside of academia are often vague about.  "But, this is what I think!  This is right on!"  Why do I have to say were it comes from?"  Part of analysis is picking things apart, and part of that is knowing where they came from, and that they were always in the formation that they are now.  In any case, attribute your sources, give them credit and be willing to risk that someone might shoot at your sacred cows.  most often it is not the end result that is the truth but the process that gets there, including the back and forth.

Interesting stuff Picard, but when it is based on others, particularly others testimony, I suggest attributing your sources, overtly, and not just through the blue links.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Picard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Jul 2019 at 16:13
Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Picard

The blue links in your post lead to a number of different web sites, and posts under other names.

On the face of it, it looks like plagiarism.

Can you explain this to me please?

toyomotor
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I am not sure how you define plagiarism. When researching, you always have to use sources, unless it is your own personal experience. I think it would be plagiarism if I did *not* include links; but work on finding and compiling them was mine.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toyomotor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Jul 2019 at 12:49
Originally posted by Picard Picard wrote:

Originally posted by toyomotor toyomotor wrote:

Picard

The blue links in your post lead to a number of different web sites, and posts under other names.

On the face of it, it looks like plagiarism.

Can you explain this to me please?

toyomotor
Moderator

I am not sure how you define plagiarism. When researching, you always have to use sources, unless it is your own personal experience. I think it would be plagiarism if I did *not* include links; but work on finding and compiling them was mine.

By all means reference other peoples' works, but acknowledge this by noting the particular source in your post.

toyomotor
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It's not that I was born in Ireland,
It's the Ireland that was born in me.
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