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Italian Longsword Guards & Kenjutsu

There is a good deal of information on Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) available these days - one excellent resource is Wiktenauer from which the longsword images below are taken.

Like Japanese koryu the sword and close quarter fighting make up the bulk of the material.  One of the interesting parts of European martial arts is that the practitioners work from original source material rather than following a tradition that is handed down.  It is an interesting basis compared to the continual transmission of Japanese koryu.

It is unrealistic to think the majority of koryu were not evolved continuously during the Tokugawa or even the Meiji periods.  In many instances, this refinement is what sets the Japanese arts apart.  There is no in without yo however, and in some cases refinements can equal mistakes.

In terms of this material - there is still scope for a lot of research.  Some of the historic works on German and Italian longsword are shockingly sophisticated, and some practitioners of HEMA are extremely knowledgeable on their subjects.  It would be a mistake to discount these sources simply because they are not Japanese - indeed I would guess that HEMA will be a future force to be reckoned with within the martial arts sphere.

Here I would like to take a quick look at the 12 guards in Fiore de'i Liberi's Flower of Battle - and pick out some similar guards within Katori Shinto Ryu.

It should be noted that just because a similar position may be utilised, that does not mean the actions are similar.  It is however interesting to make some sort of comparison, if only for fun.


























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