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Resources for the Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) student, with a particular focus on the ars gladiatoris of Paulus Hector Mair.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kampfringen Fundamentals: Leg Drag (Codex Wallerstein)

This is a quick demonstration of the first throwing technique in Codex Wallerstein (16 recto). I will be uploading more in this series in the future.

This interpretation hinges on translation of the Middle High German verb tauchen as any pushing, pulling or torquing motion, not specifically "to push" as it is rendered in the Zabinski/Walczak English translation (their modern German translation, drangen, "to force," is more accurate). Special thanks to Jeffrey Hull for his research on the etymology of tauchen.

Though this throw is not named, it is referenced on both 16 verso and 17 recto as "pulling the foot (or leg) up." Given that "pulling the leg" has an unintended meaning in American idiom, I believe the best modern term for it is "Leg Drag."

I respectfully reject the interpretation by MEMAG that the attacker is supposed to lift the opponent's trapped leg high and push him straight backwards. It is my experience as a grappler that driving the opponent backwards relies entirely on brute strength unless all of his weight is already on his back leg (i.e. if he is stepping or leaning backwards when you lift his leg). That is precisely why the counter on 17r is to drive forward towards the thrower.

If the opponent is resisting (i.e. his weight is on his front leg and he is leaning into you), then it is extremely difficult to push him backwards, because you must not only overpower his leg muscles but also completely reverse his forward inertia. The latter runs counter to the fundamental concept of using your opponent's inertia against him. That, and tauchen has a broader meaning than "push."

Thus, my interpretation exploits the opponent's forward inertia by pulling him over my lead leg and forcing him onto his back.

I also spend some time showing the setup to this throw, which is a critical step the MEMAG guys skip in their videos. Note that the neutral grip I demonstrate (in den Armen) is found in Mair, Talhoffer and other manuals.

1 comment:

Krupp said...

Good stuff, David! Thank you.