The next time you find yourself speeding into the distant past at 88 miles per hour in a DeLorean, knowing medieval self-defense is a skill that may keep you alive, or at least help you take the other guy with you across the River Styx.
Attendees marched into the Hyatt Kennesaw Sunday morning to see the Atlanta Freifechters demonstrate medieval self-defense techniques and even try their hands at blocking various knife attacks.
But first, history. The Medieval era is typically thought of as roughly occurring after 500 AD until 1500 AD. During this time, self-defense laws changed dramatically. Ironically, Scandinavians had some of the most defined laws because they were a bit stabby stabby happy. Most peasants didn’t carry a weapon, but they might have had a knife or walking stick. In the 16th century, more people started dabbling in weapons. If you happen to become rich during your time travels, you may be able to afford the luxury of having a page walk behind you, carrying your shield and backup sword.
It isn’t the size of your sword or knife, extra-long ones being the exception, but how you wield it. To become an expert, people trained with wooden Rondel or Bollocks daggers. Rondel training daggers were 10 inches long with a round, bulbous end and typically worn on the same hip as your dominant hand. Bollocks daggers were usually worn in the front at an angle across the groin because, according to the panelists, men being men are dumb.
Later, when rapiers became all the rage, they were worn on the nondominant side, resulting in a sword draw with a flourish and a look-at-my-big-long-sword. Rapiers could also be worn on the back and hidden when looking for trouble.
Self-defense in the medieval era was very different from today. They accepted that the most likely outcome from an attack was that they were going to be wounded, at the very least. However, the techniques that worked in medieval times can also work in knife fights today.
So, what’s the best defense? Cardio. Whether then or now, the best defense is to sprint away from the attacker or bro shouting “Come at me.”
No Daily Dragon reporters were harmed while attempting the above stunts. The same can’t be said for typing up the review. Someone save us from the Hyatt’s bowels.