Celtic Martial Arts
It is commonly held that the Martial Arts originate only in the Orient, and that no Western counterparts or equivalents can be found. This assumption, sometimes passionately held, will be seen as erroneous in the light of the information compiled here. Enjoy.
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WESTERN MARTIAL ARTS
It is commonly held that the Martial Arts originate only in the Orient, and that no Western counterparts or equivalents can be found. This assumption, sometimes passionately held, will be seen as erroneous in the light of the following facts:
The method of folding steel to manufacture swords in Spain predates the techniques used to make Katana by the Japanese. Most fencing exponents hold Toledo steel to be the best in the world, and blades from that region are easily the equal of many Japanese swords.
Existing texts of European fencing from the middle ages onwards contain methods and techniques equally as detailed and effective as any ancient Oriental manual of Kung-Fu.
Tapestries of the time show Watt Tyler and his men armed with a variety of farming implements, including threshals, a corn-flail resembling an outsized nunchaku. The common history of nunchaku training is that it evolved from the Okinawan peasant’s application of framing tools to combative use.
In virtually every armed encounter, western forces have triumphed over Japanese or Chinese forces. Most people are aware that Sun Tzu wrote “The Art of War”, but less known is the fact that Niccolo Machiavelli also published a book by the same title.
Throughout England and across the USA, re-enactment societies and Western Martial Art revivalists have made headway into re-discovering the methods and applications of historical sword, weapon, and unarmed techniques.
The modern ROSS system, or Russian Martial Art, traces its roots back to early Russian folk dances and ritual training. These same traditions survive today in English Morris dancing. Some few groups still retain the ancient, somewhat gruesome practices of the original Pagan rituals, beside the choreographed stick-fighting and foot-work routines.
KELTIC MARTIAL ARTS
The oldest records of martial training in the UK go back to Julius Caesar’s records of his campaigns here and the remaining language and stories of the people themselves.
Caesar records the method by which the Kelts fought, lifting their arms to strike over or under the rim of their shields with sword or spear.
There exist in Gaelic specific words, not only for slashing as opposed to stabbing techniques, but interestingly, for Chi (breath power) – Gwei.
The story of Cuchullain, perhaps the most reliable of the native Irish accounts. Allegedly, the story was recorded as poetry by Fergus MacRoy, a contemporary of Cuchullain and an eyewitness. While specific retellings and translations vary in degrees, all agree that Cuchullain, Ireland’s greatest living warrior, was a small man who trained first at a school for warriors in the islands north of Scotland. The name of his teacher was Skaya, remembered today in the Isle of Skye.