George Silver’s True Times, Dempsey’s Blocking and the Dagger Fight

Training opposite Avebury Church

This week at Medieval Martial Arts we went through some of Dempsey’s defensive drills, took a cold, hard look at George Silver’s True Times and rounded the evening off with the dagger fight.

Temperatures outside of our training hall dropped to below -6 this evening so we took plenty of time to ensure that we were all warmed up and ready for the session. To begin with we refreshed ourselves on the Dempsey lessons from the previous two sessions and then added a few of his defensive drills, including simultaneous stop and counters – stopping incoming punches with the heel of the hand whilst simultaneously countering to the face with the other hand.

The Longsword

We then compared a few of our techniques with German long sword techniques to further clarify the difference between True Times and False Times. In addition to studying works by George Silver, a number of the students here are currently researching manuscripts, translations and interpretations of Johannes Liechenauer and Sigmund Ringeck (along with various English long sword manuscripts) and we will often use various teachings from the whole Western Martial Arts tradition in order to demonstrate and clarify our own teaching and understanding.

Finally we sparred with the dagger. For this we used shortened rattan sticks and wore sabre fencing masks. In our view the dagger fight is probably one of the most dangerous and brutal fights you could find yourself in. Forget grapples and fancy locks and arm grabs – against an opponent pumped up on murder (or anything else) you’re in a battle for your life and fancy stuff will get you killed. Because this weapon is so easily misused the dagger’s self defensive techniques and training is only provided for experienced and long term members of Medieval Martial Arts. Beginners can expect training in how to defend one’s self from a dagger attack… the first lesson of which is titled, ‘running really fast.’

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