Classical Fencing and the Bayonet II


For the classical fencer or martial artist desirous about learning the bayonet or the juken in either context, there are significant challenges. It just isn’t an insurmountable task, but it surely requires that you just broaden your perspective and alter your movement patterns. And it requires quite a little bit of research. The result’s well value it, nevertheless, in a broader understanding of fencing and of weapons.

The primary issue is access to the actual techniques. The bayonet fencing student has a major advantage, as there are a wide range of sources available, in English, and online as scanned images of the unique documents. As well as, quite a lot of these texts have been reprinted and can be found through specialist military booksellers. The Asian martial arts student faces a more daunting task – so far as I can discover just one Chinese bayonet text has been translated and is quickly available. The 2 manuals describing the Japanese juken, one published in World War II and the opposite within the Nineteen Eighties, are each in Japanese and are rare and expensive to very expensive. For English speakers, American Jukenjutsu – The Bayonet Society offers a resource which may be of assist in locating and understanding sources.

The second issue is knowing the context. Bayonet play, even the late 1800s bayonet fencing, is entirely military in context. Because of this you frequently have to know the manual of arms (the formal approach to drill in handling the weapon) and the essential foot drill (how the feet move in marching and changing direction) in use within the Army for whom the bayonet system was designed.

For instance, in studying Burton’s 1853 system for the Bombay Army, it immediately becomes apparent within the movements that this technique was not designed for troops standing in company formation. In all fairness, Burton points out that his system was designed for light infantry and skirmishers who operated in loose formation and with greater independence on the battlefield. And for people trained in modern United States military drill, about half of the footwork movements just feel improper, with pivots on each heels or each toes, but not heel and toe. Spending time learning the fundamentals of the contemporary school of the solder pays dividends if you take the weapon in hand.

The third issue is finding a practical training weapon. Modern training weapons typically sold in the USA are picket and replicate the final shape of a weapon, but not the heft of weapons from the World War II period or earlier. As well as, should you are studying weapons within the 1800s they’re just too short to represent the weapon plus a protracted triangular and even longer sword bayonet. We add a bit of tubular foam insulation that is usually utilized in plumbing; not only does it provide the length, but it surely makes for protected and cozy hits. Nonetheless, what you’re training with is lighter and faster than the true thing.

The ultimate issue is training equipment. There are not any manufacturers that I’m aware of that make bayonet training protective equipment, that subject it to testing to any standards organization’s standards, and that warrant its safety under impact. Japanese jukendo equipment is specially strengthened (a traditional bogu just isn’t adequate), but it is vitally expensive, and should not meet accepted standards for sports safety equipment in the USA. A picket rifle with a rubber impact tip delivers a blow to a fencing mask that the mask was not designed to sustain. To the body the identical blow can break ribs. The result’s that full speed, full power hits not only expose your partner to injury, but additionally they expose you to liability. Because of this it’s essential discuss such a activity along with your insurer to ensure that your policy covers you, train with a fantastic deal of emphasis on safety and on matching speed and power to expertise, and never exceed the potential of your protective gear.

These challenges shouldn’t deter you from exploring the bayonet. It’s an interesting weapon with difficult technique and different distance and timing from most weapons. Its history covers almost 400 years of warfare, offering opportunities to follow the evolution of a weapon and its use. And, should you are a classical fencer, the true challenge is 4 weapon fencing, foil, epee, sabre, and bayonet.


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