Martial Arts

From: Martin Laurie (
Date: Mon 09 Jun 1997 - 20:57:04 EEST

Jon Thorvaldson:
>To my, limited, knowledge, that is true of most modern martial arts. >Bu=
historically there has existed martial arts developed by warriors >for us=
against warriors. This was so even in Europe, but they >disappeared in mo=
places with the high middle ages and the >heavy bias towards cavalry
tactics. <snipped interesting example> I >was also told that there were
those who trained unarmed fighting >tecniques using the edges of your
armour to strike with.

Yes, the Samurai used grappling techniques too when fighting a heavily
armoured opponent and I can't see any logical reason why armoured men in
the West wouldn't either. A knight fighting an unarmoured foe would be
very dangerous, simply using his mailed body as a weapons - all that weig=
and hard surfaces - nasty. However, I think that such form of fighting
were relatively rare or at least undeveloped or lacking in importance in
the west which devoted far more time and attention to weapons use rather
than unarmed combat. =

Its interesting to note that fencing changed too as the Italians develope=
the lunge. Before that the only way to attack a foe by advancing was a
rather awkward step past them called the Pass which is hideously
inefficient and silly when compared to the lunge. The lunge was a closel=
guarded secret - something a modern fencer like myself finds hard to cred=
as it seems so obvious - and it took over a centrury to spread to all par=
of Europe as only a few fencing masters knew it.

What I'm trying to get at is that complicated martial arts take time to
develop and certain pressures to do so upon the martially inclined in
society. If all men carry a sword then the sword is the martial art that=

will develope to the exclusion of everything else. This is the case in
Glorantha. In the modern western world, its not on to carry weapons open=
so for self defence people have gone back to unarmed combat techniques.

Here's my summary of cultures and their martial arts in Glorantha:

Orlanthi: Weapon (usually sword) and Shield. The Orlanthi are great
experts in this form and are deadly in personal combat - in the real worl=
they are similar to the vikings in that regard.

Praxians: Weapon and mount. Whatever weapon the Praxians tribe adopts, t=
main focus of their training is to be able to use it while mounted and
moving with the tactics of their tribe. eg Bison riders will be trained =
using their weapons on the charge, Impala riders, shooting while retreati=
or skirmishing.

Kralorelans: Mystical martial arts which are magical and very nasty indee=
- - many styles, each with differing effect. They are a specialisation
though and less versatile than other general cultral martial arts.

Dara Happans: Mostly their weapons use is structured around the group or
phalanx. Individual champions are rare in Dara Happa though some Shargas=
excell at this kind of fighting but their style is more fitting to an
Orlanthi than an average Raibanthi

Seshnela/Loskalm: Armoured fighting, similar to weapon and shield but mor=
geared for horse, charge and lance and less to individual combat.

KoW: Anything that works but not really a culture

Trolls: Weapon and shield but affected by their physiology. Trolls are
similar to the Orlanthi in this though given their non-farming existence,=

their feuding and fighting has taken them in a somewhat different directi=
- - however, its form is similar, but geared for their body type.

Elves: Pah!

Dwarfs: Their training is devoted to weapon competance _within_ the whole=

of the regiment or group they are in and individualistic capability beyon=
the needs of the regiment is not needed nor thought of. IMO Dwarfs make
poor individual fighters, only offset by their age and equipment when
compared to an Orlanthi or Troll.


IMO the best martial arts cultures are by group order of superiority and
taken as a measure of the highest skill average in personal combat ove th=
whole population:

(1). Pentans, Orlanthi, Trolls.

(2). Seshnelans/Loskalmi/Praxians

(3). Kralorelans, Dara Happans, Esrolians, Hsunschen, Dwarfs

Reasons: Martial arts ability in a culture is like a spectrum with the
more civilised cultures being particularily bad but so are the really
barbaric cultures as they are poor at retaining knowledge over time and
expanding on that knowledge whereas a semi-barbaric culture with enough
specialistion to have weaponsmaster etc _without_ losing the martial
tradition among the bulk of the populace is pretty damn dangerous - ie th=
Orlanthi, Pentans etc.

The Seshnelans are similar but the fighitng class has become an elite as
have the Loskalmi. The Lunars are like any large Empire, only a fraction=

of their population would be able to continue a martial tradition as they=

are professional soldiers. =

NOTE: This martial tradiiton has little to do with mass battle
effectiveness which is ENTIRELY another thing altogether. I'm merely
commenting on personal combat capability and the excellence of a people a=
a whole with the weapons of their choice.

BTW has anyone else with a compuserve account noticed their mail going
weird and getting these damn =3D signs everywhere?

Martin Laurie


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