Why train in Traditional English Martial Arts
Why? Is a good question and one that gets asked often.
Why take up archery for instance. Our armed forces do not carry long bows in mass to battle these days and we do not use them for hunting in the UK so why bother to learn it? Enjoyment has got to be the main reason for most people as well as an inherent interest in the subject.
The same therefore can be said for all martial arts whether they are eastern or western.
To most people learning what on the surface is just Historical Swordsmanship seems an out dated martial combat system with little relevance in the 21st Century, as we do not walk around carrying swords to defend ourselves any more. However once you get past this initial view you will discover that although it goes without saying that you need to learn true swordsmanship to be a competent swordsman, if that is all you learn then you are far from being a complete swordsman. For to fully understand armed combat you also need to learn close quarter unarmed combat. At any time through history when it was still the norm to carry weapons for self-defence whether in war or civilian life, without a full knowledge of both armed and unarmed combat skills you would be at a great disadvantage if in a combat situation your opponent were to break your distance and take the grip of you. At that point your skill with a sword would be pretty much null and void and so your skill in taking the grip, wrestling, close quarter striking, throws, locks, dislocation and the use of kicks and strikes with the knees would be what would hopefully save you.
‘We are fighters not fencers’ - Peter Holland
It is only when you view TE-MA in its entirety that you start to appreciate that these techniques have not become redundant and are as valid in their application today as any system of practical self-defence that may spring to mind.
And of course along with learning a practical form of self-defence comes the added benefits associated with partaking in any martial art system today, regular exercise, self-confidence, focus and discipline.
As we say in the AOBC “To aspire in TE-MA you need to apply the 3 P’s.”
Passion - Participation - Perspiration