"The Manly Arts": European and Colonial Combatives, 1776 - 1914

The Mission of the JManly

"Whoe'er would carve an independent way through life, must learn to ward or plant a blow."
J. von Schiller, 1759-1804

Chances are that the first and second lists will be at least somewhat familiar. The first is a sampling of Asian martial arts masters who were influential during the 1930's - 1970's. The second catalogues some of the Medieval and Renaissance-era European masters, whose systems are now being interpreted and revived. In between these two, the concept of what constitutes a martial art has shifted.

Whereas once it was taken for granted that a "martial artist" studied an Asian style, today s/he might train in a system of African, Polynesian or European descent. This art might have been passed down in relative obscurity and only recently popularised, or might even have been dormant for centuries and recently revived through the study of antique texts and illustrations.

Over the past decade especially, great strides have been made towards re-creating the combative systems of the 1300's - 1600's. Scholars and practitioners of the historical European martial arts (HEMA) interpret the teachings of the old Masters of Defence, and in so doing, honour a hitherto neglected aspect of European history.

This journal is dedicated to a specialised field of interest within the HEMA community; the combative arts of the late 1700's through to the early decades of the last century. This period saw the decline of military swordplay, archery, and so-forth, concomitant with the inexorable advances of firearms and explosives. The age-old traditions of the duel of honour declined as well, and duels were eventually banned in most "civilised" countries. Towards the end of this period, many nations had established professional police forces, theoretically relieving their citizens of the need to openly carry weapons.

So: the third list. The old battlefield and duelling arts did not vanish, but were transformed into sports and "new" arts of self defence. Sometimes this line was thinly drawn. Fighters such as E.W. Barton-Wright, Daniel Mendoza, Don Jose "Pepe" Lulla and Edith Garrud were among the martial innovators of their eras.

Welcome to the world of Bartitsu, bareknuckle prize fighting, catch-as-catch-can, swordsticks, bayonet fencing, la canne and the Jujutsuffragettes.

Welcome to "the Manly Arts".

Tony Wolf

, Editor - JManly
Tony is a professional fight director and martial arts/stage combat tutor. Since 1978 he has traversed a wide range of Asian, Polynesian and European martial arts, with a particular interest in both European "folk styles" and the combatives of the late 1800s. He was a pioneer of padded-attacker self-defence training in his home country of New Zealand and serves as an advisor for several international martial arts and stage combat organisations.
Tony's fight direction and action sequences have been featured in over one hundred and seventy feature film, television, theatre, opera and ballet productions. Between 1998-2000 he served as the Fighting Styles Designer for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and in 2002 he toured Japan with the Washington Opera Company's production of Otello starring Placido Domingo. Tony has taught, directed and performed throughout New Zealand, as well as in Australia, the USA, England, Ireland, Canada and Japan. He lives in Wellington, New Zealand with his son, Josh.