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Showing posts from October, 2014

Story Combat Realism Part 4--the Barbarian Way

Last post I gave ancient and medieval examples of what I could have simply (but boringly) called "the professional warrior." The examples I gave were by no means identical, but they all shared in common an emphasis on long, disciplined study of war and weapons and hard training, on maintaining a code of conduct, and on staying as calm and level-headed as possible on the battlefield. There's another warrior tradition of note--the barbarian warrior. There are commonalities and overlaps between barbarians and the pros (and even what it is meant by the term "barbarian"), but what I'm marking here as the fundamental difference between them is how they fight. The barbarian, whether a real one of history or fictional analogues, doesn't see any particular value in maintaining a level head in a battle. Not to say all of them are out of control at all times, but they do not specifically train to maintain calmness. Instead they rush into battle in a frenzy of

Story Combat Realism Part 3. How to Train a Samurai, Spartan, or Knight.

At the end of my last post of this series that deals mainly with the psychological factors of combat, I noted that Spartans, in spite of battlefield courage that implies they are natural-born warriors, were in fact the product of superior training. Note that this kind of highly-trained fighting professional is a different sort of fighter than found in warrior cultures who emphasized battlefield rage. This type of elite training was not just a characteristic of Spartans, it was also true of a number of other renowned warriors from times past, including samurais and knights. To take the last first, the conventional training of a knight began at age 7, when he became a page. Pages served knights in their company, but also learned to ride and fight with wooden swords and blunted lances. They practiced horseback fighting while riding piggy back and were continually exposed to weapons training. At age 14 a page became a squire, who now trained with both wooden and sharpened weapons,