Abstract Ringen III

Meyer_1570_Rapier_I1-1080x675 copy.jpg

The word Ringen, technically speaking, refers to Germanic unarmed combat. Kampfringen more directly the war form. I use the term Ringen as a blanket term for all Hema unarmed combat, and some dagger combat. As I seek the wholeness or the art. There are forms from various regions of Renaissance Europe. Most notably the Italian. The reason one can combine nationalities as one form is the simple aspect of technology. The technological tools, swords, armour, etc. are basically the exact same tool regardless of were in Europe you travel, at least in Western Europe. Thus form equals function. There are four combat masters I currently gravitate towards in the study of “Ringen”. Ringeck, Meyer, Auerswald, and Liberi. Each one brings a special aspect to the art. There are many masters and all should be studied. Many will show the same techniques, and here and there something “different” that is extremely effective. As the compass of Hema unarmed combat spins endlessly, I will abstractly point out variations within books, as well as various foreign martial arts styles that are similar. Due to other martial arts having unarmed masters that can be viewed. Within sword fighting the Hema compass points North. The skill level is well established. I speak of the foreign arts very generally, looking at specific aspects that apply to specific aspects of Hema. Although I speak of the foreign forms regarding different masters, they apply to all masters. Just as each master should be viewed as a whole to form an understanding of Ringen. The human body is only capable of moving soundly in certain ways. The styles will have aspects similar in movement and body mechanics, yet of course these styles are not Hema. As Hema stands alone.

The teachings of Ringeck are almost “barbaric”, in a very good way. He travels straight into maiming. His techniques are simple, combative and visceral. Eye gouges, stomps, finger breaks, testical destruction, knee breaks, ripping ears off (maybe I added that one). On and on, you can make a huge list of all the maiming dirty things one can do in combat, it becomes redundant. While a form of grappling, his is extremely “combative” in approach, to the extent he puts modern combatives to shame. As these modern styles are disconnected because of technology when you compare them to the understanding of such a man living during such times. These modern styles grasping straws from martial arts and sports that are weakening to combatives. He should be deeply studied my the men seeking to form such training crurriculims. The important aspect of Ringeck is he speaks how to kill quickly.

Meyer is interesting. His form offers many interesting throws. Once again grappling, yet not wrestling. Often using only the foot to obstruct anothers legs/feet, and force one off balance. Some of the throws will simply break your neck as executed, you will be dead before you hit the ground, his form is not sport. He offers precision, obstruction of limbs and throws in a way were there is no room for contestation when technique is done. A somewhat similar appearance can be found viewed in Muay Boran. Muay Boran displaying the leg sweeps using arms, with extremely harsh castings of ones opponents to the ground. Calling it an art of “striking” is a narrow approach. It is truly refereed to as an art of binding, understand this. Muay Boran I took up thirteen years ago. My intent to always keep “striking” strong in body far into old age (60+), God willing. Through diet, fitness and training. It is important to view techniques used against forceful and capable opponents in motion…Again, Ringen, it is unique to Hema and neither of these styles.

Auerswald, as said before is the beginning of sportification, what one would call renaissance wrestling. Modern wrestling has no place in Hema, stay away from this. While many of his techniques are not deadly, they offer you the position to quickly become so. The scope of his work offers many options and body mechanics that are important to understand. Arts that stands out in similarity are Sumo and Jujutsu. Yes, Sumo. Forget about the large men who have low levels of true fitness, were weight makes one greater only under rules. The Art of Sumo. There are practitioners of fit and “normal” physiques. Watch these men. Watch the flurry of open palm strikes as one seeks dominance of the arms. The “strikes” can quickly become deadly in approach if rules are lifted. Watch the mechanics, and men who are vastly outweighed gain control and dominance.

Liberi, the Beautiful Flower, is of excessive importance. His art is the most precise. He often maintains as much distance as possible from his opponent during techniques. In an abstract way, it is almost similar to many Bujutsu techniques. Budo is something I am very friendly with, yet keep to myself. The style of dislocations, the distance maintained, the erect form, etc. He offers a variety of joint dislocations, especially to the arms. The simple illustrations are extremely clear. Easily understood. It is one of the most important perspectives handed down to us from the old masters.

The unification of these four masters offers a large scope in the perspective of combat. While there are others, all of which are to be studied. These are four that stand out to me. The ones I currently study most. In the entirety, unarmed Hema is both unique and deadly.

Bidenhänder

05003225.jpg

My martial arts training revolves entirely around the bidenhänder, and continues to with increased vigor. It is this weapon that I am pursuing mastery of, which runs hand in hand with the longsword, the longsword thus applying to every other object you can put into your hands. Yet, taking the true two hander to the point of mastery is shrouded in mist if you will. As there is little direct reference to it, in comparison to many other weapons. As well as no living examples to look towards, as the mastery of such a weapon takes extreme dedication of body. The balance, the strength, the form, the stability, technique, on and on. I have already written extensively of the use of stepping away from the roundabout strike using the long edge, also true of the longsword. Guards are tight in a fight, not exaggerated as in many of the books. This is true of all martial arts…

Stay tight. Duel as if there were a three foot hoop somewhere in the middle of your sword, centered with your solar plexus. One can actually create one and place between themselves and a sword pell. And now pass through nearly all stances, strike, fight, wind about. Your balance point scraping along the hoop. You will be able to take nearly all stances, passing between each one, all strikes, yet they will become extremely tight. Inches of movement instead of feet. Ask yourself what makes you feel stronger and more guarded. “Death circle” attacks can appear powerful, and upon the battle field you may open up the conflict in such a way.When outnumbered such attacks may be used in a controlled way. One can overwhelm an opponent/opponents with such a skillful flurry of attacks. Yet, things change when dueling with someone skilled. Always remain smart about what is going on. This applies to all sword combat.

Training with both left and right hands must become first nature. It simply must. And one must ask themselves, should the naturally powerful hand be under the cross, or pommel? Do I even have a hand that is more powerful anymore?

The short edge should be used as frequently as the long, if not more. In sword combat the ideal place is to have your blade inside of your opponents blade, thus between his sword and body, his sword controlled at the outside. Pivoting your balance on his sword from your pommel hand, striking him with your false. If you find your sword outside of his, and his outside of yours, then both are guarded, until this inside space is taken. Many may attempt a round about strike, stepping to his outside, yet this can be the toss of the die. One typically wishes to lead with thrusts, finding that inside space. When striking down or up, you still wish to control the inside space. It is a matter of who appears there first, who binds properly and feels intent, who takes better foot position and distance. He who controls the distance is of all importance. With the True Two hander, this is the purpose of lugs on the blade. A secondary cross guard. There is debate about this and there should not be. The ignorance of others should never bother you. The lugs are for binding while controlling distance. Not for half swording, halfsword places your hands above the lugs. One can place hands under the lugs, yet then it becomes spear like, a slightly different use.

There are several references to the True Two-Hander found within various German books. Meyer, although the longsword, is simply the foundation that all Hema practitioners should study, in the martial arts appearance and form, yet not the arts wholeness. Applying to any blade you take in two hands. Goliath is the bidenhänder, as the art is clear enough to take proportions literally. A few others mention the weapon, with techniques, and insight. There are Iberian writings describing the use of such a weapon. There are also Italian teachings with illustrations. All to be explored at a later point. The picture I included is from a late fight book, 1653, the Alfieri fight book. Mainly on the subject of rapier, yet with a section of the True Two-Hander. With what may appear strange techniques. One must apply in motion, and take what you will.

The key is to simply train this weapon to exhuastion, there is always more to learn, always better handling to obtain. To be both smooth and balanced, yet spastic and jerking the blade about. I train with one that measure 75 inches in length, this is the large end of the spectrum. The handle being any longer I would not be able to properly clear underneath my arm. I am 6’ 2” in height. The weapon is extremely impressive when one is skilled and balanced, moving with the weapons balance point. When one is not, it appears cumbersome and unbalanced. Thus it must be trained with repeatedly. High repetition, burning muscles, and exhausted breath. In order to not deal with such fatigue while actually performing in combat. I train with it seven days a week, alongside a multitude of other practices. It empowers every single aspect of my martial arts abilities.Training style is your choice.

Warrior Yoga

There are many types of Yoga. All of which will benefit your martial arts. It is the stability yoga grants that is so important. Over time, one should develop their own flows of yoga. Sun salutations are the core of flows, always maintaining proper breathing. There are three stances of upmost importance. Writing in western terms: Warrior 2, Warrior 3, and Plank. Allow the sun salutation to embody these three. The warrior aspect comes from the length in which you hold each pose. Warrior 2 simply looks like a martial art. Have your back foot point diagonally backwards, not forwards as you often see modernly. Warrior 3 is stability given form. Plank simply hurts. Hold such stances for at the very least two minutes on either side. Repeat and repeat, with each salutation. Ever seek to increase holding time. The strength, balance and flexibility such practice gives is second to none. I encourage any martial artist to take up yoga, alongside meditation. The benefits giving year after year. The practice is powerful.

Oak Path

This world is one of chaos and falsehood. As we go about our daily lives, the chaos surrounding us brings nothing but torment to the spirit of mankind. This torment is self chosen. For one must rise beyond it. Our inner world and state of being is self chosen. Our world is what we choose to view, what we choose to be fed. The atrocities of this world are many. Factual regardless of perception. Many wish to believe that current times are most lost. This is a falsehood. Current times see more peace and stability than this world has ever witnessed on a social level, yet the society of consumerism is all consuming and destructive. On an environmental level, and personal level, it is the most destructive. The human condition of lowliness strikes at the heart of many. First one must get to the root cause of this lowliness of mankind. Mankind, is the problem. It is what we are attracted to that is the problem. Humanity is the lowest denominator. For we love what is popular. To become popular within humanity is to attract the lowest denominator of humanity. To attract our lowest aspects. View the character of the American elections. What the people wish to see. View the political movements amongst cultures the media portrays. The news stories most popular. The propaganda we believe about our county’s actions. The disgusting diet we are attracted to. The embarrassing sports athletes most popular. The foul musicians and their character many mimic. This is not the fault of “those in charge”. This is the fault of the lowest denominator of humanity. The mob. For thousands of years, the mob must be pleased to be controlled. The mob is attracted to that which is their own destruction and weakness. The desire for power, wealth, and materialism. While this is not to be condemned entirely. It is the root cause of mankind’s troubles and anxiety. Of personal misery. Depression and propaganda. It is due to this that many seek an alternative route. We seek connection and sincerity. Yet were is this to be found?
Many seek this out in a spiritual way. We seek to connect to something greater than ourselves, something greater than the “success” of society. For many spirituality is seeking connection with the Earth. Connection with that which is real and lasting. That which is the embodiment and power of spiritual signifigance. For in seeking this connection, we seem to both find ourselves and lose ourselves.
Yet how often do you see disconnection towards one words. Diet is a deep aspect, if not deepest in connection of the world around you. Diet leads to nearly every aspect of life. Yet in this world of doctor degrees, so few understand this. Organic veganism is highly recommended. At the very least, cleanse yourself of toxins the length of a moon cycle periodically, for both the sake of discipline and experimentation. Seeking honesty with the way you feel. Do not be the animal/earth rights “activist” who does not eat an organic vegan diet. You have lost the right to speak. You see this hypocrisy relentlessly, it is tiresome. This is due to fads and many wanting to be part of a “way” that one does not understand. While contradictory to a purely peaceful path, hunting wild game and True-Farm raised domestic animal product is a noble a way to eat, combined with an organic vegan diet, while walking a spiritual path. For it is the nature of many animals to desire blood, yet not consume tortured hatred and fear. Another view so many activists do not give awareness to, or perhaps simply a commitment few wish to make. This is due to lack of balance within themselves, creating the faults within their psychology. Although from the view of health and longevity, as well as a purely peaceful spiritual approach, intellegent veganism is a wiser choice. It is walking a holistic approach that is true spirituality. No exception for those who seek in and outer knowledge. No exceptions for those who seek wholeness and connection. Diet is always the first place to start. And the first thing that will give you life or a quicker death, and miserable body…
Many who walk the path of martial arts do so with spiritual intent. True martial arts I speak of. We seek self improvement. We seek connection to the power of the universe, for in this power one is humbled. Meditation to cast away ones self, the sword to empower. Martial Arts is the walk from innocence to corruption, and again to innocence. The path of the sage, the path of the monster. For both are given flame.
In meditative practice, regardless of esoteric intent, we seek wholeness. We seek unfiltered energy arousal. In wholeness one must see what is most damaging. One must disconnect from the damaged outlets society feeds upon. Turn off the television, read a book that makes you a greater person instead. Step away from the cult of social media, instead understand what true friendship means, and accept nothing else. See what is physically real, and digitally fake. Step away from commercialized diets, life shortening addictions and chemicals unheard of, keeping humanity weak and sick, addicted to medication after medication for problems that are naturally curable. Depression and anxiety created form this network one is plugged into. Step away from the lowest, most popular denominator. The misery created by being apart of this “society”. It is done purposefully, for the herd feeds upon what it desires, creating the disgust that is modern media. Media, in a sense leading every aspect of your life since you were very young, going through public indoctrination of citizenship, whether you believe or not. Cure the disease. Seek accountability with the Earth, with Your God. Feel Her gentle breath, hear His echoing roar. You may have great difficulty finding God, your holistic inner divinity. Yet, a path requires walking…
Practice self improvement. Art, creation, health, meditation. Destruction of external influence, death of following the herd. Find the peace of the sage under the Oak, or forever remain the diseased cattle, creating and being destroyed by the herd. Seek out the eye that pierces the veil, or forever remain chocked and blind. Be our highest denominator, if only standing alongside the few. Or be the lowest denominator, standing amongst the many.