|In 16th Century Europe there were martial arts schools which trained civilians in what was then called 'The Science of Defence'. This taught individual skill in single combat, primarily for self defence, as opposed to co-ordinated drilling and fighting together as a group that was key to the military training of the era. These schools were run by Masters who all had their own favoured styles, but who cooperated to maintain standards. Students advanced through the grades by playing Prizes - open competitions where the student agreed to fight any challenger in a selection of weapon styles and be judged by the local Masters.
There is a short article going into more detail here, which includes suggestions for further reading.
A range of books explaining the principles and techniques studied have survived to the present day, and it is these that are used in modern interpretations of historical styles.
Lothene members are primarily working from Joachim Meyer's 'The Art of Combat' which was first published in 1570, though other manuals are consulted to inform our interpretation of Meyer’s instructions. Limitations in the descriptions and illustrations in the surviving manuals mean that interpretation, experimentation and combat experience is required to develop a working modern martial art from them.
Illustration from 16th Century combat manual
"The High Cut is a straight cut direct from above at your opponent's head towards his scalp, for which
reason it is also called the Scalp Cut"
calligraphy - Maister's letter of authority (made by NJ Saunders)
picture taken at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk
Lothene can also demonstrate various aspects of the daily life of people of 16th Century Scotland.
Household dinner to celebrate Twelfth Night
If you'd like to enquire about displays contact Alastair Saunders
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