England Meets the Punjab: Sword & Buckler, Weapons of the Street and War

Instructor(s): Stephen Hand , Jagjit Singh Nijjar

Timeslot(s): , , , ,

Primary Disciplines: Broadsword, Sword and Buckler, Dhaal – Kirpan (Sword & Buckler)

Comparing the Renaissance British fighting of George Silver with the Sikh martial art of war first taught by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the 18th century. Students will get a chance to contrast the upright and practical system of broadsword and sword and buckler from England with the dynamic warrior tradition that would influence England’s military hundreds of years after Silver’s time.

English Martial Arts Intensive

Day 1: George Silver’s English Swordsmanship Part 1

In the first part of this examination of Silver’s system of swordsmanship we will focus on Silver’s use of the single sword. Silver recommended a longish basket hilted broad or backsword, but his system can be used with any long, straight medieval or early modern cutting sword. Topics will include Silver’s four fights, his true and false times and their implications, defences from the four fights, second intention attacks and grips.

Day 2: George Silver’s English Swordsmanship Part 2

Following on from Day 1 we will look at what happens when we add a secondary weapon to Silver’s sword, specifically his favoured off-hand weapon, the buckler. We will examine how every action recommended by Silver is an extension of his advice on grappling and that, just as grappling plays a minor role in fencing with sword alone, so Silver’s buckler plays a minor role compared to other systems of sword and buckler.

Equipment Requirements

Medieval or Early Modern straight single handed cutting sword – the class is designed for English basket hilts of the 16th/17th centuries, but the system will work with sideswords or arming swords. A round buckler, ideally 12-18 inches in diameter, gloves (appropriate to the level of hand protection provided by your sword), and mask.
If you would like to participate in higher intensity drilling or bouting, please bring: A vambrace for the sword arm, a fencing jacket, a gorget and mask cover protecting the sides and back of the head.

Sikh Martial Arts Intensive

The techniques of Gatka and its parent art Shastar Vidyaa were passed down through Sikh gurus starting in the 15th century. Battle tested and applied to diverse weapons the Sikh martial art is fierce, dynamic, and powerful. It includes the use of straight and curved swords, single handed and two handed weapons, spears, daggers, shields, bucklers, staffs, and a variety of maces. There is a modern sport and fitness art trained with sticks and a traditional art that reaches back to the teachings of the Sikh Empire. This intensive will focus on the latter as applied to the kirpan (sword) and dhal (buckler).

Day 1: Foundations of Sword & Buckler

Students will learn the basic attacks, defenses, and footwork for use with the kirpan and dhal. The art applies to both curved and straight swords. The first day will place its strongest emphasis on movement of the weapons and body.

Day 2: Combined Use of Sword & Buckler

On the second day students will learn how to use the kirpan and dhal both in a unified fashion as well as independently from one another. Dynamic footwork, evasion, and deception are central to what will be explored.

Equipment Requirements

Mask, gloves, single handed sword (curved or straight), buckler or shield (some loaner bucklers will be available). Jacket, gorget, groin protection, and rigid arm protection recommended for those wanting to engage in higher intensity drilling or sparring.