Medieval Combat Studies in South Africa: An Interview With Grand Master Heinrich Jost

By: Jefferson P. Webb

This month’s piece introduces the readers of steelfighting.com and the membership of New Ulster Steel Fighting to the South African Guild for Medieval Combat Studies, and the organization’s founder, Grand Master Heinrich Jost. I am very blessed to have been able to engage in some excellent correspondences with Mr. Jost, and have found a number of parallels between the South African Guild for Medieval Combat Studies (SAGMCS) and New Ulster Steel Fighting (NUSF) here in Texas. I hope that you all enjoy this interview, and I am sure you will find it very informative. Continue reading “Medieval Combat Studies in South Africa: An Interview With Grand Master Heinrich Jost”

Sword and Blade Care

Although people think of sword as being powerful pieces of steel that are virtually indestructible, swords are not indestructible and need to undergo care and maintenance to remain in optimal serviceable condition. This is something that is stressed to the members of New Ulster Steel Fighting training in the New Ulster Fighting System. Furthermore, the basic methods of maintenance described herein can be used for any number of different edged weapon types.

Here are some very simple ways by which you can take care of your sword that will take relatively little time to complete should you practice regular sword maintenance after each training session. The maintenance methods described here are meant for use on weapons that are made for martial artists that train with “live” steel or those of whom perform choreographed stage fights. This means that the weapons have blades with blunt and dull edges and tips. NO sharp edges. So, DO NOT use all of these cleaning techniques on your sharp sword (especially the hammering part). You will ruin the edge. But, if you use a weapon made for “live” steel training or stage fighting, this article is for you. The tools to be used are basic and inexpensive. Use a metal file, standard hammer, small sanding pad, WD-40 oil/lubricant, and a clean rag. Continue reading “Sword and Blade Care”

The Knights Templar Diet

In our imaginations we can picture white-clad knights on horseback with surcoats adorned with red crosses and swords held at the charge when we hear the title of Knights Templar. Surely they earned a reputation for ferocity in battle for their exploits and determination in carrying out their duties as Crusaders for the Church. But what aided in these men becoming the famed knights that they became? There are many things to take into consideration in answering this question. Physical fitness is certainly one obvious area of attention. As is the case with any individual or group of individuals for whom good physical fitness is a priority, dietary discipline is a key focal point in keeping the needed level of physical abilities and fitness. This need for a disciplined diet was not lost to the knights nor was it lost to the Church either.

Continue reading “The Knights Templar Diet”

Roman Consul, Scipio Africanus: Rome’s Savior in Its Darkest Hour

by Jefferson P. Webb

When engaged in a discussion of great military leaders of the ancient world, one cannot help but bring up the figure of Roman Consul Scipio Africanus (236 – 183 BCE).1 Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus proved to be exactly what Rome needed to break an ever increasing series of horrifying defeats at the hands of Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca, during the Second Punic War, also known as the Hannibalic War. Until the war against Hannibal’s invasion of Roman Italy and Spain, the Roman army had been the masters of the battlefield.

Scipio Africanus

But facing what can only be described as tactical genius in the form of the leadership of Hannibal, Rome was losing tens of thousands of men in single battles like the battles of Lake Trasimine, and Trebia, among others. What was it about the leadership of Scipio that set him apart from his Roman peers, and earned him the honor of being the first Roman titled with a place-name, Africanus, relating to the location of his masterful victory over Hannibal?

Scipio was of one of the most powerful and well respected families in Rome, the Cornelii family. This family had been very influential in Roman politics and military affairs for generations having members of its family serve as consuls and magistrates.2 The first record of Scipio’s military career was while he was in service under his father’s command in Northern Italy, engaged in combat actions against the invading Carthaginian army under Hannibal’s command.3 This action may or may not have been Scipio’s first taste of combat as seventeen year old, but he is recorded and celebrated for his heroic actions. During the battle his father’s position was encircled and his force in grave danger. Scipio’s father, also named Scipio had been wounded and was in danger of being killed or captured by the Carthaginians. Without hesitation Scipio charged the Carthaginians, for a moment alone as the soldiers with him hesitated to attack, and rescued his father.4 Scipio was held in great esteem by the Romans for his act of heroism. Continue reading “Roman Consul, Scipio Africanus: Rome’s Savior in Its Darkest Hour”

The Knights Templar: Fathers of Modern Banking

By Jefferson P Webb

While the Knights Templar are famed for their courage and valor in combat against Islam in the Crusades, these famed and even legendary knights are responsible for more than just the protection of pilgrims to the holy land, or for facing off with Saladin’s forces from Syria. While there are many books and articles composed and published about the Templar Knights, some of which are quite fantastical to the point of science fiction, there are certain contributions that these knights made that have positively influenced western civilization to modern times that need due attention.

“The Order of the Temple was founded as the Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ by a French nobleman named Hugues de Payen in 1119 in Jerusalem. Hugues de Payen led the original order of nine knights by the names of Godfrey of Saint-Omer from Picardy, Payen de Montdidier, Andre de Montbard, Archombaud de St. Aignon, Geoffrey Bisol, Roland, Gondemar, and yet a ninth knight whose name is not known. All of these knights took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The Order was founded to protect pilgrims from robbers and bandits who attacked, robbed, and often murdered pilgrims to the Holy Land.”1 The pilgrims, “came in their droves, unaware of the dangers that lay ahead – the roads around Jerusalem were notorious for the bands of robbers that haunted them, preying on the travelers to the Holy Places. Sometimes these robbers were Saracens; sometimes they were lapsed crusaders. To counter this threat, Hugues de Payen gathered together a group of nine knights to protect the pilgrims.”2 “Together these nine knights took on the roll as protectors of the pilgrims in 1119, but the order was not officially established until 1129. “The Knights of the Temple of Solomon of Jerusalem ( Order of the Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ) were established as a religious Order of the Latin Church in 1129, when they were officially accepted at the Council of Troyes in Champagne. They were granted Rule which urged all secular knights to hasten to associate themselves with those ‘who God has chosen from the mass of perdition.’”3
Continue reading “The Knights Templar: Fathers of Modern Banking”

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