Following the demise of the Roman Empire, mounted warriors gradually came to dominate European warfare. These early knights were armed with the spear and the broadsword (which was both a status symbol and their main weapon). Stirrups were common, but the saddles of the time didn't provide sufficient support for true "couched lance" techniques. Protection consisted of mail armor and a medium or large shield.

These early knights used the spear overhand - or, occasionally, couched under the right arm - to attack their enemies' vulnerable face, neck, and vitals. When wielding the broadsword, they generally dealt overhand slashing blows, although thrusting attacks weren't unknown. When using either weapon, they preferred to block with the shield rather than parry. Close in, they employed wrestling moves - both to prevent the enemy from using his weapons and to disable attackers when they were themselves disarmed.

Legends of knightly combat often mention fierce battle cries that terrified lesser foes - a Western version of Kiai. Legends also tell of knights cleaving foes in half, killing horses with a single blow, and other feats worthy of Power Blow.

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