Combat Wrestling - sometimes known as "all-in fighting" - was a pragmatic combat art. Knights, fencers, and other professional armsmen routinely learned it to supplement their armed skills. It had neither rules nor a sense of fair play. All holds were "legal," and any tactic that could damage, dismay, or disable the enemy was considered good.

Combat Wrestling was common at least as far back as the Middle Ages. It continued well into the Renaissance; indeed, many fencing masters felt obliged to include a section on wrestling techniques in their manuals to demonstrate that their knowledge of fighting was complete. Many such manuals survive today. Their depiction of fighters armed with swords and fencing weapons choking, punching, and tripping one another puts the lie to the modern ideal of the "gentlemanly" fencer.

Stylists learned to reach cautiously and wait for their opponent to make a mistake. They used Wait and Evaluate extensively. Attacks took the form of grapples and strikes calculated to disable the foe quickly: standing grappling techniques such as Arm Lock and Finger Lock; limb wrenches; and incapacitating blows aimed at the eyes, groin, jaw, nose, and neck. Most Combat Wrestling styles assumed a battlefield or a street brawl as the setting, so ground-fighting tactics were rare. The first priority of a fighter on the ground was to get up!

The masters emphasized the importance of strength to wrestling, but they also knew that muscle alone wasn't always enough to win a grappling contest. They taught counters against armed assailants and expected students to be able to fight both armed and unarmed. A few even taught techniques for kicking weapons (especially knives) out of an attacker's hand.

Combat Wrestling assumed an armed and often armored adversary, so it emphasized grapples and throws over strikes. Thus, striking techniques weren't as a rule especially advanced. Some masters were dangerous and notable exceptions, however.

Cinematic wrestlers should be strong, although there are period illustrations that show a wrinkled old man cheerfully demolishing his strapping young opponent. Fighters learned the body's vital areas and strikes to target them, which could justify the Pressure Points skill. Many other cinematic feats fit the style. One manual even showed how to parry weapon attacks while seated!

This style, with slight variations, works for no-holds-barred wrestling worldwide - be it in China, the Caucasus, the Middle East, or Sub-Saharan Africa. Historical heroes should have no trouble finding a master in almost any place or period.

Skills: Brawling; Judo; Wrestling.

Techniques: Arm Lock; Breakfall; Choke Hold; Disarming (Brawling, Judo, or Wrestling); Elbow Strike; Eye-Gouging; Eye-Rake; Finger Lock; Hammer Fist; Head Lock; Knee Drop; Knee Strike; Neck Snap; Sweep (Judo); Targeted Attack (Brawling Kick/Groin); Targeted Attack (Brawling Punch/Face); Wrench (Limb); Wrench Spine.

Cinematic Skills: Immovable Stance; Mental Strength; Pressure Points.

Cinematic Techniques: Backbreaker; Fighting While Seated (Judo); Pressure-Point Strike.

Perks: Special Exercises (Lifting ST +1).

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