Sword-and-Buckler Play was a popular means of self-defense among the European nobility and bourgeoisie from about 1250 until the 16th century. It might have originated even earlier - Germanic and Viking warriors were known to wield the iron boss of a wooden shield like a buckler when the shield was hacked apart. The style seems to have been particularly fashionable with the urban upper classes, students, and clerics. Infantry, missile troops especially, studied it for protection when their formations were broken.

Sword-and-Buckler Play involved the broadsword, buckler, and unarmed strikes and grapples, and emphasized speed and mobility. Stylists faced their foe squarely with both sword and buckler, to keep him at arm's length. They used the sword aggressively to cut and thrust, the buckler to ward off blows and make shield bashes. Bucklers occasionally had sharp edges for slashing, too; see Chapter 6 for more on sharpened shield rims. A warrior who couldn't bring his sword and buckler into play would attempt kicks, punches, grapples, and takedowns. Sword-and-buckler fighters tended to fight defensively, using the Defensive Attack and Attack maneuvers until the enemy was at a disadvantage, then moving in with strong armed or unarmed attacks.

Few legends surround sword-and-buckler fighters. However, larger-than-life stylists could certainly exist in a cinematic campaign! Likely techniques are those that enhance fighting with two weapons at once.

While primarily a combative art, Sword-and-Buckler Play also had a sportive side. Fighters would sometimes put on public displays or engage in friendly competition. The style remained common across Europe until the 16th century, when fencing became more fashionable. Fencing with the buckler and rapier would continue for another century or so.

Skills: Brawling; Broadsword; Shield (Buckler); Wrestling.

Techniques: Arm Lock; Armed Grapple (Buckler); Bind Weapon (Broadsword); Counterattack (Broadsword); Disarming (Broadsword); Feint (Broadsword or Buckler); Kicking; Retain Weapon (Broadsword or Buckler); Trip.

Cinematic Techniques: Dual-Weapon Attack (Broadsword or Buckler); Dual-Weapon Defense (Broadsword or Buckler).

Perks: Skill Adaptation (Bind Weapon defaults to Broadsword); Special Setup (Brawling Parry > Arm Lock); Sure-footed (Uneven).

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The Ultimate Karate Bible

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