In 16th Century Europe there were martial arts schools which trained civilians in what was called 'The
Science of Defence'. This taught individual skill in single combat, as opposed to the kind of drilling and
working as units that was typical of military training of the era.
These schools were run by Masters of Arms who all had their own favoured styles, but who cooperated to
maintain standards. Students advanced through the grades by playing Prizes - open competitions where
the student agreed to fight any challenger in a selection of weapon styles and be judged by the local
Several Masters published books explaining their methods, and it is these that are used in modern
interpretations of historical styles.
Lothene members are currently working from a translation of Joachim Meyer's 'The Art of Combat' which
was first published in 1570. The instructions and illustrations are intended as a reminder to pupils who
had completed a course at his school and they do not attempt to teach beginners from scratch, therefore
both combat experience and interpretation is required to develop a working modern martial art from them.
Illustration from 16th Century combat manual
"The High Cut is a straight cut direct from above at your opponent's head towards his scalp, for which reason it is also called the Scalp Cut"
calligraphy - Maister's letter of authority (made by NJ Saunders)
picture taken at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk
Lothene can also demonstrate various aspects of the daily life of people of 16th Century Scotland.
Household dinner to celebrate Twelfth Night