Fighter School - Educational Videos if You play Fighters!

Clint Staples

If you play a fighter in an RPG, or even someone who fights as well as does other things, you might find some of the following of interest if you want to learn more about how fighting with swords, wearing armor, and riding horses really works. 

Art for this post by the fantastic Graham Turner!

OK, we can't say for sure that this is what it would look like, or exactly how it worked, but there still is every reason to watch these videos and take some of their understanding to the table. What is it like to walk around in 60 or more pounds of armor, let alone fight in it? Is it worth lugging that weight around? Or will the guy in a leotard with a rapier take you out with one shot? We can make some pretty good guesses based on application of common sense (If full plate could be readily defeated by light weapons, it would not have dominated the battlefield for a century and more), and the experimentation of dedicated folks with knowledge, skill and equipment. Like the first fellow on the list below.

So with that in mind, have a look at what follows, and see if it makes you a better fighter around the table.

Ian LaSpina makes some of the best educational videos about knights, armor, medieval history and other related subjects. He does not assume expertise on the part of the viewer, but he does not talk down to you. I learn things from every vid I watch, and I have an M.A. in medieval history with 30 or so years of armored historical martial arts.

At the International Congress of medieval Studies in 2013, La Belle Compagnie, a group of historical enthusiasts who recreate a medieval tournament society, displayed How Shall a Man Be Armed, for the assembled historians. it is very informative on varieties of armor, spanning about 170 years.

Jason Kingsley has just started a series of videos about mounted combat that looks to be very, very interested. Only the first video is out, but it already looks very good and taught me, a confessed grounds-man with no horsemanship to speak of, a lot.

Roland Warzecha has studied and taught medieval sword and shield for many years. He has many videos on sword and buckler as recorded in the earliest medieval fighting manual (commonly referred to as i.33. O don't agree with everything he says, but that is a little pendantic of me, because a lot more of what he says is terrific, and likely to make you think differently about how swords work, especially if most of your understanding of sword fighting comes from movies. I mean - movies are trying to SHOW you exactly what is happening in a fight, whereas a fighter is doing his best to HIDE what he is doing. So they are polar opposites. Roland Warzecha will show you what real sword fighting looks like, AND how amazing it really is.

The group known as TheRealGladiatores has some great vidoes that walk the line between action scene and fighting tutorial in a very entertaining way. Wathcing this video and the rest in the same series can actually teach you about historical longsword fighting without having to read about Lichetenauer or Fiore or what a Mortschlag or oberhau is. If you do want to learn about those last four odd words there, go here.

The above, as great as they are, is just the tip of the iceberg. It these have wet your whistle, you can check out the others in the sidebar on the pages, look around, bookmark what you like.

So how does watching this make you a better player of fighters? I started this blog post thinking about verisimilitude in fiction and gaming, how they affected each in the same, and in different, ways. If you have a better understanding of how long it takes to arm up, and about how uncomfortable armor gets after a while, you appreciate a part of the game you might have been completely missing previously. You might come to understand that in a mounted duel, horsemanship, and the horse and its training, are AT LEAST as important a the rider's skill with a blade.