Walk The Medieval Way!
In this video, I explain why some of our ancestors may have walked in a different fashion than westerners do today. In addition to health issues, this is of particular interest for the practitioner of historical martial arts which inevitably are built on historical body mechanics.

Edit 2018: Note that I have learned a lot about this topic ever since this presentation was recorded. I have by now read the paper by Dr Marquita Volken which was recently made available and is based on her lecture which I was refering to in the video.

I think that, while a forefoot strike in medieval martial arts and likely in a courtly context is well documented in contemporary art, the paper fails to present convincing evidence for this gait to have been used by each and everyone, leave alone having been predominant, as it says on p. 27 at the end of the first paragraph. In all fairness, the text is about 15th century arming shoes, not about gaits in general. However, I would have expected a more precise establishment of diverse contexts, or at least a more differentiated approach. Even today, people use different gaits depending on ground, foot wear and action, as has been pointed out to me repeatedly by viewers, and rightly so. It would not be surprising if medieval military activities would have called for specialised body mechanics, which possibly might have been less relevant in other contexts of action. If this was indeed not the case, I would have liked to see more in-depth data and evidence to back up the more general assertions. 

This also goes for e.g. pavement of city streets, and in particular about wear patterns on surviving shoes. This is not to say that according evidence does not exist. Dr Volken may well be right after all. She points to some fellow scholars' work regarding these issues, yet I have not come around to go through all the papers listed in the foot notes. 

So for now, I am reluctant to agree with the general nature of some aspects of her hypothesis, although I would like to stress that there is no doubt in my mind that a forefoot strike is most advantageous in martial arts, and I do apply it myself, too.

The gait issue aside, the paper is most valuable for practitioners of armoured combat and armour enthusiasts in general, as there is not much on arming shoes out there.

I have recently unlisted a good number of vids which I now consider out-dated or incomplete. The one on historical gaits is one of them. However, the video is still accessible via this Patreon post. 

I will turn my attention to this fascinating subject again, because it will be covered in my Book of Sword & Shield anyway. But right now, I am covering other aspects of body mechnics, such as hand positions and gripping methods. Once I have re-assessed the gait issue, I will write an according text and provide an up-dated version.


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