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Bolas as a melee weapon (Read 785 times)
MarianoV123
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Bolas as a melee weapon
Jan 4th, 2021 at 2:35pm
 
I was recently watching a video on Argentine fencing and I noticed that they were also using boleadoras. Were these weapons actually used in melee combat by the natives or anywhere else in the world? I couldn’t really find anything on it but I was wondering if anyone on this forum has any good resources or has even tried it themselves
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NooneOfConsequence
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #1 - Jan 5th, 2021 at 3:22pm
 
Interesting thought.  I think the obvious answer will be "yes".  In combat, just about EVERYTHING will be used as an improvised melee weapon eventually.  The real question is whether there was any formal employment or training regimen associated with using it in this way.
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Slyngorm
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #2 - Jan 5th, 2021 at 3:36pm
 
Yeah, what ^ said.
ghost0311-8541, unofficial king of bolas, have mentioned using bolas like this as well, so it might be an actual thing.
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Martin_Greywolf
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #3 - Feb 4th, 2021 at 9:15am
 
The asnwer is, pretty clearly yes, and there were even techiques.

It's obviously not a weapon you want to use in those circumstances if you have literally anything better - while it's attack power is good, it can't block or do most of the deflectional parries. Still, if all you have is your dagger because your spear and war knife got broken, may as well make use of it.

The techniques we have for it are from two different manuscripts. First one is Fiore's Flower of Combat. In one of the techniques, he says this:

Quote:
I am the Student of the Sixth Remedy Master of the Daga, who counters in this way with his dagger. And it is in his honor that I make this cover with my short staff. And from here I will rise quickly to my feet and I will make the plays of my Master. And this cover that I have made with a short staff can also be done with a hood. And the counter to this move is the same counter shown by my Master

[...]

I have taken this remedy from the Eighth Remedy Master of the Dagger, and I can defend myself armed only with this short staff. And having made this cover I rise to my feet, and I can then make all of the plays of my Master. And I could defend myself in this way equally well with a hood or a piece of rope. And the counter to this move is the same counter shown by my Master.

Emphasis mine.

This basically tells us that most of the techniques for Sixth and Eight Remedy Master of the dagger can be done with a rope, and upon inspecting those, sure, most of them will work. Unfortunately for this topic, this is all rather close-in stuff, fought with daggers - not the bolas against a sword thing.

For that, we must turn to Talhoffer. And also go on a bit of a tangent.

See, there were such a things as trials by combat, ordered to happen when an especially serious crime was alleged to have happened and neither side wanted to back down or arbitrate. These were done between the two quarrelling sides and the idea was that, should they make all things equal, the God will surely help the righteous side. Or, more cynically and realistically, that if they fight it out here and legally resolve it, it's less likely to result in a private war.

Now, what happens if a woman if one of the sides? Well, her husband fights for her, that's easy. But what if it is a husband vs a wife conflict? Do we pick a father, or a brother? What if none are available? And so the idea was that the equalizing would be done by circumstances of the duel - a man gets a club and gets put into a waist-deep hole, a woman gets a brick in a bedsheet.

No, really.

And we have techniques and pictures, too, from Talhoffer's 1459 manuscript. https://wiktenauer.com/images/thumb/b/b6/MS_Thott.290.2%C2%BA_080v.jpg/400px-MS_...

These would be familiar in passing to everyone in Holy Roman Empire, and do give us a pretty good idea on what the bolas techniques might have looked like.

To see it in all of its glory, go here: https://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Hans_Talhoffer , then scroll down to "Personal Manuscript (1459)" and then to "Duel between man and woman". Do be warned that Talhoffer is known to have made his treatises more as a repository of dirty tricks rather than a formal, organized system.
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Jaegoor
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #4 - Jun 13th, 2021 at 4:22pm
 
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TOMBELAINE
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #5 - Jun 14th, 2021 at 10:43am
 
Without training, you will hurt yourself. Non-rigid weapons are difficult to control.
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Morphy
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #6 - Jun 15th, 2021 at 11:35am
 
It wouldnt be my first, second or tenth choice but if I had to sure why not.
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Slyngorm
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Re: Bolas as a melee weapon
Reply #7 - Jul 28th, 2021 at 4:15pm
 
https://www.flight-toys.com/bolas.htm

Quote:
*The boleadora was not only a throwing weapon, but the Indians use them as well as a fencing weapon. And in that sense it was a really fearful, horrific one. In order to use the boleadora as a fencing weapon, they had to be standing. They held one of the balls between the big toe and the "index finger" of the foot; the other two balls were held on each hand from the chord. Then, they moved forward, slowly, step by step, moving the balls in his hand in a fast revolving motion. If you were attacked in this way, you were in trouble.


Pretty cool.

Also, great source of info on the details of (different kinds of) bolas.
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