International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention
Sept 3rd-6th, 2010

Hosted by
Art of Combat, inc.
New Dawn
Duellists Society
Registration Info
Early American Fighting Arts
Advanced Bowie Knife: The Dueling Bowie

Perhaps no other weapon in the history of the American fighting arts has inspired more interest, or more misconceptions, than the bowie knife. The very mention of the name “Bowie” conjures up images of the famed “frontier hero” hacking his way through history with his famous knife. Ironically, there is only one verified account of James Bowie ever being in a fight in which he relied on his knife. Still, this encounter was enough to create a myth out of a man and a legend out of a knife. The result was a widespread obsession with large fighting knives, particularly in the South, where gentleman and ruffian alike all wanted a “knife like Jim’s.”

The Golden Age of the “Bowie knife” (Bowie or bowie are both considered correct spelling of the knife) lasted from the 1840’s until after the Civil War, with thousands of knives of varying shapes and designs being manufactured in America as well as imported from European cutlers, particularly from Sheffield, England.

While the man who inspired the myth of the bowie may not have been the notorious duelist he was made out to be, the knife which bore his name became a favored weapon for this pastime, particularly in the South.  It was so popular as a dueling weapon of choice that during the Civil War a type of duel popular among Southern men developed where each man held the end of a length of rope between their teeth and brandishing a bowie knife.

This class will examine the use of the bowie specifically as a weapon of choice for dueling as opposed to simply a fighting weapon.  Etiquette, movement, and fighting theory of the weapon will be examined.:

Students are required to bring some form of protective eyewear (a fencing mask is recommended) and it is recommended that they bring some form of padded hand and forearm protection as we will move into contact drills during the class. Participants also need to bring a belt or sash or similar item in order to work on drawing skills.

Training weapons will be provided but any student who wishes to bring their own weapons may do so, however they must cover the edge.

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