Highland Knife Fighting

With the Dirk and Sgian

by Christopher Scott Thompson, with Louie Pastore

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128 pages, 5.5" x 8.5"

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In this entertaining and informative look at the Highland dirk, author Christopher Thompson examines a number of Scottish historical and oral sources to document the role of the knife in Gaelic society. Although worn by all classes of society, the dirk was the primary weapon of the common clansmen, and since it was worn indoors as well as outdoors, it was the favored weapon for acts of revenge and self-defense.

Highland Knife Fighting traces the historical roots of the dirk, which is believed to be descended from the medieval ballock dagger, and provides step-by-step instructions and photos in how the Highlanders used the knife. Lessons include holding, carrying and using the dirk with a sword and targe; choosing the proper guards; responding to sudden attacks from in and out of distance; using the dirk for the seven principal "bone-breakings"; and executing the throw from Highland wrestling. Also included are exercises and drills, including the advanced quickdraw drill, and combative techniques of the Scottish dirk dance positions.
Christopher Thompson is the author of Lannaireachd: Gaelic Swordsmanship, a training manual on the use of the Highland broadsword. A resident of Portland, Maine, Thompson is the president of the Cateran Society, a national organization that promotes historical fencing with Highland weapons.

In 2000, Louis Pastore began researching martial arts that were practiced throughout Scotland and Europe. In 2004 he was accepted as a pupil of John Wesencraft, the only surviving teacher of the Highland dirk dance, as taught to Tom Flett in the 1950s.
1) The Dirk in Gaelic Society
2) Mastering the Dirk
3) Guards
4) Responding to an Attack
5) Throws from Highland Wrestling
6) Bone-Breakings
7) Knife Against Knife
8) Going on the Offensive
9) The Dirk Dance Positions
10) Exercises and Drills
11) Combative Techniques in the Scottish Dirk Dance
12) The Manx Dirk Dance
13) The Cateran Society

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