When people think of the middle ages, the are conditioned by years of bad history to think of ironclad buffoons stumbling around in their overly heavy armour bashing one another with crude 15 pound “broadswords”. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fighting men of the era developed deadly weapons and efficient elegant martial arts entirely unconnected and unrelated to the east.
These martial arts are now in process of 'reconstruction' from period fighting manuals known as fechtbuchs. They include anything and everything grappling to stickfighting to fighting with sickles. As a Christian, the most interesting part is the fact that these books and arts are steeped in Christianity and its imagery. The writers invoke the protection and forgiveness of God, the intercession of the saints and the purity of the immaculate heart. One particular manual, the tower manuscript I.33 shows a monk teaching the readers the techniques of sword and buckler.
Because of this, some of the spiritual quandaries of eastern martial arts do not apply. There is no chi, no tao, no subtle inferences of buddhism and buddhist enlightenment. In time, and with more research and development they may become a viable path for Christians who wish to learn martial arts but have no desire for the aspects of eastern mysticism that are so often embedded in the eastern martial arts.
Here is a collection of some vids showing some of the historical western martial arts that are in a process of reconstruction
Grappling: Medieval combat grappling falls under names such as Kampfringen or Abrazare. There were as many styles as there were teachers.
Dagger: The daggers used are the Rondel, a spikelike weapon intended to punch into the seams of armour and through the links of mail. Its used in an icepick grip to maximise the strike force.
The one handed straight bladed sword is generally called an 'arming sword' (this is the sword that, for some reason, RPGs call a 'longsword')
Cutting with an arming sword
The proper longsword is a two handed weapon that was about 48 inches long and weighed about 3 pounds.
Cutting with a longsword
As you can see, these weapons are neither blunt, nor heavy, nor cumbersome. They cut very well when used properly.
unarmoured sword: These are techniques used against foes who are unarmoured or lightly armoured.The myth of the western sword is that it was a blunt, crude 15 pound behemoth designed to smash through armour. They were light and agile, and they were never used to bash armour. They were in fact lighter on an inch per inch basis than the famed Japanese swords and made with better steel.