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'British Navy of Old'
Matthew Inquires about Age of Sail Close Combat: 5/11/23
© 2023 James LaFond
Mr. LaFond,
Apologies for troubling you. However, I purchased a number of books from you around a year or two ago. I thought I'd write to say that I enjoyed 'Cracker Boy' immensely as well as 'The Logic of Steel'. You also provided me with material to hone very basic boxing techniques - I have been refining my jabs for all this time, and I'm happy with the results. Thank you. Your work really does fill a well needed gap, so I hope you can continue as long as possible.
In any case, whilst engaging in the drudgery of my middle-class make-work job for some IT consideration, I thought of a film that I'd recently watched: 'Master and Command: The Far Side of The World'; in particular, the methods of boarding ships and skirmishing with foreign crews used by the British Navy (or any European Navy of that time, really) of Napoleonic times. Not sure how accurate the film is, but this sort of fighting seemed to me worth some sort of study - men at close proximity, in relatively closed quarters with many sorts of weaponry, both blunt and edged. So, I wondered: "Has James LaFond any thoughts on this?" Indeed, I wondered how many a seaman of this time would have fared on the streets of Baltimore. They would probably have been arrested for ramming a bayonet through a Gawd Kang, I guess.
Probably a daft question, but food for thought. Again, apologies if I'm talking out of my backside, and wasting your time!
Kindest regards and God bless you, sir.
Matthew, thank you.
My friend, Riley, RIP, once gave me a large hard bound book titled Boarder's Away, about hand to hand combat in the American Revolution. This happened more on small ships frigates, sloops, brigs in coastal and lake regions then on ships of the line. The ship on Master and Commander is a frigate. From the earlier Pirate Era circa 1730, the season of nautical discontent ended, according to some accounts, with the death of Black Beard, who died in a boarding action at the hands of a junior officer and a big strapping highlander, blade to blade. Boarders Away is a great book I neglected to review before becoming homeless and leaving it with a friend.
Riley was a sword and gun collector who quizzed me about how I would fight with various blades of his. One such, a British naval cutlass, he gave me, and it remains in Erique's gym where I handled it before he and Nero and I sparred with sticks and blunt knives this past Sunday.
There is nothing better than Age of Sail Naval combat to approximate home defense with weapons, or even bar fighting with what is at hand. The boarding ax and pike, along with pistol, musket, knives, daggers and officer's swords brings the same weapon mix to the table that you can, when your house gets boarded.
For home defense I like modern versions of all of these weapons pre-placed:
-Boarding Axe: keep the scabbard on it by the front door so you can claim self defense. It will crush, maim and kill with the leather blade guard on.
-Boarding Pike: a steel coal or gravel shovel inside the back door.
-Pistol in the bed room.
-Musket, in the home office—in case of mutiny make sure only officers of the house have access to these!
-Knives: on your person and in the kitchen.
-Daggers: bedroom
-Swords: living room, club room, dining room
The two best home defense weapon type is the military cutlass. My friend Electric Dan has one of these and his pal Dexter has posted a video on this item as well as one on the Kershaw machete, which is the next best thing to a cutlass, which allows you to punch.
Now, your Jolly Boat, your car, calls for a weapon that is the analogue of the most common military and civilian weapon of the Age of Sail, the belaying pin. This wooden pin, the size of a fish bat, was placed like a peg in the side of the ship and used for tying off rigging. This is a short club and is used just like an officer uses his pistol after he has fired it, to crack skulls and defend against slashes and chops. The tire iron is your automobile analogue. Along with spar tire iron in the front seat and a windshield scraper in the back seat and a hand umbrella in the passenger seat, make sure that you opening the trunk and each door, gives ready access to a blunt object that has a reason for being in your car, to do with the car, to include a tire thumper or dead blow sand hammer.
Old time bare knuckle boxer, Old Smoke Morrisey once defeated two other thugs in a waterfront scrap by using a belaying pin.
A month ago, at Rotary Riverside Park in Centralia Washington, after young James Anderson was nice enough to knock a stick of lung butter out of my lungs with well placed left hooks to the bone rack, we took off the boxing gloves and went to stick. James is writing a pirate yarn and has training in Danish Longsword. Fortunately my innate evil animus placed the advantage in my fey hand in weapon sparring and the harried meat shield began drifting away from the wood chip playground and into the large cedar trees and picnic tables to fend off my devilish intentions.
In this, the rugby player, gave himself advantage over the much more experienced duelist and evened out the exchange. To avoid banging up your dry wall training in your actual house, use swing sets, a shed, a picnic table, a tree, an old car parked behind your redneck palace, to practice sparring around to develop options for confined weapon use.
I hope to make an appearance as a bad guy in some of James Anderson's nautical fiction.
To your question about working seamen defending against predatory pigmentation in Baltimore, this was one of the reasons for the development of the BPD, to defend the swarthy servants of the wealthy elites from pale working trash. Freddie Douglass might have turned on his white daddy master and taken his whip away down on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. But he fared less well against a ship caulker in Fells Point, Baltimore, while laboring for a younger master, who took his wages, even as Fred took a free man's wages.
Bag Mitts and Kickboxing?
crackpot mailbox
logic of steel
fiction anthology one
plantation america
the gods of boxing
son of a lesser god
let the world fend for itself
advent america
Don Quotays     Jan 2, 2024

For amusement I went over to Amazon and priced Boarders Away....$1,353.
Sam J.     Mar 9, 2024

Boarding Pike: a steel coal or gravel shovel inside the back door.

It would be tough to beat a sharp shooter. A skinny shovel used to clean out ditches made with trenchers. Not so wide ditches for running conduit for water and electrical lines. Here's one.

14-1/2 in. All-Steel Sharpshooter Spade Round Point Blade with 63-1/2 in. Handle

You want a long handle. Most come with a back breaking short handle. You have to look a little for the long ones. Fiberglass handle if you can afford it. MUCH STRONGER. You also want one with a fairly straight blade. Some have a 30 degree or so bend to scoop up. You want the straight. Sharpen the end and sides. If you really want to go all out, grind off the "L" shaped foot rest and sharpen it too. Use the sharpened foot rest as a hook. Like one of those pikes with a hook on it. The long sharpened blade makes it harder to grab and take away from you. Long handle, leverage. Someone comes at you with a hand weapon, go at the hand, push aside and ram it forward to cut.
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