SAGA Proof of Validity

Martial Arts

Studying of medieval manuscripts on martial arts is not simple. Not only is the text written in an archaic form of a foreign language, even in one of its dialects, with antique letters, but the meaning of most of the technical terms has also been lost. A particular expression might have changed its connotation. The works were not written for people of modern years, but for contemporary apprentices, who had already imbibed the basics of the art. The text is thus often not elaborate, only serves as a quick reminder. Sometimes, not even rarely, the precious information was concealed in the text so that outsiders cannot understand it. Many a times pictures are also missing and even if there are, were drawn from unusual perspective, or without any perspective, demonstrating only a moment of the performed technique. Frequent overwritings, scratchings, damages, the present order of the pages do not simplify reading either. Great preparedness, courage and dedication is needed to interprete and elucidate a medieval work and it is very easy to err. Scratchy translation can lead to total misinterpretation, and looking at the pictures it is very tempting to speak of 'something similar' as: 'yes, this is it!'

Our experience indicates that negligent attitude can result in serious mistakes and false explanations, therefore our club has processed a so-called validating system. This is a checklist, a series of questions, against which each of our interpretations must be tried. An intepretaion's passing through the validation process does not mean that it is correct, it only means that we deem it worthy of continued research.

To get acquainted with the full test we recommend you to join our club, but its main concept is published herewith:

  1. Does the technique confirm the general principles stated in the book?
  2. Does the image look exactly like the technique you are performing? Check the position of legs and arms (both left and right), the position of the thumb, the bent or stretched state of the arm, etc.
  3. Does the techniques follow the text exactly? Is the part which the text emphasises the most important bit of the technique?
  4. If the technique seems to be a repetition of another, is there a very good reason or some fundamental difference for that?
  5. Can the starting position occur in a real combat situation?
  6. Does it work when the starting position and distance is not pre-arranged?
  7. Does it work with REAL weapons, too?
  8. Does the opponent really intend to kill you? Would you die if you did not carry out the technique?
  9. Does it work at full speed?
  10. Does it work if the opponent is not cooperating? Does it work when the opponent reacts with the most likely reaction in this situation?
  11. Are there no obvious counters, which are not mentioned in the book?
  12. Aren't you doing it 'just because it is like this in the book or are you really doing it because it is the most logical response possible?
  13. Is the technique simple enough to be used in real combat?
  14. Is it safe? Don't you expose yourself to a counterattack while performing the technique?
  15. Does it kill? Is it really effective? Is the technique capable to inflict considerable damage?

At first sight it seems that if you take a look at the picture, stand as the image shows, ask the opponent to do similarly and if we manage to do something similar, the interpretation of the technique is complete. If the image is not quite the same then it must be the drawer's fault, or the situation worked out a little differently. Of course both cases are possible, but is it sure, that always this is the reason? What did the opponent do? How did we know that the opponent would do this? What if the opponent does not want you to do this with him? Did our ancestors think of such complicated, involved things? Do you have to strain so that it works? Does it really work once out of ten? Will you manage to use it in real combat situation? The opponent will surely not stand there as you ask him to do!


We've also asked these troublesome questions from ourselves. Initially it caused many problems, that the techniques 'did not want to work' during freestyle combat. Or even if they worked, we found the remedy very quickly. The troublesome questions were just piling up and we often managed to find the answer with a surprisingly slight modification of the technique. Sometimes the interpretation which looked to be unusable turned out to be the best solution. Finally we have decided to sum up the questions and ask them during the analysis of each technique. Thus the SAGA Proof of Validity has been born...


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