I am curious what Asain arts would have techniques that would be useful in Armored Combat League. Armored combat league is a combat sport done in armor promo vid with explanation: https://web.archive.org/web/20171008043427/http://www.aclknights.com/

There are group competitions, like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnpQvAcOclg. The rules are basic; a standing fighter is in the fight, the team with all its fighters knocked down loses.

The one on one competition is a three round competition, each round fought with different weapons First is bastard/greatsword, second is sword and buckler, third is sword and heater shield. The matches are scored based on successful sword blows. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qifBexJuk-8&list=TLXj08VAiaWu8).

I know that Judo throws would be great for the group competition. Naginatajutsu would be useful for handling a pole arm.

  • What kind of armor are you talking about? Some armors (particularly heavier plate armors) limit mobility in specific ways.
    – stslavik
    Sep 17, 2013 at 20:33
  • The armor can be anything used historically from around 1350 to 1500something. Mobility is generally left intact. Also Heavy Plate does not always limit mobility. for example properly fitted suit of gothic plate (in which the fighter is covered head to toe in metal) is very easy to move in.
    – Btuman
    Sep 17, 2013 at 23:02
  • 3
    Unfortunately, this becomes an extremely broad question; the Japanese, for instance, acknowledged that variations in armor affected mobility, differentiating the arts of jujutsu and yoroi kumiuchi. Everything is the same, but everything too is different. Technique can be adapted, but you must understand how your mobility is affected. This means range of motion in the arms, legs, hips, shoulders, and feet of both you and your opponent.
    – stslavik
    Sep 18, 2013 at 14:01
  • It is broad it is true, but thus can be answered broadly also, like the examples I gave at the end. But your point is very fair
    – Btuman
    Sep 18, 2013 at 18:13
  • 1
    @stslavik Your comments would do well as an answer. I don't see any particular need to split this question up. Sep 19, 2013 at 10:41

6 Answers 6


Good armor will protect the user against a lot throws. The protection is provide not only from impact resistance of the armor, but also the additional mass, and size the armor gives to the body. Multiple that by two if both are in armor.

By way of example, and speaking somewhat generally:

The arm cannon (forearm, elbow & upper arm as one piece) will prevent the elbow from being hyper-extended. That's assuming that you can grab the arm with your hands. In most cases the armor will add enough circumference to make it difficult to do so. In terms of attacking an arm for a submission or throw, the armor makes this very difficult.

Good chest & back armor will keep your spine straight. It adds enough girth to the torso that wrapping an arm around that torso will be difficult. Since both people are wearing armor, that makes it even more difficult to do so.

Judo and modern grappling in any form is geared toward unarmored fighting. Fighting in armor is very, very different. Judo will help you understand leverage, but it's really hard to directly apply many techniques to someone in armor. If you don't understand leverage, yes, Judo will be beneficial, otherwise, not so much.

Most modernly practiced eastern arts aren't as focused on armored combat any more. Even those that have an armored combat curriculum, won't translate well to the sport. European armor is very different. The weapons are very different. The sport has rules (no thrusting) that need to be observed. Using an eastern martial art as a base might not be the best option.

Swordplay is not universal, in the most surprising of ways. It also is surprisingly similar. A Katana is not a longsword ( General examples: the curve, and lack of quillons causes the katana issues when defending the thrust. It's curve makes some arm and hand attacks possible, that aren't from the longsword). Nor is it a saber ( general examples: sabers tend to be more heavily curved, giving them more cutting options than the katana. The katana would be better at the thrust). It's not even remotely close to a falchion.

As a black belt in Kenjutsu, and studying Western Martial arts for the last 5+ years. Find yourself a local SCA, or WMA group. They'll be much closer to what you'll experience doing BotN and other armored sport combat.

  • Good point about the nuances of curved blades, and blades in general. When one looks at historical blades, one finds that their characteristics are governed by their intended use context. Dueling blades will typically be lighter than battlefield blades, "broadswords/arming swords" vs. rapiers as an example.
    – DukeZhou
    May 27, 2021 at 2:28
  • Knight Fight used an enclosed space for melee, and both hip throws and punching in the helmet with gauntlets was heavily utilized, as was trapping opponents against the wall of the enclosure.
    – DukeZhou
    May 27, 2021 at 2:30

As this is an extremely broad question, it befits an extremely broad answer. Any technique can be applied with varying degrees of success, whether armed or armored. Much of the kuden of the Bujinkan for instance is related to the sameness of arms and armor, and how techniques do not necessarily change with respect to equipment, and ultimately the goal of martial training is no technique.

For instance, armed, a weapon used in a wrist lock becomes a force amplifier. Meanwhile, armor restricting movement of the arm can effectively lock the opponent earlier, allowing the application of additional leverage.

What's important is not the technique, but your application of the underlying principles. Exempli gratia, the aforementioned "wrist lock" is not about locking the wrist, but about locking the elbow, shoulder, hips, knees, and ankles, in that order. It's the understanding of these principles that will allow you to apply "techniques" against an opponent, in varying levels of force, and regardless of equipment.


At a guess, any of the Escrima/Kali guys that like the dog brothers. http://dogbrothers.com/

Their sparring is geared for a semi no rules with weapons ( often wearing protective gear similar to armour )

see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CELN-DQI5qc


I would think that Kendo is an obvious one. Especially since at its core, it teaches you to command the center and make your opponent open himself up before striking. This principle translates well into almost any art. Also, it teaches sword fighting.

And don't knock fencing. It's surprisingly potent.


the team with all its fighters knocked down loses.

Sounds like judo would be a good choice indeed. Everything in the first video suggests that the decisive portion of the fight was most frequently in the clinch, but still at arms length. Judo and SAMBO, being jacket wrestling arts, are ideally suited for this range of combat. From the video, it appeared that techniques like osotogari, kosotogari (or gake), kouchigari, koshiguruma, and uchimata would be quite applicable. You'll of course need to adapt the gi grips to armor grips or using your weapon for leverage.

If you happen to be near a Japanese or Okinawan kobudo school--which would be quite unusual--training in their weapons might be useful. In particular, takedowns with the bo, jo, and hooking weapons like the hoe or kusarigama might be a fruitful area of study. However, direct study of techniques related to your chosen weapon would probably be the best use of your time on that front.

  • Wudang sword

Never goes force against force, and works in an armored or unarmored context, against single opponent or multiple opponents. Gives greater extension for a wider array of techniques, plus extensive level changes, and even utilization of one-legged stances in proper context.

Best of all—its the only sword art I've learned that formalizes edge preservation, when taught correctly, by always aspiring to counter/control the opponents blade with the flat of the blade. Edge to edge contact will only occur in blocks, where blocks are considered a failure—the inability to counter (parry) and riposte. Many wudang sword are only meant to be sharpened for the last couple inches.

(I've seen HEMA longsword parry/ripostes that look quit similar to wudang techniques, since the tool and context guides the technique. You may also want to check out this choreography, where one combatant takes up a Chinese longsword.)

Since Wudang, like tai chi, is ultimately a system of movement, as opposed to a given set of forms or techniques, I find the training to be more optimal. It does include practice of forms, but with the caveat that all movement is generated by the waist. This allows me to work out with a 3.5 lb blade for hours at a time, without exhaustion, and no tendon damage to the wrist. The arms and legs merely follow the waist, and the arms are extended, circular (joints sunk) and relaxed. The framework this creates is very firm. Grip is strong/firm but not tight.

The practice of forms is also rewarding. Aesthetically pleasing, strengthens the core profoundly, and a high level of technique is so difficult to achieve, no intellectually honest practitioner ever considers themselves to have fully mastered anything. My technique at 50 is significantly better than at 20 or 30 or 40.

A caution is that many modern wudang practitionars seem to conflating armored combat with unarmored, via protective equipment in a sport analog, which seems to incentivize unsafe strategies. By unsafe I mean striking without clear advantage, which leaves the attacker exposed, and can easily lead to death in a real sword fight. (Academic, however, as no one really swordfights anymore.)

Wudang also adapts to modern fencing (duelling/unarmored combat) via Dan Pai, which allows for lighter blades. There you will see significantly more point work, like western rapier, and an emphasis on wrist cuts because Chinese swords do not employ basket hilts, which can inhibit versatility.

Heavier wudang blade weights seem to be for the purpose of cleaving, where the combatant need to be able to guarantee felling an opponent with a single stroke, and cannot depend on thrusts because multiple attacker situations is assumed. Because Daoist swordsmen and swordswomen travelled extensively, the blades had to be durable.

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