The Power Within: The Way of the Warrior and the Martial Arts in the European Tradition by Nigel Pennick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The term Martial Arts normally conjures up visions of Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris or some other practitioner of Asian Martial Arts. The terms is usually applied to Karate, Judo, Kung Fu etc. Martial means war and it comes from the Roman God of War Mars. Now If I were to say Nigel Pennick you would most likely think of witchcraft and magic. Well now you have an occultist writing books on European Martial Arts.
This book provides real enjoyable read that is both informative and exhilarating. I read through the book rather quickly and learned several things I might not have known and ti top it off it was written in a way that is easy to comprehend and easy to retain the information.
The first part of the book covers the metaphysical underpinning of the European Martial Arts. Man was considered a microcosm of the universe. His body was supposedly consisted of four humors and when these humors got out of balance wee then that is when we got sick. Face reading was also covered . This was based primarily on Greek philosophical knowledge.
The author takes us to the age of a hunter gatherer where men hunted sometimes more than they needed. Heroes or super hunters would slay wild animals or pack of wild animals that were guilty of making things difficult for mankind. From this evolved the hero warrior. Also hunting cults developed from this as well.
Cults dedicated to Odin would live out in the wilderness and hunt or harass enemies in packs. These people were your ulfredrs or wolf hunters. By donning the wolf skin they could take on the characteristics of the wolf. Wolves operated in packs. Berserkers were bear warriors who operated alone. There were also boar warriors and dog warriors. Oft times the skin was believed to be magically warded against swords.
As the fighters became Christianized they lost their connection to nature and adopted the code of chivalry. The code of chivalry obligated the night to behave in a courteous manner, be kin to women and stick up for the weak. The book discussed the process of a young nombe boy becoming knight.
There was also a preview of the different shields, swords and other weapons the knights used to use. There is some discussion on how they trained. After the intervention of gunpowder and the end of the use of bow and arrow the interst I warrior arts waned. After all any fool could pull a bloody trigger.
Over all if you are interested in the history of European martial arts or learning the techniques of such this book may at best be a primer or a good place to begin. I am not sure any bone pagan groups used all the things he describes. After all the heathen Norse mst likely did not know too much about Greek medicine.
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