Tomahawk and Longknife

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Longhunter, longknife, woodsrunner, woodsman, backwoodsman, scout – these were all terms used to describe those early colonists in the Americas who lived their lives at the fringe of civilization.  Living off the land, adopting and adapting the survival and living skills of the Native Americans, these men were the epitome of the early American pioneer spirit – free, independent, and possessing an indomitable will and iron spirit; their only companions a musket or rifle, a sturdy knife, and a good hatchet or tomahawk.

In a time of single shot firearms, there was much need for a reliable back-up weapon.  Misfires were not uncommon, and any moisture could cause a malfunction at a crucial moment.  The slow reloading process, especially with a rifle, could also leave the longhunter in a vulnerable position.  In such situations, a good knife and tomahawk could mean the difference between life and death…

This class will focus on the use of the tomahawk as a close-quarter combat weapon.  Grips, stances, attacking and defending, ranges of combat and fighting theory will all be closely examined.  The second half of the class will examine the use of the longknife in conjunction with the tomahawk.

We will also spend some time examining the history and evolution of these weapons, as well as looking at methods of carriage and drawing. Students should bring some form of protective eyewear/fencing mask as well as a belt or sash to practice brining the weapons into use. We will have some training weapons available, but any student wishing to bring their own must cover the edge of any live-blade weapons.