Ahoy, me hearties! I’m Katherine Bone, and I write Regency Pirate Romance. I’m here today to share research I’ve done on self-defense in the early 1800s, as well as my September 7th release, The Mercenary Pirate, Book Ten in The Heart of a Hero Series. While writing the book, I wanted to create riveting and historically correct fight scenes for my Wolverine-inspired hero. I also needed to learn more about the language and terms of the times, hand-to-hand fighting techniques, and how women protected themselves in the 19th Century. (My heroine is Storm/Rogue-inspired.)
To get the best swashbuckling scenes I could, I bought several books on the subject, but one stood out from the rest.
Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies, a 19th Century Treatise on Boxing, Kicking, Grappling, and Fencing with the Cane and Quarterstaff by Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery. The book includes ancient systems of salle d’armes (methods of defense) in battle and affairs of honor: Spanish knife, German schlager, French quarterstaff, rapier, sword, bayonet, lance, dagger, cloak, staff, cane, saber, and so forth, originating in Europe and Asia. The antiquated techniques were expanded upon by fencing masters of the times, men like Swedish fencing-master Ling, German born Maȋtre d’Armes Frederick Rohdes, famous boxing champion William Thompson, also known as ‘Bendigo,' and French fencing master Augustin Grisier.
Colonel Monstery trained well-known actors Junius Brutus Booth and his brother Edwin Booth, older brothers of John Wilkes Booth. He mentored the greatest 19th Century Spanish swordswoman that ever was, Ella Hattan, known as ‘Jaquarina’. And his fighting styles varied from the German Turner system, British purring (shin-kicking), Welsh jump-kicking, Danish head-fighting, and grappling, kicking, biting, scratching, and eye-gouging (the brutal American style). Every technique took incredible physical and mental concentration, vigor and power.
Here are some historical self-defense terms:
Advance: “Double the distance between the feet… And then bring up the rear foot to ‘Guard’ distance.
Chancery: To get an adversary ‘in chancery’ is to get him in a head-lock or a choke hold.
Evasion: Moving “out of the line of an enemy’s blow … faster than the blow can be sent,” while at the same time coming “within striking distance of the opponent without danger to yourself.”
Feint: Feints are “simulated attacks made at various points in order to draw the perry, while the real attack is directed at the opening left by it.”
Guard: “This is the position best calculated for attack and defense, and is that which a sparrer assumes in front of an antagonist.” In fencing, this refers to the “position of person and weapon which the most ready for both attack and defense.”
‘The Mark’: The pit of the stomach or the eyes.
Parry: “The movement of the weapon which wards off or stops a thrust or cut.”
Purring: A British style of fighting characterized by shin-kicking, sometimes (but not always) utilizing grappling holds, and typically practiced while wearing heavy clogs or iron-toed boots.
Retreat: “Double the distance between the feet by stepping back with rear foot, then drawing back the forward foot to ‘Guard’ distance.”
Rough-and-Tumble: A no-holds-barred, historical style of American fighting characterized by punching, kicking, grappling, hair-pulling, scratching, biting, and eye-gouging.
Savate: A form of French street fighting that developed in Paris and Marseilles during the 19th Century. Also known as Boxe Française.
Spar: “The correct definition of the word Boxing is striking with the fist. That of Sparring is the practice of improving the art. This term is also applied to those habitual motions of the arms during a contest, while watching an opportunity to strike.” Also, “To make the motions of attack and defense with the arms and closed fists; use the hands in or as if in boxing, either with or without boxing-gloves; practice boxing.”
Selina’s wedding day did not go as planned. Instead, she was kidnapped by pirates and ransomed for an exorbitant sum. Her diabolical captors didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, however, and kept her imprisoned even after their demands were met. More clever than her kidnappers expected, she managed to escape and disguised herself as a boy. Forced to lie, cheat, and steal in order to stay alive, she loses hope of ever returning to the man she intended to marry. Desperate, she agrees to become a handsome and compassionate sea captain’s cabin boy to gain passage back to Cornwall, but the captain endangers the one thing she cannot afford to lose—her heart.
Grab your FREE copy of No Rest for the Wicked, the prequel novella TODAY! (Included in the back of the book, you’ll get the first chapters from the entire series.)
~ Excerpt ~
Dear Lord, sometimes Selina hated being right. Robillard had no intention of letting either of them leave. But whatever the captain chose to do, no matter what it entailed, she meant to follow. She could not help Owen chained to a wall.
Robillard raised his arms. “Saisissez-les!” Seize them!
Men withdrew their weapons, advancing on them from three sides. The captain backed them up to the bar, a paneled wall with windows behind them. Selina swallowed her fear. The enormity of the situation struck her. Acting as her protector, the captain pushed her behind the counter.
“What are you doing?” she asked, unable to mask the quiver in her voice. Did he intend fight the corsairs alone?
She needn’t have worried. The captain anchored his feet, threw out his arms, flicked something on his wrist guards, and then bowed forward. Blades sprung from within his leather bracings, slicing the air with timely shrieks.
Several men approached, their mouths set at cocky angles. Undeterred, the captain roared like a berserker, twirling in a circle and slashing his armed fists at anyone who charged him. Several crazed but determined men decided to test his mettle and leaped forward. But the captain manuevered his body with a flexibility she’d never witnessed before. He wielded his blades upward and down like an expert, knowing exactly which angle would inflict injury on his attackers. Astounding!
Selina’s respect for the captain grew with each feint and parry. Wisely, he used his coattails to fend off blows to his middle. Then, with unmatched lethal skill, part professional fencer and part savateur, he launched at his enemy, sweeping his leg around, kicking with the flat of his foot. His boot found its mark, causing damage to one of the two most vulnerable places on a man—the stomach. The force instantly felled his opponent.
By the saints, who was this captain of the Sea Wolf? His prowess was unmatched. He was outnumbered and yet managed to defy natural law. Part of her longed to observe his skill as she’d done with Owen, but logic argued against it. Their lives were at risk. She needed to do something to help the captain narrow the odds. But what? She had no weapons.
National best-selling historical romance author Katherine Bone has been passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army brat turned officer’s wife. Who knew that an Army wife’s passion for romance novels would lead to pirates? Certainly not her rogue, whose Alma Mater’s adage is “Go Army. Beat Navy!” Now enjoying the best of both worlds, Katherine lives with her rogue in the south where she writes about rogues, rebels, and rakes—aka pirates, lords, captains, duty, honor, and country—and the happily-ever-afters that every alpha male and damsel deserve.
Ports of call:
Website / Katherine's Official FB Fan Page / Twitter
Amazon Author Page / Goodreads / Katherine's BookBub Page
Do you have a FAVorite fight scene from books, film, or television that kept you on the edge of your seat?