Posted by Dr. Uncle Mark (with whisperings from Many Flags) on September 11, 2000 at 19:19:49:
In Reply to: Knife & Tomahawk posted by Benjamin on September 11, 2000 at 14:31:23:
Benjamin...the hawk and knife sequences in LOTM and Patriot have to be highly choregraphed. As reenactors, we are not allowed to use edged weapons on the field, knives cannot be drawn, hawks must stay sheathed, once in a while bayonets can be fixed. We have "played" at this stuff in camp, and talked about it at length, slow motion stuff to see how it would work. But, in the heat of battle, I can't imagine keeping my head about me that I would slash and cut like Hawkeye and Mel. And I don't believe longhunters, frontiersmen, etc. would do it in such fluid movements. Fights with weapons like hawks and knives were bloody and unpredictable affairs, using every trick in the book (butting, kicking, biting, stabbing, rolling around and mangling, etc.), every nasty way possible to take out the enemy. What we see in LOTM and Patriot is VERY stylized, I can't believe it would have been like that at all, especially from accounts I have read. Also, hawks were rarely thrown, cause if you throw it there is a good chance you will do little if no damage to your enemy, then the enemy picks up the hawk and comes back at you!! This is one of the things we educate the public about. We DO throw knife and tomahawk for fun, nephew Half Breed (Chrons I) has actually won PA state competition a few times.
So, my final comments, for what they are worth....the knife and hawk fights would not have been as "scenic" in real life as what you see in the movies...they would have been a nasty cut and slash affair with a lot of luck involved if you came out alive!! Seamus and Three Tales, what think ye??
(I believe Allan Eckert's books...The Frontiersman, etc. gives one a flavor of the "messiness" of real slash and cut battle.)
Dr. Uncle Mark and Many Flags
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