Every Peasant Trained
By Moshe Katz 
Israeli Krav International

June 10, 2019, Israel

A principle fundamental to many Americans is the right to own weapons. The Americans believe in the true concept of democracy that the leaders are nothing more than the employees of the people. Unlike Europeans there never existed the idea of the "Divine Right of Kings" or the idea that rulers were appointed by God. 

The idea has always been the leaders must answer to the people and if they fail to do so the people have a right to take up arms and restore freedom.

These days many Americans do in fact own arms but very few people are properly trained in their use or in military tactics. For the people to be a force they need to be trained not only in the use of weapons but also in military tactics, how to work as a group.

Europeans on the other hand, throughout the Middle Ages, were in fact trained in the use of weapons. This is what made revolt possible. One did not need to train the peasants for a revolt, something that would take a long time, the peasants were already trained from their youth. This was part of their upbringing.

We need to also remember that these were very brutal times. Villages and clans needed to protect themselves. There were no forces like the modern idea of a police force, a village was pretty much on its own. Thus as the youth was trained in farming and agriculture they were also trained in the use of weapons. They knew how to fight. This enabled leaders like Wat Tyler (Essex, 14th century) and William De Wallace (Uilleam Uallas) (Scotland, 13th century) to raise armies quickly. The basics were already known. 

Many peasants owned proper weapons, which were not that expensive or difficult to obtain.

A proper spear wasn´t that expensive and thick clothing weren´t either. We also actually know that the Kings of England forced his subjects to train with bows. The famous longbow had to be sold at a price so that even the peasantry could possibly buy it.  (Dirk Boos, Historian) 

Thus we see that the government took an active interest in having the population trained for war and self protection. The national military could not be expected to be all places at al times. Here we see the concept of taking care of yourself and your community. Here we see the idea that you are have a responsibility to be trained to fight if need be. This is a concept that has been forgotten in modern society and I believe, badly needs to be restored. 

Today we debate about arming teachers in schools, or even about having armed guards in schools, in medieval Europe there was no such question, it was a given. 

In addition to the spear there was archery. 

"Shooting is an art necessary for the knowledge of all sorts of men, useful both in peace and war. It is an honest pastime for the mind, and an wholesome exercise for the Body, not vile for great men to use, nor costly for poor men to maintain, not lurking in holes and corners, for ill men at their pleasure to misuse it, but still abiding in the open fight and face of the world, for good men (if it be any way faulty) by their wisdom to correct it."

- The Art of Archerie by Gervase Markham (1568-1637)(Yes yes it is AFTER the medieval period, but it is obviously already common knowledge at this time)

As I mentioned communities were responsible for their own defense.:

The best equipped warriors for a king or lord were city dwellers and guilds. Each guild had to take turns with defending their cities and obviously used weapons. Some cities/guilds even required a real citizen to have the means to buy enough equipment. For example: The Genoesan Commoners were widely famous for their superb Crossbowmen.

The English longbow. It was a legal requirement for every male English and Welsh peasant who was capable of using one to practice at least weekly- this included children, who had bows appropriate to their size.

Guisarme, this was a simple weapon, inexpensive and easily made, that was in common use by the peasants. One could use it to stab and the book was used to pull a horseman down to the ground. 

This is a flail, a farm took adapated for serious combat.

In peacetime the flail would be used to strike piles of grain, separating them from their husks. However, when they were called to fight the flail could be just as effective as a weapon.

A flail is a weapon consisting of a striking head attached to a handle by a flexible rope, strap, or chain. The chief tactical virtue of the flail was its capacity to strike around a defender's shield or parry. Its chief liability was a lack of precision and the difficulty of using it in close combat, or closely ranked formations.

Some of these weapons featured anti-personnel studs or spikes embedded in the striking end.

The point of this discussion is more than a little stroll down memory lane. We have become complacent. We cry about the goverment taking away too much of our freedom and yet we refuse to train ourselves. We don't want taxes and government interference in our lives but when our homes are invaded we complain "Where was the government?". We want to keep our children safe but we try to "shelter" them from violence, not even allowing them to see fake violence of TV. If there were living in medieval Europe they would already be learning a trade, to take care of themselves and not be a burden on society, and they would certainly be training in hand to hand combat and the use of weapons. 

What about us? Can we do more than just complain and place the blame on others?

We have more freedom than any people that have ever lived yet we take less responsibility for ourselves than any people that have ever lived.

There are trade schools to learn a profession, and in nearly every neighborhood I have seen schools to train the young to take care of themselvs. These are called martial arts schools. They are waiting for you.

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