Mid Eastern Swordsmanship

Does anyone have any info on it, training, style, etc... Or resources. I was just reading an article in Adventure magazine that had some mentions of the Bedouins using their scimitars, and would just like some more info.


I think they do Baladi stick and staff dancing. Arabs definately used the scimitar but I am unaware if Bedouins used it.

"Scimitar" has become something of a generic name for any version of the saber used by Muslim peoples of the Anatolian peninsula and North Africa. It is an English corruption of the word shamshir, the classic, elegantly curved Persian saber.Other "scimitars" would include the Ottoman Turkish kilij, which was generally shorter, heavier, and stouter than the shamshir, and the nimcha.

Omar- Bedouins are mostly Arab, yes. From what I've seen and read, they used stick fighting more than sword fighting. It was "other" Arab tribes from Egypt, Iraq, etc. who developed serious sword fighting arts since they did not have to tend to sheep or work the trade roots day in day out.


Not sure where I heard it, probably while I was in the Negev.

Passing this along [Part I]:
The Islamic world is vast, ranging as it does from Morocco to Indonesia, Central Asia to Hausaland. Consequently, talking about a generic Islamic sword is like talking about a generic European weapon.
For a bibliography, start with http://www.vikingsword.com/ethforum/messages/124.html.
Meanwhile, for some photos of Turkish and Arab swords, see http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/turk/TopkapiArms.html and http://users.stlcc.edu/mfuller/turk/TopkapiArms2.html.
See also http://www.mca-marines.org/Gazette/2003/03mcdougall.htmlhttp://www.geocities.com/Heartland/6350/mameluke.htm, http://www.marineheritage.org/themarines/weapons/154.php, which describe the Mameluke sword of the USMC officer.
As far as I know, the curve is associated with both quenching methods (hence the curve on the Japanese sword) and the way that the sword is used, especially on horseback. (If it's swung, then it will usually have some curve, whereas if it is couched like a lance, then it will probably be straight.) 
There is also is the matter of taste, and propriety. Thus, the fact that a crescent is a sign of Muslims whereas a cross is a sign of Christians probably influenced more than a few buyers of such things. In any case, the change to curved swords is generally dated to the 13th and 14th centuries. See, for example, http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618/War/Weapons.html and http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/islamic_clothing.html. For usage discussions, see http://www.angelfire.com/art/enchanter/jambiya.html.

Passing along [Part II]:

Stick games are definitely related, though. From JCS Announcements (May 2002).
"Anybody have good references regarding Arab sword and stick methods? I havent seen much, but the Israeli government photo archive at includes some pictures of Druze sword dancing.
The Jordanian government site at http://www.culture.gov.jo/english/nationalgroup_en mentions Al-Sahja, and describes "the Sword Dance" as "a Jordanian popular dance, accompanied by voices of men, while a young girl dancer called Al-Hashi uses a sword to protect herself. She is skilled and experienced in pursuit and skirmish with the sword."
Pete Kautz mentions tahtib (Egyptian cane dancing) at http://www.alliancemartialarts.com/tahtib.html, and a picture appears at http://www.sfusd.k12.ca.us/schwww/sch618/islam/nbLinks/Islam_Music_Dance.html. See also http://www.bdancer.com/history/BDhist2b.html, http://www.saharasilk.com/what4.htm, http://www.fordfound.org/publications/ff_report/view_ff_report_detail.cfm?report_index=241, http://www.uncwil.edu/people/deagona/raqs/canenotes.htm, etc. The equivalent Saudi sword dance is called ardha, and for a picture and brief description, see http://www.saudiembassy.net/profile/arts/arts_music.html."

Thanks for those links, that is the kind of thing I was looking for.