Journal of Martial Arts Anthropology

Abstract - Influence of the Polish martial art onto European armies in the 18th and 19th centuries – an outline

The paper is an attempt to present the influence of the Polish martial art onto European armies of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is a specific paradox that Poland, non-existant as a state on the map of Europe, made greater impact with its military training in armies of Europe than during the period of being great and victorious. When Poland lost its independence, Polish army was incorporated into the annexation armies: Russian, Austrian and Prussian where in many cases was a source of training and knowledge on sabre and lance usage. A part of the army non-compliant with annexation joined the Napoleon's army and countries fighting for independence and so called "Your and our freedom" where fighting valiantly was an example for other. The attitude, bravery and combat skills as well as look and gear of the Polish soldier made many western armies adopt the style, armour and martial art. Unfortunately, lack of our own state left us with no possibility of full recognition and verification of our martial art. Hence even the name "Polish martial art" could not be widely mentioned as there was no country bearing the name "Poland". There were but Poles mentioned as soldiers of prowess. We were presented as an example, but not preserved as a Polish one which it deserved. The Hungarians possessed their state, their place on the map of Europe therefore their fencing survived, having conditions for development and preservation. Nowadays Polish traditions of martial art are promoted in periodicals and scientific conferences because their content and subject meet the definition of the martial art as perceived in the humanistic theory of martial arts as well as in the broad definition adopted by the American theory of culture [Cynarski 2013]. The above paper's aim is to drag attention to that fact and encourage further researches into the subject.