I read in Levenson's book Newton and the Counterfeiter that when Newton was traveling to London from Cambridge, he stopped at an inn along the way to wait for other travelers so that they all could travel together because of highwaymen. I wonder if a scholar like Newton would have had at least some rudimentary knowledge of swordsmanship.
If he didn't, was there a time that almost every child would have had some sort of self-defense training involving if not swords, quarter staffs or something?
(And if this was a common teaching, when did it stop being common?)
I visualize that the past as being much more violent than today and I think murder statistics bear this out.