Cross Training in HEMA

Discussion in 'Ninjutsu' started by noname, May 19, 2018.

  1. noname

    noname Valued Member

    It's been a long time since I've posted anything in an online martial arts forum. Woke up to a flat tire and had to miss training today, so I figured what the heck.

    I've been cross training with HEMA folk for a bit now. Quite an excellent experience. I highly recommend it.

    Here's a video of myself and a friend sparring. I'm in brown and have the katana. He's got the longsword.

    I'm curious to know what y'all think.
    Mushroom, Mitch, Smaug97 and 5 others like this.
  2. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    I don’t know the first thing about HEMA, but I enjoyed the video!
  3. ned

    ned Valued Member

    Most HEMA sword stuff I've seen also involves clinching and a certain amount of wrestling,
    do you work at varying degrees of pressure ?
  4. noname

    noname Valued Member

    Thanks for that. I'm glad you liked it. I certainly enjoyed making it!

    HEMA stands for "Historical European Martial Arts". It's basically a bunch of folk trying to rediscover the martial arts of Europe (longsword, sword & buckler, wrestling, etc.) by relying upon manuals and codices that have survived to the present day.

    I'm posting this here to foment discussion on kenjutsu and cross-training, so I'm hoping you have some more thoughts. Or perhaps even some constructive criticism? For example, at the end of the video I think there was a brilliant setup for a grapple as my partner rushed in on me, but I lost that opportunity by trying to reengage my sword in to the fray without controlling his. He simply kept to the center, and we ended with a "double" (meaning we both hit each other relatively equally).

    So far, I've only been able to pull off a limited number of grapples successfully (partially because it's quite difficult to pull off many of them in a full-speed environment without causing damage, partially because I need to get better, and partially because neither of us wants to close in on a guy with a sharp sword moving full speed). It's something I'm very much focused on improving.
  5. noname

    noname Valued Member

    The school I attend (Swordguild Portland) is very much a "sparring-heavy" school. We have light instruction for the first thirty minutes or so of class, which may or may not involve some drilling, then the floor is opened up for people to practice or spar with whomever they choose with whatever they choose. The guildmaster interjects and provides guidance as needed or requested.

    We definitely do go at different levels of intensity and speed, though. Like this video, for example, which is me sparring more lightly with a relative newbie:

    Pulled off a couple of manipulations in that one, so not as terrible as it could be.
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  6. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Kinda on topic, here's a brief instructional from the griphouse!

  7. noname

    noname Valued Member

    "Easier said than done" indeed. There's tit-for-tat, and then there's control. I find that without the second element, most of the time an aggressive opponent can at minimum achieve a "double".
  8. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    An opponent with a big, sharp, pointy, steel, hurt stick certainly makes one more cautious :D

    Thanks for sharing the videos, I too wonder of the opportunity for wrestling after a sword entry is important, but I refer also to my first comment :D
    Dead_pool likes this.
  9. noname

    noname Valued Member

    Seems as if no one has any more thoughts. I had really hoped for some more discussion.

    Ah well, c'est la vie.
  10. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Sorry I’m coming late to this

    Firstly - It’s great that you’re trying things out in that format. It’d be nice to hear how your Japanese techniques fare against the western styles

    Secondly - Loads and loads of kudos for posting videos and putting yourself out there. The world is full of critics but so few people in the Xkans who are willing to do this

    I’ll try to comment on the techniques used - I’m not sure about your training background so forgive me if my comments come purely from the perspective of “This is done differently in my epxerience” rather than “This is wrong or right”

    Hope that makes sense

    noname likes this.
  11. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    On the 1st encounter:

    I liked the use of kamae to start and threaten the hands - actually I loved your use of kamae throughout - very nice!!!

    Generally when your left foot is forward it’s difficult to move in deeply enough to control your opponent sufficiently to cut the neck/shoulders (especially in armour). You used a cross step to do this but that’s quite slow and relatively unstable I think. From that kamae we tend to focus on moving further away and attacking the arms/wrists - eg jumping to cut heavily to the arms or stepping and lightly controlling the amrs
    Kudos ‘though as you pulled off a hit I think

    On thrusting with the katana:
    Generally it’s done with a change in height, your head and spine behind the tsuba and at the time he commits forward
    Not sure if this is a bit dangerous in that format ‘though

    Generally the hits that both of you were landing were light which makes sense for a bunch of obvious reasons
    The principle in armour is to either:
    - Land heavy bone breaking strikes
    - Control sufficiently (eg grappling or nearly grappling) to find a gap to cut into
    - Get into grappling mode (others have commented on this) and throw him down (often using your weap0n)

    I hope this is vaguely helpful and once again - thank you for putting this out there - very interesting and please keep ‘em coming
    noname likes this.
  12. noname

    noname Valued Member

    Many thanks for the kind words!

    I'm actually really surprised that more people in the x-kans don't use this kind of training. It really doesn't take that much to outfit yourself, and considering how small-scale the supplier base is, there's real potential to get great customized gear. Like the katana I'm using in the vid, for example. Had that custom made by Castille Armory. It has relatively shallow curvature and is quite long, reaching up to the middle of my sternum.

    Eclectic training background, but my home base is the Takamatsu-den.

    I'm having trouble visualizing the movement you're referring to. If you could point me to a time frame in the video, that would be great.

    If you're referring to yoko aruki, I would say that in general one uses it to maintain profile in the absence of the space-time necessary to make a full step. I say "space-time" because it very much is an intersectionality between timing and distancing....and vectors.

    In general I would agree that it is ideal to be fully committed on a solid strike, but it can be dangerous to strike in to the momentum. I would contend that it is far safer to thrust in to a failed defense than in to an initiated attack, unless of course one has the appropriate countermeasure in place to deal with their incoming blow.

    In general yes, the hits are between medium and light. We're training, not fighting, and I do enjoy being able to do it multiple times a week. It can be quite rigorous.

    Just to clarify, most of what we do is designated unarmored combat. We are simply wearing protection to ensure we do not get injured. I am, though, very interested in further exploring armored rulesets.

    Yes, I would agree that grappling has a much higher focus as more armor is thrown in to the mix, but I'm not sure about the bone-breaking strikes. As they are, my vambraces can withstand a helluva blow, and they're nothing special. Considering the differences between historical Japanese and European armor, this divergence makes sense.

    It's very helpful! Looking forward to more discussion on future vids!
  13. Dunc

    Dunc Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Here’s the best example of the method for thrusting with a katana

    You can see how he’s using the tsuba to provide protection
  14. noname

    noname Valued Member

    The tsuba provides very limited protection for the hands, and that's about it. Holding it in front of your face won't protect you from much.

    I suspect that video clip has more to do with focus and alignment.

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