Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Timmy Boy, Jun 13, 2005.

  1. demivolte

    demivolte New Member

    Fencing in Malibu

    Hi we fence in Malibu, California! We are classical fencers focusing on foil, epee and sabre as it was being practiced in the 19th century. By then it was recreational mostly but still very fun and addictive. We try to stay away from the "What's the better weapon?" talk. A good friend of mine once said that if they were sharp then we wouldn't be here! Anyway, we say go with what interests you.

    Malibu Fencing Club
  2. Xoxi

    Xoxi Valued Member

    I'm a bit late joining the thread.. But to answer the original post - I have done 5-6 years of fencing, olympic sport style.

    I'm only serious about foil, but will have a hit around with the other weapons.

    My 10c:
    As a MA in its own right, fencing is entirely useless and has no street application. Its just a sport (although a very fun sport). But competitive fencing does ingrain some fundamental skills that are essential to real fighting - controlling distance, explosive speed, timing, balance, tactics. My fencing experience has been a huge benefit to my karate training. The skills are all transferable.
  3. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I'd go with that^

    facing off with weapons makes things like timing and distance, strategy, speed in arriving all the more valuable.

    I enjoy sports fencing - prefering Western to Kendo, but it is wise to differentiate it from what it would otherwise be like. My school from time to time has sporting comps, using kenjutsu, and I can tell you they look nothing like kendo. The most fun is when you get to use 2 weapons against 2 attackers with one each...:)

    We make do...hopefully with the best of both worlds, and a video camera!

    One observation I have with kendo - is that it is very much 2 handed. I don't mind so much how they strike- but it has always come over as very 1 dimensional to me.
    With the right amount of conditioning, wielding a katana with one hand gives you a lot more options and allows for more skillfull use imo.

    It is worth remembering that samurai traditionally probably used it 2 handed in battle so that they could hack through the other guys 'armour', of course we have no such worries..
  4. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    No th likly reason samurai used a katana two handed was because they didnt use sheilds so since you have two hands why not grip it with two hands. not to hack chop or cut through armor, which is some what impossible and is a subject that has been much brought up.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    when I say 'armour', I mean the heavy fabrics/leather they wore and bits of protection etc. I'm sure a good warrior would want a good balance of movement to being weighed down/protected..
    Obviously in a life and death encounter you want weight in your cuts you want your first to be your last.

    My point being in sparring/sport I prefer going single handed. For the speed of positioning and getting in also better parrying range. If I've got time to make a double hand cut or thrust I just might. ;) Also if I am holding with 2 hands I can move,strike or thrust with 1 hand - as you can see its a pretty mute point.

    some cut and thrusts in kenjutsu are often done with the flat of the hand on the back edge of the katana for guidence or end of handle for pressure. It is actually a pretty close in art - to use one properly you have to be nice and friendly.

    I'm sure the samurai didn't mind the odd cut and nick here and there.
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
  6. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    heavy fabric and padding is one thing but the Japanese did have armor, made of steel, iron and leather.
    you wouldn't use a cut against armor, you thrust into gaps.
    And using more power doesnt mean that you will end the fight quicker, infact a manual I study states what to do against someone who uses excesive power and points out that to do so is flwed.
    IN my expericene
    it takes just as much time to make a cut ith one hand as it does with two, infact you can mke faster more powerful cuts with two hands thatn with one as well as having more control of the sword.
  7. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    I edited my post cudgel - basically I think 1 or 2 handed thing is pretty mute - cos it comes down to strategy. I was a ware of the 'gaps' - lets just say we don't dress up :D
  8. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    I noticed that but that was after I made my post and I had to beat feet to get to a class so had no time to actaully read what you had posted or make any kind of edit to my own post.

    So we are agreed it seems. :D

    Oh and the use of the free hand on teh spine or flat of the sword is a lot like half-swording in KDR and Fiore, only its actually gripping the blade with your hand.
  9. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Yoy seem to have the most experience with 1h. fencing, and it is therefore only natural that you feel that that's what's most swift and easy.

    I have the most experience with 2h. fencing, and I feel that I have more feel and control of swords when I can wield them twohanded and not onehanded.

    I doubt the samurais used their katanas in all out war-situations at all, swords are above all status symbols, and if they carrried them, they would have been back up weapons -after polearms and lances. The exception would have been when they encounter an enemy worthy of (and willing to participate in) the honour of a sword-duel. Katana is and probably was surrounded in much ritualization and it seems that theese rituals consisted in using the blades twohanded -not to power through armor, but because they're supposed to be wielded that way; beeing tradition and all -and because if you don't have a wakisashi/tanto/sai in your left hand, you might as well place your second hand on the handle -so that you know where it is.

    To only use one weapon-wielded both hands - demands much skill of you, and it brings you closer to the enemy's sword than if you wield a weapon onehanded A katanaduel is a test of nerve and the ability to both parry and attack at the same time.
  10. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    Fair enough..I don't disagree that in a confrontation with katanas - 2 handed techniques are just as valid as 1 hand.

    Like I said though you have to take into account the size and style of the weapon. I think you are quite right about the katana - it is a pretty up close and personal weapon - you can do quite a bit with a free hand.

    eg. snake it up and through the forearms of an opponents 2 handed grip(when he is striking down with a cut) and use it to control the attackers movement away from you - of course getting in a good position to do so is the hard part.

    It is worth remembering as in all weapons fighting - unarmed/armed vs. armed etc. - you are still fighting the man and not necessarily the weapon..

    both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages - all depends on the situation I guess.

    I don't disgree that on a battlefield longer weapons would be those of choice thus rendering other tactics more useful.

    I do agree if you've got nothing better to do with a free hand, you may as well use it, but no need to give the game away on how..in kenjutsu it's used more as the control and stability - my view is that its use can be fluid and changing in respect to the confrontation - rather than fixed.

    Last edited: Aug 17, 2005
  11. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Spot on! The left hand is (in european longsword) used extesively for things like the snake-thingie you mention, and I can only asume that the same will/would be the case for samurai-katana-duels. But when you not are involved in grappletechniques, the left hand can provide the best aid in the combat by beeing placed on the pommel to provide extra control of the blade (again in european longsword-asuming the same is the case with katana).
  12. blackpuma

    blackpuma New Member


    I'm still learning to be aware of this... and get punched in the face a lot more than I should. :bang: (Yes, I'm wearing a mask.) Though, one also has to watch the knee and foot. I got kneed in the groin so hard last week that even with a good cup it stung for a quite a while. :eek:

    The historic German manuals talk of three ranges:
    1) zu fechten, when you're outside of striking distance (with the longsword)
    2) krieg, when you're in striking distance (with the longsword)
    3) ringen, when you're close enough to reach out and punch someone. :)

    Interestingly, ringen is also the word for unarmed combat, and the old manuals show a lot of dirty tricks with the off hand.
  13. Adam R

    Adam R New Member

    As far as I am aware - the Germans do not specifically state these ranges - these are extrapolated meanings, zufechten is mentioned - ringen is just wrestling - hence the parallel to close distance. Krieg is not (at least in any of the treatises I have read) described as a distance (explicitly).

    Your definitions come from Christian's book I suspect, he has used modern concepts with german system terms applied to them.

    Sorry to be pedantic :)
  14. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    So Timmy me lad, has anything posted here tempted you to start fencing and if so - which flavour?
  15. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Another foilist! - joy :D
  16. Xoxi

    Xoxi Valued Member

    I'm not gangly enough for epee :D

    Timmy - someone should warn you about deformities before you start... After a few years you have one massive forearm, one massive calf muscle and one side of your abs stronger than the other. But a powerful handshake. :Alien:
  17. Chris Umbs

    Chris Umbs New Member

    Very true, you'll want to do something like pilates to make up for it. I think the most common injuries for beginners are in the lead ankle, knee, shin either from not having the front foot and knee facing forward or just overly stomping footwork.

  18. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    thats why you train both hands ;)
  19. Xoxi

    Xoxi Valued Member

    Yeah I should have done that... I'm an asymmetric mutant now.
  20. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Nice one :D

    Unfortunately Olympic style kit is expensive enough without having to buy right and left handed versions :cry:

    Not sure what the rules would be about switching hands in a competition. You couldn't do it during a fight as you would have to change your clothes & weapon :D

    Chris, you're right about those injuries and I would add the over lunge where the front knee goes over the toes or more and may even have a twist in it as well :eek:

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