Swordfish 08

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Stolenbjorn, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Anders Nilsson

    Anders Nilsson New Member

    I agree. Many martial arts today have become "combat sports". A martial art is designed to defeat, maim and often kill your oponent.
    Combat sports is designed to compete safe with a set of rules.

    Thats why HEMA always becomes a sport when we compete. The real thing would result in death.

    Both can exist I think. It´s just about how you focus your training.
    You could train HEMA both as a combat sport and a martial art.

    If I train HEMA as a combat sport, I could train only with nylon.
    But I don´t do that, I train it as a martial art, I always train with my trusty Liechtenauer. I also sparr with my steelsword as hard as possible.
    Somethings are better done with nylon thou since they hurt less.
    I cut a nerve in my thumb while sparring with steel, not that much fun.
    I have never got any injuries from nylon.
    When we sparr we try to get as close to the real thing as possible. It´s like MMA with sword. I have to hold back when using steel, with nylon I can use the force required, and use technics like Der Geysler, that cannot be used with controll since it´s a onehanded whipping cut to the leg. (Talhoffer)
    Nylon is also WAY better at simulating a sword than the weighted shinai´s that many use.

    Well, but thats totaly off topic. If anyone wishes to discus nylon further start a new thread.

  2. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Yes but training and freeplay is the core of the art. Tourney is just an amusing sideshow. You don't corrupt an entire art for the sideshow. These arts were designed for steel weapons. The training and discipline required is key to the art.
    The getting killed statement is just crazy too, we freeplay every week with high intesity yes we get injuries but that is part of the risk of taking part in martial arts. If you don't want to do the art properly with the intended weapon why do it at all?

    The Bear.
  3. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I think they both can exist too however I think you shouldn't call it HEMA or HES because it is neither historical nor martial art. Singlestick is very clearly a sport no-one confuses it with a martial art.

    That I feel is far more dangerous than just using steel. How can you change your trained reactions and control pace between weapons. Especially if you are training for tournament. You would become neither controlled enough to be safe with steel or quick enough to compete with nylon. It's the worst of both worlds.

    The Bear.
  4. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Why is training to be controlled with steel so that you can fight historically better than training with nylon?

    The way I see it both provide variables from the real thing, and IMHO the one isn't worse than the other.

    If you train to take care of your opponent with a steel sword, you deny yourself some aspects of the real thing, just as you deny yourself some aspects of the real thing by using somting else than a metal sword. Actually a blunt sword behaves differently than a blunt blade, though I see noone advocating that sparring with a sharp sword is the only way to do HEMA...

    I just think you glasgow-dudes are too desmissive of others approach.

    Yes-I spar with metal blunts
    Yes-I have a lot of protection
    The problem is: Is it more realistic to simulate sparring with a metal sword and gloves with a blunt metal sword, a thick gamberson and metal gloves, compared to do it with a nylon/shinai-sword and gloves?

    I'm not sure of that. Fiore clearly states that there are some techniques meant for armor, and some meant for without armor, and I find it the eternal dilemma; that in order to fight safely with metal (blunts), you need so much protection that probably halfswording is the only realistic thing.

    I have not seen you glasgow-dudes sparring yet, but it might be that you uses so much protection that the techniques you use are historically incorrect for that level of protection :confused:

    As long as none of us knows the truth, I think it's a very bad idea to post tons of videos of other groups on this forum and branding them as idiots, not knowing what they're doing, amateurs, etc etc etc, and advocating a split in a community that is strictly small enough as it is. It would be silly if we in Norway (we're roughly 7 people doing longsword) should split along the fractions of "Nylonswords are stupid" vs. "Metal blunt sparring is dangerous"

    It just becomes too much of "life of Brian for me", sorry. :bang:
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  5. koyo

    koyo Passed away, but always remembered. RIP.

    While training with steel sounds effective to me, having been struck by a shinai (bamboo) weilded by a kendo shihan, I wonder if such power behing a steel blade would not break bones even through armour.

    Not having any experience in western swordsmanship I apologise if my comments came over as overly critical. I was really only making a suggestion on how I would attempt to make the training more effective.

    respectfully koyo
  6. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I haven't once called anyone an idiot nor have called anyone an amateur in any of my posts so I would appreciate you retract that comment.
    The main complaint from me has been on the sporting nature of the bouts shown. If people don't want their videos commented on then don't post them. This is why we don't post videos and we like to face people in the flesh to prove our worth.
    Your armoured vs unarmoured point is an inarccurate one. Gambeson and lacrosse gloves is something very different from full harness. The halfswording techniques are there for fighting in plate armour not gambeson where a slashing attack will still be effective. There is a good vid on SFI showing effects of slashing against various thicknesses of gambeson.
    As I have often said we have an open door at the GCoD where anyone can come and view our training.

    The Bear.
  7. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I agree it could break bones which is why emphasis is placed on blade control. In the german system, there is a term called the buffalo. The system was designed to defeat a stronger opponent charging in and throwing a mighty blow. Lichtenauer warms of becoming over committed in the strike and you only use the required force to acomplish the task in hand. you have to remember as well Koyo the longsword isn't a slashing blade like the katana it is a hacking blade. If you hack to hard into and opponent you are more likely to get your blade stuck. The second area is that Lichtenauer works far more from the bind and using the point of the sword than kendo so there is less emphasis on the initial cut. Also you cannot work from the bind effectively using a shinai or a nylon waster because of the properties of the items this removes a large portion of the German longsword system and reduces it to what was shown in the video.
    As someone once told me you don't change the art you let the art change you.

    The Bear.
  8. ludde

    ludde Valued Member

  9. Anders Nilsson

    Anders Nilsson New Member

    As for the use of nylon.
    We now for a fact that wooden wasters where used as a training tool. The first records of it is from roman times. It´s also in writing that blunted steel was used in training.
    If that is so, that the historical fencers who´s art we are trying to learn, used these kinds of training tools, then whats wrong with the nylon?
    Nylon is a better swordsimulator than wood.

    I use steel to learn technics.
    I also totaly agree that steel is the only thing that works from the bind.

    But in sparring with speed and force, steel is just to dangerous. We sparr in T-shirt and fencingmask by the way. You can do freeplay with steel, but thats still controlled, and such, not combat.
    Since it´s a leathal art we need safe equipment, and I believe that nylon is the future equipment.

    To understand fencing you have to read the manuals backwards. Claus Sörensson who´s is now a doctor in Talhoffers fencing held a great seminar on Talhoffer and he spoke about this. The manuals are the special tricks designed to beat the common fencer aka Püffel. Ca Liechtenauer to Talhoffer. Meyer is more of a sportfencer.
    That meens that only to train the manuals is to only train the special tricks, not the basics. The basics is like in every martial art, timing, distance and proper use of strenght. A fencer skilled in this will still beat the one that has only trained from the manuals. Liechtenauer warns that the püffel is dangerous.
    It´s true that the longsword became more abd more of a thrusting weapons, but the cuts are still a vital part of the arts. Just look at the drei wonders, the cut, the slice, the thrust. Personally I like the slice, slicing the wrists and neck, thats fun.
    Thats also some of the fun with longsword, it´s many styles in one. You can pick you own fighting style, the more tools the better obviously. Some like to work from the bind, some like to work from Zufechten, some like to work im krieg with ringen am schwert.
    Our main trainer likes to use Talhoffers halfswording.

    Well, enough of this ranting.

  10. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Hi Anders,
    I absolutely agree Anders which is why I am in favour of blunt steel over nylon. You have to include the entire system (as we do) and you can't use the entire system with nylon. I agree with the historical use of wooden weapons but you also have to take historical context too. A decent steel sword was very expensive. Only the rich could afford more than one sword. So it would have been economic necessity to use wood. Now today you can get a steel blunt which would match in steel quality of some of the finest swords ever made for £70. So from our perspective there is no motivation to look at another tool.
    Now I understand why you use nylon if you are freeplaying in just t-shirts. You couldn't use steel with any intensity. However put on a gambeson and a pair of lacrosse gloves and you'll find you will be able to raise the intensity to a good level.
    Another good reason is I don't want to fight with a plastic sword. There is no connection to the history of the art there. What's next a move to padded swords because they are even safer. I believe there should be risk and a genuine sense of danger in freeplay. Practicioners should be completely aware that this is a weapon in hand and the mindset should be correspondingly serious. It is only when you put yourself outside your comfort zone that you begin to train effectively.

    The Bear.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  11. Anders Nilsson

    Anders Nilsson New Member

    We have similar thoughts but different methods.
    The reason that we sparr i T-shirt is the same as you wrote. We think that to much "armour" only builds kamikaze fighters. When they don´t feel the pain of a hit, they just rush in and swing. I you have to much "armour" you can get away with sloppy versetzens etc. If you don´t wear armour, you make start to make your versetzens right, otherwise it hurts.

    I really enjoyed talking to you. Nice debate.

  12. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    I think that's true. Gambesons and nylon would be drastic overkill and kamikaze fighters are exactly what you don't want to produce.

    It has been a good debate. The reason I like MAP as these kind of debates are allowed. You can discuss passionately and allow discussions to grow and only through this discussion can respect and common ground be developed. There is too much unearned respect and deference in WMA, I would rather have a single open honest conversation with someone with different methods than pages of sycophantic ramblings.
    I sincerely hope you'll stick around and we can debate many more issues.

    The .bear.
  13. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    I din't mean you in particular, I'm sorry if my post leavs the impression that you have called someone an idiot.

    It isn't your consern about the sporting nature of the bouts shown that made me write that previous post, it was your insinuation that there is only one possible correct way of doing this, and the insinuation that unless one trains the way you do, they are not doing HEMA. I don't agree with that that is cut out in stone (allthough I find both your personal, and the overall wiews on this subforum in general quite close to my own)
    I still think it's sad that I have to go to Glasgow to find out if our argument is based on real controverse or misunderstandings :(

    Let me try to be more precice then: I got the impression that you didn't like cuts towards the hands, but if cutting is very potent, shouldn't cuts to the hand be effective as well? Metal gauntlets is one thing, but I think that Fiore was talking about ordinary gloves in his manual, and IMHO, a cut from a longsword is going to do at least as much damage to a gloved hand as the picture (Louie?) posted some motnths ago on MAP of that maimed hand on liqor...

    Finally I would like to say that I don't want to provoke with my posts, I'm just trying to argument my case, and my case is that I don't think anybody doing HEMA have seen the light yet, and that we are better off meeting eachother and debating and compromisin (for instance taking part in other groups bouts, even if they don't coinceede with ones own groups rules and standards) :cool:
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2008
  14. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Well we do attend BFHS events around the UK so a visit to the UK and you would probably get to train with most of the UK groups.

    We avoid cuts to the hands (though with the number of hand injuries you would never guess) purely because we have many member whose primary source of incomes is based on their ability to use there hands.

    But you should provoke with your posts. There is no growth without conflict. Only by having to defend your thinking and practices can development occur. It has been the method in all other areas of research for centuries why should HEMA be any different.

    The Bear.
  15. Axel P

    Axel P New Member

    Hi guys,

    I was just like Anders Nilsson one of the people who worked with the rules for this tournament, and I also participated.

    First off on that, kicks were allowed, just no kicks against the natural bending direction of the joints. If you can’t fence properly under those rules, what says you can fence properly at all. Genereally modern protective gear and equipment allow us to have less rules than they had back in the days (compare to Belgian fencing guild tournament rules).

    Anyways, on to what has been said here, a lot of things to address :)!

    I agree completely with Stolenbjorn that you can’t expect to see the highest manifestation of the art (i.e the meisterhaus and similar) at all times and in every bout, of course not! So much comes down to using timing, distance, footwork, tempo and such, you do not agree to bind and wind in a fight, but many people seem to do that as they a) only practice techniques and do not practice basic body mechanics, tempo, distance judgement and manipulation and b) only use steel sword where it is less risk of injuries when you fight from krieg. We do a lot of steel sparring and we experience this same phenomena, just look at some of our hundreds of sparring videos we have up on youtube.

    Edit: the comment on going into krieg above is a common thing seen amongst people doing only sttel fecning as a safety measure (no large cuts in the bind), this is especially true for groups that favor using as little protective gear as possible, like GHFS. Gearing up with steel gauntlets and whatnot is not our melody, that is no longer blossfechten (nothing wrong with it, but it isnt we do).

    Ringeck tells us not to rush into krieg, it is dangerous. Hit your opponent from a safe place without binding (you get to that safe place by using a lot of footwork and changing distance, tempo and direction, what some people call “bouncing”, but that for exampe Meyer writes about in volume and in great detail, just remember, the 21th century couch potatoe is no great measuring stick for what a 16th century warrior could do safely). If he is as good as you are or better, you will get to other positions in the fight, but if I can hit you in the safest way possible, you can be damn sure that I will ;).

    Especially in a tournament setting where you don’t want to get hit, you will often stay with the most basic stuff or with the stuff you are most comfortable with. In this regard a tournament is much more similar do a fight with sharps than casual freeplay (though still miles and miles away, obviously). When I participated in the tournament I did not fight any different from when I spar, the only difference was that I experienced a lot more stress, which is great!

    Regarding using nylons, they DO weigh within the parameters for historical swords, POB etc are also similar. It IS perfectly possible to pull of great techniques with them.

    Yes they slide a bit quicker than (blunt) steel in the bind, but it is perfectly possible to perform binding and winding techniques with them.

    To give you examples from the tournament I will use the videos of my own fights and show where winding is done. I use my own fight as this is my opinions.

    In my first fight (where my failing under the stress is very obvious as I misjudge distance all the time), at 1.13: [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vjb8MxmayZo"]YouTube - Axel vs Tim Round 2 Swordfish tournament[/ame]

    In my second fight, 1st round at: 0:10, 0:42, 1:10, 1:47 [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVNh3tE6I_g"]YouTube - Axel vs Kevin Round 1 Swordfish tournament[/ame]

    Second round at: 0:36
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIPQm-qrEx8"]YouTube - Axel vs Kevin Round 2 Swordfish tournament[/ame]

    There were a lot of hits to my opponents hand in this one, he had misunderstood the rules and thought the fact that he did wore steel gauntlets made his hand safe, that was not the case. That said, I would hardly call for example the hit at 0:11 a “tag”, come on . We are also told by the manuscripts not to shun the “zecke” or “zeckrur” when we are in krieg, that is, tag hits.

    In my third fight, 1st round at: 0:21, 0:24, 1:14, 1:27, 1:51
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNqoOgc4AjY"]YouTube - Axel vs Robert Round 1 Swordfish tournament[/ame]

    2nd round at: 0:55,
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VmaU_gLQSw"]YouTube - Axel vs Robert Round 2 Swordfish tournament[/ame]

    No trouble winding here! ;).

    Regarding tournaments being an “amusing sideshow”, that is completely depending on the perspective you have. Granted these arts have killing in mind, but competing back in the days was a huge thing, so it is not a sideshow in that regard. If one is very much influenced by Meyer, who comes from a more competitive approach (in his longsword section) compared to say Paulus Kal (at least that is the mainstream thought of today), the fighting is bound to look in a certain way, but it is definitely HEMA and HES. When I freeplay I fight in the exact same way as when I compete, as I said the difference being I am under more stress in the competition, which in a way make sit more realistic.

    FInal thought, Polarbear you said that you generally avoid hits to teh hand as you are concerned for your fingers, do you feel this is something that affects the "realism" of your fencing? A first thought would have it that it does.

    Last edited: Nov 28, 2008
  16. Anders Linnard

    Anders Linnard New Member

    Oh great, opinions of how I fence on the internet... How utterly amusing. Please continue, I love opinions.

  17. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Hi Axel,
    First of all welcome to MAP. Really glad you guys are coming on here for a free debate.

    ok and agree with your reasoning.

    Hmmm I'm alittle unsure of your use of kreig. You can only fight in kreig. You cannot fight in zufechten at all since this is the approach. You must enter krieg in order to attack your opponent. I agree that most people do only practice techniques and get obsessed with interpreting and re-interpreting manual instead of getting the fundamentals right and working rigorously with the techniques they are sure of.

    We do large cuts which is why we wear gambesons and lacrosse gloves. We don't tend to use steel armour just padded which would still be under blossfechten. If we were wearing full harness then I would agree with you.
  18. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Yes Ringecks say don't rush in but he doesn't say do not enter Kreig. I completely understand his view on this. The purpose of zufechten is to maneuver your opponent into the postion/guard that allows you to enter safely into kreig and get the kill without injury.
    I don't know what a 16th century man is capable of and neither do you so speculation is useless. However, Meyer is sports fencing with a federschwert so you are looking for the quick point hit. In Martial fencing bouncing means you have entered a rythmn and one of the key principles of Martial Arts is that this is something you should never do.

    No I disagree the point of battle isn't "not to get hit", the point of battle is to kill your opponent without injury to yourself. These are two different things entirely. I don't personally tourney. However, we have a few members who enjoy it so they take part. I don't take part because I feel I wouldn't be safe. I apporach freeplay as a learning experience. However, I couldn't ever allow myself to be beaten in competition and therefore I would do what was necessary to win and I feel that is not safe for the other competitors. Also being 6'4" 120kg and able to bench press 150kg is not something that people want coming at them at high speeds anyway.

    I disagree, you did have a problem winding here. You could not control your opponents blade and it slid along yours which wouldn't happen in the same fashion with steel. Also your whipping the blade round to try to compensate for this problem.

    Well, if you look back. On one hand we have Henry II of England who outlawed tourneying because he believed it was a waste of manpower. Then we have people like Henry the younger, the Black Prince and Sir William Marshall who were all avid tourney participants. Though I note they tourneyed with steel weapons and if you were able to talk to them and asked what was more important sport fencing or martial fencing what answer do you think you would get?

    Absolutely agree it does affect the realism. However I have to make compromises to the fact that this is a hobby and I have a son to feed, shelter and cloth. I fight to the maximum level I can do while maintaining a certain level of safety. After several dislocated fingers, lost finger nails and many minor fractures you may argue that our policy is not effective but I would be concerned with the injury rate if we did deliberately target fingers.

    Thanks Axel,
    Your arguments are well thought out and presented, I thank you for taking time to post in such detail.
    Sorry I had to split it over posts but it wouldn't let me submit it in one gulp.

    The Bear.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2008
  19. Anders Linnard

    Anders Linnard New Member

    From previous post
    Ringeck tells us several times to attack when we are in the zufechten, so you are obviously wrong in your interpretation of zufechten being out of distance. Zufechten is clearly a distance at the maximum reach of the weapon, whereas krieg is a distance where you cannot simply step out of distance again. Which is very much a dangerous place to be. A sentiment that is shared among people who compete, which is why most stay at long distance most of the time.

    If you have any doubts about me being correct about this I suggest you read 30V (regarding feler) intensely and contemplate the likelihood of Ringeck advising upon doing two attacks when completely out of distance. Ringeck also tells us specifically that we should be wary of rushing into krieg and, although you seem to have missed it, he also tells us how to get out when someone is rushing in (for example with cuts to the arms and hands), not to mention that abzug is a commonly referred to concept within the German fencingtradition (as is fighting at long range). Ringeck also specifically tells us to cut as we step out of reach (for example when talking about streychen), so your notion of always staying in krieg if we are in there is simply ludicrous.

    Maybe this is why you do not understand what it is you see when watching a competition.

    And yes this is a competition. A competition with nylon wasters. And little protection. It is a compromise, but so are your gloves and hand hits. And the fact that you use blunts. I have to say that these statements of "steel is the only thing that is any good" is complete crap. We train with training tools: feders, blunts, shinais, sticks, wasters, sharps. Basically my opinion is that a good fighter is a good fighter and he should be able to adjust his skill to whatever tool is at hand. The rest is fine print.

    And remember that we use steel as well. We know the differences, we can compare. You can't, because you only use steel. In the end we all compromise, and maybe you should pay more attention to the things that you do not understand before you start addressing equipment details at a single competition.

    Historically most people would probably train with a stick. It is a reenactment ailment that afflicts the HEMA scene when the blunt steel is seen as the only historical training tool.

  20. Polar Bear

    Polar Bear Moved on

    Yes of course but you have to take a step to attack from zufechten and once you have taken the step you have entered kreig. If you don't have to step to attack then your not in zufechten you are in krieg.

    Indeed you are answering your own question. Ringeck says be wary about rushing into kreig but we do not rush in we enter into krieg either through an opening or by creating an opening. This is what I believe is the purpose of the out distance attack is to create an opening for second intention.

    I agree with this. The superior fighter is one that understands the principles of fighting more than the techniques and also the one that demonstrates superior fighting spirit.

    I have trained with nylon and didn't like it. So I'm afriad you are mistaken on that point.

    Most people would have started training in childhood so a stick would have been correct but they would have moved on. However I am absolutely certain that nylon has NO historical legitimacy what so ever since is was only discovered in 1935. So you cannot apply the historical waster argument to nylon. I wonder if you told rapier, backsword or sabre fencers that nylon was the better option what reception you would get there.
    Well our group hasn't come from an re-enactment origin. Mostly we are EMA people who have crossed over and one Italian who was taught Fiore in italy.

    Oh and welcome to MAP Anders.

    The Bear.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2008

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