long sword exercises

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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Greg » Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:50 pm

There really isn't a place for it in anything but a film, and most of us would appreciate seeing it fade out of hollywood...but it's not going to happen. You're right; it does open you up to an easy counter, as well as provide way too many opportunities for error on the part of the user; losing the blade entirely, hitting yourself, twisting a wrist...the list goes on.

I've had arguments on other forums with dedicated LARP "fighters" who insist that this twirling helps them build up momentum to hit faster, etc., but ultimately, the strike that results from all of this "Jedi shtuff" does not involve what would actually be an edge of the blade. They're using round boffers without distinct edges, and rules that don't require edge-on or point-on hits, so it makes little difference for them...but if handed a legitimate sword, they could be cut to ribbons while they were "winding up", and would slap their opponent with the flat more than connect with the blade.

This was not said to offend anyone who LARPs...LARPing is fine, and has its place...but if you're discussing legitimate, practiced, and lethal swordplay, you must understand that they are completely different animals.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby mcapanelli » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:34 am

Greg wrote:There really isn't a place for it in anything but a film, and most of us would appreciate seeing it fade out of hollywood...but it's not going to happen. You're right; it does open you up to an easy counter, as well as provide way too many opportunities for error on the part of the user; losing the blade entirely, hitting yourself, twisting a wrist...the list goes on.

I've had arguments on other forums with dedicated LARP "fighters" who insist that this twirling helps them build up momentum to hit faster, etc., but ultimately, the strike that results from all of this "Jedi shtuff" does not involve what would actually be an edge of the blade. They're using round boffers without distinct edges, and rules that don't require edge-on or point-on hits, so it makes little difference for them...but if handed a legitimate sword, they could be cut to ribbons while they were "winding up", and would slap their opponent with the flat more than connect with the blade.

This was not said to offend anyone who LARPs...LARPing is fine, and has its place...but if you're discussing legitimate, practiced, and lethal swordplay, you must understand that they are completely different animals.


How about you'd thrust through their sternum while they gathered momentum by swinging the sword around his back. They also tend to cut at your sword and not you. There's all sorts of things you can exploit when people leave the centerline like that. When revenge of the Sith was released I can't tell you how many times I made people mad when I explained how I'd have killed Anakin in the first 30 seconds of that climactic fight scene. But here's the thing, it wouldn't have been a very climactic scene then. Without going in to intervals and timing differences of stage combat we just simply have to understand that the main goal of any theater fight is not till kill your partner, but to further the story. You don't see real WMA in movies because real fights are quite boring to the untrained eye.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Manveruon » Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:21 pm

^True dat.

That being said, I think there are a few examples of when Hollywood has done it fairly "right," as mentioned in the other thread that split off from here. I also think those fights scenes that got it "right" were extremely entertaining to watch, AND managed to further the story they were trying to tell (but this is more difficult to do, and why bother with it when you can have a really cool Crouching Tiger fight anyway?).

As for twirling the sword, I am no expert by any means (I hate to admit it, but I've literally never studied a period fight manual in-depth), but I do know of at least ONE place that is actually taught. In a manual for single-stick/boarding cutlass for navy men it recommends twirling the sword in a figure-8 as a warm-up exercise. But to be extremely clear, this is NOT a combat-applicable exercise - the idea was to help strengthen the wrist and maintain flexibility, in preparation for learning ACTUAL fighting techniques. It has zero applicability in a real fight.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby mcapanelli » Sat Feb 15, 2014 12:50 am

Manveruon wrote:^True dat.

That being said, I think there are a few examples of when Hollywood has done it fairly "right," as mentioned in the other thread that split off from here. I also think those fights scenes that got it "right" were extremely entertaining to watch, AND managed to further the story they were trying to tell (but this is more difficult to do, and why bother with it when you can have a really cool Crouching Tiger fight anyway?).

As for twirling the sword, I am no expert by any means (I hate to admit it, but I've literally never studied a period fight manual in-depth), but I do know of at least ONE place that is actually taught. In a manual for single-stick/boarding cutlass for navy men it recommends twirling the sword in a figure-8 as a warm-up exercise. But to be extremely clear, this is NOT a combat-applicable exercise - the idea was to help strengthen the wrist and maintain flexibility, in preparation for learning ACTUAL fighting techniques. It has zero applicability in a real fight.


We do something similar to teach fluid movements with the sword. The Fechtbuck ( the author escapes me at the moment. I want to say Meyer but I know that's wrong) even advise you to "shake your sword manfully", but its just a display and not something to use in combat. There are techniques that involve moving the sword in a circular motion, but those are either based around a feint or displacement.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Manveruon » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:19 am

HAH! It is my opinion that, "Shake your sword manfully" ought to be part of EVERY set of directions, ever.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby mcapanelli » Sat Feb 15, 2014 8:10 pm

Manveruon wrote:HAH! It is my opinion that, "Shake your sword manfully" ought to be part of EVERY set of directions, ever.


:P :P :P I giggled a little when I wrote it. We should start the trend. Why should the UK have all the fun, right? We could use it in conjunction with "And bob's your uncle". "......Install the securing bolt, tighten counter clockwise with a 5mm hex wrench, shake your sword manfully and bob's your uncle", something like that.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Manveruon » Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:42 pm

I am wholly in favor of this idea! And I shall shake my sword manfully in support!
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Greg » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:24 am

I laughed upon reading it as well. It could be used for a variety of applications, including a replacement for "Suck it up and be a man", in response to whining, etc.

Just be careful...first person I mentioned this line to said it sounded like I was trying to encourage someone struggling in the urinal next to me...that got awkward.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby mcapanelli » Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:24 am

Greg wrote:I laughed upon reading it as well. It could be used for a variety of applications, including a replacement for "Suck it up and be a man", in response to whining, etc.


Actually its funny you should say that mention that particular application as it's sort of the original meaning. By the way, the original text is attributed to Dobringer. its been translated as "Flourish your longsword courageously" but the other way is much more fun. Vadi also says "Brandish manfully the sword, for it is a cross and a royal weapon, and with it match a gallant heart".

Greg wrote:Just be careful...first person I mentioned this line to said it sounded like I was trying to encourage someone struggling in the urinal next to me...that got awkward.


Hey, it works use it! "Verily I say to you, shake your sword manfully, but doith no more than a count of three, lest you fall in to sin".
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Arbellason » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:49 pm

Well almost nothing beats what you learn yourself I've found out. Guides are good but your own style is your own style. Basically whatever works for you and doesn't get you killed is your style.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Ringulf » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:36 pm

Manveruon wrote:I am wholly in favor of this idea! And I shall shake my sword manfully in support!


careful you may go blind! (but you can always do it till you need glasses) :roll:
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Pwyll » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:31 pm

I've got to chime in here, in support of BlackIronEpee's post. Weight training is extremely useful, and a very good way to develop good, usable strength within a short time period.

No, the military doesn't do weight training in basic (at least not when I went through, all those decades ago...) but that's because of working with a very large number of people. And for that, calisthenics are the way to go, as they just don't have weight equipment for enough people. They're also dealing with a number of people coming up from a very poor level of fitness. And, yes, good weight training takes time. But not as much as you'd think. I'm currently doing two days a week, and about an hour and a half. I use free weights and complex motions (squat, deadlift, press, bench press, rows, dips, pullups). During the heat of summer and cold of winter, I increase this to three days a week, because I also drop the martial training to two days a week. We try to train outdoors.

Now, that is great for general strength and health, which is necessary for martial training. As for the longsword exercises, most of them in the fechtbuks seem to be for two people to practice. Nonetheless, there are some good basics in those manuals. Meyer is very good for this. In fact, Meyer is pretty much a complete martial arts system... But remember that those manuals only give part of the story. They are a supplement, to be used in conjunction with actual training, and they assume some reasonable martial competence. Try to go through some of Meyer's dagger work, for instance, and you'll find that he doesn't mention some things, and without those things the drills don't make a lot of sense.

Anyway, given that, you can learn the basic wards and transitions. One excellent drill is "flourishing", which is pretty much shadow sparring, with a sword. Cutting, blocking, stepping, turning... I think a couple of those video clips showed this. It's not a complete answer, but does give some practice.

Beornmann, that WAS a great class on Montante. Randal is always fun. Very good instructor. Think you'll make it this year?

Just got home from one of my outdoor workouts. We picked up sword and dagger again, for the first time in a while, and put on the protective gear. Not fast or intense, just shaking off some of the rust. Unbelievable fun.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby mcapanelli » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:17 pm

Greg wrote:There really isn't a place for it in anything but a film, and most of us would appreciate seeing it fade out of hollywood...but it's not going to happen. You're right; it does open you up to an easy counter, as well as provide way too many opportunities for error on the part of the user; losing the blade entirely, hitting yourself, twisting a wrist...the list goes on.

I've had arguments on other forums with dedicated LARP "fighters" who insist that this twirling helps them build up momentum to hit faster, etc., but ultimately, the strike that results from all of this "Jedi shtuff" does not involve what would actually be an edge of the blade. They're using round boffers without distinct edges, and rules that don't require edge-on or point-on hits, so it makes little difference for them...but if handed a legitimate sword, they could be cut to ribbons while they were "winding up", and would slap their opponent with the flat more than connect with the blade.

This was not said to offend anyone who LARPs...LARPing is fine, and has its place...but if you're discussing legitimate, practiced, and lethal swordplay, you must understand that they are completely different animals.


Also if you need to twirl the sword to gather momentum you're not using the sword the right way int he first place. That's why LARP'ing can be dangerous. Its cool and I'd love to try it sometime but its not a martial art no matter what some of the practitioners think. Most (at least the ones Ive encountered at my group or at ten fairs) don't have the faintest idea how to actually use a sword, but they're convinced they do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking LARP'ing, I'm just saying its pretty far removed from actual combat with a sword or any other weapon in or out of harness.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby ineffableone » Wed Jun 04, 2014 1:50 am

Straelbora wrote:This thread has made me wonder about something. From before "Conan" with Arnold, all the way through the current "Hobbit" films, you see characters swinging swords around, twirling them, etc. Anyone with more expertise than I have care to weigh in on that?

It seems to me if you're in the middle of 'kill or be killed,' such flourish only opens you up to losing control of your sword. As much as I've enjoyed heavy sword fighting with the Society for Creative Anachronism, I think I'm a bit of a berserker. I want to use my shield to punch, shoulder in to people, etc. I guess this is why I like playing hurling; it's about as full a contact sport with quasi-sword skills as I can think of. I've noticed that SCA swordplay really favors tall people, even if they aren't necessarily as strong as their opponents.


I studied tai chi sword which is about as spinney and flourished as you can get and still be functional. Chinese sword arts does have some rather flamboyant sword play in it but nothing quite as bad as Hollywood likes to show.

I do have to say though, while not exactly functional I do enjoy watching some super spinney sword work like

Stella Angelova


TPRoach


While these sorts of tricks would not be useful in a fight, I can see how practicing them could make one very connected and aware of your blade. Not to mention likely just kinda fun to play around with. and yes I have seen folks do this sort of sword tricking with euro blades too. There are some youtube videos of euro sword tricking but I can't seem to find them now.

Would I ever practice this stuff? Nope, I spin poi. So that is my all my tricking study and when the poi is on fire a lot more impressive and entertaining than a sword anyways.
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Re: long sword exercises

Postby Ringulf » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:28 pm

mcapanelli wrote:
Greg wrote:There really isn't a place for it in anything but a film, and most of us would appreciate seeing it fade out of hollywood...but it's not going to happen. You're right; it does open you up to an easy counter, as well as provide way too many opportunities for error on the part of the user; losing the blade entirely, hitting yourself, twisting a wrist...the list goes on.

I've had arguments on other forums with dedicated LARP "fighters" who insist that this twirling helps them build up momentum to hit faster, etc., but ultimately, the strike that results from all of this "Jedi shtuff" does not involve what would actually be an edge of the blade. They're using round boffers without distinct edges, and rules that don't require edge-on or point-on hits, so it makes little difference for them...but if handed a legitimate sword, they could be cut to ribbons while they were "winding up", and would slap their opponent with the flat more than connect with the blade.

This was not said to offend anyone who LARPs...LARPing is fine, and has its place...but if you're discussing legitimate, practiced, and lethal swordplay, you must understand that they are completely different animals.


Also if you need to twirl the sword to gather momentum you're not using the sword the right way int he first place. That's why LARP'ing can be dangerous. Its cool and I'd love to try it sometime but its not a martial art no matter what some of the practitioners think. Most (at least the ones Ive encountered at my group or at ten fairs) don't have the faintest idea how to actually use a sword, but they're convinced they do.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking LARP'ing, I'm just saying its pretty far removed from actual combat with a sword or any other weapon in or out of harness.


If this is the view that most have of larping in general, I would say I would highly question the larp and the larpers who are practicing it.
I have participated in many Larps and I must say that any of this type of swordplay is normally initiated by the uninitiated!
Most of the larps I have fought in do have point and edge requirements and our weapons have not been round tubes since the very early days of larping. The advancements in weapon construction would most likely surprise many of you.
The fact that we don't need to generate speed as the weapons are light enough to be unrealistc if swung at full speed is one of the reasons the windmilling and flurishing is not needed exept for theatrical affect, larpers using larger or heavier weapon types try to slow down their strikes and roleplay the weight to honor the RP.
The other point is that since we have armored dwarves fighting next to gossamer winged fairies (yeah gotta love that!) it is a "lightest touch needed" system so hard strikes are not needed as long as the player can recognize being struck and accept the hit.
I think overall that you need to realize that Larping is more of a game that uses actual physrep combat rather than say rolling a dice. The skill level is great if you have it, but the idea is to let anyone be something they want to be. a 98 pound girl can be a viscous barbarian and a 6 foot 2 hobbit male is not unusual, it would not be in the tabletop arena and that is were the Larps evolved from.
Storyline and imaginative rp interaction is the crux of it all in Larp, but I must say that it is really nice to be able to do many of the things in real life like parry a blow rather than getting hit and calling "parry" and trying to remember how many of my 5 parries per game I have used. :mrgreen:
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