WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

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Elleth
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WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby Elleth » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:04 pm

My mental image of fighting knights is largely formed by watching the guys at SCA tourneys go after each other with plywood shields and wooden swords: the twisting buckler-like play Roland proposes looks odd to my eye in this context. But he certainly sounds convincing.

What do you guys think? Is the sample fight these gentlemen demo what real swordsmen in the medieval era would have looked like?
(fighting starts about 18:07)

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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby mcapanelli » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:28 pm

Its far more accurate than most of the stuff I've seen come out of the SCA. Its supported by research and physical experimentation as well. Not that the SCA doesn't make good fighters. One of the best fencers in my group is from the SCA, just that their ruleset doesn't allow for a lot of the historical techniques you'd see in a HEMA group. It ends up being "historically inspired" sport fighting.
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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby Manveruon » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:46 pm

Huh. That's interesting. I agree, it definitely looks strange to my eye - much more like later-period sword-and-buckler/cut-and-thrust fighting than what I think of as High Medieval arming-sword-and-shield. But this is also a one-on-one duel as opposed to fully armored military combat, so that probably has a significant effect on the fighting style.

EDIT: But I am not a "HEMA guy," so take my opinion positively briny.
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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby mcapanelli » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:56 pm

Manveruon wrote:Huh. That's interesting. I agree, it definitely looks strange to my eye - much more like later-period sword-and-buckler/cut-and-thrust fighting than what I think of as High Medieval arming-sword-and-shield. But this is also a one-on-one duel as opposed to fully armored military combat, so that probably has a significant effect on the fighting style.

EDIT: But I am not a "HEMA guy," so take my opinion positively briny.


Positively briny.....I'm going to use that!

As for your OP, I'm going to ask some of the guys in my group that are SCA what they think the major differences are. We do harnesfetchen as well as arming sword and shield, but I've only ever done HEMA so I wouldn't know what the difference besides the obvious.

As for what Roland is doing, Its my opinion that he's reverse engineering from later sources, and that can be tricky. What I do know is the shield isn't used for static blocking but aggressively closing the line while attacking at the same time. Watching a few SCA videos, it looks like they close the attack and then strike, back and forth, till a hit is scored. In historic combat, you'd close that line and attack at he same time, similar to what Roland is doing. So SCA seems to be fighting from behind the shield, and HEMA uses the shield as a weapon and fights around it.

Stay tuned! I'll ask the guys on Tuesday. And if you're ever in NYC, you're welcome to come down to a class.
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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby Ursus » Fri Sep 01, 2017 10:27 am

Elleth wrote:What do you guys think? Is the sample fight these gentlemen demo what real swordsmen in the medieval era would have looked like?


I think it's impossible to say that everyone in the Middle Ages fought the same way. I think it would vary greatly era to era country to country, heck even county to county depending on your social status and instructor.

It seems as though they are attempting to do buckler work with a larger shield. I like most of Roland's stuff but this isn't for me. Personally it's not committed or aggressive enough for my preference. I prefer to be quite oppressive and committed with a shield. But then again I'm a brawler with a scholars mind. While it's not bad by any means, it looks a little to much like "sword tag" for my taste. Though it's good to see some shield work that's not all hacking and hammering. Like all things in the combative/martial arts everyone fights a bit different than the next person. I do love the research on shield construction that he has been doing lately, top notch research.
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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby Manveruon » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:21 pm

Ursus wrote:... it looks a little to much like "sword tag" for my taste.


THAT is a perfect way to put it! I was trying to find a way to express how I felt about it, and this pretty much nails it.
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Re: WMA / HEMA guys: how does this look to you?

Postby Kortoso » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:50 pm

I guess I'm one of those "HMA guys".

I'm a follower of Roland's research, and I think that for the most part he's got a good approach. (However, he does a sort of sparring with sharp swords, with the intent of demonstrating that the edges tend to grab one another, affecting techniques. I think that's valid, but "sparring" with sharp swords and no protective gear can't be considered to have lethal character. Legally anyway.)

In this case, his experimental archaeology is based on the distribution of shield straps on that particular shield. And he's looking to see if any principles from I.33 and other Fechtbuchs can find use with that particular shield.

It's interesting that the point of this kind of shield (and the "Norman kite") can be used almost as a weapon, but as it's not permitted to be used in the SCA, many people assume that shields were never used in that manner.

As others have noticed, they don't seem to be trying make full cuts. Either he's assuming that sort of cut wouldn't be used for some reason, or his lack of protection needed a different approach. I'd like to see him experiment with harder strikes. There are plenty of places in I.33 that suggest chambering for such a blow.

The I.33 ms appears to have been a method for judicial combat; if the goal was "first blood" and not death, then the character of the attacks (and the defenses) would have been different than battlefield techniques.
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