random q's

reading THE GREAT STICK by Alfred Hutton - i sort of know and i sort of don't know/understand - what's a moulinet?

also reading George Silver's 1st piece - on "short staff"

how long is this? 8-9'? measured by having it against left side of body and have the right hand reach up and give it a little space between hands to wield? then how long is a "long staff"?

does "vantage" mean advantage? just wanted to be crystal clear.

i'm sure there will be more to come.


"does "vantage" mean advantage? just wanted to be crystal clear."

Yup, sure does.

thanks. 1 down, 2 to go...

A moulinet is a parry/attack done quite often in saber fencing. It is usually done from a "hanging guard", where you hold your sword in front of you with the point facing down (almost like you are giving the thumbs down gesture) I am Sure you have probably done it while stickfighting. Say your opponent thrusts at your chest...with your sword in your right hand (in hanging guard) you parry your opponents thrust to your left, immediately swing your arm up over your head, then execute a cut straight downwards to your opponents head and split his skull down to the teeth. Very effective.Yes, what Silver refers to as a "short staff" would be between 7 and 9 feet long, this is in contrast to a "long staff" or pike which could be up to 18 feet long. Pikes were used by foot soldiers to perform cavalry blocks, much like Mel Gibson did in Braveheart with his "long spears". They could be between 12 and 18 feet long and generally had a small, steel spearhead on top. Silver actually mentions the length of the long staff earlier on in his "Paradoxes of Defense": And that the short staff has the advantage against the long staff of twelve, fourteen, sixteen or eighteen feet long, or of what length soever.As for "vantage" and "advantage", I would say it means the same thing. Early modern English can be tricky, but reading the context, I can't see it as meaning anything else.

thanks YL. i think it's easier asking a q here and getting a modern english reply and understand it better than reading some of the olde english :-)

thanks again.

random comment/q. from a beginner in FMA and MA in general: did the English "defang the snake", i.e. did they target the hand holding the weapon? or more specifically did the French. in Hutton's Cold Steel book, chapter on great stick, he included 3 parries that the French used. generally blocks like that will get your hand hit by a good FMAer.



BTW, the HACA/ARMA site has hutton's cold steel also, and in great stick chapter, it has more of the pix/plates then what savate australia has included in their site.


parry of high octave is what the DB would call umbrella or what most FMA styles called wing/shield or la pluma (http://www.savateaustralia.com/images/great_stick9.jpg)

parry of high prime is what the DB would call a roof block (http://www.savateaustralia.com/images/great_stick7.jpg)

it's cool checking out this stuff and comparing to what i learned already. it just shows you if something is good, it will be used/discovered/transcend geography/race/etc. and it will be almost universal.

Attacking the weapon hand was a technique that was used all over Europe for centuries, it is not a novel idea, and it can be seen in many manuals from different time periods.

Now when you are reffering to the English or French, I assume you are reffering to 19th century fencing, that it what Hutton was describing I believe. I am not sure, but maybe there were rules prohibiting the hitting of the hand in the sport at that particular time? TFS would know.


I would like to clarify one point on YL's definition of the moulinet...

The moulinet (molinello in Italian) is simply a circular cut that is generated from the elbow--you don't see them in modern saber fencing too much anymore, since the ultra-light sabers of today are pretty much handled with wrist and finger action. However, there was very high-level Russian sabreur at BCAF who made use of moulinets--quite well, in fact.

YL is correct, though, in that the moulinet works well when delivered from a hanging guard--you can make a parry and immediately riposte from there quite well.

I'll post more on this stuff later tonite, after I get back from dinner with my girlfriend.


Stickgrappler-As you've noticed with some of the blocks, with Hutton you may have to employ the JKD approach. It's been a few years since I last looked at "Cold Steel," but I think he may have just been showing the French approach to show how you could also do staff-type techniques with a stick that size.As far as the moulinets, I'm sure TFS will explain them clearly later. Hutton did do a nice job of explaining them with a two-handed weapon in "Old Sword-Play." They are important partly to reduce strain on the wrist:

Moulinets from Hutton's "Old Sword-Play"

For a single-handed weapon, Burton also discusses them:

Burton's "Sword Exercise for Infantry"Jason

I gotta see these...

Stickgrappler,I'll go into more detail on the moulinet, as well as the many period European examples of "defanging the snake" very soon.In the meantime, here's some excerpts from Silver's Brief Instructions that concern attacks on the hand...[From his chapter on fighting with cut-and-thrust swords (ie., the "short sword")]--Of the short single sword fight against the like weapon.3. If you bear this with forehand ward, be sure to ward his blow, or keep your distance, otherwise he shall deceive with every false, still endangering your head, face, hand, arms, body, & bending knee, with blow or thrust. Therefore keep well your distance, because you can very hardly discern (being within distance), by which side of your sword he will strike, nor at which of those parts aforesaid, because of the swift motion of the hand deceives the eye.And Silver's dagger fighting sounds similar in some ways to Filipino knife work...Of the single dagger fight against the like weapon Cap. 15.1. First know that to this weapon there belongs no wards or grips but against such a one as is foolhardy & will suffer himself to have a full stab in the face or body or hazard the giving of another, then against him you may use your left hand in throwing him aside or strike up his heels after you have stabbed him.2. In this dagger fight, you must use continual motion so shall he not be able to put you to the close or grip, because your continual motion disappoints him of his true place, & the more fierce he is in running in, the sooner he gains you the place, whereby he is wounded, & you not anything the rather endangered.3. The manner of handling your continual motion is this, keep out of distance & strike or thrust at his hand, arm, face or body, that shall press upon you, & if he defends blow or thrust with his dagger make your blow or thrust at his hand.4. If he comes in with his left leg forewards or with the right, do you strike at that part as soon as it shall be within reach, remembering that you use continual motion in your progression & regression according to your twofold governors.5. Although the dagger fight is thought a very dangerous fight by reason of the shortness & singleness thereof, yet the fight thereof being handled as is aforesaid, is as safe & as defensive as the fight of any other weapon, this ends my brief instructions.And here's some pics from Albrecht Durer's fechtbuch--showing combat with fechtmessers (a variety of falchion, which is a single-edged short short that is similar to a cutlass). The middle picture in this sequence shows a stop-cut to the wrist/forearm.There's a similar fechtmesser sequence in Talhoffer's manual, that shows an ascending stop-cut to the opponent's sword-hand that takes the hand clean off, followed by a descending cut to the head that finishes the guy--but I cannot find this pic online (yet).TFS

Here are some good examples of "defanging the snake" from Hans Talhoffer's 1459 book The follow up:

Has anyone read this article by Amberger?The Death of History

Yep. First appeared in Fencer's Quarterly magazine. See my Amberger+Clements+"Enemies"? thread.

And yeah, that 1459 version of Talhoffer shows the "defanging" technique I was talking about, though they are using bucklers as well.

TFS, YL et al,

forgive me: i meant to post does the English/French target the hand when using the staff/quarterstaff/short staff/long staff? i did not mean it in the context of blades. when i saw the picture from Hutton's book on the French right and left parry, my knee jerk reaction was i will elicit this reply/parry and instead of targeting midsection, i will zoom in for the hand.

however, good replies and it just goes to further my faith in the mods of this forum. good job!

Just a heads-up:

It doesn't really affect me, since I'm lucky enough to have fast connections at home and work, but too many graphics might slow down the loading of threads for those with dial-ups.

I really have no way of knowing what the proper balance is, since everything loads pretty quick for me, but we might want to keep the broadband-challenged in mind.

Nice pics, though.


yes, Jason is correct - luckily i check at work and they have at least a T1 connection. at home, fuhgeddaboutit!

Jason, where;s the stickfighting thread dedicated to me? :-)

sometime today or tomorrow or next few days, i will be putting up the threads we discussed in email to my site.

Two things holding that thread up:

1. I wanted to post a couple links to video clips to really get a feel for what that style of stickfighting looks like, but the site that had them is having trouble and I'm in contact with trying to get it straightened out. They've recently shot some new footage and I'm hoping they can get it webbed somewhere.

2. I'm a touch leery of making any substantive posts right now simply because we can't archive yet and I know some that we probably would have saved have dropped off the face of the earth.


gotcha, i will try to save and put up to my site too.