I have a question for you... Currently I'm still in that silly SCA like event. I have a lot of friends that are in it, and I've been slowly weening them off the ideals of the Far Eastern MA's and teaching them a bit of Boxing and Grappling...
But anyways, I am curious if you can point me in some directions as far as learning some techniques from online resources. Currently, I fight with a light cut + thrust sword and long dagger, but since I injured my shoulder while doing a choke at the Metro Fight Club, I fight reversed of what I see in the plates and descriptions on the Haca site: Left leg forward, long blade in the lead hand.
Now is there something inherently wrong with this? In all the sketches I see, they have the dagger in the lead hand. This is also a bit odd for me considering my main attack weapon is in my 'off' hand, but since I use the jab more than my right in boxing, it wasn't that hard of a transition.
Now from my experience, fighting with the dagger in the rear hand takes away my ability to use the dagger as an offensive weapon. But since I tend to fight people who are using a hand and a half, they usually have a quickness and length advantage that I have problems beating with leading with a smaller weapon.
Also since I have no classical blade skills, I tend to use the blades as if I was boxing, the lead hand using jab (trust) into hook (Slashes of different types) combinations. Having the longer blade allows me to take full advantage of my weapons length and to fully realize the strength of a trust or draw cut.
Also, since with weapons, unlike bare hand, the feint is much more important ideal and technique than without a weapon. So I tend to use the jab with the long blade to draw a reaction, and then make a 'bind' against their blade with my long blade (near the cross hilt to their crosshilt) and come inside with a right cross with the dagger...
But since I lost the use of my shoulder, now the right hand is nothing more than a defensive measure. But it does help me 'cover lines' in case they make a beat against my blade and follow the line of my thrust in towards me.
So with all of this explained, can you point me towards some info I can use to learn?
another of his threads is on right now
what is SCA?
Southern California Arnis? =)
Eventually, you're going to want to look for a decent fight recreation or reenactment group. I recommend the HACA (Historical Armed Combat Association) as being a good one. Judging from their website, and from John Clements' books, they definitely seem to at least be on the right track, if not more so. I would love to hook up with HACA, but there's no chapter in my area.
Search Google and see what may be in your vicinity.
In addition to avoiding the SCA, you should also do your best to avoid a group called MARKLAND. These jokers are even worse than the SCA, competence-wise. I would even go so far to say that Markland makes the SCA look like a group of 15th-generation Chinese Masters who really CAN do all of the "Dim Mak" death point stuff! If you want to see tons of epee blades all bent the wrong way, go to a Markland event. If you want to see a group of people in need of attention from both Jenny Craig and the Medieval Fashion Police, go to a Markland event. These guys (at least the ones around here) consistently "get it all wrong". And, like the SCA, they have a habit of making things up, which is probably the most irritating aspect, because sometimes I think that they have actually convinced themselves about what they are saying! Bloody awful...
This Peter Kautz fellow, who has a group called "Alliance Martial Arts" seems like he's good. I've already mentioned his book on Marozzo's knife defenses.
Also, I would be curious to know if Terry Brown ever plans to start up a group here in the U.S., unless he has already.
I apologize for not replying to your thread sooner; the Pankration post, which has been dormant for some time, suddenly started again, and it has occupied me (in a vaguely amusing way) for the past few days. In any case, I will be happy to give you what input I can in regards your questions.
As far as studying and researching old forms of swordplay and whatnot, I would recommend that you first begin with some modern fencing, as suggested by both Jared Meacham, and Ye Lunatic (my partner in fighting historical crime). As Ye L. said, there isn't all that much left of Western swordfighting systems or traditions; fencing, though watered-down, is nevertheless a link of sorts to previous styles. Also, you will actually learn how parry with your sword, instead of just with your free hand, which is a definite weakness with a lot of SCA "fencers":-)
Any proper fencing school should start you off with foil, which is the foundation weapon. This is, in my mind, extremely important. Once you have a really solid grasp of foil, the transition to other weapons will be far easier. The more you comprehend foil, the more you will comprehend the other two weapons. You should then check out both saber and epee. Saber is important because it combines the actions of cut and thrust, and so it is (as stated by the old Maestro Luigi Barbasetti) the most complicated kind of play in modern fencing. Epee, on the other hand, is important because the whole body is a valid target, and there is no "right of way" rule, so that silmutaneous touches are counted. You may end up concentrating on one specific weapon, of you may end up doing all three--that's up to you. I personally have mostly done foil; it's just the weapon I tended to stick with most. I like saber too, though I admit I have no skill whatsover with the epee (I know the rules, and that's about it!). I must also stress that the knowledge of saber is most important for researching and attempting to reconstruct earlier fencing methods, because the saber is a dual purpose weapon, and so were the majority of European swords in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Learning at least the basics of Kali or Arnis will also really help you. It will give you a deeper understanding of cuts and strikes--learning the angles of attack as practiced in the various styles of FMA is definitely useful. The knowledge of disarms will give you an understanding of principles of leverage, etc., that will make it easier for you to interpret related moves from old European fight manuals (and unlike the SCA, FMA will teach you how to use your free hand properly in armed combat). FMA will also serve you well in that it will give you an opportunity to wield weapons with some weight, as opposed to featherlight fencing swords.
On my next post I'll discuss your problem with "sword-hand lead" vs. "dagger-hand lead", as well as training sources.
Hope this helps...
David "TrueFightScholar" Mastro
TFS: Wow... I need to digest all of this... Thank you again...
And just as a ammendment, I do make most of my parrys with my lead hand, just when I've committed and had my lead hand's thrust thrown off line and I can't make a parry, then I use my rear hand.
Also to clarify further, what I meant is my right shoulder for most of this year was near useless for any pushing or throwing motion so all i could do with it was defend...
I'm going to read this over and think for a few more minutes before I post again..
Definately going to look into some fencing first.. Thank you for the tip... Looks like I have a long road ahead of me if I want to learn.
I just checked your profile--with your BJJ/Submission training and experience, you will have an advantage when learning sword traps and disarms, since you already obviously have an understanding of joint manipulation. A study of Arnis will merely show you how such actions apply specifically with weapons. There are also purely unarmed combat methods from old Europe, mostly of the wrestling variety, and so you will also have a "head start" of sorts with that.
There are an awful lot of books that will be of great help. Here's a short list:
"The Secret History of the Sword" by J. Christoph Amberger (A collection of essays covering all periods of Western swordplay--absolutely essential).
"The Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe" by Sydney Anglo (One of the best books on the subject).
"The Sword and the Centuries" by Sir Alfred Hutton (Reprint of a book from the late 1800's--and early fencing history classic).
"Schools and Masters of Fence from the Middle Ages to the End of the Eighteenth Century" by Egerton Castle (Another old classic from a contemporary of Hutton; contains quite a bit of useful info, but is not as progressive as Hutton's work).
"The English Master of Arms" by J.D. Aylward (A great older book on English fencing history).
"Renaissance Swordplay" and "Medieval Swordplay", both by HACA man John Clements (These are more like "how to" manuals, as opposed to the works above. I don't agree with every little last thing Mr. Clements says, but he's been doing this sort of thing for far longer than I have, so who cares? HACA appears to be a far more serious organization, when compared with the SCA).
"Medieval Combat" (This is an English translation of Hans Talhoffer's 1467 "fight book"--really good stuff--another "must have" title).
"English Martial Arts" by Terry Brown (a really nice book that tries to reconstruct old English fighting--single sword, sword and buckler, sword and dagger, quarterstaff, bill, and unarmed fighting [mostly pugilism]. As with other folks who do reconstructions of this sort, there are going to be people who disagree with Brown's interpretations of techniques, but this is nevertheless a very good book).
"Mani Contra il Cotillo" (An analysis of Achille Marozzo's unarmed knife defenses, by Peter Kautz--cheaply produced, but a very good book anyway).
Period manuals you should check out include:
"Flos Duellatorum" by Fiore dei Liberi
"Talhoffer's Fechtbuch" by Hans Talhoffer (see "Medieval Combat" above)
"Opera Nova" by Achille Marozzo
"His True Arte of Defence" by Giacomo di Grassi
"Paradoxes of Defence" and "Breif Instructions Upon My Paradoxes of Defence" by George Silver
The "fight books" by Albrecht Durer, Andre Paurnfiedt, and Hans Leckuchner (whom most folks refer to as "Hans Lebkommer") are also all excellent. Likewise for Fabian von Auerswald's wrestling manual, which is great stuff.
Not all of these works are available in English translations, and there are also countless other great fencing manuals--the above is just a small sample of what I feel are some of the better ones.
Damn, amazing stuff... Thank you so very much...