Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Realistic Swordplay Reply to topic
This is a standard topic Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next 
Author Message
J. Erb




Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Joined: 03 Apr 2007

Posts: 61

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

This is just an informal, by-the-way kind of survey. Please drop a response if you feel like it! (And I'm hoping this is the right forum for something like this.) But here we go:

Hollywood cannot be accused of always striving for historical accuracy in "period" movies. However, it seems (to me) that there are some movies that feature historically correct language, dress, weaponry, tactics, etc. As a wanna-be novelist who's addicted to swashbuckling action, I like seeing movies that "get it right" as far as swords and their use are concerned, so that I can clearly visualize how things would look in real life. So here's my question: What movie(s) do you consider to feature the most realistic swords and swordplay? These can be from any realm or period (Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, Zorro, etc.)

Thanks!

"What greater weapon is there than to turn an enemy to your cause, to use their own knowledge against them?"
View user's profile Send private message
C. Reeves





Joined: 16 Dec 2005

Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions soon, but I'd like to take the time to plug Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson, in terms of historical accuracy.

Though this isn't a period of history I'm focused on, judging from what little research I've done on the period and speaking with folks who ARE interested in this period, Rob's a very good representation of dress, politics, and combat...plus it's a darn good movie to boot! This is one of my personal fav's out of my DVD library.

Cheers,
-Chris
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,416

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as films getting swordplay right goes, I'd say that any of them that keep the attention of the audience "get it right", so to speak. As far as it goes, any and all of the films you listed got it right because they understood their general audience, understood that the audience was paying to be entertained, and they did entertain the general audience. They did not worry about details that would only appeal to specialists, so to speak. Cool

Now if by "getting it right" you mean to ask in a more martial sense, I'd say the Ochs videos. Not Hollywood. Specialized instruction and not mass media action, but still designed to entertain an audience. A very different audience than the very general audience most films are thrown at though.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think there's a single movie that's come that close to getting it right for sword fighting. Even a movie like The Kingdom of Heaven, where they actually mention a couple of Fiore's guards by name and demonstrate them, doesn't count because they so awkwardly handled fighting from the guards (and Fiore is over two hundred years later than when the movie took place). Yes, there are some movies which are better than others (most modern stuff is better than say the Errol Flynn stuff from back in the day) but when they're still getting so many of the basics wrong, it's very difficult to recommend one as being "better" than the others.

As Joe said, the Ochs video is probably the best thing out there that's commercially available. But keep in mind that their interpretation is but one of many, and there are disagreements about how they interpret some of the things from the manuals; one example is the position that they assume for the Ochs guard, with the blade held with the flat pointing up and down, rather than the edges pointing up and down. http://www.revival.us/index.asp?PageAction=VI...ProdID=252

You could always check out some of the ARMA videos: http://www.thearma.org/Videos/TPVideos.htm
View user's profile Send private message
Steve Fabert





Joined: 03 Mar 2004
Likes: 10 pages

Posts: 493

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I suppose it depends on what aspect of fighting you are most interested in. Western martial arts fans are most heavily represented here, and their interests tend to focus on the professional versus professional, stylized maneuvering that was probably not what occurred most frequently in battles between armies, which pitted a few trained men on each side against a larger mass of comparatively amateur opponents.

It is hard to establish what a typical bit of war looked like at any moment in premodern history. We know very little about the gritty details other than that the bones of the vanquished sometimes show a lot of punishment inflicted before the fight was over. Did the wounds result from two or three men simultaneously attacking one opponent, or a series of short one on one encounters? Was the Battle of Agincourt portrayed more realistically in the earlier or the later film version of Henry V? Although it is fairly easy to point out glaring errors when they occur, there is still a lot of room for interpretation even in film sequences that are not 'provably wrong'. Because the descriptions of these battles consist of no more than a handful of letters that do not go into the details that a scriptwriter most needs to know, there is a lot of room for conjecture.

What the modern martial arts people can show you are the limitations that might prevent the occurrence of Errol Flynn type duels, and the typical moves that might be employed at any given moment in an armed encounter. But just as knowledge of firearms does not establish whether a particular war was fought more like WWI or WWII, knowledge of the formal employment of medieval weapons does not alone permit us to reconstruct the appearance of a particular battle. Perhaps this is good news from the perspective of a novelist?
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Fabert wrote:
I suppose it depends on what aspect of fighting you are most interested in. Western martial arts fans are most heavily represented here, and their interests tend to focus on the professional versus professional, stylized maneuvering that was probably not what occurred most frequently in battles between armies, which pitted a few trained men on each side against a larger mass of comparatively amateur opponents.

It is hard to establish what a typical bit of war looked like at any moment in premodern history. We know very little about the gritty details other than that the bones of the vanquished sometimes show a lot of punishment inflicted before the fight was over. Did the wounds result from two or three men simultaneously attacking one opponent, or a series of short one on one encounters? Was the Battle of Agincourt portrayed more realistically in the earlier or the later film version of Henry V? Although it is fairly easy to point out glaring errors when they occur, there is still a lot of room for interpretation even in film sequences that are not 'provably wrong'. Because the descriptions of these battles consist of no more than a handful of letters that do not go into the details that a scriptwriter most needs to know, there is a lot of room for conjecture.

What the modern martial arts people can show you are the limitations that might prevent the occurrence of Errol Flynn type duels, and the typical moves that might be employed at any given moment in an armed encounter. But just as knowledge of firearms does not establish whether a particular war was fought more like WWI or WWII, knowledge of the formal employment of medieval weapons does not alone permit us to reconstruct the appearance of a particular battle. Perhaps this is good news from the perspective of a novelist?


Steven,

You have a point, and it's one that needs to be kept in mind. It's easy for us to forget that we have but a portion of the historic European martial arts from the medieval and early modern eras, and particularly easy to let our ideas of how a battle should appear be coloured by the philosophy of someone like Liechtenauer. That having been said, there are several things that we can take from the historical fighting arts which can be generalized to nearly all melee fighting arts, based upon the frequency and consistency with which they appear or are at least implied in the manuals.

1) Historic fighting was a dynamic, athletic art. Ironically, this is one of the few things that movies seem to be getting right fairly consistently these days. It requires strength, endurance, and precision, among other things. Though there can be some debate about parts of athleticism, e.g. did the Crusaders emphasize speed the same way that Liechtenauer did?, it is undeniable that historically, people had to be in good shape to fight well and that these arts were athletic by nature.

2) Fighting requires solid, agile, and sure foot work. This can be found and implied from the various manuals, from MS I.33 on down to the rapier manuals and onwards. Footwork is clearly the foundation of the art, and without it, nothing else can occur. Not only that, but we also know that not all forms of footwork are effectively suited to fighting. Certain types of footwork and body positioning are not conducive to effective combat.

3) Guards were used as positions to launch attacks and defend one's self. It's clear that fighters did not haphazardly position their weaponry and shields, simply moving them from whatever position they happened to be in into delivering an attack. Rather, they found certain positions of holding weapons which allowed for various forms of attacks and defense to be rapidly and effectively employed, improving the fighter's chances of surviving. Even in close quarters combat in a battle, one would still make usage of guards, even if it's a lesser range than one might use in a duel.

4) Though we had a lengthy debate upon the subject just recently, I think it's fair to assert that warriors using military type swords were careful about causing undue harm to their edges. Regardless of the disagreement about the finer points of the discussion, it seems unlikely that swordsman had absolutely no regard for the edges of their swords. Certainly, the historic manuals we do have do not support the rigid edge-to-edge style combat still seen at times in Hollywood movies.

5) Fighters had to be careful about distance and closing with their opponent. We see fighters moving in and out of various ranges in Hollywood in a manner that would be just plain hazardous to do historically. While this does again become more problematic if we are talking about a battle in confined conditions, one would still have to be more careful than Hollywood characters are about this sort of thing.

6) People did not spin around when fighting. This is still one of the mainstays of Hollywood combat. It's also one that's very easy to disprove as being historical. Simply put, the various manuals were written on how to defend one's self against an immediate, in-coming attack from a foe. If the masters believed that this sort of defence could be taught, it would be extremely easy for any marginally skilled fighter to hit a spinning opponent while their back was turned. Certainly, I know of no evidence which indicates it was done historically.

7) Defensive actions were dynamic and different from film fighting. We know that fighters used distance and timing to stay just out of range of an attack before launcing an attack of their own, made use of counter cuts or strikes (depending upon the weapon) to interrupt a foe's attack, and employed a shield actively and assertively, rather than always allowing it to sit passively at their side. It's not very often when you see any of these three things employed well in a movie fight, and yet they are fundamental to fighting. As before, they become more problematic in close quarter battle conditions, but that doesn't mean they go right out the window.

8) Combatants were wary of making excessively wide motions. We know that this wasn't universal to fighting even in the Middle Ages, otherwise it is unlikely that Doebringer's manual would bring it up. That having been said, the smarter and better fighters certainly would have looked for ways to make cuts and strikes which were still effective without being unnecessarily wide, slow, or ungainly. If nothing else, combatants who applied wide motions in the way we often see in Hollywood movies would likely be removed from the "combative gene pool" through "natural selection".

These are but a portion of the various elements which come into play during combat. Nonetheless, they serve as a good indicator of the general nature of historical fighting, in contrast to what we typically see on television or in movies. As I mentioned in my earlier post, a lot of these things that Hollywood gets wrong are fairly basic, which is why I have a difficult time recommending specific movies as "better" than others.
View user's profile Send private message
Kirk Lee Spencer




Location: Texas
Joined: 24 Oct 2003

Spotlight topics: 6
Posts: 820

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

J. Erb wrote:
....So here's my question: What movie(s) do you consider to feature the most realistic swords and swordplay?



As far as accuracy in swords, I have found that some of the lower budget movies have more period looking swords. Movies like:
"Tristan and Isolde" (excellent movie)
"Timeline" (not so good movie)
"Dualists" (excellent movie)
"Beowulf and Grendel" (good movie)
"Merlin" (good mini series made for TV)
"The Musketeer" (not so good movie)

I think that the bigger budget movies see the swords as a "character" Laughing Out Loud in the movie. So they want to give the sword character a little character and jazz it up. A while back there was a thread on the excalibur sword used in the movie "King Arthur." The bladesmith in Britain that was commission to make this sword responded in the thread and said that he sent them designs for a typical late Roman spatha and they told him they wanted something with a little more "pizzazz." So the elegant Roman spatha was shelved for... well something else Mad something big and heavy and two handed. With low budget movies they probably commission people who know swords and let them do their thing.... (I think that Albion designed the swords for "Timeline." )

As for sword play in movies... well I am certainly no expert but I can tell you what I think is probably more realistic.

First of all the sword was primarily a backup weapon in battle so it was probably used more when things began to fall apart, so when I see movies where every one just pairs off and fights there own private duels in the crowd it seems odd to me. So the one moment in "Gladiator," Or "Return of the King" or "Alexander." where someone comes by and takes out one of the combatants from behind seems realistic to me. Cutting of an arm in mid-swing is something that is reported to have happened at Gaugamela to save Alexander's life.

As for dueling, the more realistic duels seem to be those that have the stalling at the beginning looking for an opening with the actors showing the tension of anticipation, followed by lightening fast movement and a quick end.

For instance:
All the duels in "The Duelists" but especially the small sword duel at the beginning.
The duels in the most recent "Count of Monte Cristo"


ks

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
View user's profile Send private message
W. R. Reynolds




Location: Ramona, CA
Joined: 07 Dec 2004

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 5:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote;
As for dueling, the more realistic duels seem to be those that have the stalling at the beginning looking for an opening with the actors showing the tension of anticipation, followed by lightening fast movement and a quick end.

Have to agree with Kirk on this one. At the last Western Martial Arts Workshop I got to see a couple of the "new Masters" of WMA square off. One versed in the Italian style and the other in the German. There was much jockeying for position at the start but after the blades crossed the longest bout I saw was 5 to 6 moves. Most were over in 2 to 3 moves. The end result had they been using sharps would have been one or both seriously injured in each bout with a kill or two thrown in.

Bill

"No matter who wins the rat race.......they are still a rat."
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 5:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

Kirk Lee Spencer wrote:


First of all the sword was primarily a backup weapon in battle so it was probably used more when things began to fall apart, so when I see movies where every one just pairs off and fights there own private duels in the crowd it seems odd to me.


Well, it depends what period you're talking about obviously, but:

8. Swords were not primary weapons during the Middle Ages.

False. Swords were neither cheap nor easy to make and took considerably more training to wield effectively than did simple axes, spears, and club-like weapons. For these reasons swords were also associated with knights and men-at-arms more so than with common soldiers. Other weapons were certainly more numerous on the battlefield but the sword was still a primary weapon of choice for close-combat precisely due to its versatility and effectiveness against a range of different opponents, armored or unarmored, foot or mounted. The sword in its various forms was the most personal weapon, the most prestigious, and the most resourceful. While by the 16th century it did come to find a greater role in civilian self-defense than in war, its effectiveness was undeniable and reason why it persisted in so many different forms for so long. Although the sword is sometimes described as being a secondary weapon in the Middle Ages and even as one that was more a badge of nobility or authority than practical, this can confidently be dismissed as inaccurate. While the lore of the sword as a noble “knightly” weapon is unmistakable, the evidence for its use by non-knightly warriors in military and civilian self-defense during the period is considerable. Considering their ubiquity in literature and art throughout the 11th to 17th centuries, the volumes of material written on methods for fighting with these tools, the extensive variety of types produced compared to other weapons from the era, their versatility as fighting implements, and their military as well as civilian application, their value practical [sic] is self-evident.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/TopMyths.htm
View user's profile Send private message
Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:


8. Swords were not primary weapons during the Middle Ages.

False.


Craig, I think I would have to argue that point. For the Knight, his primary weapon was either the lance when mounted, or if dismounted, then something on the order of the pole-axe or other pole-arm. For the poorly armed footman, then again, even if he had a sword, a pole-arm or bow would be the primary arm of choice. You are of course absolutely correct in that the sword is a wonderfully versatile weapon, but against plate armour, or even against most maille, it's not particularly useful, or should I say, far less useful than other weapons. Certainly less so than a good pole-axe in the melée, and much less effective than a lance during the charge from horseback.

That it was a preferred secondary weapon there is no question, however. But like a handgun, it's best service was either when the primary weapon was no longer viable, or in a civil context when one just doesn't carry around pole-arms (or rifles, for that matter...) when out and about in polite society.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 7:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

4) Though we had a lengthy debate upon the subject just recently, I think it's fair to assert that warriors using military type swords were careful about causing undue harm to their edges. Regardless of the disagreement about the finer points of the discussion, it seems unlikely that swordsman had absolutely no regard for the edges of their swords. Certainly, the historic manuals we do have do not support the rigid edge-to-edge style combat still seen at times in Hollywood movies.


We have lots of manuals saying to use the edge of the sword to meet the enemy's blow.

The best attack on this myth is the words of the masters, and I am indebted to English Swordsmanship volume 1 for putting several of them on page 77, where they are easy to fiind every time it pops up.

George Silver, 1599 "ward his blow with the edge of your sword"

John Taylor 1804 "the edge of the sword is to receive the blow"

Viggiani 1575 "The two swords will clash true edge on true edge."

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
William C Champlin




Location: San Antonio,Texas USA
Joined: 22 Sep 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject: movie swordplay         Reply with quote

I'll have to chime in with Kirk and say The Duelists is one of the best realistic depictions of swordplay that I have seen.W
tweetchris
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 9:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
Craig Peters wrote:

4) Though we had a lengthy debate upon the subject just recently, I think it's fair to assert that warriors using military type swords were careful about causing undue harm to their edges. Regardless of the disagreement about the finer points of the discussion, it seems unlikely that swordsman had absolutely no regard for the edges of their swords. Certainly, the historic manuals we do have do not support the rigid edge-to-edge style combat still seen at times in Hollywood movies.


We have lots of manuals saying to use the edge of the sword to meet the enemy's blow.

The best attack on this myth is the words of the masters, and I am indebted to English Swordsmanship volume 1 for putting several of them on page 77, where they are easy to fiind every time it pops up.

George Silver, 1599 "ward his blow with the edge of your sword"

John Taylor 1804 "the edge of the sword is to receive the blow"

Viggiani 1575 "The two swords will clash true edge on true edge."


This isn't the place to be bringing this up, so I'm only going to say this once and leave it at that.

a) John Taylor is at a period when sword play was so far debased and unlike the earlier historical reality of armed combat between knights and men at arms that it isn't really surprising he advocates using the edge.

b) Viggiani uses side swords, which is not what I was talking about here. Out of curiosity, what is the context of the Viggiani quote? Even if he advocates edge to edge impacts, I would be rather surprised if he meant in the same manner consistent with Holywood swordplay. Either way, he's not of significance in the context of this discussion. It's also worth noting that in Viggiani's own words, he is not a master. Also, he indicates (rather oddly) that he does not use false edge cuts. To me this sounds as though his reliability as a fencing master is in question.

c) In the case of Silver, we are assuming that edge strikes edge.

d) None of these account for all the other medieval and renaissance masters who don't indicate that the edge should be used. Even in the example from von Danzig brought up in the other thread, he indicates that the edge is impacting, but not what it's hitting.
View user's profile Send private message
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 14 May, 2007 10:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

Gordon Frye wrote:
Craig Peters wrote:


8. Swords were not primary weapons during the Middle Ages.

False.


Craig, I think I would have to argue that point. For the Knight, his primary weapon was either the lance when mounted, or if dismounted, then something on the order of the pole-axe or other pole-arm. For the poorly armed footman, then again, even if he had a sword, a pole-arm or bow would be the primary arm of choice. You are of course absolutely correct in that the sword is a wonderfully versatile weapon, but against plate armour, or even against most maille, it's not particularly useful, or should I say, far less useful than other weapons. Certainly less so than a good pole-axe in the melée, and much less effective than a lance during the charge from horseback.

That it was a preferred secondary weapon there is no question, however. But like a handgun, it's best service was either when the primary weapon was no longer viable, or in a civil context when one just doesn't carry around pole-arms (or rifles, for that matter...) when out and about in polite society.

Cheers!

Gordon


Gordon,

I disagree on this, but only on some points. My disagreement is on the fact the swords are not a primary weapon. I don't disagree that the lance was a primary weapon for the knight, and that polearms were very common among foot soldiers. However, I do not think that based upon this we can discount the sword as a secondary weapon. It's fair to say based upon various accounts and histories that the sword was used on the field of war extremely frequently. At the risk of making an over-generalization, medieval sources seem to generally suggest that a knight's sword would see use in pretty much every battle, after his lance broke or was otherwise lost or unusable.

Look also at medieval illustrations. In many cases, mounted knights are depicted with sword and shield, rather than a lance or polearm. The Maciejowski Bible is a good example of this. I realize that medieval illustrations are problematic in terms of accurately representing reality. However, if medieval swords really are secondary "back up" weapons as you suggest, it seems rather odd that medieval people would hold them in such esteem that knights would be illustrated carrying swords and shields alone. The fact that the sword is the ubiquitous weapon of the knight in the medieval consciousness, and not the lance, is not something to be dismissed lightly either. It is apparent that swords were one of the favourite weapons of knights, and they certainly saw a lot of use on the field.

For that reason, we can reject the analogy comparing a sword to a hand gun. A hand gun is almost a last resort weapon (save for the combat knife or bayonet), one whose use in a military conflict signals the desperation of the situation. In this context, it is more analagous to the dagger, which was a weapon that was likewise mostly used in desperate circumstances, or else used when the enemy was restrained and almost helpless. Our evidence and sources indicate that swords are used comparatively far more frequently on the battle field than the hand gun is on the modern battle field, and that a comparison between the two will distort the frequency and commonness of sword use in the Middle Ages.

Perhaps this discussion is mostly based upon semantics. When the word "primary" is used, it is usually taken to mean that there can only be one primary weapon. I would suggest that in this case, it would be more accurate to state that there is more than one primary weapon in medieval warfare. While the lance was used by virtually all mounted knights, and while polearms were very important among the infantry, swords had such an important and significant presence on the battlefield that referring to them as "secondary weapons" misrepresents their contribution to medieval warfare.
View user's profile Send private message
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 12:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, what I think about this matter is that terms such as "primary weapon" or "secondary weapon" are useless because they're thoroughly devoid of context. Look at those medieval illustrations of mounted men-at-arms. When these illustrations depicted the central moment of the battle, with the two sides facing towards each other, the mounted men were genrally armed with lances. On the other hand,when the illustrations depicted a rout with one side facing away from the other, the predominant weapon is the sword. This makes sense because, at the time of the pursuit, the lances would have been broken already and the sword would have been a more valuable weapon due to its greater flexibility. Even then we also see maces and battleaxes wielded in the pursuit.

What about the occasions when the men-at-arms fought on foot? The vast majority of the illustration that I can remember (mind that, it's only the ones that I can remember and not necessarily the ones that really exist have a mixture of polearms and swords, and I naturally assume that this would have been the rule for such combats--the men would have chosen whichever weapon felt most comfortable for them. The exception appears in the context of assaults and defenses of fortified castles/cities where swords (and often bucklers) predominate in the hands of the men engaged in hand-to-hand fighting.

Look at the longbowmen, too. They didn't say that, between the bow and the sword/axe/mallet, one was their "primary" and the other their "secondary" weapon. They simply used the bow when the enemy was still some distance away and shifted to the hand-to-hand weapons (including sword and buckler) when they had to wade into hand-to-hand combat.

So I would reject the idea of "primary" or "secondary" weapons altogether. On one side, it is true that swords saw widespread use on medieval European battlefields, especially among the professional soldiery who could afford to buy or loot them. This class of professional soldiery expanded in number and proportion as the Middle Ages proceeded, and so did the number of swords as the increasing levels of general prosperity and the advent of better production techniques allowed them to be produced more cheaply and in greater numbers than before. But, on the other side, we must also remember that there was no such thing as "swordsmen" units. For the warriors who possessed (and knew how to use) swords, the employment of swords only formed part of their mission profile.
View user's profile Send private message
Eric Myers




Location: Sacramento, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 214

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 7:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

a) John Taylor is at a period when sword play was so far debased and unlike the earlier historical reality of armed combat between knights and men at arms that it isn't really surprising he advocates using the edge.


Debased?

Eric Myers
Sacramento Sword School
ViaHup.com - Wiki di Scherma Italiana
View user's profile Send private message
Thomas Beckett




Location: Kansas City, MO
Joined: 23 Feb 2004

Posts: 12

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 8:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

C. Reeves wrote:
I'm sure others will chime in with their opinions soon, but I'd like to take the time to plug Rob Roy, starring Liam Neeson, in terms of historical accuracy.
Cheers,
-Chris


I'd have to agree with Mr. Reeves here. "Rob Roy" has the most accurate fight I've seen in a movie. The final duel between Liam Neeson and Tim Roth was far better than most fight scenes. The fighters were within range of each other (most movies have the duellists clanging away at each others' swords, with no hope of actually hitting their opponent at that range), they used different swordfighting styles based on the weapons they'd chosen, and most importantly (and rarely seen in hollywood epics) they got tired as the fight dragged on. Particularly Liam Neeson, as his weapon was heavier, and he'd been wounded several times. If you didn't know the whole thing was staged, you'd think Neeson and Roth were really trying to kill each other!

"It's only funny until someone gets hurt... then it's hilarious!"
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,042

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: Re: Realistic Swordplay         Reply with quote

J. Erb wrote:
This is just an informal, by-the-way kind of survey. Please drop a response if you feel like it! (And I'm hoping this is the right forum for something like this.) But here we go:

Hollywood cannot be accused of always striving for historical accuracy in "period" movies. However, it seems (to me) that there are some movies that feature historically correct language, dress, weaponry, tactics, etc. As a wanna-be novelist who's addicted to swashbuckling action, I like seeing movies that "get it right" as far as swords and their use are concerned, so that I can clearly visualize how things would look in real life. So here's my question: What movie(s) do you consider to feature the most realistic swords and swordplay? These can be from any realm or period (Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, Zorro, etc.)

Thanks!


For the most part I think the only realistic fencing you usually see in films are the older Japanese made Samurai movies, particularly those of Kirosawa.

For Western films, Rob Roy isn't bad. There was a film in the 70's called The Last Valley which was ok as well. There are a lot of HEMA references and some ok fencing in the Princess Bride for all it's satirical intent.

My favorite though is the Polish film Ogniem i Mieczem ("With Fire and Sword"), not perfect 100% of the time, but the fights were at least quickly resolved, bloody, and unpredictable. I liked the larger scale military engagements as well. Not a perfect film but I found it highly enjoyable.





[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnO8ztew0VM&mode=related&search= [/url]

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,042

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
As far as films getting swordplay right goes, I'd say that any of them that keep the attention of the audience "get it right", so to speak. As far as it goes, any and all of the films you listed got it right because they understood their general audience, understood that the audience was paying to be entertained, and they did entertain the general audience. They did not worry about details that would only appeal to specialists, so to speak. Cool

Now if by "getting it right" you mean to ask in a more martial sense, I'd say the Ochs videos. Not Hollywood. Specialized instruction and not mass media action, but still designed to entertain an audience. A very different audience than the very general audience most films are thrown at though.


No offense but I feel that this is an old and flawed argument. Why should we assume phony Hong Kong / Kung Fu / Hollywood spin move stuff looks better to an 'average audience' than real fencing techniques? I don't think they do, I think people are getting tired of that stuff like they got tired of huge gasoline explosions after the 70's (ok, not entirely but they do use them a bit less arguably) I think real martial arts moves look better than fake ones (which is why so many 'real' martial artistis have become movie stars) and we are going to see more and more HEMA in film and other authentic and in some cases lesser known Martial Arts as well, like Philipino and Sikh martial arts.

Maybe I'm just hopelessly optimistic Wink

Jean

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message
Jean Henri Chandler




Location: New Orleans
Joined: 20 Nov 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,042

PostPosted: Tue 15 May, 2007 8:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:


We have lots of manuals saying to use the edge of the sword to meet the enemy's blow.


I would like to register one vote that we do not devolve into that particular debate yet again.

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Realistic Swordplay
Page 1 of 3 Reply to topic
Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum