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Carl Goff

Location: Florida
Joined: 27 Sep 2005
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Posts: 196

PostPosted: Thu 24 May, 2007 10:02 pm    Post subject: Question about beginning sparring practice...         Reply with quote

I just bought MRL's 16th C. German Mace for a good friend of mine. Assuming I can coax him into it, I'd like to start sparring with him (I own a MRL short sword, so I'll have something of similar length to work with), since there are no proper WMA instruction groups in my area.

Assuming we work at 1/4 to 1/2 normal speed during practice, can I get away with padding the wooden scabbard I'm making for my sword, and padding the head of his mace, or would that still be unsafe?

Also, if padding our weapons is safe, what should we use? Closed cell foam?

P.S. If I'm not making any sense, tell me and I'll fix it in the morning. It's late and I'm tired.

Oh, East of sands and sunlit gulf, your blood is thin, your gods are few;
You could not break the Northern wolf and now the wolf has turned on you.
The fires that light the coasts of Spain fling shadows on the Eastern strand.
Master, your slave has come again with torch and axe in his right hand!
-Robert E. Howard
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Greg Coffman

Location: Lubbock, TX
Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Thu 24 May, 2007 10:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would recommend not using those to spar with but finding some sort of simulators for both. If you add a scabbard and then pad it you will be adding a fair amount of weight and changing the handling dynamics of the sword. I don't know if it would be possible to pad a mace sufficiently to make it safe, and adding padding to the head would also change the way the weapon handles. For the sword, I highly recommend looking at NSA or Raven Studios to get a waster. Raven has a short sword model. For the mace, you will need to be more creative. Close cell foam does seem to be sufficient for the portions of padded weapons that bear the heaviest impacts. For example, close cell foam is appropriate for the edges on padded swords but not as necessary on the flat.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
-Hebrews 4:12
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Sam Barris

Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
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Posts: 625

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 3:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That sounds like an extraordinarily bad idea, IMHO. Even wrapped in foam, the mace could still do significant damage through weight alone, and you're likely to destroy your scabbard if you wish to use it over your sword. I second Greg's suggestion that you buy some wasters. Shenai are also cheap, and SCA-style boffer weapons can be made easily for next to nothing. If you're rolling in money, you may wish to consider a foam ASP trainer to use in the place of the mace. they're relatively heavy, but you can safely hit with them. In any event, I think you're setting yourself up for pain if you follow through with your plan.
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Martin Forrester

Location: Huddersfield
Joined: 30 Oct 2006

Posts: 42

PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 4:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Agree. Also it's all very well talking about sparring at 1/2 speed, but if you are competetive (like most of us) you will get carried away Laughing Out Loud . I would steer clear of maces and hammers, cool though they are.
Oh, lets just pull out our swords and start whacking at each other, that'll solve everything!
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

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PostPosted: Fri 25 May, 2007 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In addition to the above advice (which I agree with: Your idea is very unsafe, unfortunately), I'd highly recommend you don't do any free fencing until you know what you're doing. Sure, it's fun, but you won't learn anything besides how to play tag with sticks. If that's all you're interested in, then fine, but if you're at all interested in learning actual martial arts, you won't get anywhere.

When you learn the martial techniques, free-fencing really is just a form of pressure testing techniques under pressure. It isn't used in isolation, it's used as one aspect of training. If you don't have instructors local to you, I can recommend a few things.

-Get some books on the subject. While a book alone isn't great, it's a huge step up from just getting some padded weapons and flailing away. See the "books" section of this site to find some reviews of many of the better titles.

-Get yourself to any of the major WMA events. For instance, WMAW 2007 is going to happen in Racine, Wisconsin this year on September 27. ( This is a huge event with instructors from all over the world, teaching all sorts of western martial art styles. One weekend of this will improve your understanding by leaps and bounds when compared to self-training with nothing.

-Get some people together to hire an instructor from out of town for a weekend. This is a little more expensive, but if you get a group to chip in to cover the person's cost, it's a excellent way to learn. It will also help to form a basis for a regular training regimen.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--

"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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M. Eversberg II

Location: California, Maryland, USA
Joined: 07 Sep 2006
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PostPosted: Sat 26 May, 2007 1:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you want to go at it with a mace, I recommend a nurf ball on a stick.


This space for rent or lease.
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