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David Stadler




Location: Ocsoda / Sioux Saint Marie, Michigan
Joined: 27 Jul 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 7:10 pm    Post subject: Just getting started with the German longsword.         Reply with quote

Hi, I've just started getting into learning the use of the longsword, and have a few questions for anyone who would be willing to help. Although I have no experience with the longsword, I have been training in other martial arts for over six years. Before I go out and start spending money and learning motions, however, there are some things I need to know. I have done some research on my own, but I would like to ask the opinions of people who have experience as well.

Is the guide on this site ( http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_arms_gls.php ) sufficient to begin learning from, or should I use other sources as well? (There are no instructors in my area that offer any kind of European training.)

What kind of waster should I invest in? (I'm looking for something that could be used for full contact; I have a friend that I will be sparring with eventually.)

What kind of equipment should I get for footwear and protection for training?

Much thanks in advance.
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Jim Puccio





Joined: 27 Jul 2007

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Just getting started with the German longsword.         Reply with quote

David Stadler wrote:
Hi, I've just started getting into learning the use of the longsword, and have a few questions for anyone who would be willing to help. Although I have no experience with the longsword, I have been training in other martial arts for over six years. Before I go out and start spending money and learning motions, however, there are some things I need to know. I have done some research on my own, but I would like to ask the opinions of people who have experience as well.

Is the guide on this site ( http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_arms_gls.php ) sufficient to begin learning from, or should I use other sources as well? (There are no instructors in my area that offer any kind of European training.)

What kind of waster should I invest in? (I'm looking for something that could be used for full contact; I have a friend that I will be sparring with eventually.)

What kind of equipment should I get for footwear and protection for training?

Much thanks in advance.


Everyone hates this answer, but I am prepared to give it anyways...

Find an instructor. Even if there is not one in your area, you would be much, much better off finding a seminar or something that you could attend and get some instruction on what equipment you need and what you should be doing. Not doing so is gravely risking your health and life. Not worth it IMO. Better to find another art to train that has an available instructor.

I know this is a sword forum, but fishing for advice on a very dangerous endeavor, particularly for a beginner, on an internet forum is really not the best way to get started.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What worries me most is what you mean by full contact !

I just started taking lessons from a teacher with at least 8 years of experience and in normal practice we practice techniques with NO contact: The moves are stopped short with control and almost never touch and the rare times there is contact it is very light.

For more advanced students fencing masks and gambisons are used but the contact is still under control: The safety equipment isn't there because the goal is to hit hard but only because at the greater speed wanted and used control can fail.

It also permits pushing the speed closer to real combat SAFELY.

The article on myArmoury is a very good start and re-reading it now for the first time after taking lessons I'm getting much more out of it than I did at first reading months ago when it was first on the site.

The best books I can recommend if you buy only one is: Fighting with the German longsword, Christian Henry Tobler for the German tradition and The Swordsman Compagnion, Guy Windsor for the Italian.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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David Stadler




Location: Ocsoda / Sioux Saint Marie, Michigan
Joined: 27 Jul 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eh, I guess I better clarify. I meant a waster that can take a beating, not for hitting other people with.
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W. R. Reynolds




Location: Ramona, CA
Joined: 07 Dec 2004

Posts: 123

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will second Jean's recommendation on the books. Even if you are only interested in the German style, get Windsor's book anyway. The first few chapters on movement, stance and and body positionng are excellent and not exclusive to one style or the other.
Bill

"No matter who wins the rat race.......they are still a rat."
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David Stadler




Location: Ocsoda / Sioux Saint Marie, Michigan
Joined: 27 Jul 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as safety goes, I don't plan on sparring until I have the proper safety equipment, and have learned enough to make sparring useful. I want to stress that my safety is of the utmost importance - I can't do anything if I hurt myself (Again, when I said full contact, I meant something that can withstand fencing, something I don't plan on doing for a while). On the note of control, I have been training in Tang Soo Do - Moo Duk Kwan for six years, and recently became a Cho-Dan, or black belt, and control is a prime focus in that style. On the other hand, I'm not going to overestimate myself, and I don't plan on taking unhealthy risks.

I appreciate the advice and suggestions on reading as well. I'll be certain to look into it.
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Jul, 2007 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Just getting started with the German longsword.         Reply with quote

David Stadler wrote:
Is the guide on this site ( http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_arms_gls.php ) sufficient to begin learning from, or should I use other sources as well? (There are no instructors in my area that offer any kind of European training.)


Hi David,

As the author of said article, let me state that, no, it is defintely not sufficient if you are serious about learning! I wrote it as a starting point for those who don't know anything about the art. It's meant as a generalized look into an artform for those who have little/no experience, or for those who are sword collector's who've never had the opportunity to learn swordsmanship but have always wanted a taste of how these arts were performed. I wrote it with the hope to pique interest in the art, or at least to give the non-initiated a taste of it.

Certainly, if you can get an instructor, do it without pause rather than self train. However, I completely recognize that for many this isn't an option. If you cannot find a teacher in your area, may I highly, highly recommend coming to the annual Western Martial Arts Workshop in September:

http://www.wmaw.us/

It is WELL worth the travel costs. Trust me, if you are in the situation where you have to train alone, just this one weekend will propel you forward by leaps and bounds. Taking some of the intro classes there will allow you understand not only the basics and fundamentals, but more importantly will also teach you how to practice, so that you'll have plenty to work on until the next time you can make it out to such an event.

Quote:
What kind of waster should I invest in? (I'm looking for something that could be used for full contact; I have a friend that I will be sparring with eventually.)


There are a number of excellent waster producers. I'm rather fond of Purpleheart Armory myself. www.woodenswords.com

Quote:
What kind of equipment should I get for footwear and protection for training?


If you use common sense, you don't need much in the way of equipment. Maybe some gloves. You'll want to look into facial protection. Standard fencing masks work well, provided you understand that they'll crumple if your partner strikes one will all of his strength, and that they also don't protect the back of the head. I'm very fond of the Revival Clothing offerings for padded gambesons.

Ultimately, though, when you're just starting you really don't need to invest in too much right away.

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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Greg Coffman




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

Posts: 254

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jul, 2007 6:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recommend a waster from New Stirling Arms, www.newstirlingarms.com/. II find that those wasters have just about the best balance. Next I would recommend a fencing mask and then gloves of some kind. For your maximum protection, lacrosse gloves work well (they are like hockey gloves with a posable thumb).
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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David Stadler




Location: Ocsoda / Sioux Saint Marie, Michigan
Joined: 27 Jul 2007

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jul, 2007 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for all of the advice! I certainly appreciate it. Not sure if I can make it to the workshop this year, (college is expensive!) but it is definitely something I will look into for the future.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Posts: 8,177

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jul, 2007 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, almost forgot there is this DVD available that is very good, but even with a DVD I got much more out of it after a few lessons. Razz

THE LONGSWORD OF JOHANNES LIECHTENAEUR:
http://www.revival.us/index.asp?PageAction=VI...ProdID=252

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Anders Nilsson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Reading list: 4 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 145

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jul, 2007 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can find a lot of manuals and technics online. Just search and youīll find a lot.

For sparring I have some hints.

Buy a hocheyhelmet with a fullface plexi visor, a pair of hockey och bandy gloves and a kendo Shinai. A cup is also quite nice to have... In my experience hockeyhelmets are the best. fencingmasks donīt protect the whole head, they protect the face.

The shinai needs some converting. At first you have to make a crossguard. Thatīs easy. Just saw out the shape you need in a quite sturdy piece of wood. Then drill o hole the same of the same size as the tzuba and itīs done.

Youīll also need to wieght the shinai. Itīs hollow so you can use pieces of steel rod to add the right weight. You have to do this properly, you dont want the steel to penetrate the bamboo.
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Carl Goff




Location: Florida
Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 196

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jul, 2007 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dave, allow me to suggest you should look at my post about the translation of Talhoffer I found. It's more an intermediate-advanced manual, but if you buy a copy of Tobler's book as well, it would be well worth having,
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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Bob Burns




Location: South Indianapolis IN
Joined: 09 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 1:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Welcome David, I too have studied other martial arts, earned a black belt in karate in Oct. 2004. Arthritis in my spine forced me out. I am also a fan of the German Longsword which is probably my favorite but I love all swords, especially the rapier and now I have quite an interest in the mortuary sword since buying Stephen Hand's book
"English Swordsmanship" which is outstanding, so much that I went out and bought the Hanwei Cromwell Sword at
Kult of Athena which is less than a half hour from me. I have all of Stephen Hand's books and both Spadas, all of Christian Henry Tobler's books, all of Guy Windsor's books, all the top title books on the Italian rapier. Let's put it this way, I've bought an awful lot of books from Chivarly Bookshelf and their books are excellent!
But as you and I both know, having studied martial arts, there is NO substitution for training under an instructor and the European arts of swordsmanship are highly complex Exclamation Bill Grandy is exactly correct in his advice!
I also have the DVD that Jean recommended, which is outstanding, but it's not a live instructor nor is it a seminar and until I get involved in a class on swordsmanship I am only going to learn things on an intellectual and superficial level.
Nobody becomes proficient in karate from a book or a DVD, neither can anyone remotely be proficient in swordsmanship without personal instruction from an expert instructor.
The only thing that you and your friend will accomplish is getting off to a totally wrong start, this is an entirely different martial art, yes we know the basic principles like, commanding the distance, timing, importance of the guard and defense, not telegraphing moves prior to execution, etc. But I have "Never" trained in the art of European Swordsmanship under an instructor and without doing so, to train with another untrained partner all we would accomplish is reinforcing our bad habits, bad stances, bad guards, poorly executed strikes, etc. Yes, I can teach another person karate, but when it comes to European swordsmanship I am only a beginner who has read some books, watched a DVD and have an expertise in another martial art that would indeed make me a beginning student with a really good foundation in understanding some common principles of fighting. So instead of being a raw student with no prior martial arts training, I would be a "half baked" beginner. Laughing Out Loud
Unfortunately I have not been able to find anyone to practice swordsmanship with, but if I did I would only do so after once having trained under an instructor and hopefully he would go to these classes with me!
Training without formal instruction is a really bad idea also because, without instruction we would only make a lot of mistakes in the guards, strikes, parries, etc. and worse yet, we would cement in a lot of bad habits that would be hard to get rid of once we sought out formal training.

I really should seek out formal training, since I could learn the German Longsword at a college near me, and I Love the art of the sword more than I loved karate Exclamation

Sincerely!

Bob

"The Knight of Madness"
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 30 Jul, 2007 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bob Burns wrote:
I also have the DVD that Jean recommended, which is outstanding, but it's not a live instructor nor is it a seminar and until I get involved in a class on swordsmanship I am only going to learn things on an intellectual and superficial level.
Nobody becomes proficient in karate from a book or a DVD, neither can anyone remotely be proficient in swordsmanship without personal instruction from an expert instructor.


Bob: Yes the books helped getting an idea about what it was all about, the DVD at least gave a feel for how the moves look like, but only personal instruction actually gave me the insight to actually get more than 10% out of the books and DVD.

The books and DVD I read and saw are great but only get you so far: One really needs the tactile feedback of sword on sword to make sense of them.

From the first few sessions I found that the books that seemed hard to figure out or even tedious to read where NOW exciting to read and after each new sessions going back to the books is like a whole bunch of " ah AH " moments " I GET IT NOW ".

Probably after a few years of training sessions I will probably be back to thinking that maybe I don't know anything. Wink
i.e. yes, I will then know the basics but better appreciate my limitations.

Oh, I should mention also that it's a lot of fun but after an hour and a half mentally exhausting but not overly tiring when done at 1/4 or 1/2 speed and if in a minimal amount of physical shape. It can be more physically challenging, I've been told, when done at speed when doing more advanced bouting as opposed to practising a new technique.

Simile:
When one is starting out of first learns A B C D E F G ........... techniques: One then learns to link these together into swordsmanship WORDS. After a while one can make SENTENCE and PARAGRAPH. Eventually one might even be able to become a poet of the sword. ( Mastery of the skill in fact if not in name ) I guess I'm somewhere at C or D. Wink Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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R Smith




Location: MI
Joined: 09 Nov 2004

Posts: 44

PostPosted: Thu 02 Aug, 2007 6:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Stadler wrote:
Thank you for all of the advice! I certainly appreciate it. Not sure if I can make it to the workshop this year, (college is expensive!) but it is definitely something I will look into for the future.


If you happen to come down to the Detroit area we would be more then happy to have you train with us. We certainly could give you a good start and moving in the right direction at the very least! We have loaner gear available so there is no need to bring anything other then yourself.

http://www.arsgladii.com/

"Those with wisdom loathe the one forced to defend." - Liechtenauer

Ars Gladii
Detroit, MI
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