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Sam N.




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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject: English Longsword/Bastard Sword/Two Hande Sworde         Reply with quote

Does anyone know where I can find any good material pertaining to the use of this weapon? It seems that it is mentioned several times by both George Silver and Joseph Swetnam, but neither man seems to say much about the actual use of the longsword. Of course, I could simply be missing something (somewhat likely since I only skimmed only the material).

Also, could someone post pictures of what English longswords looked like compared to Italian or German ones?
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2007 7:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very few people have done any serious work on the English school of longsword, at least, few who have published anything. The one school I know of who are actively working on it is these folks:

http://www.blackfalconschool.com/

If you go to their "period sources" link and read any of them, you'll see why few people have done a lot with the material; these may be the only sources even less clear than I.33. They post a video showing their take on the plays as described in one of the MSS in a video, but there's little context to it.

Supposedly Stephen Hand's next Silver book will contain longsword techniques, but I don't know when that will be produced.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 14 Sep, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The reason Silver nor Swetnam say too much about the two-handed sword is because they are teaching a fencing system, not a specific weapon. Silver moreso than Swetnam. Silver describes the principles and theory behind the fight, which apply to all hand to hand weapons. Likewise, the same is true of most good fencing masters (e.g. Fiore didn't teach longsword, nor did Liechtenauer: They taught fencing, where the longsword happens to be a tool to explain many of the universal concepts).

As Hugh pointed out, there isn't a whole lot of material for English swordsmanship that has survived from the medieval era.The little bits and pieces we have are unfortunately very incomplete, and difficult to translate. The German and Italian traditions are definately not the only traditions that were practiced in the middle ages, but they do appear to have the most surviving documentation, which is why they are so widely practiced in modern times.

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Sam N.




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 7:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
The reason Silver nor Swetnam say too much about the two-handed sword is because they are teaching a fencing system, not a specific weapon. Silver moreso than Swetnam. Silver describes the principles and theory behind the fight, which apply to all hand to hand weapons. Likewise, the same is true of most good fencing masters (e.g. Fiore didn't teach longsword, nor did Liechtenauer: They taught fencing, where the longsword happens to be a tool to explain many of the universal concepts).

As Hugh pointed out, there isn't a whole lot of material for English swordsmanship that has survived from the medieval era.The little bits and pieces we have are unfortunately very incomplete, and difficult to translate. The German and Italian traditions are definately not the only traditions that were practiced in the middle ages, but they do appear to have the most surviving documentation, which is why they are so widely practiced in modern times.


True, Silver seems to assume that all weapons have the same guards. Which is a bit odd to me since I would think that each weapon would have different dynamics. Fiore and Liechtenhauer use different guards and different strikes with different weapons.

In that case, would Silver and Swetnam just use the same guards they use with the single-sword but instead with the longsword?

Also, where in their books are the guards (for any weapon) actually described? I have read the Paradoxes of Defence by George Silver over once and it seems that he doesn't really make reference to specific guards.
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently read an interesting article on 15th century English two-handed swords. Many had very (very) wide cross guards, and some examples from the 16th century show those, too. Not having read Silver, is it possible to see any changes to how swords are to be wielded according to his method to keep the user from getting in the way of some of those wide cross guards (or the guards getting in the way of the users)?
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam N. wrote:
True, Silver seems to assume that all weapons have the same guards. Which is a bit odd to me since I would think that each weapon would have different dynamics. Fiore and Liechtenhauer use different guards and different strikes with different weapons.


I believe you're mistaken. Fiore has the exact same guards regardless of the weapon. The Liechtenauer tradition is a little different, in that with some weapons the guards aren't fully named (such as with the spear). Also, the master Lecküchner, whom is part of Liechtenauer's tradition, has different names for the guards and strikes with the messer, even though they are almost the same in longsword. Whether earlier masters in the tradition used the same names for messer or not is a mystery.

Quote:
In that case, would Silver and Swetnam just use the same guards they use with the single-sword but instead with the longsword?


I'm no expert in English martial arts, but I'm certain Silver would, yes.

Quote:
Also, where in their books are the guards (for any weapon) actually described? I have read the Paradoxes of Defence by George Silver over once and it seems that he doesn't really make reference to specific guards.


You'll need to read Silver's second work, Brief Instructions. Paradoxes is much more Silver's diatribe against foreign fencing styles appearing in his beloved England.

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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I recently read an interesting article on 15th century English two-handed swords. Many had very (very) wide cross guards, and some examples from the 16th century show those, too. Not having read Silver, is it possible to see any changes to how swords are to be wielded according to his method to keep the user from getting in the way of some of those wide cross guards (or the guards getting in the way of the users)?


While I won't rule it out, I suspect not. The Italian master Filipo Vadi, who wrote his manuscript in the late 15th century, specifically states that the cross should be as wide as one's forearm, and his style of combat is not very far removed from the earlier master Fiore dei Liberi.

edited to add: I think I made a fairly convuluted post. Happy To clarify what I meant: Vadi used a larger cross guard, but the earlier Fiore was teaching at a time when such guards may not have been necessarily common, and as far as I know he doesn't specify that it matters. Fiore's techniques are fine with a shorter guard, and Vadi's teachings seem to be part of the exact same tradition. So the size of the guard shouldn't have a noticable effect on the art as a whole.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
While I won't rule it out, I suspect not. The Italian master Filipo Vadi, who wrote his manuscript in the late 15th century, specifically states that the cross should be as wide as one's forearm, and his style of combat is not very far removed from the earlier master Fiore dei Liberi.

edited to add: I think I made a fairly convuluted post. Happy To clarify what I meant: Vadi used a larger cross guard, but the earlier Fiore was teaching at a time when such guards may not have been necessarily common, and as far as I know he doesn't specify that it matters. Fiore's techniques are fine with a shorter guard, and Vadi's teachings seem to be part of the exact same tradition. So the size of the guard shouldn't have a noticable effect on the art as a whole.


Interesting. Some of these swords had crossguards in the 16-19 inch range. Exclamation I would think that would tend to get in the way a little bit. Happy

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Sam N.




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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 10:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Sam N. wrote:
True, Silver seems to assume that all weapons have the same guards. Which is a bit odd to me since I would think that each weapon would have different dynamics. Fiore and Liechtenhauer use different guards and different strikes with different weapons.


I believe you're mistaken. Fiore has the exact same guards regardless of the weapon. The Liechtenauer tradition is a little different, in that with some weapons the guards aren't fully named (such as with the spear). Also, the master Lecküchner, whom is part of Liechtenauer's tradition, has different names for the guards and strikes with the messer, even though they are almost the same in longsword. Whether earlier masters in the tradition used the same names for messer or not is a mystery.

Quote:
In that case, would Silver and Swetnam just use the same guards they use with the single-sword but instead with the longsword?


I'm no expert in English martial arts, but I'm certain Silver would, yes.

Quote:
Also, where in their books are the guards (for any weapon) actually described? I have read the Paradoxes of Defence by George Silver over once and it seems that he doesn't really make reference to specific guards.


You'll need to read Silver's second work, Brief Instructions. Paradoxes is much more Silver's diatribe against foreign fencing styles appearing in his beloved England.


I believe you are correct about Fiore and Liechtenhauer, It seems that the spear section of Flos Duellatorum does use the same names as the longsword section. I was very mistaken in my assumptions. Thanks for the heads up.

Also, thanks for pointing out Brief Instructions to me. I assumed it was similar to Paradoxes in its subject matter. I shall certainly take a good long look at it.
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
I recently read an interesting article on 15th century English two-handed swords. Many had very (very) wide cross guards, and some examples from the 16th century show those, too. Not having read Silver, is it possible to see any changes to how swords are to be wielded according to his method to keep the user from getting in the way of some of those wide cross guards (or the guards getting in the way of the users)?


Could you tell me what article it was? I would certainly like to read it.
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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 11:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam N. wrote:

Could you tell me what article it was? I would certainly like to read it.


It's in the 18th Park Lane Arms Fair catalogue. They are great catalogues, though not easy to find.

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PostPosted: Sat 15 Sep, 2007 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm no expert in English martial arts, but I'm certain Silver would, yes.


Uh, Silver's longsword is based on the staff, not the one-handed sword. I do find it a little odd that he thinks the same fight works with a nine-foot staff as with a longsword. Many of the same principles apply, of course, but a little more detail would have been nice.
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PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2007 2:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Volume II of my Silver book does not contain anything on Silver's longsword (it is about sword and secondary weapons plus sword against rapier). My colleague at Stoccata Paul Wagner has done a lot of work with Silver's staff and longsword (as well as the other English longsword sources). I believe he is teaching English longsword at WMAW in a couple of weeks.

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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Sun 16 Sep, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: English Longsword/Bastard Sword/Two Hande Sworde         Reply with quote

Sam N. wrote:
Does anyone know where I can find any good material pertaining to the use of this weapon? It seems that it is mentioned several times by both George Silver and Joseph Swetnam, but neither man seems to say much about the actual use of the longsword. Of course, I could simply be missing something (somewhat likely since I only skimmed only the material).

Also, could someone post pictures of what English longswords looked like compared to Italian or German ones?


If you want a proper English long sword text, you should check out MS 3542, courtesy of the ARMA:
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Harleian.htm . The other one to check out is MS 39564. The text of this second manual does not explicitly identify what sort of sword is being used, i.e. single-handed or long sword, but the limited interpretations that ARMA members have done with it thus far seem to indicate that the techniques work more easily with a sword that allows for two hands on the grip. It can be found here: http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/MS39564/MS39564.htm
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Sep, 2007 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:

Interesting. Some of these swords had crossguards in the 16-19 inch range. Exclamation I would think that would tend to get in the way a little bit. Happy


I agree. The wider the crossguards, the more in the way it would tend to get. I have not handled too many great/two handed swords but it was uncomfortable to me.

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PostPosted: Tue 18 Sep, 2007 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:
Quote:
I'm no expert in English martial arts, but I'm certain Silver would, yes.


Uh, Silver's longsword is based on the staff, not the one-handed sword. I do find it a little odd that he thinks the same fight works with a nine-foot staff as with a longsword. Many of the same principles apply, of course, but a little more detail would have been nice.


As Paul Wagner and I have discussed elsewhere, it seems odd until you look at the plays of the staff themselves, which are really boiler-plate techniques. They'll work with longswords, 5 foot two-handers or 9 foot staves; the key is just for the weapons to be roughly the same length. Here's a summar, extracted, cut and pasted from my notes:

Guards
Silver has four guards: two with the point of the staff up, and two with the point down.

Tactics
1.It is important to know and understand how to thrust single or double with the staff. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 1 & 2)
2.The single thrust is particularly good, and a good staff-player will use it to outreach a staff man who only thrusts double. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 1 & 2)
3.If you are the stronger man, beat his staff to open the line for a blow or thrust. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 3)
4.Always riposte immediately, and always get free immediately after an attack, whether you hit or miss. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 12)
5.If you lead with a blow, immediately follow-up with a thrust. If you make a thrust and it is put aside, immediately make a blow. (Paradoxes, p. 38)
6.Strike strong blows at the head and the knee, as the power of the staff is hard to put aside. (Paradoxes, p. 38)
7.When fighting against men armed with swords, or sword and dagger, or sword and buckler, these arms do not have the strength to put aside the force of a staff-blow single, so blows can be safely made and should be used often. (Paradoxes, p. 38)
8.When fighting against sword and shield or other staff weapons, blows can be parried, so be careful, using a judicious combination of thrusts and blows. (Paradoxes, p. 38)

Techniques
1.If he tries to power through your ward, when he swings hard at your head, lean back and thrust to his face, then fly out quickly. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 4)
2.If he has his staff “aloft” (that is, back to strike), go into a Low Ward on the same side, and make your space as narrow as possible. As he begins his strike, parry by counter-striking into the point to drive it wide, and immediately thrust single at him and fly out as you do so. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 5)
3.Always mirror the opponent’s guard, so that you can make a True Cross against his staff. In this way, you an either beat his staff and then thrust, of if he thrusts at you first, you can beat it aside and immediately counter-thrust. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 6 & 7)
4.If he strikes at you, drive his blow down (as in number five) and then strike back up the line into his head with the true or false “edge” of the staff. If he starts to lift the heel to ward his head against this. Lift your staff and strike elsewhere, or thrust him. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 8) This play, when made with the strike back up the line is illustrated in Brown, Terry, English Martial Arts pp. 142 –3. The thrust single is illustrated on p.158.
5.If you have a left hand lead, if your adversary strikes at your left side, parry, and as his staff crosses with yours, slide your rear (right) hand up to the left, and grab his staff with your left hand. Grab his staff with your left hand, little finger toward the blade. Twist the staff to the outside, pull back your right hand, and strike him with the heel of your staff.
If you have a right hand lead, the play is much the same, but somewhat easier. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 9 & 10) This technique is illustrated in English Martial Arts pp. 155 – 6
6. If you have a left-hand lead, and he tries to strike to the right side of your head, drive his staff down, crossing his arms, and strike back up the line. (Brief Instructions, Cap. 11, # 11) This is just a variant of Cap. 11, #8
7. Strike a blow to the head, then disengage and thrust under at the body. (This may be the most common feint and attack in all of the surviving pole weapon material!) (Paradoxes, p. 38)
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Sep, 2007 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
As Paul Wagner and I have discussed elsewhere, it seems odd until you look at the plays of the staff themselves, which are really boiler-plate techniques.


I've read through Silver's staff section many times. I'd still like some more detail. I know the same principles apply, but the weapons are different. Consider Meyer's section on the longsword, for example. Silver could have given us more to work with.

Quote:
6.Strike strong blows at the head and the knee, as the power of the staff is hard to put aside. (Paradoxes, p. 38)


The knee? I don't see about striking blows to the knee in paradoxes. Silver says a skilled staff wielder will only strike at the head, at least against shorter weapons.

Quote:
8.When fighting against sword and shield or other staff weapons, blows can be parried, so be careful, using a judicious combination of thrusts and blows. (Paradoxes, p. 38)


I don't see this either. As far as I can tell, Silver didn't make any distinction between sword & target and sword & dagger for defense against staff blows. In Paradox 26, he wrote that all six weapons had to carry their wards very high to stop a staff blow.
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PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep, 2007 2:30 am    Post subject: Re: English Longsword/Bastard Sword/Two Hande Sworde         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Sam N. wrote:
Does anyone know where I can find any good material pertaining to the use of this weapon? It seems that it is mentioned several times by both George Silver and Joseph Swetnam, but neither man seems to say much about the actual use of the longsword. Of course, I could simply be missing something (somewhat likely since I only skimmed only the material).

Also, could someone post pictures of what English longswords looked like compared to Italian or German ones?


If you want a proper English long sword text, you should check out MS 3542, courtesy of the ARMA:
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/Harleian.htm . The other one to check out is MS 39564. The text of this second manual does not explicitly identify what sort of sword is being used, i.e. single-handed or long sword, but the limited interpretations that ARMA members have done with it thus far seem to indicate that the techniques work more easily with a sword that allows for two hands on the grip. It can be found here: http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/MS39564/MS39564.htm


You forget to mention that these manuscripts aren't really instruction manuals, from what i've heard the main theory is that they're more a student or teacher's class notes kind of things.

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PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin,

Benjamin H. Abbott wrote:


I've read through Silver's staff section many times. I'd still like some more detail. I know the same principles apply, but the weapons are different. Consider Meyer's section on the longsword, for example. Silver could have given us more to work with.


So have I, and it's a pretty clean, simple system. Meyer has a long section on the longsword because it is the central weapon to the traditional German art. It was not for the 16th century English. Like the Bolognese, *that* was the arming sword, with or without a buckler or dagger.

As I said, these are notes cut and pasted from a digital journal, compiled over the last 14 years. I don't claim they're perfect, or not a bit dated. However, let me ask - you've read the staff section many times, how often have you/do you train it? And also with a longsword? I ask because about a year or so ago there was a long discussion on Swordforum about Silver and longswords, and one of the folks on there kept taking Terry Brown and I to task because he didn't agree with how he read a line of the text with our interpretation. We finally found out that he'd never trained with *any* two-handed weapon and only did a little short sword (with singlestick) about once a month with an old college buddy.

I bring this up not to toot my own horn, or imply anything about you, but because I really think if you *use* Silver's staff material, and then use it with a longsword, his connection becomes quite clear. Is it a massive repertoire? No, but that's not the point. As I said, the exemplar weapon is the short sword - the foundational rules and techniques were laid down there. If there can be said to be a foundational weapon for long weapons it is the staff. The other weapons build off of those basic lessons and the "Brief Instructions" shows you their unique guards or play. This is how Silver can reduce the instructions of his favored sword and buckler, to a one paragraph, telling you that it does all the sword and dagger does, *but* it can play single (ie: the buckler can parry a direct blow on its own) as well. In this, Silver is following the same pedagogical method as other early masters - the Bolognese with the sword and buckler (late the sword alone), the Germans with the longsword, Fiore with the longsword and dagger.

Quote:
I don't see this either. As far as I can tell, Silver didn't make any distinction between sword & target and sword & dagger for defense against staff blows. In Paradox 26, he wrote that all six weapons had to carry their wards very high to stop a staff blow.


I understand what you are saying, but we are disccussing different portions of the Paradox. What you are referring to is this:

Now for the vantage of the short staff against the sword and buckler, sword & target, two handed sword, single sword, sword and dagger, or rapier and poniard, there is no great question to be in any of these weapons. Whensoever any blow or thrust shall be strongly made with the staff, they are ever in false place, in the carriage of the wards, for if at any of these six weapons he carries his ward high & strong for his head, as of necessity he must carry it very high, otherwise it will be too weak to defend a blow being strongly made at the head, then will his space be too wide, in due time to break the thrust from his body. Again, if he carries his ward lower, thereby to be in equal space for readiness to break both blow & thrust, then in that place his ward is too low, and too weak to defend the blow of the staff: for the blow being strongly made at the head upon that ward, will beat down the ward and his head together, and put him in great danger of his life. And here is to be noted, that if he fights well, the staff man strikes but at the head, and thrusts presently under at the body. And if a blow is first made, a thrust follows, and if a thrust is first made, a blow follows, and in doing of any of them, the one breeds the other. So that however any of these six weapons shall carry his ward strongly to defend the first, he shall be too far in space to defend the second, whether it be blow or thrust.

The staff has the advantage because of its power, but more importantly, its length. Everything comes back to the adage of through Judgment you keep your Distance, through Distance you take your Time, through Time you win the Place. (The rapier fails this because it does not outclass the short sword significantly, and is too long to uncross, so it is neither fish nor fowl - beyond perfect length, and not long enough or powerful enough to be rated with a polearm.)

So here he tells us that they must carry their ward high, and if he parries the head blow, then thrust under. If a thrust draws his defense, hit him. "A judicious use of thrusts and blows".

But there is more. The sword and buckler and sword and target differ in an important way from the sword and dagger or gauntlet. It is best encapsulated in the discussion of the buckler in Brief Instructions, Cap 9:

Sword & Buckler fight, & sword & dagger fight are all one, saving that you may safely defend both blow & thrust, single with your buckler only, & in like sort you may safely ward both blows & thrusts double, that is with sword & buckler together which is a great advantage against the sword & dagger, etc., & is the surest fight of all short weapons.

So a *shield* can defend a blow single, even a buckler. The buckler's versatility in the four fights makes it better in single combat than the target (Paradox 25), but I assue we can all agree that the target is the stronger defensive arm, which is why it spent a few millenia on the battlefield? Wink

Silver is quite aware of this, and when he finishes out Paradox 26 with a discussion of the staff vs. multiple swordsmen. (You'll note he doesn't include shield men.) Here he is quite clear that sword and dagger, sword and gauntlet and rapier and poinard may not make a strong defense against a staff blow. Specifically, they *must* ward double, wards high and they must stand firm (stationary) in the parry; at which point you go back to theearlier advice to make the blow and then instantly thrust under the ward:

And take this for a true ground, there is no man able to ward a sound blow with the sword and dagger, nor rapier, poniard and gauntlet, being strongly made at the head, with the staff, and run in withal, the force of hands in such, being in his full motion and course, that although the other carries his ward high and strong with both hands, yet his feet being moving from the ground, the great force of the blow will strike him with his ward, and all down flat to ground. But if he stands fast with his feet, he may with both weapons together, strongly defend his head from the blow, but then you are sufficiently instructed, the thrust being presently made, after the blow, full at the body, it is impossible in due time to break it, by reason of the largeness of his space.

However, the sword and buckler and the sword and target are *not* included on this list, and clearly *can* stop a blow. It is also quite clear in the actual staff plays that staff weapons can stop staff blows. So, I stand by my note:

"When fighting against sword and shield or other staff weapons, blows can be parried, so be careful, using a judicious combination of thrusts and blows. "

The Paradox reference is to remind me how to link blows and thrusts - the "judicious combination of thrusts and blows" I wrote down. Wink Again, these are my internal, private training notes - shorthand - that I cut and pasted here as an aid to those trying to figure out how the sword and staff techniques could be linked. They weren't meant to be a formal summary of Silver for all and sundry.

Nevertheless, I think the basic summation of tactics and those staff plays at least give Sam an idea of how they might adapt to the longsword.

Sam,

From '93 to 96 or so, all I had for two-handed sword play were these instructions, di Grassi's one main technique, and looking at the images in Talhoffer (good luck with that, without translation or context) and it served me pretty darn well. Indeed, those techniques have direct one-to-one analogs with a number of the plays for two-handed swords in both Fiore and Marozzo. What more you need can easily be adapted from the short sword instructions (such as grips) or how to use "Open" fight. Would more be better? Of course, but considering the fairly minor role of this weapon, c.1600, it is enough. Use this as a starting point and if you want more, you'll have to brave the 15th century material, which is ...challenging. Wink

Good luck!

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
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Benjamin H. Abbott




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PostPosted: Wed 19 Sep, 2007 12:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
However, let me ask - you've read the staff section many times, how often have you/do you train it?


I do solo drills with a hickory staff of perfect length fairly often, but I've yet to do much more than that. If there's a way to spar safely with staves, I don't have the equipment for it. I'm going to start doing drills with some of my sparring partners soon, I hope.

Quote:
And also with a longsword?


I've done a bit longsword sparring, but only against different weapons. We only have one longsword simulator at the moment, and it's not as a good as RSW. When sparring with the longsword, I tend to use German guards, though I've employed some of Silver's suggestions and principles.

Quote:
So a *shield* can defend a blow single, even a buckler.


Yes, a blow from a one-handed sword. Extending this a full blow from a staff is something of leap.

Quote:
However, the sword and buckler and the sword and target are *not* included on this list, and clearly *can* stop a blow.


Again, this is something of leap. Given Silver's hierarchy of weapons, it does seem that two swords & bucklers or swords & targets are too strong for one short staff. Silver doesn't say exactly why. From the start of the Paradox, though, as you've quoted, we know the sword & dagger and the sword & target have to choose between warding high blows or warding low thrusts. If the target or buckler alone were enough ward a strong blow, you could carry the shield high and the sword low.

Perhaps the difference is the shield & sword can block a blow while running in. I'm not sure why that would be true, but it would perhaps explain why staff man didn't have odds against two with sword & shield.
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