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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Broadsword vs. Rapier         Reply with quote

I would like to open up a discussion on Broadsword vs. Rapier to be discussed in all the forms as they were historically used. They were contemporaries within the same time period so you could very well match theses to styles up in a duel. I recall that George Silver hated the rapier and the whole thrust oriented system of fighting.

I know little of Silver's broadsword system. I have read Steven Hand's book, but I am sure that has only given me a mild idea of what the system is like. Nothing beats training and practical experience. My primary rapier form is case. I fight dagger and single well too. I have also played around with cloak, buckler and cane. I would fight a broadsword duel with a 40" rapier in one hand and a 36" rapier in the other hand. I would keep my shorter rapier on his broadsword side for better levered blocks. I would maintain maximum range and do all my work with the tip.

I have had the opportunity to fence someone very knowledgeable in Scottish Broadsword. We fought on two occasion using his training weapons. He uses basket hilted sticks. The first time we met he beat me, the second time I beat him. I can't say that these matches would be a good example because the weapons used were inaccurate for both of us. He has the right length, but his simulator was way too light for broadsword. From my perspective the simulator was a little lighter but way too short. There is also the matter that with a rapier I will usually have something in the other hand. He primarily fights single broadsword. The training rapiers that I use to fence normally are realistic. They are only tempered differently for a flex. Most broadsword fighters do not use realistic broadswords in fencing.

So how do you guys think these two styles of fighting would match up in sampling of duels.

No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
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Stephen Hand




Location: Hobart, Australia
Joined: 03 Oct 2004
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Broadsword vs. Rapier         Reply with quote

Dear Vassilis,

Interesting timing. I've just (finally) put the finishing touches to Volume II of English Swordsmanship which includes a large chapter on Silver's instructions on how to defeat the rapier. The book is going into layout and then proofreading and printing, so I would expect to see it in April or May.

Cheers
Stephen

Stephen Hand
Editor, Spada, Spada II
Author of English Swordsmanship, Medieval Sword and Shield

Stoccata School of Defence
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Bill Tsafa




Location: Brooklyn, NY
Joined: 20 May 2004

Posts: 599

PostPosted: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 9:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I look forward to it. Thank You.
No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201
www.poconoshooting.com
www.poconogym.com
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Luc Depierne




Location: Tampa Florida Area
Joined: 31 Aug 2015

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greetings,

I'm interested to ask for more general information myself, having no experience in fencing or the many competition leagues that are available now. So looking to get more info from people who are actually experimenting.
I found this post through the internet's sword Rapier versus Broadsword.
To me it makes perfect sense Bill that you mention you would have another weapon of some kind in you're other hand.
It seems to be that optimally the Broadsword would have a shield with it an wanted to ask about how much power the rapier could deliver on the shield with a strike?
I understand this probably would not be a strategy you would likely employ, its my understanding the Rapier is quite sturdy.
In any case if you guys decide to reply thank you, I'm thinking of taking a fencing class the next few seasons and heading into a few fairs to get closer to the historical reality of arms, armor, an like things.
A novices opinion here, the rapiers reputation for speed in an unarmored match really challenges the broadsword.
Well on that note, I'll save my many other questions an idea's for the forums which mention it.
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
Joined: 16 Nov 2004
Reading list: 13 books

Posts: 931

PostPosted: Mon 31 Aug, 2015 7:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luc Depierne wrote:
Greetings,

I'm interested to ask for more general information myself, having no experience in fencing or the many competition leagues that are available now. So looking to get more info from people who are actually experimenting.
I found this post through the internet's sword Rapier versus Broadsword.
To me it makes perfect sense Bill that you mention you would have another weapon of some kind in you're other hand.
It seems to be that optimally the Broadsword would have a shield with it an wanted to ask about how much power the rapier could deliver on the shield with a strike?
I understand this probably would not be a strategy you would likely employ, its my understanding the Rapier is quite sturdy.

In Silver's time, in a civilian context, you'd use a buckler (a very small center-gripped shield, often round with a diameter of 10-14 inches) rather than a full size shield, not least because it's significantly more convenient to carry all day - a shield has to be carried on the arm or slung on your back, while a buckler is small enough to just leave hanging from the hilt of your sword.

(The term "swashbuckler" originally meant essentially a Renaissance gangsta, swaggering down the street with his buckler hanging loosely on the hilt of his blinged-out sword and swashing loudly against it on every step. Happy)

And yes, against a longer weapon like a rapier an off-hand weapon (shield, buckler, dagger or whatever) is a very good thing to have, the main advantage being that you can parry and bind that longer weapon while you move in close enough to use your main weapon on the opponent. This is totally doable with a single weapon, too, of course, but the second weapon makes it significantly safer and more efficient.

The buckler also keeps your sword-hand safe - without it you need a complex hilt, much like those seen on most rapiers, to keep the opponent from simply sniping at your hand every time you try to move in to strike. This is why most people who practice Silver's system use swords with fairly enclosed semi-basket hilts for single sword.

And no, just like most swords a rapier wouldn't have any appreciable effect on a shield or buckler, with neither edge blows nor thrusts. A rapier sacrifices a lot of its cutting power in favor of longer reach and stability in the thrust, but even a thrust with the power and weight of your whole body behind it won't leave much of an impression on a shield, and even less on an all-metal buckler. Far more likely you'll just bend or break your rapier. And even if you did manage to cut or thrust into a shield - somehow - all that would really accomplish is getting your rapier stuck and leaving you at the mercy of the opponent. Happy

Put short, shields are just like armour - as a rule, you have to go around it, not through it.

Quote:
In any case if you guys decide to reply thank you, I'm thinking of taking a fencing class the next few seasons and heading into a few fairs to get closer to the historical reality of arms, armor, an like things.
A novices opinion here, the rapiers reputation for speed in an unarmored match really challenges the broadsword.
Well on that note, I'll save my many other questions an idea's for the forums which mention it.

It's not the speed, it's the long reach and maneuverability of the point that makes the rapier stand out. They're no lighter and no "faster", overall, than any other single-handed sword type - in fact, they can be downright sluggish to cut with (because they're so specialized for the thrust).

Rapiers are nothing like the modern fencing "weapons", and rapier fencing nothing like what you see in classic swashbucklng movies - all due respect to Basil Rathbone and others of his illustrious kind, but compared to real martial fencing they really were "waving it around like a feather duster". Happy

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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