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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct, 2008 9:15 am    Post subject: Schools of the longsword         Reply with quote

When I first got into reading about WMA, I began a bit with the longsword. I changed over to I.33 form not too long after as I found bucklers neat, and have considered giving longsword another look as there seems to be so much written on it.

As one step towards knowing more, I'd like to ask what the difference in the schools of longswordsmanship are. That is, what makes Johannes Liechtenauer's (German) work "different" from Sir Fior Furlan de Civida d'Austria dei Liberi da Premariacco's work (Italian, and why would anyone name themselves that), "different" from Sigmund Ringeck (Another German), "different" from Hans Tallhoffer (another German!) and "different" from George Silver's work (Englishman)? What generally makes the German, English, and Italian schools distinctive from each other, outside of differences between individual members of their school? What other schools existed other than German, Italian, and English?

M.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Oct, 2008 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a huge question. What's the difference between Jujitsu and Aikijitsu? What's the difference between Yang Taijiquan and Shaolin Gong Fu? There are a lot of differences between the arts, and there are a lot of similarities.

I'll tell you this, though: The largest difference between schools is the terminology. The second largest difference are certain tactical approaches. For example, the Liechtenauer tradition tends to have a preferences for stepping out from an attack when countering, while Fiore seems to have a stronger preference for stepping into an attack to "smother" it when countering. Both have many of the same plays, or remarkably similar ones, but the way they lay the plays out and the way they present their material differs in many ways.

I don't study Silver, but I suspect he may be a little different than the above due to the fact that he lived a couple hundred years later. Overall, though, I doubt even his style is drastically different other than in philosophy.

There are presumably hundreds of styles, though you can likely lump many together as regional variants. Out of the medieval styles, we have the most documentation of the Liechtenauer tradition and of Fiore's school. There is some work left over from what the English were doing, but not a lot.

And on a similar note, it isn't so much "longsword styles" as it is "martial arts styles". The longsword is just one weapon within these systems. It happens to have a strong focus because it encapsulates the variaous subtlties of the art, and if you understand its use, then you understand the basics of other weapons, but it still is only a fraction of the whole.

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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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 2:17 am    Post subject: Re: Schools of the longsword         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Sir Fior Furlan de Civida d'Austria dei Liberi da Premariacco's work (Italian, and why would anyone name themselves that),


He might have been German, you know:

http://ejmas.com/jwma/articles/2008/jwmaart_howe_0808.htm

(The article also has some detailed speculation about the reasons for his (probable) pen name.)
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Anders Nilsson




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 2:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Liechtenauer, Ringeck and Talhoffer is progress in the same system of fighting.

To understand Ringeck you have to understand Liechtenauer, to understand Talhoffer you have to understand Ringeck.

Liechtenauer is the base that Ringeck and Talhoffer builds their fighting on.

Anders "Nelle" Nilsson, Instructor Angermanna Mnhfs
To train martial arts without fighting is like slalom without snow.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill has said some good things. One difference is the changing emphasis and teaching style of different authors. Some treatises contain things meant to show off or impress a crowd, others concentrate on hostile combat. Some of the German treatises concentrate on judicial duelling there, and its rules and choices of weapons. Some rely on words, others use illustrations a lot. And so on ...

We really don't know about schools outside of Germany and Italy due to the lack of sources. There would have been a slightly-different school for each master, just like there was in Italy or Germany, but none of them wrote a lengthy treatise which has survived to today (with the exception of some English texts which are full of undefined jargon).
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Oct, 2008 4:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are literally hundreds of fight manuals (the Kelvingrove has quite a selection in store), but very few have been studied.
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
There are literally hundreds of fight manuals (the Kelvingrove has quite a selection in store), but very few have been studied.

Good point! We probably will find medieval manuscripts on the longsword by masters from other countries than Italy, Germany, or England one day. (An Italian master unrelated to Fiore, or a German master unrelated to Lichtenauer, would be interesting too!)
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George Hill




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Oct, 2008 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The good thing about the German system is that it's rather well understood at this point. Some make the same arguement for the Italian system, but when you have many authors writting on the same techique, you can cross reference them to get their meaning, whereas with the Italian system, you only have two (early period) sources.
To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 12:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Within the German system, what advances distinguish the major masters from each other?

M.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
whereas with the Italian system, you only have two (early period) sources.


I believe its five at this point (if you count Vadi).

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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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

M. Eversberg II wrote:
Within the German system, what advances distinguish the major masters from each other?

M.


I don't think you can really say any of them have distinguishing advances. They just explain different aspects of the art, or else they explain the same thing in a different way. I suppose Hans Lekcuchner can be hailed as having the most complete messer material. When you get to the Renaissance, Joachim Meyer has the most drastically different depiction of the art when compared to others in the Liechtenauer tradition (but the art had changed quite a bit by his time).

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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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Mon 20 Oct, 2008 10:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:

I don't study Silver, but I suspect he may be a little different than the above due to the fact that he lived a couple hundred years later. Overall, though, I doubt even his style is drastically different other than in philosophy.

He doesn't seem to be in the "smothering" school. AFAIK his method involves voiding and controlling distance and timing.
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