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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 2:37 am    Post subject: Existence of the "barbarian" guard         Reply with quote

I've been wondering about the swordsmanship stance where the blade hangs almost vertically down the back in preparation for a massive downwards blow, like the figure on the right in this picture:



I'm going to call it the "barbarian guard" due to its frequent appearance in the depiction of fantasy barbarians--sometimes contrary to the original author's text.

Try as I might, I haven't been able to find any instance of it in actual fencing/swordsmanship styles. It's definitely not the German Zornhut, which is a great deal more horizontal and more restrained than the "barbarian" guard. Henry Angelo's "sword arm protect" is way off to the side, not down the back. Last but not least, kendo uses the straight-down-the-back guard only for warming-up and form exercises, not (or at least rarely) in actual bouts.

That's about as far as I've got, and there's been no luck so far. So, is there really any established fencing or swordsmanship system that codifies the use of this "barbarian" guard in combat?
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F. Carl Holz




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 4:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I kinda figured it was supposed to be representative of the "barbaric" nature of the combatant. that is they want to portray someone who doesn't use finess or what ever and relies on using overpowering strikes to win the day.
In any case the closest thing I can think of is the reference to "a buffalo" from Liechtenauer's verses on the use of the Zwerchhau.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 6:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a variation of Vom Tag Auf de Kopf, but it's not a very good one. It's dramatic, but it leaves your vital chest and torso exposed far too much. It's just a drama thing.

M.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 6:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, that position shows up a fair amount in German treatises. It appears to be a variation of vom tag.

Here's one from Codex Wallerstein:
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/161.jpg

And here's one from the 1443 edition of Talhoffer:
http://jfgilles.club.fr/escrime/bibliotheque/...index.html

The thing about this stance is that, yes, it looks like a "barbaric" guard, but it allows the muscle chains to be "charged" for an action, and that action isn't necessarily always going to be a downward strike. With proper training, this guard can be quite subtle yet still deliver very powerful strikes and thrusts.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
And here's one from the 1443 edition of Talhoffer:
http://jfgilles.club.fr/escrime/bibliotheque/...index.html


Apologies, I didn't seem to link to the actual plate. I've attached it below. I also attached a pic from Sigmund Schining's fechtbuch of 1539, which is dealing with larger 16th century two handed swords.



 Attachment: 64.3 KB
003.jpg
Talhoffer, 1443 edition

 Attachment: 22.41 KB
046.jpg
Sigmund Schining, 1539

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J Anstey





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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 4:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

... this occurs once in Muso Shinden Ryu Iai. It is a very advanced technique in the Okuden volume 9th waza. The basic scenario is that you are in a crowded area or next to a wall using a very vertical cut.

You draw the sword upwards and then the sword comes around the head to rest on your back. Feet are together (side by side) The cut begins from the back and finishes down near your toes - almost a 360 degree circle.

Having said that it is a most unusual technique - it is very rare for an overhead cut to commence from below horizontal. THe most effective in the art from a speed/power point is around 45 degrees.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 02 Mar, 2009 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I stand corrected.

M.

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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Tue 03 Mar, 2009 10:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

On the gripping hand, artists showing that position rarely worry about things like the correct measure, so it can still be a silly position. In the picture above, for example, I think Mr. Red lightsaber is about to get bisected through the chest.
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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Tue 03 Mar, 2009 10:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Would this be the Villian's Blow in Fiore?
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Mar, 2009 3:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are correct. We call it the colpo di villano in Fiore's method.

At my current level, we have defensive methods of dealing with such blows; which is where I have seen it used as an example - in lessons and historical documents. It's always been demonstrated as 'if your opponent comes as you like this (with a Villian's Blow), then you do this...(defensive measure taken). It's not guarded in any way, and it's not a transition between poste; striking to cover.

There is a hell of alot of power coming from that postion (pulsativa), but almost no defense. It's not a sacrifice I'd be willing to make personally.

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"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Mar, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
On the gripping hand, artists showing that position rarely worry about things like the correct measure, so it can still be a silly position. In the picture above, for example, I think Mr. Red lightsaber is about to get bisected through the chest.


To be clear, I wasn't advocating the type of action seen in the picture, or in typical swordfighting movies. Happy In those cases, its just a dramatic pose for storytelling purposes.

Quote:
There is a hell of alot of power coming from that postion (pulsativa), but almost no defense.


Only if your opponent doesn't know what he's doing. If he's just cocking back to make a big, gigantic chop, then there are a number of travelling after actions to strike the opponent before he even gets to the point where he even begins the attack. But anyone that dumb shouldn't be getting into a fight in the first place. Happy

If your opponent has actually studied a martial art, the he should understand how to use this guard quite tactically. After all, why would fencing masters show it at all if it were such an easy to counter position?

Take for instance the guard of the zornhut, as illustrated by Joachim Meyer (seen in the figure on the left here: http://www.higginssword.org/guild/study/manua...word_e.jpg ). This is a similar position, only with the sword over the shoulder rather than behind the head. It will obviously deliver a very powerful downward blow... and yet, it can also subtly attack from beneath just as easily, and can even bind against a person's blade from the left rather than the right. Joachim Meyer even goes to say that the guard can do everything that the guard of schlussel can (the key, which can be seen on the figure on the left here: http://www.higginssword.org/guild/study/manua...word_d.jpg ), which is a completely different looking guard, where the sword is held in front with the point forward, blade resting on the arms.

These things are a lot more versatile than they superficially seem when you look at their context within a system.

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


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Torsten F.H. Wilke




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Mar, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
In the picture above, for example, I think Mr. Red lightsaber is about to get bisected through the chest.

Odd, but judging by the direction of motion implied by the swept arc trace of the light beam, it seems that the white saber is actually being pulled away from Mr. Lizard's chest........

Maybe in a pre-emptive attempt at circumventing the impending severence of Mr. White Saber's forearm Question
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 1:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is one video example of a Fiore defense for the colpo di villano, which is why I don't personally employ it as an offensive posture:

http://www.scholasaintgeorge.org/joomla_new/i...video_id=8

The first part is the actual play given verbally in Italian, but the second half has English verbage with a detailed demonstration...

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"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Sean Manning




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Technically the copli di villano seems to be any over-committed downwards cut from the strong side or center. Fiore doesn't describe it coming from a particular starting position.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

JE Sarge, I think we're talking about different thing. As Sean said, the colpo di villano is not a guard. Its simply a person who makes a very big, overdone strike, and the corresponding play in Fiore is nothing more than a way of countering this. It has nothing to do with the guard in question, unless if the person using this guard is making an overcommitted attack (which, as I stated, is assuming the person has very poor training).

Since you study Fiore, take posta di donna. Do you automatically make a super powered, over committed attack from that guard every time? No, the guard is far more subtle than that, and has the versatility to be offensive and defensive at the same time. The same is true for this vom tag variant where the blade is beind the person.

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--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At which point does it stop being a guard and begin being an impractical place to hold your sword?
It is used in Toyama ryu itto ryodan, but it isn't a kamae.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 10:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
At which point does it stop being a guard and begin being an impractical place to hold your sword?
It is used in Toyama ryu itto ryodan, but it isn't a kamae.


I guess at the point where you can't use it effectively anymore. Happy Seriously, though, just because it isn't in every system doesn't mean its useless. There are a number of Japanese kamae that will appear in a certain ryu, but not another, and that's within the same culture. Heck, between Japanese schools alone there is sometimes bickering over which one has the most effective version of the same guard (I've seen three different version of jodan no kamae alone, and there may be more).

My point: We should be careful to analyze a whole system, and not just one microscopic part of of a system, otherwise we risk coming to false conclusions (such as assuming that the guard presented in this thread is automatically bad).

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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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think we are looking at it from two different prospectives and talking past one another a little.

My point was only this. In the video game stillshot; I view the lizard chap making a colpo di villano (which I said was an offensive posture, not a defensive position or guard - if it were a guard, it would be higher in what Vadi called the poste di falcone). In my opinion, this puts the lizard at a tactical disadvantage. It is not a position I'd like to find myself in given the apparent situation, which would leave my defenses open. Of course, this is merely my opinion...

I know little of the details of the German system, because I've never studied it; I speak from a layman's understanding of Fiore's system only. I know that in poste di donna or poste di donna sinestra, I never put the sword that far back because while it does add energy, it weakens the defense and delays response time. As for over-committing to over-powered blows, I do my best to stay away from doing this. It's not to say that is has not happened, its just that I've trained to maintain a good center of balance and correct posture as part of Fiore's Elephante.

J.E. Sarge
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"But lack of documentation, especially for such early times, is not to be considered as evidence of non-existance." - Ewart Oakeshott
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Nathan Gilleland





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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having played the game ( Eek! nerd alert! Eek! ) that is pictured, I can tell you that it is fun, though in no practical way historical. Some of the positions I can trace to historical origins, but the gameplay just doesn't support practical physics.

The faint smoke and "spark" in front of "Red sabers" chest indicated that "white/blue sabers'" blade just made a successful contact with "Red sabers'" mid section. I would guess that the blue saber warrior is in the process of jumping backwards away from the red saber chop that is about to happen.

For anyone who is pondering or contemplating what is, or has happened in the original picture.

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Truth before Honor,
God Before all
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Mar, 2009 7:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ahh, but you guys are treating the lightsaber as if i was a sword, and the most in deapth article I have found states that the blade has no mass (that would mess with your CoP surely, and presumably means you cant build up momentum, maybe) and that resistance is felt due to the density rather than the hardness of an object struck.
Now, how this set of, umm, interesting set of properties affects its use I have no idea Laughing Out Loud
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