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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Advice needed for beginning student of longsword Reply to topic
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 3:47 pm    Post subject: Advice needed for beginning student of longsword         Reply with quote

Hello, after a long period of lurking and studying, I have decided to actually learn longsword. While I have found a teacher, I want to also be educating myself. I just bought stephen ficks book, The Beginner's Guide to the Longsword. While useful as a beginners guide, It is very much a beginners book. It discusses lines of attack and foot movement, as well as guards, however it is in the italian style, and while I do not know much about swordsmanship yet, it seems that the german school is more of my style. Additionally, the book ends to early for me, no wrestling or half-swording is included.

I was wondering if anyone had a more substantial beginners book on the german style (with details on wrestling, half-swording, and winding). Something that could take me from beginning to at least covering all the basis,

Thank you in advance.

E Pluribus Unum


Last edited by Michael Curl on Tue 30 Jun, 2009 4:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well Mr. Tobler's book is pretty good from what I gleamed at my friend's place. It's still pretty basic beginner's book but goes a bit more then Fick's book does...and is german swordmanship. If you can afford it and find it, Guy Windsor's swordmans companion is a really good book (but italian focused). I had a chance to pick this book up for 55 bucks a few months ago and I'm really sad I didn't as the cheapest I can find is 90 for this book now.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 4:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You should attend classes too. A lot of what you learn in any martial art can't be fully understood just from a book. You need to practice it with another person to see how it works three dimensionally and spacially in order to get a full understanding of the art. The book gives you the ideas and basic principles, but practice is where you learn.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 4:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Do you know a specific book from tobler that u recomeend?
E Pluribus Unum
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,

Try:

Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Arts of Combat: Sword and Buckler Fighting, Wrestling, and Fighting in Armor and Sigmund Ringeck's "Knightly Art of the Longsword". Both by David Lindholm and Peter Svard. Both of these are very clear and useful

Also, Fighting with the German Longsword by Christian Henry Tobler - another essential buy.

Get hold of the Swordsman's Companion too if you can - it may be Italian in focus but it is another fine book (as is the Duellist's Companion - worth getting even if you don't intend to learn the rapier!)

Neil.
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From Down Under - but relatively cheap:

The Swordman's Companion: http://www.abebooks.co.uk/servlet/BookDetails...%26sts%3Dt

Neil.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all fo your advice.

I intend to attend class, but due to being a junior in college and woring for my rent, I may not be able to attend the club meeting so I want something I can study with in my free time.

E Pluribus Unum
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Alan Schiff
Industry Professional



Location: Las Vegas
Joined: 06 Oct 2008

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Swordsman's Companion can also be purchased directly from Chivalry Bookshelf.
http://www.chivalrybookshelf.com/titles/sword...panion.htm

Hope you find what you need,
Alan
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, and while I am on the topic, while I know that they are complicated systems, if you had to reduce them to a short paragraph, how would you descibe and compare the german and itaian systems?
E Pluribus Unum
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
Oh, and while I am on the topic, while I know that they are complicated systems, if you had to reduce them to a short paragraph, how would you descibe and compare the german and itaian systems?


In brief: More similar than different. Happy The more I've studied, the more I've come to this conclusion.

There are certainly very specific stylistic differences, but its like comparing various different Japanese koryu between each other. There are plenty of subtle and sometimes not so subtle differences to the initiated, but nothing substantial. There will be people who will tell you things like "the German style is more aggressive, and the Italian style is more defensive", but don't buy it. It isn't really true, and comes from incomplete conclusions from several years ago.

There are certain attacks that are specific to one style over the other, but those are the types of things that you'd need to start studying the styles to really appreciate. e.g. The Italians don't really grip the sword by putting the thumb on the blade the way the Liechtenauer tradition often does, so the Italian systems don't really feature the strikes that the Germans would use that grip for; the Germans have a stronger preference for winding the sword at the blade, and the Italians seem to prefer to step into the attack to smother it more than springing aside the way the Germans tend to prefer... but again, these are things that are really going to be almost meaningless to you until you actually study one system or the other, unfortunately.

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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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
Joined: 06 Jan 2008

Posts: 486

PostPosted: Tue 30 Jun, 2009 10:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You know what... I actually think I understood that, lol!!!

I mean the thumb being placed on the blade is beyond me (don't you do that for krumphau?) But I know what winding isand I think I understand what you mean by smothering (in the book I just read that was called moving in half time).

But I may just be off base, all I have is various internet sources and youtube videos fro various pratictioners (of which MEMAG and Hammaborg are my favorites).

E Pluribus Unum
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 1:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alan Schiff wrote:
The Swordsman's Companion can also be purchased directly from Chivalry Bookshelf.
http://www.chivalrybookshelf.com/titles/sword...panion.htm

Hope you find what you need,
Alan


Oh a softback version...cool thanks, I think I'll pick up a copy Happy .
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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
In brief: More similar than different. Happy The more I've studied, the more I've come to this conclusion.


Amen! This has been a long and strongly held position within ARMA.

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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David E. Farrell




Location: Evanston, IL
Joined: 25 Jun 2007

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:

In brief: More similar than different. Happy The more I've studied, the more I've come to this conclusion.


I definitely agree (coming from the italian side). Especially once you get beyond the 'unarmoured' longsword material.

Now, myself and a couple other folks from my group had this discussion with Bill Ernoehazy, who described this appearance of an 'aggression vs defense' focus in German vs Italian early rennaissance and medieval unarmoured longsword material more or less as follows:

The Italians (specifically Fiore) emphasize the use of interruption, position and structure while in measure to breakdown the defenses of their opponent.

Meanwhile the German (read Lichtenauer) traditions emphasize the use of constant variation while in measure to cause their opponents defenses to fail.

(hopefully I didn't get that too wrong... that was like a year ago)

On the surface, this appears as one being more aggressive than the other. But that is a gross oversimplification. The use of constant variation doesn't necessarily mean one takes an 'offensive' approach just as the use of position and structure does not mean that one must be defensive or reactive.


I can certainly show examples of Fiore's plays (and based on the common principles of italian swordsmanship in general) that one would be hard-pressed to classify as simply 'defensive'. Similarly, I am sure a student of the German tradition could show me plays that one would be hard-pressed to call simply 'offensive'.



I think when one has to choose, you really do have to make an arbitrary decision at first... find a good instructor in one style. Then eventually attend a seminar or two on another style. It will take some work, but eventually you'll find one that 'calls' to you.

AKA: 'Sparky' (so I don't need to explain later Wink )

For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
-- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused... but on a higher level.
-- Enrico Fermi
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David E. Farrell




Location: Evanston, IL
Joined: 25 Jun 2007

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

oh - if you want to snag a book more focused on learning Italian longsword, there is Guy Windsor's Swordsmans companion (though his interpretation has changed since the book came out).
AKA: 'Sparky' (so I don't need to explain later Wink )

For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
-- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

Before I came here I was confused about this subject. Having listened to your lecture I am still confused... but on a higher level.
-- Enrico Fermi
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Wed 01 Jul, 2009 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Check on SwordForum International - they have a group finder that may be valuable to you.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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