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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 12:08 am    Post subject: sheathing the sword         Reply with quote

I was wondering what technique/s were/are used to sheath a double-edged longsword. Aside from looking at the scabbard and sticking it in, what else can one do and how can one do it safely? Assuming a swordsman was in a duel and had presumably killed his enemy, it would not be wise to take your eyes off him to sheath your sword because he may not be entirely dead.
I'm assuming it would not be like sheathing a Japanese sword but I could be wrong. Anyway, any input would be appreciated.

~nic
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 12:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, from what I gather from Codex Wallerstein, the scabbard isn't worn during a duel. Also, I'm sure once he's down, certain people involved with his undertaking are already on their way to this bisected corpse.

M.

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Nicholas Allan Wilson




Location: New Orleans
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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

so there is no record of a scabbard being worn in a duel? At all?
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sat 25 Jul, 2009 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, even for other sword forms that are normally more designed for surprise encounters and self-defense (rapier, messer, smallsword, ...) we have some but few techniques to draw the sword, and none that I know of to sheath it. This seems to indicate that it was not as critical a problem as it would seem.

In a "formal" duel, i.e. no fighter is taken unaware and there are witnesses, I figure the common practice was to draw the sword well out of range and get rid of the scabbard. The scabbard can be a hindrance during the fight, and presumably a judicial duel won't allow its use as a secondary weapon (if it can be useful at all, which I'm not sure about). At the end of the duel, step back and sheath... Normally the witnesses would protect you.

In a self-defense situation, I don't think it's very wise to sheath your sword while in range of the adversary and with any doubts left about his capacity to fight. I believe keeping the sword in the hand longer than necessary won't do any evil, you're absolutely not in a hurry to put it back in the scabbard... I agree the iaido way of doing things is visually striking, but it's not necessarily indicative of what happens or should happen in a real fight.

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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 12:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That is what I thought but was not sure. I am still interested in knowing if anyone out there has a technique of efficiently sheathing the longsword that does not involve taking the eyes off the enemy. There must be a way.

It should be known that I would attempt to find out myself but lack a double-edged longsword and scabbard to do it.
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Sun 26 Jul, 2009 2:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grasp blade about an inch from the point with the left hand, while keeping the right hand on the hilt. Guide it to the opening of the scabbard (easier than it sounds). Slide home.

M.

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George Hill




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 6:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You are in no danger whatsoever when putting the sword away.

Heck, if you're worried, just go off by yourself to do it.

The Japanese idea of perfect awareness following a fight rather overlooks the need to clean the weapon with more then a shake and a swipe prior to replacing it in the scabbard.

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Mon 27 Jul, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
You are in no danger whatsoever when putting the sword away.

Heck, if you're worried, just go off by yourself to do it.

The Japanese idea of perfect awareness following a fight rather overlooks the need to clean the weapon with more then a shake and a swipe prior to replacing it in the scabbard.


Well, the Japanese did not overlook the need to clean the sword afterward. In fact they used small portions of rice paper (harai gami?) to do so.

And why couldn't you be in danger? Even if the enemy is completely dispatched, what about any of his potential friends? Taking your eyes away from your surroundings to fiddle with the scabbard would be a big mistake in my opinion.

~nic
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
I agree the iaido way of doing things is visually striking, but it's not necessarily indicative of what happens or should happen in a real fight.


Since iaido is the art of drawing and cutting with the sword, how one puts away their weapon is very indicative of what one would want to do in a real fight because it sets them up to perform another technique. Of course this is only from that one perspective. It might be completely different with a longsword or anyone not trained in iaido. I'm sure someone not trained in iaido would benefit more in keeping their sword drawn in a hostile situation.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
I agree the iaido way of doing things is visually striking, but it's not necessarily indicative of what happens or should happen in a real fight.


Since iaido is the art of drawing and cutting with the sword, how one puts away their weapon is very indicative of what one would want to do in a real fight because it sets them up to perform another technique. Of course this is only from that one perspective. It might be completely different with a longsword or anyone not trained in iaido. I'm sure someone not trained in iaido would benefit more in keeping their sword drawn in a hostile situation.


Maybe the point is that being able to put the sword back in the scabbard without having to look at the scabbard is that one stays attentive to one's surroundings and that practising doing so means that one will not break concentration on potential treats after a real fight.

It also looks " cool " and if there is a " WAY " to draw the sword it would go against the grain of Japanese culture to not equally have a " WAY " to re-scabbard the sword ? Now, practical applications for this or just a love of formal actions like with the tea ceremony: After all one could just get on with it and pour the tea already ....... at least in Western culture there is less inclination to ritualize everything.

So not a useless skill but one that might not be really needed in all cases after a fight ?

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Bjorn Hagstrom




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 1:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After a fight? If in doubt, use Rondel Big Grin
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Marc Blaydoe




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 6:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

George Hill wrote:
You are in no danger whatsoever when putting the sword away.

Heck, if you're worried, just go off by yourself to do it.

The Japanese idea of perfect awareness following a fight rather overlooks the need to clean the weapon with more then a shake and a swipe prior to replacing it in the scabbard.


First off, Iaido does not involve actual combat, and is not really, in spirit, a "combat" technique. It is more about achieving a mind-state and awareness than actually killing an opponent (You are actually your own opponet), so there is no need to "clean" the blade. The act of sheathing is simply a return to readiness and calm while maintaining a state of awareness.

Secondly, many Iaido forms do, in fact have a "cleaning" before the blade is sheathed. It may only consist of a broad swing to fling the visera and blood off the blade, but it is, in fact, a cleaning act. Not every form has this, since it really is not necessary since there is no real blood, but this at least indicates an awareness that cleaning the blade before sheathing is important.

Another interesting note that the origins of Iaido involve assassins. The idea is to strike quickly and either make a low-key exist or at least a low-key profile ("I didn't do it", I'm obviously way too calm to have just killed somebody, he went that way!")

An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I nowe have a scabbard of correct form and suspension and I find that it's easiest to hold the scabbard with the left hand and steady the flat of the blade against the left side of my abdomen. No problem. Without looking, you can let the flat of the distal end rest against the front of the scabbard, then draw it up until the tip clears the mouth, then insert.
-Sean

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Matthew Amt




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
And why couldn't you be in danger? Even if the enemy is completely dispatched, what about any of his potential friends? Taking your eyes away from your surroundings to fiddle with the scabbard would be a big mistake in my opinion.


Then, um, don't sheath your sword!! It seems a little curious that you are determined to put your sword away before the fight is over. I'm not trying to sound nasty, just saying that of all the "what ifs" of combat, this particular problem doesn't seem to be high on the list.

Matthew
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Marc Blaydoe wrote:
George Hill wrote:
You are in no danger whatsoever when putting the sword away.

Heck, if you're worried, just go off by yourself to do it.

The Japanese idea of perfect awareness following a fight rather overlooks the need to clean the weapon with more then a shake and a swipe prior to replacing it in the scabbard.


First off, Iaido does not involve actual combat, and is not really, in spirit, a "combat" technique. It is more about achieving a mind-state and awareness than actually killing an opponent (You are actually your own opponet), so there is no need to "clean" the blade. The act of sheathing is simply a return to readiness and calm while maintaining a state of awareness.


Actually, Iaido is all about combat. Yes there is no form of free sparring but iaido practitioners train with the mindset of being in actual combat. Why else train? The "awareness" and "mind-state" comes from the combative mindset. Besides, any practitioner of any sword art anywhere does not actually kill an opponent anyway. We all have to use are imaginations to some extent.

~nic
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
I nowe have a scabbard of correct form and suspension and I find that it's easiest to hold the scabbard with the left hand and steady the flat of the blade against the left side of my abdomen. No problem. Without looking, you can let the flat of the distal end rest against the front of the scabbard, then draw it up until the tip clears the mouth, then insert.


Interesting. Do you use your fingers to guide the tip in any way?

~nic
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
I nowe have a scabbard of correct form and suspension and I find that it's easiest to hold the scabbard with the left hand and steady the flat of the blade against the left side of my abdomen. No problem. Without looking, you can let the flat of the distal end rest against the front of the scabbard, then draw it up until the tip clears the mouth, then insert.


Interesting. Do you use your fingers to guide the tip in any way?

~nic


Not with the former method, with the blade stabilized against my body. As long as I'm holding the scabbard steady, it's easy to just slide the blade in.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 12:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Flynt wrote:
Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
Sean Flynt wrote:
I nowe have a scabbard of correct form and suspension and I find that it's easiest to hold the scabbard with the left hand and steady the flat of the blade against the left side of my abdomen. No problem. Without looking, you can let the flat of the distal end rest against the front of the scabbard, then draw it up until the tip clears the mouth, then insert.


Interesting. Do you use your fingers to guide the tip in any way?

~nic


Not with the former method, with the blade stabilized against my body. As long as I'm holding the scabbard steady, it's easy to just slide the blade in.


Thank you. I'll keep this in mind should I get the chance to ever practice it!
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I'd just dispatched an enemy, I wouldn't want to sheath my bloody sword without cleaning it. Blood is salty and wet, which is a good recipe for corrosion. It gets sticky as it dries which is a good recipe for gunk staying in the scabbard and/or making it difficult to draw the next time.

In a battle or formal duel, you'd be more likely to leave the scabbard with a squire/second. In an impromptu medieval street fight, you probably didn't want to stick around for a while after killing someone in public. You'd probably get arrested or beaten up by the decedent's buddies if you stuck around. You and your buddies probably would have made haste to get away to a quiet street a few blocks away, where you'd regroup, clean yourselves and weapons up and then get about the rest of your business.

My 2 cents.

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Nicholas Allan Wilson




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jul, 2009 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Nicholas Allan Wilson wrote:
Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
I agree the iaido way of doing things is visually striking, but it's not necessarily indicative of what happens or should happen in a real fight.


Since iaido is the art of drawing and cutting with the sword, how one puts away their weapon is very indicative of what one would want to do in a real fight because it sets them up to perform another technique. Of course this is only from that one perspective. It might be completely different with a longsword or anyone not trained in iaido. I'm sure someone not trained in iaido would benefit more in keeping their sword drawn in a hostile situation.


Maybe the point is that being able to put the sword back in the scabbard without having to look at the scabbard is that one stays attentive to one's surroundings and that practising doing so means that one will not break concentration on potential treats after a real fight.

It also looks " cool " and if there is a " WAY " to draw the sword it would go against the grain of Japanese culture to not equally have a " WAY " to re-scabbard the sword ? Now, practical applications for this or just a love of formal actions like with the tea ceremony: After all one could just get on with it and pour the tea already ....... at least in Western culture there is less inclination to ritualize everything.

So not a useless skill but one that might not be really needed in all cases after a fight ?


Sorry my replies are all out of sync and order...

The whole idea of sheathing a sword efficiently and maintaining one's awareness seems important to me. While on a battlefield it may not be of any particular consideration however, when out and about anywhere else it would appear necessary. One may not have to immediately redeploy their sword but they are dealing with a deadly weapon and would probably want to know how to put it away safely. To train to an expert level with such a weapon, to learn how to use it in every effective manner possible and then fidget around with the scabbard afterward would be counter productive.

With regards to Japanese swords and re-scabbarding (noto) them, it may look cool but it is not born out of ceremony or aesthetics. It probably comes from common sense.
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