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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 12:49 am    Post subject: Test cutting video         Reply with quote

Hi all,

Here is a video of our last cutting session.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yikiHB6RSNY

The Brescia Spadona is the greatest sword ever made. Happy

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 12:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One quick note...our cutting stand sucks and the peg that holds the mats wobbles in its hole. That certainly makes the cutting more challenging, but it also means the mats move around a lot more than they would on a good, solid stand. We plan to fix it for our next video.
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Christopher H





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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 1:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greatest sword ever made or not, that's still nice cutting.
Well done all Happy
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R.M. Henson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 2:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very nice cutting demo. Also I've never seen someone use the false edge on the reverse stroke before. Interesting stuff.
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 6:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys!

I really appreciate the kind words.

I find cutting to be the most rewarding aspect of WMA, but we've been doing so little of it over the last few years. I plan to change that and make it a regular part of our curriculum.

There's something about you and the sword coming together to accomplish something that's very gratifying. And it makes you bond with your sword. Brian felt indifferent about his Brescia (we both have one) until he cut with one, and now he is in love with it.

False edge...that's a hard cut to do correctly because the hands are backwards and you're moving the sword in the opposite way of every other cut. I'm not a big fan of it, but I figured I'd throw one in. Happy

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Harry J. Fletcher




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 12:07 pm    Post subject: Suggestion         Reply with quote

If you get a dowel slightly larger than the hole in the stand, then trim it down slightly to a taper and drive it in with a mallet it will be firm and tight.. I made a 1 inch hole in my stand and then used a dowel of 1 1/4 (bought by mistake). I had to ttaper it down with a pocket knife to make it fit and then used a mallet to drive it home. The fit was was so snug I couldn't get it out since it is wedged it place so firmly. I even whittled it off with a few whacks of my swords. (See Sword Cutting With the Duffer) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPNRU6AZ9nI Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud Laughing Out Loud

Another suggestion I might make is to buy a 1/4 inch dowel to join the tatami pieces together again for a few more whacks.. Wink Wink

Question...do you soak your tatami for 24 hours and drain it before cutting? It is supposed to give a better similarity to human flesh. Happy Happy

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Harry, those are good ideas.

I tend to neglect my cutting stand, which I made with spare deck parts 5 years ago, until the day--and very moment--that I need to use it for cutting. Maybe I should change that. Happy

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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 1:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello All,

A no Snarkness post. Happy

My problem with cutting videos is the fact that "everybody's" form becomes distorted, in some foot work goes right out the window, extra force is used (more than in solo drills et al) and everybody cuts past either of the two hangers as they want to cut the target in half.

What I want to see is cutting videos with the same cuts done as in swordplay; same force you use if fighting, same tight angles of cuts, same foot work and cuts that still control the line. Finish in the two hangers or long point.

So maybe the mat won't be cut in half but really... how far does the sword need to cut into a opponent to end the fight?

Mike, I'd love to see you guys do another cutting session using the two hangers or long point as the end point of the cut. I think you guys would make it look great!

Cheers,

David Happy

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello David,

Ending cuts in longpoint is a matter of interpretation, and it is not one I share. I believe, from reading the various texts, that nebenhut and alber are acceptable places to end a cut, and I end all my oberhaus in one or the other.

Ending cuts in the upper hanger is no problem, as you can see in the video, though that is not where a short edge unterhau is supposed to end, and the majority of my unterhaus are short edge.

I've done enough experiments with different media and flesh(simulated and grocery store flesh) to know that the force required to sever a single mat is less than the force required to seriously wound or kill a man in medieval clothing.

So with that in mind, my take on cutting is that if you can't cut a tatami mat with the force you use in drills, change your drills.

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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 3:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael,

We now have this conversation going at 3 forums. Happy I'm glad we both get to share our ideas to so many. Cool

As you know, I have a closet of historical clothing and know how people dressed in the 14th & 15th century in the German city states so I understand your concern on hitting "pay dirt " in a period fight.

It's not that I don't think that longswords weren't fought with force, I believe they were... but with control. That control means controlling the centerline even when doing forceful cuts. Once again, why we are advised by the masters to cut to the hangers and that all cuts and thrusts either end in long point, or pass though long point (on the way to a hanger) so if we miss or are countered, your point is on line for one of the 3 wounders.

When I use nebenhut, it is as a guard of transfer, either by cutting down to it as a failer at the edge of my measure or by dropping my sword point from Vom Tag (again at the edge of measure) to do a rising cut attack.

In either use, a rising (slashing) cut follows the movement.

Cheers,

David

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David,

I understand you concerns, and I share them. However, we have different takes on them, as my interpretation is intertwined with my understanding of cutting mechanics.

Cutting is goal oriented. If my target is a mat, and I want to sever it, as I would an arm or a leg, I cut a certain way and end in alber or nebenhut (or ochs, as I did with my long edge unterhaus, and there's your first hanger). If my target is a torso, then I bite in and draw down into pflug (and there's your second hanger). If my target is the head, I strike a different way, without a drawing motion, and if it's an oberhau will probably end up in langenort (and there's your langen ort).

The way I see it, the goal dictates the cutting motion and to a large extent where you end up. To read the texts in isolation from the reality of cutting is, to me, a mistake.

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David Teague




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Michael,

This will be the last posting of mine at this forum (we will keep it at Selohaar to keep this from driving us both nuts).

I come from 14 years of cutting type swordplay. I've done test cutting, we just differ on how much force you need to end the fight. Cool

See you at the "other place" Wink

Cheers,

David

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was impressed by the horizontal cut around the 55 seccond mark.
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
I was impressed by the horizontal cut around the 55 seccond mark.


Thanks! I got some "ooohs" on that one. Happy

The JSA guys are just so much better than we are at this stuff it hurts (but in a good way). Sang Kim of Toyama Ryu impressed the hell out of me at Swordfest 2008. God that guy can cut! As we do more cutting and get better at this, I hope we can put in a good name for WMA. We (as in me and my people) will never match those guys, but maybe we can come close.

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Steven H




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,

I really appreciated the inclusion of the short-edge unterhau (which I've come to call nebenhau) and the zwerchaus. Seeing that they can cut well is encouraging.

I've not seen video of you free fencing, nor of the other person in the video, but I still have my suspicion that there are differences between the way you cut and the way you fence/would fight. Just as David says, this is not meant to be an attack, but rather a discussion on how to improve cutting practice. I like doing cutting practice. I think it's important for understanding the martial art (as distinct from sport). Yours is one of the best cutting videos I've seen. And I think that understanding it's artifacts ('cause I liked your article) helps us improve the practice.

1. Many cuts will not penetrate fully* and so any follow-on attacks will not be coming from the high and low guards (i.e. vom Tag, alber, neben). Instead it will be necessary to make the next attack from near the point of impact. This supports the idea that David mentions about ending cuts in the hangers - doing so means that a withdrawing action is included in the cut.

* There are two chief reasons why I suspect that most cuts would not fully penetrate a target: a) most cuts are to the center of mass, the head and torso, which are much harder to fully penetrate than a tatami mat or two. b) if the opponent partially blocks an attack they than full penetration isn't gonna happen and more attacks will be necessitated from that position. I believe that the graves at Visby and Towton support the notion that most attacks do not fully penetrate, even when they kill the person.

2. The initial attack is always made from a stationary, rested position and the follow-on attacks are made from positions of full follow-through. The former is not the position from which you actually attack in free fencing - you attack from a mobile position, something I think you've specifically discussed. The latter is unrealistic for the above reason and because they do not take into account the difficulty of attacking from that position against an opponent who is cutting back. In other words, I find it necessary to make follow-on attacks in a combo smaller, and tighter to avoid opening myself up to the opponent in between actions.

3. Both of you pause between attacks even when you didn't reset position, instead of flowing from one to the next as you would in a fight. The blond haired gentleman also leads with his body instead of the sword. (This is intended as constructive criticism).

4. A full penetration cut isn't necessary to end a fight. It helps, certainly, but it's not necessary. If I were to take a hit in the head from a sharp that was swung by a SCAdian, who practices power but not edge alignment, I would expect the fight to be over; not because my skull was cloven but because the concussive damage would leave me unable to fight back against the next attack. I'm not aware of any period texts that emphasize the need for edge alignment or cutting practice and related ideas. Again, I think it's good and helpful, but I have trouble believing that drills should be designed around succeeding in cutting practice.

An idea (as I brainstorm while writing): cutting practice done after a good run to get the blow flowing, and energy up and using a hanging cutting target - these are ideas for advanced cutting practiced. Much the same way that you start off on a firing range but do live fire and MILES simulations before entering battle.

Thought provoking. Thanks.
Cheers,
Steven

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 5:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
I've not seen video of you free fencing, nor of the other person in the video, but I still have my suspicion that there are differences between the way you cut and the way you fence/would fight.


Hello Steven,

You are absolutely right about that. If you read the recent article I posted on bouting artificats, I call that one out specifically. However, the way I understand things, it is the way I cut that is correct, and the way I free fecne that is incorect. After all, when I'm free fencing, all I need to do is strike my opponent....it doesn't really matter how. My goal is to make my free fencing more like my cutting, not vice versa.


Quote:
1. Many cuts will not penetrate fully* and so any follow-on attacks will not be coming from the high and low guards (i.e. vom Tag, alber, neben). Instead it will be necessary to make the next attack from near the point of impact. This supports the idea that David mentions about ending cuts in the hangers - doing so means that a withdrawing action is included in the cut.


This is correct, and you will see at least one cut in that video done from just such a position...the cut (unterhau) is from langenort and is done against a free standing tatami fragment.

As far as penetrating fully, read my reply to David a few posts up. The goal determines the type of cut. These tatami cuts are best used as simulations of cuts against limbs that can be severed, rather than a torso. You may not always want to sever a limb, but you should be able to. I use rolled up area rugs to simulate torso cuts, which I draw into pflug after striking. This is more inline with what you are discussing. The head calls for yet a different kind of cut that will end in langenort (if it is an oberhau).

Quote:
2. The initial attack is always made from a stationary, rested position and the follow-on attacks are made from positions of full follow-through. The former is not the position from which you actually attack in free fencing - you attack from a mobile position, something I think you've specifically discussed. The latter is unrealistic for the above reason and because they do not take into account the difficulty of attacking from that position against an opponent who is cutting back. In other words, I find it necessary to make follow-on attacks in a combo smaller, and tighter to avoid opening myself up to the opponent in between actions.


This is why cutting is but one tool in a comprehensive approach to training, just as free fencing is but one tool. None of these tools, in isolation, are an acceptable simulation of anything.

Quote:
3. Both of you pause between attacks even when you didn't reset position, instead of flowing from one to the next as you would in a fight.


There is a very good reason for this. I have not yet reached the pinnacle of my awesomeness. Happy

In other words, I need to get better at this, which is my goal.

We are going to be cutting a lot more to facilitate this. Give me a katana and I will slice that mat into sashimi ( Happy ) without the slightest pause, because after 12 years of JSA I am extremely comfrotable cutting with that weapon. I have a long way to go before I'm that comfy with a longsword.

Quote:
The blond haired gentleman also leads with his body instead of the sword. (This is intended as constructive criticism).


Brian does not actually lead with his body. You would have to know when he enters measure to make such an assesment, and that is not something you can see from this video. It does, however, look that way, because he is overpowering his cuts a bit. There is a good reason for this....he started cutting that day with an Albion Munich, which is an excellent war sword but a terrible cutter (this, of course, would also be true of the original on which that sword is based, since they are all but identical). Using that sword tweaked his technique, though he did get over it towards the end of the day.

The point is...neither of us is perfect. If you want perfect, go look at the better Toyama Ryu guys (like Sang Kim, who impressed the hell out of me at Swordfest 2008 or Dave Drawdy, who is just awesome). We both have a lot of work to do, and we're getting there one mat at a time. Happy

Quote:
4. A full penetration cut isn't necessary to end a fight. It helps, certainly, but it's not necessary.


The head is different...it requires little power to kill or at least end a fight with a head strike. The body, though, requires damage. You might break a bone with blunt force, but I believe that to reliably kill or stop you have to bit deep and sever muscles. To do this, you need to penetrate several layers of wool and linen.

We used to have an SCA guy of the type you mention in our group. He could easily cut mats with his wrap cut, but failed to get through 1 layer of linen on a 10 layer jack.

Quote:

An idea (as I brainstorm while writing): cutting practice done after a good run to get the blow flowing, and energy up and using a hanging cutting target - these are ideas for advanced cutting practiced. Much the same way that you start off on a firing range but do live fire and MILES simulations before entering battle.

Thought provoking. Thanks.
Cheers,
Steven


Sounds like a good idea! If you ever do this I'd love to see how it turns out.

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
There is a good reason for this....he started cutting that day with an Albion Munich, which is an excellent war sword but a terrible cutter (this, of course, would also be true of the original on which that sword is based, since they are all but identical).


Interesting observation. I found the Munich to be a very able cutter in the brief time I had with one, though my cutting medium (foam noodles) will obviously be very different from tatami. I thought it was a joy to cut those light targets with.

Happy

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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Michael Edelson wrote:
There is a good reason for this....he started cutting that day with an Albion Munich, which is an excellent war sword but a terrible cutter (this, of course, would also be true of the original on which that sword is based, since they are all but identical).


Interesting observation. I found the Munich to be a very able cutter in the brief time I had with one, though my cutting medium (foam noodles) will obviously be very different from tatami. I thought it was a joy to cut those light targets with.


Hi Chad,

Pool noodles aren't really a good indicator of how well a sword cuts...they're really only good at judging how sharp a sword is. That is because displacing mass is really easy when that mass is squishy foam. Happy

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 7:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
Hi Chad,

Pool noodles aren't really a good indicator of how well a sword cuts...they're really only good at judging how sharp a sword is. That is because displacing mass is really easy when that mass is squishy foam. Happy


Michael,
I don't want to derail your thread too much, but some unsharpened MRL swords can cut noodles really well, while some sharpened swords do less well. I find noodle cutting to be more about edge alignment and blade speed than sharpness. But that's just me. Happy

And as I noted above, I know that noodles and tatami are different, I just thought it was interesting that the Munich caused your compatriot to alter his technique. What exactly did he alter and did it help improve the cuts? Obviously telegraphing things doesn't help the fight, but did he help his cuts with the alteration? Was he consciously doing things differently or was he just over compensating?

I found the Munich moved easily, got up to speed easily, and went where I wanted it to go easily. I haven't yet had the chance (or money) to cut tatami, but I guess I'm surprised that a change in target medium would cause a technique change significant enough to warrant mentioning. I would think getting the sword lined up and up to speed would be the same regardless of target, though I think that's part of what's being discussed here (whether cutting technique is the same as what you do elsewhere or not). Swords of different weights and/or handling characteristics may of course take more or less time to move with, but I wouldn't think they would fundamentally alter basic technique in any significant way unless the sword was very new to the user.

Fascinating discussion. Happy

Happy

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Sep, 2009 8:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Congratulations on a very interesting and educational cutting video.

Refining one's skill in cutting may mean that the technique is somewhat different than within a fight as the goal is different and partial cuts combined with flowing to another cut or protective move may mean that the focus is more on precision and the geometry of the attack than in the pure power generation: The optimum use of force being less in a fight than in test cutting but the skill and power generation of successful test cutting translation to having a power reserve i.e. being able to cut well making being able to cut less but with more control than if one hasn't developed a hight level of cutting skills ?

Just my " theoretical " musings here as my personal experience with test cutting is very limited. Wink Cool

As you said in your Topic dealing with training artifacts, all the different training methods and skills learned by each method or tool or type of training are not simulating actual combat but each permit to concentrate on some of the skills that would be used in a real encounter. ( Restating in my own words your thoughts and I hope accurately !? If I'm misinterpreting anything let me know. Big Grin Cool ).

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