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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 12:38 pm    Post subject: WMA Swords at MRL         Reply with quote

I haven't done any training in years but I think this is exciting: http://www.museumreplicas.com/t-nylonwasters.aspx

They appear to be the same as these: http://www.theknightshop.co.uk/catalog/rawlin...cbf9e74323 so the U.S. price might be around $70.

-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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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 12:45 pm    Post subject: nylon wasters         Reply with quote

sweet! Those look great! I especially like how you can customize the hilt components Big Grin Hopefully they will come out with messer wasters...those are real hard to find and I have yet to find any in nylon.

Thanks for posting !
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Joshua R




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Purpleheart Armoury has those, too. Apparently, they also have a wheel pommel version available (and the pommels by themselves are $20). As a matter of fact, I just got a box from Purpleheart with one with the scent-stopper earlier this week.

Unfortunately, I don't really have the knowledge, equipment, or experience to give a down-and-dirty quick review of it.

" For Augustus, and after him Tiberius, more interested in establishing and increasing their own power than in promoting the public good, began to disarm the Roman people (in order to make them more passive under their tyranny).... "
-N. Machiavelli, The Art of War
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Scott Hrouda




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 2:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joshua R wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't really have the knowledge, equipment, or experience to give a down-and-dirty quick review of it.


Could you provide a photo and your general impressions on construction and finish? I'm sure everyone would appreciate your input. Happy

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

These looked interesting till I saw this paragraph:

"The swords weigh about 2/3 of the weight of a real sword. This is designed to lower the impact when sparring. The weight is kept back towards the hilt further lessening this impact. They are very well balanced and are heavier than most wooden wasters on the market."

Which seems to be contradictory on a lot of levels. How can it be well balanced, yet have most of its weight "kept back towards the hilt"? Also the picture showing the bending at the tip implies to me that it will be overly whippy in use. To me, the concept should be a real reflection of the weight and handling of a steel sword, not the opposite. I would much rather that those in this art concentrate on training and control of their sword in order not to inflict injury than in relying on technology only to do this (by emphasizing the sword's characteristics only)...otherwise we might as well be playing with Nerf (TM) swords and boffing each other like five year olds. After all, if we aren't in this art to train and fight realistically, then what's the point. So don't build the training tools only for safety, build them for durability and realism as well.

For now, I'll stick with wood. In the future though, I can see the sport going in this direction for WMA fighting as long as the equipment reflects how a real sword handles and not an arbitrary ideal of a "safe sword". I will say that this concept is a bit of an improvement over other Nylon wasters out there that I have handled and seen.

Now when they can make a waster that weighs as much as a steel sword, performs and handles AND balances like a steel sword and doesn't have unrealistic performance, then I might be interested in purchasing one.
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David Teague




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
These looked interesting till I saw this paragraph:
Now when they can make a waster that weighs as much as a steel sword, performs and handles AND balances like a steel sword and doesn't have unrealistic performance, then I might be interested in purchasing one.


Hello Bryce,

You're missing the point.... There is a bazillion page thread on this weight issue over at SFI if you wish to read up on the thoughts of other WMA instructors and students.

Here is the real deal, they are another training tool for the tool box. These were made to replace wooden wasters and shinas, not steel.

If they weigh as much as a steel sword then they will hit that much harder. If they hit that much harder, then you have to wear lots of protection and we are right back where we started, people have to spend lots of money on safety gear before they can fence.

We have steel swords that are on the market already if you want something that feels like steel.

I have 14 years WMA experience working with wood and bamboo swords (along with blunted steel) as training and freeplay tools. These new swords are cool.

I just got 5 of these new sword for my group for longsword freeplay (and lender swords for new students). We have 8 Albion Liechtenauers in my group along with a slew of other steel blunts. We have 10 or more Purpleheart wooden wasters gathering dust.

We have done freeplay with our Liechtenauers and we look forward to shifting over to these.

Why?

They won't break fingers like a full weight steel blunt can thought steel gauntlets, unlike wood they bend in the thrust so no ruptured organs and we will be able to wear less protective gear while freeplaying.

When your Blossfechten looks like harness fighting, you are missing the point of the system. These new trainers will allow us to do unarmoured fights truer to our period school of study. Are they perfect? No, but they are the coolest training tool I've yet seen.

Oh,bty, they feel more like my Liechtenauer than any of my wooden wasters.


Quick review:

They are still a work in progress, you may see a full weight blade offered in time, they do handle more like a steel sword than any trainer I've ever felt. They have a steel rod that runs up into2/3 of the blade that allows winding and binds in the strong of the blade yet allows the weak of the blade to bend with a thrust . They feel lively in the hands and move like a sword. They work great for pell work, paired & solo drills. Best $70 tool I've seen up to date

They have said baskethiled backswords & messers to come.

Cheers,

David Teague

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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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks David for your insight...I do appreciate your input on this and your comments.

My main problem with Nylon wasters, was the handling issue. This is based, I admit, from handling Nylon wasters from other makers rather than this one. It is my opinion that they don't perform as well in replicating a sword as a well made wood waster does.

I find that if I use a waster that handles substantially different than the weapon I'm training for, then I tend to develop training artifacts that make me fight wrong with the real weapon. This is to some extent unavoidable since a real sword with proper balance and an edge can never really be 100% replicated by a dull edged waster, no matter what the material. However there are degrees to which I find a difference in the handling and so far, up to this point, I have not found a Nylon waster that matches handling I get from the wood ones I use from New Sterling Arms.

On the safety issue, I have to agree with you to a great extent...our sport can be very damaging on limbs and body...especially from thrusts. My main qualm about the Nylon is not whether it is safer, but any misunderstanding we might develop that gives us the idea that "a safer waster is the way to make fights safer". We shouldn't concentrate on the tool technology, but rather our training to make us safer. That in my opinion is a much better route to safety than relying solely on the tool to keep us safe.

Therefore, for me, at this time, this Nylon waster adds no value over a wooden one if it sacrifices performance to do so. As I said previously, if you want to be totally safe in our art then you might as well be using rubber or Nerf swords.

A time will come though when I think we will be using more wasters made of artificial materials and designed to replicate the performance of true swords...but I don't think this new MRL waster truly gets us there yet since it is designed not to perform as a true sword would. For me, that is unacceptable.

Note also, that an over-desire for safety over realism is what has made sport saber fencing so different from using a real saber. In a quest to make a faster and safer saber for sport they made one that doesn't in slightest perform like a real saber would. To me, it would be sad if our art devolved to such an extent.

Note...I just participated in a longsword tournament out here in Santa Clara, California two weeks ago. We used wood wasters, elbow and knee pads, thick gloves, fencing helmets, neck protection and thick fencing coats/gambesons. Rules kept us from hitting others on the back or back of head/neck, purposefully throwing opponents to the ground (there was a concrete floor), joint locks or pommel strikes to the head.

The only injuries sustained that were serious were some hand injuries (one new one and one on someone who fought with a broken finger anyway). The solution decided to solve this was to use thicker gloves and avoid hitting hands in the future. For this fight proper safety rules and training on weapon control worked fine. I also don't think the hand hits would of been lessened if the weapon was a Nylon waster rather than a wood one unless it was rubber or foam.

There were some thrusts though, and the MRL waster would be good protection for those, but again we had an understanding not to thrust too hard at each other and I myself don't thrust to the belly or neck area (or under the ribs) because no matter what weapon you use, this is dangerous unless your opponent is armored there. Nevertheless I can see the use of having a more bendable waster than a wood one when doing thrusts...they are very dangerous if done unsafely.

Again, thanks David for your contribution. I respect your opinion and agree with many of your points.

Regards,

Bryce Felperin
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 7:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Messers! Big Grin Can't wait to see those!
-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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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Teague wrote:
[When your Blossfechten looks like harness fighting, you are missing the point of the system.


Amen.

These swords are not perfect, but they are by far the best thing on the market for the purpose.

Also,they are balanced like a "real sword." I haven't actually measured it but I'd say their COG is about 5".

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Joshua R




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PostPosted: Fri 11 Jun, 2010 9:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Rawlings longsword does feel very lively. I can't speak as to whether or not it is balanced like a real sword, as my Albion Count is a much different sword than the Rawlings is supposed to mimic.

As far as fit-and-finish is concerned, there are only a couple of minor niggles. The crossguard has a little bit of wobble and the last third of the blade has "bent" just a touch in relation to the "cutting edges" of the waster. There are also a couple of blemishes in the synthetic material itself, but I do not believe that any of these would impede function in any way.

" For Augustus, and after him Tiberius, more interested in establishing and increasing their own power than in promoting the public good, began to disarm the Roman people (in order to make them more passive under their tyranny).... "
-N. Machiavelli, The Art of War
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PostPosted: Sat 12 Jun, 2010 1:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have used these and other waster during training and free play. I agree with most of the above comments that these are great wasters.

Bryce Felperin wrote:
My main problem with Nylon wasters, was the handling issue.


The handling on these isn't perfect, but it comes a lot closer compared to other nylon wasters or wood IMHO.

Quote:
Therefore, for me, at this time, this Nylon waster adds no value over a wooden one if it sacrifices performance to do so.


Personally I find these new nylon wasters better than wooden wasters. I don't think they sacrifice at all. Compared to steel, yes. But not compared to wood.

Quote:
There were some thrusts though, and the MRL waster would be good protection for those, but again we had an understanding not to thrust too hard at each other and I myself don't thrust to the belly or neck area (or under the ribs) because no matter what weapon you use, this is dangerous unless your opponent is armored there.


With these wasters I have no problem with thrusts. No armour required except for a gambeson. Our group does full-speed freeplay with these. As protection we only use a gambeson, a fencing mask, a padded gorget and padded gloves. We haven't had any issues so far.
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P. Cha




PostPosted: Sat 12 Jun, 2010 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:

On the safety issue, I have to agree with you to a great extent...our sport can be very damaging on limbs and body...especially from thrusts. My main qualm about the Nylon is not whether it is safer, but any misunderstanding we might develop that gives us the idea that "a safer waster is the way to make fights safer". We shouldn't concentrate on the tool technology, but rather our training to make us safer. That in my opinion is a much better route to safety than relying solely on the tool to keep us safe.

Regards,

Bryce Felperin


I'm not so sure about this stance. Yes better training allows you to do thing safer...but what about the opps moments? Or how about while your training to get that good? Are you suppose to live with broken bones and ruptured organs while you wait for your partner to get good enough not to mess up? Safety is a good thing. I have gotten a bloody lung from sparring and don't relish the thought of coughing blood for two weeks and being unable to work for a month because I had breathing problems from an opps moment. Yes you can't JUST rely on the tool to keep you safe, but I'm not gonna dismiss the value of safer training tool options because you can train to be safer. We all still have accident...you can't control accidents.
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

P. Cha wrote:
Bryce Felperin wrote:

On the safety issue, I have to agree with you to a great extent...our sport can be very damaging on limbs and body...especially from thrusts. My main qualm about the Nylon is not whether it is safer, but any misunderstanding we might develop that gives us the idea that "a safer waster is the way to make fights safer". We shouldn't concentrate on the tool technology, but rather our training to make us safer. That in my opinion is a much better route to safety than relying solely on the tool to keep us safe.

Regards,

Bryce Felperin


I'm not so sure about this stance. Yes better training allows you to do thing safer...but what about the opps moments? Or how about while your training to get that good? Are you suppose to live with broken bones and ruptured organs while you wait for your partner to get good enough not to mess up? Safety is a good thing. I have gotten a bloody lung from sparring and don't relish the thought of coughing blood for two weeks and being unable to work for a month because I had breathing problems from an opps moment. Yes you can't JUST rely on the tool to keep you safe, but I'm not gonna dismiss the value of safer training tool options because you can train to be safer. We all still have accident...you can't control accidents.


I'll agree, oops happen. After thinking over this weekend I'll have to say that perhaps I should handle the trainers before I totally knock them. ;-) However a part of my original argument stands for me...it's better to get good training to handle weapons safely than depend upon only the training weapon to keep you safe. You need to appreciate the effects of the weapon before you use them in a fight. You can't get a sense of the danger and need to control them if the worst thing that can happen to you is a bruise. I also advice anyone to who has a sword to safely cut with it so they see what can happen if they use it improperly.

Also, if you make the trainer totally risk free and totally safe, then you're not practicing weapon training, you're playing with sword like objects. Think about it...did you get into this sport so you wave sword like objects around or did you do this to learn a weapons skill? If you wanted to be totally safe and use only totally safe training swords, then you would of been doing sport fencing or using nerf swords. Without risk and a little bit of danger in your training you will lose all fear and respect for the weapon eventually. It becomes just a toy then. If you still have to respect the weapon and the damage it can do when using it, then you better learn to wield is safely and properly and gain respect of its danger potential when you use real weapons. It may sound weird but I actually appreciate it when I get badly hit on the hand or talk with someone who has been badly injured in a fight...it breeds more respect for the weapon and confidence in my when I can handle it safely, efficiently and properly as it was meant to be used. If I wanted a safe hobby without risk, then I wouldn't be doing this one.

For all of you fellow students of the art out there, I know you didn't get into this activity to feel safe and risk free. If you are like me then you got into it to appreciate the history, the art of war of the time and the skill required to use these weapons. If you train with them like I do, then you appreciate the skill and art required for their use...and you will be just that little bit more careful and mindful of their effects when things go wrong with their use.

In summary, I can see a use for these new nylon swords when fighting with no armor, but to me you lose a bit of your respect of them if you use tools that can't injury you at all.
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi David,

Regarding unarmoured technique fights that look armoured today, well...sort of.

All evidence points to conventional blows being used in armoured tournaments in the 15th c., not half-swording, which was for lethal encounters. Now, we don't know what techniques were used, but I think it's not too much a stretch to assume they fought as they trained, so I'd expect this would look much like a Blossfechten match, but fought (mostly) safely on account of the armour.

And it's interesting that armour is shown in the 'unarmoured' section of the Florius version of Fiore.

That's not to say it isn't cool that you can use minimal gear with these simulators, of course. Happy

Cheers,

Christian

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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I ordered two of these swords from the Knight shop and eagerly await them. I think that they will be a useful new tool in my toolbox.

As a general rule, I use steel trainers where possible. I feel that steel swords demand a certain level of respect from the users that leads to safer behaviour. At the same time, sometimes the control is just not there and you need to amp up the safety of the equipment. For example, I teach classes to kids, and aside from the fact that they can't hold a steel sword up through a whole lesson, they also can't control how hard they hit with them.

For kids I usually use padded swords, at least initially. Padded swords often lead to unsafe practices because the user has no fear of them, but then, they also really aren't dangerous. Also, they really don't behave the same as steel swords.

In many ways, I think that wooden wasters are the most dangerous option, because they seem safe to novices, but in fact are in some ways more dangerous than steel. The actual danger is increased by the perceived safety and the unsafe behaviour that comes from the false perception.

My hope is that these swords will strike a nice balance where the perceived safety is less than the actual safety, if you see what I mean. And I hope they behave more realistically than padded boffers! We shall see.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:

As a general rule, I use steel trainers where possible. I feel that steel swords demand a certain level of respect from the users that leads to safer behaviour. At the same time, sometimes the control is just not there and you need to amp up the safety of the equipment.


The group I belong to emphasizes control over safety equipment and " accidents or OOPS " moments seem rare and usually nothing more than a bruise.

We do use fencing masks but generally just very light gloves. A non-touch training system using control does have it's " artifacts " in that " Hits " are mostly a judgement call but gaming or points are of little importance and the emphasis is to try to be honest and treat longsword as a martial art and keep away from a sports mentality.

These wasters do seem like a way to add some extra safety margin as " control " can be variable with new students when they get exited or come from different schools that allowed hitting and used gambison for protection: It's much easier for those who have developed control to ease up on the control when more protective equipment is used than for people who have trained allowing hits ( sometimes hard hits without pulling their blows mush ) to adapt to using perfect control.

To give an example: Ideally one should be able to use 100% speed and stop one's blows a few inches from the target at will. Accidents happen when the opponent surprises one by suddenly closing the distance or actually runs into the sword, when this happens someone trained in good control will pull his blow before too much energy has been transmitted to the target. At times our swordmaster will bout with us and not use his sword at all to protect himself just to see if we stop our blows short of hitting him and not depend on him parrying the blow. ( This is a risk he accepts and only does this once in a while to test our control: Last time he did this to me I had a big smile on my face when the sword seemed to stop all by itself without much conscious though or intent by me ..... maybe I was just lucky or he was ! In any case if I did hit him I would have pulled the hit considerably ).

NOTE: Thrust are riskier in my opinion as a mistake may do much more damage than a pulled hit !

One flaw of a non-touch system is that one's targeting and measure tends to be wrong for a real fight and one has trouble hitting a target when one actually want to hit and one misses by a small fraction of an inch.

The opposite problem is with heavily padded swords or extensive use of armour that one loses respect for the sword as a weapon capable of doing serious damage and the fight turns into a " NERF LIKE " battle where speed of repeat attacks with little consideration for defence eventually overwhelms the defence.

For control to work one has to be in full control of one's emotions and physically capable of stopping the sword on a dime at the exact right distance. Wink

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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 2:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:

As a general rule, I use steel trainers where possible. I feel that steel swords demand a certain level of respect from the users that leads to safer behaviour. At the same time, sometimes the control is just not there and you need to amp up the safety of the equipment. For example, I teach classes to kids, and aside from the fact that they can't hold a steel sword up through a whole lesson, they also can't control how hard they hit with them.

For kids I usually use padded swords, at least initially. Padded swords often lead to unsafe practices because the user has no fear of them, but then, they also really aren't dangerous. Also, they really don't behave the same as steel swords.

In many ways, I think that wooden wasters are the most dangerous option, because they seem safe to novices, but in fact are in some ways more dangerous than steel. The actual danger is increased by the perceived safety and the unsafe behaviour that comes from the false perception.

My hope is that these swords will strike a nice balance where the perceived safety is less than the actual safety, if you see what I mean. And I hope they behave more realistically than padded boffers! We shall see.


Definitely have to agree with you Craig on all points. Especially in regards to youngsters. They have no fear and push limits so much you do need safer equipment than adults "just in case." The weight issue is also a big factor when teaching them too.

I also agree with your waster theory, it has some merits. I find that I and my opponent practice safer handling and weapon use with live steel rather than wasters when we do fights with them unarmored since we tend to unconsciously step down the speed a bit more for a greater safety margin in our group. Steel just demands more respect than wood when you're using them against someone who is similarly armed. ;-)
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
All evidence points to conventional blows being used in armoured tournaments in the 15th c., not half-swording, which was for lethal encounters.


Well, it makes sense I think. As far as I know, medieval tournaments were fought to a counted number of blows. If the object is just getting blows, I think it would be easier using conventional blows than using halfswording techniques.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
All evidence points to conventional blows being used in armoured tournaments in the 15th c., not half-swording, which was for lethal encounters.


Well, it makes sense I think. As far as I know, medieval tournaments were fought to a counted number of blows. If the object is just getting blows, I think it would be easier using conventional blows than using halfswording techniques.


In these cases the armour was used as safety equipment but the fight was done and judged as if no armour was worn.

A real fight in armour would only use what works in armour I'm guessing.

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Jun, 2010 4:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sander,

It's more than that - it's a matter of the intent of the combat. Killing another knight is serious business (murder, depending on the context), and half-swording is for killing knights.

This is likely why we see little half-swording in iconography. In a battle, the ideal would be to beat down a fellow noble, then accept his surrender. Thrusting into the gaps of the armour is mostly for the agreed upon lethality of a judicial duel.

All the best,

Christian

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Author, In Saint George's Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts
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