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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Another new cutting vid: half cuts         Reply with quote

Hi all,

A good deal of the criticism of test cutting in HEMA revolves around the over stressing of the full cut, isntead of a strike that ends with the point menacing the opponent's face or chest. My position is that comprehensive cutting training develops good striking mechanics for all strikes, not just full strikes.

This video shows strikes that sever the target completely yet terminate with the point online, menacing the opponent's chest.

Please note that I have a left elbow injury that results in some bounce at the termination of the cut.

I hope you enjoy the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9FxOatYP0s

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Another new cutting vid: half cuts         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
Hi all,

A good deal of the criticism of test cutting in HEMA revolves around the over stressing of the full cut, instead of a strike that ends with the point menacing the opponent's face or chest. My position is that comprehensive cutting training develops good striking mechanics for all strikes, not just full strikes.

This video shows strikes that sever the target completely yet terminate with the point online, menacing the opponent's chest.

Please note that I have a left elbow injury that results in some bounce at the termination of the cut.

I hope you enjoy the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9FxOatYP0s


Yup, seems like exactly what my previous but very verbose post was talking about ( In the other Topic thread ):
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=20006&start=120

The only difference being that in training with a partner the blow ends a few inches (one hopes ) before the face of my training partner but the actual " controlled stop " is the same in principle after a successful cut.

The fully committed/over committed blows ending in a full arc may have a slight amount of more power but what does it matter if the half cut is more than overkill even if theoretically less powerful.

Full cuts usually just useful when the purpose is maximum cutting of media for it's own sake and little related to tactical issues when fighting.

Anyway, the cutting looks clean precise and in full control with full control of when the blow stops as opposed to a tactically useless follow through. ( This isn't golfing or tennis. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud ).

Michael love the cutting video. Happy Cool

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 3:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Another new cutting vid: half cuts         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
[The fully committed/over committed blows ending in a full arc may have a slight amount of more power but what does it matter if the half cut is more than overkill even if theoretically less powerful.

Full cuts usually just useful when the purpose is maximum cutting of media for it's own sake and little related to tactical issues when fighting.

Anyway, the cutting looks clean precise and in full control with full control of when the blow stops as opposed to a tactically useless follow through. ( This isn't golfing or tennis. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud ).


Hi Jean,

Thanks for the compliments. Happy

Some important things to understand. The cuts in this video are the same as the cuts in the combination cuts video, except that I choose to stop them a bit sooner, and it's not much harder to do, just takes a bit more control. Also, the follow through it not useless, it chambers your sword for the next strike. One thing you cannot do from the long point is strike again without chambering. So where you end the cut will depend on what your opponent is doing and what you want to do next...thrust, or strike, or neither, or both.

This video is not an apology for full cuts. Happy Full cuts are the default strike. You should be able to end it anywhere you want, making it full, almost full, half, a quarter, or whatever.

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 3:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Another new cutting vid: half cuts         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
You should be able to end it anywhere you want, making it full, almost full, half, a quarter, or whatever.


But I guess that is my point. Wink Big Grin

If the full cut sets up a powerful return cut I agree it's more effective in doing multiple cuts or tactically if the first cut at an opponent missed, was voided or was tactically meant to set up for the return cut.

But what I really like and personally believe in is that control should always be there for the full, half, quarter, or whatever cut: The type of cut either tactically pre-planned or if one has to suddenly change the amount of arc of the cut due to an opponents actions, having developed a high level of control helps make this possible.

In some cases one might not be able to change plan/tactic mid blow if taken by surprise ( not enough reaction time ), but then the opponent can be as skilled, as smart, as tactically devious ..... Wink Cool

I would think that multiple cuts like in the first video develop skill in cutting, accurate targeting, stopping at will but also starting again from the sudden stop to make an effective follow up cut even with no chambering ? ( Although swinging through a larger arc does give a more powerful return cut one might have to start from the previous dead stop at times ? ).

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Another new cutting vid: half cuts         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I would think that multiple cuts like in the first video develop skill in cutting, accurate targeting, stopping at will but also starting again from the sudden stop to make an effective follow up cut even with no chambering ? ( Although swinging through a larger arc does give a more powerful return cut one might have to start from the previous dead stop at times ? ).


Yes, and timing and all the other stuff. Ideally, though, there should be no sudden stop unless you need it or want for a specific purpose. So I cut, either I hit or I miss, if I miss, I look at what you're doing. If you only voided a bit, I probably want to stop it before your chest, if you voided a lot, I might want to let it go down, and if you're fast, let it keep going around for a quick return cut or if you're slow, stop it down there and bait you for a short edge deflection. The point is, you should be able to do any and all of those things at will and still have each strike you launch be a man stopper.

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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael: Thanks I really like the clear explanation. Happy Cool
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Both the video and explanation are good, Mike!
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PostPosted: Sun 27 Jun, 2010 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Cory Winslow wrote:
Both the video and explanation are good, Mike!


Thanks!

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,

Thanks for jumping on this - very nicely done, and I think that this did the best job of illustrating what we mean by half and full. Also, the bounce comes after the terminus of the cut, which I know you know, but my point is that it isn't affecting what you are trying to show folks.

There is something else you say in here that I think people need to remember: the half cut ends where the guy gets whacked, regardless of if your cut was half or full. Roughly, it is where the sword and the joints of the arm and leg all align - the maximum extension on the arc of a cut. The second half of the cut is the recovery phase - the sword is withdrawing from the target. But that doesn't mean there is no extra power, nor tactical reason for it. The half cut takes the center and sets up the point to control that line, the full cut sets up another cut.

BTW, although this relates to the other cutting thread, I'm going to add this here, since the thread is shorter and has none of the other "stuff" making it hard to follow. It occurred to me last night that one thing we didn't discuss in any of these threads, and which is important, IMO, is remembering that multi-action cutting forms contain tactics (or should), but can be a bit subtle when you are just watching a piece of tatami get murdered - just like iai forms can be subtle. That opening first full cut *might* be your entering cut, but it can just as easily represent your counterattack to the opponent's entry, and then the follow-on actions should he cover, deflect or fly out.

Case in point: one cutting form we use here is a full forehand cut with a pass in and off the line with the right foot, followed by a full, reverse false-edge cut, and then a half backhand while passing back with the right foot. Now that could be a lot of things, and it could be three cuts against the opponent's squishy bits. Wink But it is also the bladework for one variation of Fiore's "rompere di punta", which works like this: you attack with a cut or thrust, I step offline and cut into your blade, driving it into the ground with a full cut. I immediately strike straight back up the line with the false edge, cutting you under the chin. As I pass back I make a second cut - a backhand - to the head, and as a half-cut it holds the center as I am retreating from measure. Essentially, this is a variation of something like the German Krumphau to his blade, Schnappen to the head with the false edge and then make a backhand to the right side of his head as you fly out.

When these actions are done against a piece of tatami, it just looks like multiple cuts. In practice, each cut may have specific tactical application (or applications, like I cut and miss and respond to his attempt to strike with Nachreissen), that sometimes doesn't look readily apparent when you watch. But parry or attack, a cut should always be mechanically correct, so as you practice this against the target, they all become cuts through the target.

Anyway, it occurred to me that we got onto discussing body cuts and why they do or don't appear and the use of half and full cuts, but this issue as relates to applying that to test-cutting, got lost in the shuffle, and was a disservice to what Mike was showing in the first place. Half and full cuts have various tactical purposes in combat, as attacks, counterattacks and covers, but when you are practicing cutting, you want to make all of them *good cuts*.

Thanks for adding this video, Mike. One thing you might want to do down the road as you build out this library of examples is do a few clips that show a multi action technique, and then how you'd practice it as a test-cutting exercise.

Cheers,

Greg

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 11:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:
Mike,
Thanks for jumping on this - very nicely done, and I think that this did the best job of illustrating what we mean by half and full. Also, the bounce comes after the terminus of the cut, which I know you know, but my point is that it isn't affecting what you are trying to show folks.


Thanks, Greg. As to the bounce, well, you know how nitpicky some folks get, so I figured I'd mention it. I was actually lucky to have only one big bounce out of three cuts, considering how messed up my elbow is.

I didn't do it deliberatly in the vid, but I could have, and such a bounce would then put the point before the face, not the chest, which covers that aspect of the manuscripts, I think. Either that, or zwech is supposed to leave the point before the face, zorn the chest. Who knows.

Quote:

There is something else you say in here that I think people need to remember: the half cut ends where the guy gets whacked, regardless of if your cut was half or full. Roughly, it is where the sword and the joints of the arm and leg all align - the maximum extension on the arc of a cut. The second half of the cut is the recovery phase - the sword is withdrawing from the target. But that doesn't mean there is no extra power, nor tactical reason for it. The half cut takes the center and sets up the point to control that line, the full cut sets up another cut.


I actually have a subtle disagreement there. The half cut as I do here is something I would likely not use in a fight, because it is significantly less powerful than a full cut. However, to qualify that, these days I'm ending my full cuts in Alber, and if I go past that, as in the combination cuts vid, then it's only because I want to chamber for the follow up. If there's no follow up, I stop in Alber with the point a foot off the ground (looks more like one of your Eye-talian guards. Happy ). From that position, a millisecond flick of the wrist puts the point up in my opponent's groin or chest, which makes stopping in Alber, tactically speaking, not really any different than stopping in long point (because you only get there if he voids), and gives you the added bonus of a full powered cut. Where I'm with you, or at least I think I am if I undertand you correctly, is that the half cut is where I end up if I hit him, though if I'm aiming for the body I'll pull into Pflug as soon as it hits to cut into his clothing.

Quote:

BTW, although this relates to the other cutting thread, I'm going to add this here, since the thread is shorter and has none of the other "stuff" making it hard to follow. It occurred to me last night that one thing we didn't discuss in any of these threads, and which is important, IMO, is remembering that multi-action cutting forms contain tactics (or should), but can be a bit subtle when you are just watching a piece of tatami get murdered - just like iai forms can be subtle. That opening first full cut *might* be your entering cut, but it can just as easily represent your counterattack to the opponent's entry, and then the follow-on actions should he cover, deflect or fly out.


Thank you. That is a point I have been trying to make for months now.

Quote:

Thanks for adding this video, Mike. One thing you might want to do down the road as you build out this library of examples is do a few clips that show a multi action technique, and then how you'd practice it as a test-cutting exercise.


I did plan to do that, and we do it in cutting, and I actually have a vid of it, but in that vid (it's the "temporary" vid in our playlist) I am not cutting to do the sequence, nor with any intent to look good for a video (we tape all our cutting for teaching purposes), I'm cutting to test a particular sword that we were going to use as a loaner. I slapped that vid together to show something to someone for another argument...er...I mean academic discussion. Happy

Anyway, the sequence there is I cut, he voids and counters, I come up with the short edge, catch his sword, he's weak, so I zwerch around to the right side of his head. The mat, or my lackluster targeting of it, in this case distorts that sequence, because by the time I cut to his head, he's about 8 years old. Happy

People may ask what is the point of cutting the mat with each action if the first cut misses (maybe even on purpose) and the second cut is a sword deflection. That would be a fair question, and my answer has to do with one of the roles of a cutting curriculum in HEMA training that I believe in...to keep you honest. Each strike should have the potential for lethality, or it is an empty gesture. And we may not be able to see that in free fencing, but I think real swordsmen from the past would have been able to spot that real quick and take advantage.

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:


Thanks, Greg. As to the bounce, well, you know how nitpicky some folks get, so I figured I'd mention it. I was actually lucky to have only one big bounce out of three cuts, considering how messed up my elbow is.


Having a back and forth war with tennis elbow, I understand.

Quote:

Where I'm with you, or at least I think I am if I undertand you correctly, is that the half cut is where I end up if I hit him, though if I'm aiming for the body I'll pull into Pflug as soon as it hits to cut into his clothing.


Yes. Also, I agree on power, and so do the masters. My point was about *extension* . The difference is that the full cut continues with rotation past that point, which is why it continues to generate power. So we are either in agreement here, or only subtly disagreeing.

Quote:
]

Thank you. That is a point I have been trying to make for months now.


I'm a slow learner? Wink Seriously, I went back and reread the other thread here and on the other forums, and it just seemed to me that *this* part was getting lost in the shuffle of "do I or don't I open with a full cut"? Well....depends. But I think the part that was missed if you've only done test cutting and never had anyone teach formal cutting patterns is that, just like any "kata", the initial action may or may not be a simple attack, per se, but you still train it as a correct cut. It is sort of the flip-side of pellwork, where a blunt waster doesn't cut through a hard target, so your actions will tend to connect and stop short, unless you artificially exaggerate the draw, but that doesn't mean you only are training half-cuts.

Anyway, I just thought I'd draw attention to that aspect of this, and yes, you *did* try to say that, I just don't think it is what anyone was focusing on, myself included. Wink

Quote:

People may ask what is the point of cutting the mat with each action if the first cut misses (maybe even on purpose) and the second cut is a sword deflection. That would be a fair question, and my answer has to do with one of the roles of a cutting curriculum in HEMA training that I believe in...to keep you honest. Each strike should have the potential for lethality, or it is an empty gesture. And we may not be able to see that in free fencing, but I think real swordsmen from the past would have been able to spot that real quick and take advantage.


Absolutely agreed, and one thing that the Italian masters are adamant about is that every parry is cut, every cut a parry, and every blow - even feints - must have the potentiality of being a lethal blow otherwise it's "false". Ie: no "tippy-tappy" ever! Wink

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Mele wrote:

Yes. Also, I agree on power, and so do the masters. My point was about *extension* . The difference is that the full cut continues with rotation past that point, which is why it continues to generate power. So we are either in agreement here, or only subtly disagreeing.


Yes on both counts, it sounds like. One thing worth mentioning, though, for those reading, is that the half cut begins to bleed power before that point, which is why it is weaker.

Quote:

But I think the part that was missed if you've only done test cutting and never had anyone teach formal cutting patterns is that, just like any "kata", the initial action may or may not be a simple attack, per se, but you still train it as a correct cut.


Yes!

Quote:

It is sort of the flip-side of pellwork, where a blunt waster doesn't cut through a hard target, so your actions will tend to connect and stop short, unless you artificially exaggerate the draw, but that doesn't mean you only are training half-cuts.


A very nice comparison/counterpoint. I wish I'd thought of it when I was fighting...er...I mean academically debating. Happy

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 2:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Love it when the exchanges of opinion are so clearly trying to understand the other's meaning instead of trying to " nitpick" the differences and missing the forest for the trees. Happy Cool Cool Cool

Here is an example of constructive disagreement on minor issues or bringing up other relevant factors and both arriving at very close conclusions even if in the small details there might still be different interpretations or even " styles ". ( No matter how closely two people agreed on the techniques no two people are going to display the same style for all sorts of reasons ).

Anyway, stopping " soon " before I go off on too wide a tangent but I can really learn valuable insight form this discussion and the impressive demonstration of cutting and the analyses of what it might mean as applied to a " real " swordfight.

The cutting is a tool to build muscle memory and skill in the same way that bouting can be a tool or " katas " are a tool or formal prearranged plays using an agent/patient paradigm: Each has it's uses and each has it's " artifacts ", but each can be used to isolate aspects of the fight and each should reinforce the right skills. ( The trick is to be sure that one's training methods don't contradict each other or train in negative muscle memory if they distort the actions useful for the martial art being studied and practised ).

( NOTE: The above may be all too obvious but at times it's useful to formally state the obvious just to be sure we are all on the same page. Wink Cool ).

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

The cutting is a tool to build muscle memory and skill in the same way that bouting can be a tool or " katas " are a tool or formal prearranged plays using an agent/patient paradigm: Each has it's uses and each has it's " artifacts ", but each can be used to isolate aspects of the fight and each should reinforce the right skills. ( The trick is to be sure that one's training methods don't contradict each other or train in negative muscle memory if they distort the actions useful for the martial art being studied and practised ).


Yep, you got it. In isolation, none of the things we do in training are realistic, and that's okay. They can all work together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike,
I finally got the chance to sit down and watch this. Very nice stuff! I really need to spend more time cutting, as its a pretty small part of our curriculum here.

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 9:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Mike,
I finally got the chance to sit down and watch this. Very nice stuff! I really need to spend more time cutting, as its a pretty small part of our curriculum here.


Thanks Bill.

Oooh! I have a great idea. You could hold a Mike Edelson seminar. I work for beer. Happy

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Mike,

As said before - good video!

Quote:
I actually have a subtle disagreement there. The half cut as I do here is something I would likely not use in a fight, because it is significantly less powerful than a full cut. However, to qualify that, these days I'm ending my full cuts in Alber, and if I go past that, as in the combination cuts vid, then it's only because I want to chamber for the follow up. If there's no follow up, I stop in Alber with the point a foot off the ground (looks more like one of your Eye-talian guards. Happy ). From that position, a millisecond flick of the wrist puts the point up in my opponent's groin or chest, which makes stopping in Alber, tactically speaking, not really any different than stopping in long point (because you only get there if he voids), and gives you the added bonus of a full powered cut. Where I'm with you, or at least I think I am if I undertand you correctly, is that the half cut is where I end up if I hit him, though if I'm aiming for the body I'll pull into Pflug as soon as it hits to cut into his clothing.


Maybe I don't understand the specific tactical setup you're implying here, but I still don't get how this fulfills the advice to keep the point before his face or chest. More importantly, stopping in Alber isn't like stopping in Langenort if he voids - it's tactically very different - because you now need another tempo to come back against him, which he doesn't need. That's really the point of that classic Nachreisen example: "as his sword goes down to the ground". Cutting to Alber certainly qualifies as going to ground, and that's why we're cautioned against these big blows in this instance. It really doesn't matter how fast you flick your wrists - he's already cutting as he voids, if he's performing the Nachreisen correctly.

[Edit: added the following]If you do cut too far, you can't really put the point in him, because you'll achieve a double-kill. Instead, we know from the text what you have to do:

Note: when he has struck past you and you have chased after him with a stroke to the opening, if he then goes quickly up with his sword and comes under your sword, then remain strongly on it. If he lifts your sword right up with his, then spring with your left foot behind his right and strike him with the Twerhau or otherwise to the right side of his head. And work quickly again against his left side with doubling or else with other techniques, depending on whether you sense he is soft or hard on the sword.

So, if you miss, and go to the ground, you're going to have to parry. On the other hand, if you'd cut into the center, you can continue this seemlessly into a thrust without a hard stop (basically, a single imperfect time). Now he can't come back in with his own cut.

Now, if we turn the situation around - you perform the Nachreisen against him - then your full blow makes perfect sense, because you're the one with the time advantage.

Again, I may be missing the specific incidence you're setting up for, so maybe some clarification will make better sense to me.

As far as pulling through into Pflug with a stroke to the body, I'm with you.

Cheers,

CHT

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Christian,

What I meant was I値l never set out to do a half cut unless I知 setting up to trick my opponent or something like that. If I know I知 going to miss, I知 generally not going to strike. If I think I知 going to hit and do a full cut, and I see in time that he is voiding, then I値l try to stop it with the point before his face or chest, and I think I have a pretty good chance of making it happen. However, my default movement calibrates to stopping in Alber. If I calibrate for face or chest as my default strike, I see it as aiming to fail.

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PostPosted: Mon 28 Jun, 2010 10:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Mike,

If you move to stop it as you see him void, then yes, I think you're fulfilling the text. One could read the text's reference to "long, free strokes" as once sufficiently over-committed to "stop on a dime" if need be.

I was only concerned with the earlier idea of cutting to Alber, if he voids, because that's a timing problem.

The other great place for a full blow, btw (and one we need to look to Ringeck for, it's no *explicitly* called out in von Danzig) is if he pulls up to strike: you can use Nachreisen to hit him as he does this, and it's a great, and safe, opportunity for a full blow.

To me, the safer bet is still to use the half-blow as the default for striking from the Zufechten, and the one that doesn't force me to adapt on the fly as much. And, I think it's more than powerful enough to hit the head with. But beyond that, I think we're into the minutiae of preference.

Cheers,

CHT

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

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