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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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Posts: 456

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 10:54 am    Post subject: Enough theory....         Reply with quote

So I really want to learn historic longsword fencing, I have free weekends, I can afford them, but there isn't anyplace around here (Cape Cod, MA) that teaches.


there IS, however, a Cape Cod Fencing Club. Foil, Epee, and Saber. So my question is this....

Is it worth getting a membership and buying the equipment for a style of fencing that really isn't what I want to learn. I figure it will teach me some footwork, get me into fighting trim, and get me used to the rhythm and timing.

But, will I learn "bad" (inappropriate for historical MARTIAL training) habits? I don't really want to "unlearn" things later.

Any thoughts from those who have done either or both?

If anyone knows of a place to learn Talhoffer, or Fiora, etc. on the Cape, or within an hour or two of driving, please let me know!
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Sean O Stevens




Location: Grovetown, GA
Joined: 22 Oct 2008

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 11:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hm...

I have done rapier fencing, but I have not studied tradditional longsword, so I can not make a direct comparasion. My impression tho is that they two styles are VERY different. Especialy if the place you are looking at joining does Olympic or line fencing vs circle fencing. The posture, footwork, positions and techniques I would think would almost be as different as if you were training Kendo or another JSA vs WMA... but again, having no traddition Longsword training I can not say for sure.

Do you think if you do join you might come to like fencing? I love it. Wink
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 617

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 11:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've gone the route of sport fencing when there wasn't anything else around. I've always tried to keep it as true as possible to its roots with varying degrees of success, annoying my college coach to no end (circa 2001) through my blunt refusal to employ the flick and probably seeming a bit arrogant (circa 2009) towards my friends' pistol grip epees. Still, it's really great when you can pull some Capo Ferro out in the middle of an epee bout and score a touch that nobody saw coming.

I also wouldn't worry about unlearning things. I got some rather specialized CQB training before my last deployment, and then ended up mounting my shotgun like a MK 18 while shooting skeet, but this wasn't hard to correct. I'm probably going to devote most of my training time over the next three or four years to Aikido, and then take advantage of the NorCal classical fencing community when I get to grad school. It's all good, and it's all pretty anachronistic at this point anyway; the only weapons I've used on people in actual military operations were Tomahawk missiles, so is it really a matter of life and death if I'm not learning battlefield swordsmanship at the moment?

If you think you would enjoy the fencing that your local club offers, you should do it. Fencing usually can't help but be fun and a good workout, and at the very least should keep you in shape for when you find something else.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Thomas R.




Location: Germany
Joined: 10 May 2010
Likes: 4 pages
Reading list: 17 books

Posts: 395

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Matthew,

I wan't to encourage you, to study the art of longsword fencing by yourself if you don't find a suitable group. Don't spend money on things you won't need or on people who can't train you in the art, you want to practice. Modern fencing is not to be compared to historical longsword fencing. It's a sport, while Liechtenauer taught us an art.

So I'd like to give you this link to one of our german fencing groups called Hammaborg. They made a video in english (!) in which they declare, what you do need to practice the art.

First of all: You need a sword trainer. This could be a shinai from Kendo sports, a wooden sword, or a lightly flexible steelblunt. Add a pair of gloves and a book or DVD about fencing. I am sure, there are at least a dozen of those books about Johannes Liechtenauers style out there in english as well (but there the fellow forumites would have to give you some advice, as I don't know any english fencing manuals) So then you get started by doing the stances and footwork and so on. Well, then you want to find yourself a training partner, which is dedicated to this art like you. Problem is: You can't buy such a partner on amazon. You will have to look out among your friends, or practice in public to be seen and asked about your art ( I don't know your local laws, so be aware of the police... I don't want to see you locked up Happy )

So this is the link to Hammaborg:

http://www.hammaborg.de/de/ausruestung/start.php

Well, the mentionend gear is all for modern training, not period reenacting! Be aware of that.

Regards,
Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,032

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew,

An alternative to fencing you may not have considered is a JSA school. Find a good school (koryu, battodo, etc.) with some cutting (and hopefully free fencing) in the curriculum and you'll learn body mechanics that will stay with you for your entire HEMA career and give you an edge over those who don't have comparable training. You will also experience what it is like to study swordsmanship as an actual martial art and learn valuable pedagogical methods and tools.

You can, and should, also study kendo. You will learn things in kendo that will help make you a formidable fencer when you finally do take up longsword studies.

While you are studying these arts, get yourself a longsword and some translations and see about putting what you're learning into practice with a different kind of sword and seeing what has to change, and what can stay the same.

The only thing we have of HEMA today are techniques and theories. None of these make up a martial art. A real martial art is 90% body mechanics and 10% the other stuff.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 456

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Good answers all!

Some for, and some against, I know its up to me in the end, and I will definitely poke my head in the door at the sport fencing club and see what its all about, who knows, there may be one or two guys there who are in the same boat as I am, and are there because they can't find a HEMA or ARMA group either.

I know I need three people to start an ARMA chapter, and I posted on my facebook site that I wanted to start one, but so far no takers. I am thinking about training on my own though, I have seen some amazing youtube videos, and I think that's doable.

I have studied Tae Kwon Do, When I was younger and then Ai Ki Do as an adult, ( My dad taught Ai Ki Do) So I have some experience in eastern martial arts. I don't think I would want to study sport fencing as an end to itself, and I just don't like the idea of scoring a point with a technique that wouldn't have been a valid martial technique. In other words bokken yes, shinai, not so much. I don't mean to offend any one here, and I am not saying that it doesn't take lots of skill dedication and practice to excel at sport fencing but I want to learn how it was actually done in the time period when it was relied on to protect ones self.

I got interested in western swordsmanship through curiosity about the availability of an honest to god functional sword. that led me to Pauls SBG website and forum, and through them, here. I wanted something that was made properly, not a "sharpened crowbar" and not a windless whip. I ended up purchasing a Cas Hanwei Tinker longsword. I did a lot of research before placing that order and I am happy I did. I also have an AT-1592 on order and I picked up a purpleheart waster (the greatsword, at 53.5" is almost the exact dimensions of the 1592) I still have my Jo and Bokken from aikido class as well. Oh, and I have a second greatsword coming from Purpleheart so that I have a matched pair for practice, plus I think they will look totally bleaching up on the wall. :-)

I have an old pair of motorcycle gauntlets that I trust to protect my hands, no fencing mask as of yet though.... I have used the greatsword in the 8 directions Aikido form, just to accustom myself the the different feel. so far so good, oh yeah, and I made a free hanging tire pell, with arms that swing out, to beat on in the yard. (no complaints from the neighbors yet, but some funny looks) So thats where I am with my "training" I feel like the Karate Kid before he meets Mr. Miagi, hanging out in the garage with a wing chun dummy, and a fighting manual.
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Craig Shira




Location: California
Joined: 02 Feb 2007

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jul, 2010 7:27 pm    Post subject: Sport Fencing         Reply with quote

.

Olympic sport fencing is very different from historical longsword, but it can provide a lot of basics. I started out with Olympic foil and I found that some teachers of the Liechtenauer tradition have us stand in the same posture as Olympic foil with our forward foot moved over so it is not in line with our back foot (because we are not fighting linearly, which is exclusively how Olympic sport is performed). Likewise, many of the moves I learned in Olympic foil are used in the Liechtenauer tradition, except they have different names. The Liechtenauer tradition uses thrusts and there are only so many ways you can thrust, regardless of what you have in your hand.

A lot of people complain about the "flick" in Olympic sport fencing. Keep in mind that Joachim Meyer, in his book published in 1570, taught his students to whip their sword so that the flexible blade bends around the guard of the opponent and slaps the opponent. Yep. In 1570, he taught the exact same flick used in Olympic sport fencing.

Although, to be fair, Meyer was teaching sport fencing when he discussed longsword. By that time, longsword was a sport and really no longer used in combat.

Olympic sport fencing may not be the art that you want. For that reason, you probably won't enjoy it. However, it offers a lot of fundamentals. The footwork will carry over to longsword. The thrusting will carry to longsword. The openings will carry to longsword. And a lot more will carry over. It will not be a waste. And you may find it to be fun.

I would recommend it.

.
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Sean O Stevens




Location: Grovetown, GA
Joined: 22 Oct 2008

Posts: 208

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
It's all good, and it's all pretty anachronistic at this point anyway; the only weapons I've used on people in actual military operations were Tomahawk missiles, so is it really a matter of life and death if I'm not learning battlefield swordsmanship at the moment?



^ Pure awesome. Are you a Sailor?


To the OP: The AT1592 is a big, beautiful sword... I have many Atrims, including a 1562 and 1516 and I love them... the 1592 is one of the few I don't have that I would like to, I hope to hear your impressions of it when you get it.
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Johann M




Location: London
Joined: 23 Aug 2007

Posts: 27

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 6:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Can you travel? If so, then these might be options for at least occasional lessons.
http://www.meetup.com/SSGBoston/
http://www.historicalfencing.org/
http://www.umass.edu/rso/swords/about.html

Also, there is nothing wrong with making use of the many printed and online HEMA resources. Get a friend (or two) to practice with, choose a source and read up. As long as you approach this seriously and know your limits, you will do ok.
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
Likes: 8 pages

Posts: 456

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"To the OP: The AT1592 is a big, beautiful sword... I have many Atrims, including a 1562 and 1516 and I love them... the 1592 is one of the few I don't have that I would like to, I hope to hear your impressions of it when you get it."

you got it! Angus makes 'em a bit shorter now with a 39"blade so it will be a little smaller than the one in the review section. I am happy about the shorter blade though, because I think the resulting sword, while still longer than most longswords, will be a bit "handier" and even stiffer in the half sword. I'll let you know when have in my grubby mitts. I only have the Hanwei Tinker to compare it to though. (only meaning "just the one" not "just the Tinker" if you get my meaning)


"Can you travel? If so, then these might be options for at least occasional lessons.
http://www.meetup.com/SSGBoston/
http://www.historicalfencing.org/
http://www.umass.edu/rso/swords/about.html"

This is just awesome, yes I can travel, and thank you.
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 617

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 6:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Sport Fencing         Reply with quote

Craig Shira wrote:
Keep in mind that Joachim Meyer, in his book published in 1570, taught his students to whip their sword so that the flexible blade bends around the guard of the opponent and slaps the opponent. Yep. In 1570, he taught the exact same flick used in Olympic sport fencing.

I was not aware of this. If I ever see my old coach again, I guess I owe him an apology. Confused

Craig Shira wrote:
Although, to be fair, Meyer was teaching sport fencing when he discussed longsword. By that time, longsword was a sport and really no longer used in combat.

Vindicated! Big Grin

Sean O Stevens wrote:
^ Pure awesome. Are you a Sailor?

Yes. I'm a surface warfare officer, which is kind of a fancy way of saying I don't get enough sleep. Worried

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 419

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jul, 2010 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Enough theory....         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
So I really want to learn historic longsword fencing, I have free weekends, I can afford them, but there isn't anyplace around here (Cape Cod, MA) that teaches.


there IS, however, a Cape Cod Fencing Club. Foil, Epee, and Saber. So my question is this....

Is it worth getting a membership and buying the equipment for a style of fencing that really isn't what I want to learn. I figure it will teach me some footwork, get me into fighting trim, and get me used to the rhythm and timing.

But, will I learn "bad" (inappropriate for historical MARTIAL training) habits? I don't really want to "unlearn" things later.

Any thoughts from those who have done either or both?

If anyone knows of a place to learn Talhoffer, or Fiora, etc. on the Cape, or within an hour or two of driving, please let me know!

Another approach would be to get a copy of Guy Windsor's The Swordsman's Companion. That, the drills and videos on his website (link), and a practice partner should be enough to get started. He covers footwork, mechanics, and enough techniques to keep you busy for quite some time.

Sport fencing is fun, having a teacher and practice partners is always good, and you can spar early because the weapons are relatively safe. Some things will carry over. But its very different from longsword fencing. I would watch some classes of this fencing club and talk to the teacher and some students.
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jul, 2010 11:00 am    Post subject: Re: Enough theory....         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:

If anyone knows of a place to learn Talhoffer, or Fiora, etc. on the Cape, or within an hour or two of driving, please let me know!


Depends on where on the Cape you are located. My school is in Newton, MA. If coming out to weeknight classes would be problematic we can work out some kind of weekend, individual or small group program. Feel free to message me and check out the website linked in my signature, below.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Riki K





Joined: 09 Apr 2010

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat 24 Jul, 2010 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sam Barris wrote:
I also wouldn't worry about unlearning things. I got some rather specialized CQB training before my last deployment, and then ended up mounting my shotgun like a MK 18 while shooting skeet, but this wasn't hard to correct. I'm probably going to devote most of my training time over the next three or four years to Aikido, and then take advantage of the NorCal classical fencing community when I get to grad school. It's all good, and it's all pretty anachronistic at this point anyway; the only weapons I've used on people in actual military operations were Tomahawk missiles, so is it really a matter of life and death if I'm not learning battlefield swordsmanship at the moment?


Wait. So, you've "used" Tomahawks AND you were issued a MK18, presumably for CQB? What exactly is your rating?
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Likes: 4 pages

Posts: 617

PostPosted: Sat 24 Jul, 2010 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Riki K wrote:
Wait. So, you've "used" Tomahawks AND you were issued a MK18, presumably for CQB? What exactly is your rating?

Responded by PM, so as not to hijack the thread.

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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