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Heather Gent




Location: Queensland, Australia
Joined: 10 Sep 2003

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PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2003 6:48 pm    Post subject: Questions re mixing fighting styles         Reply with quote

Hello again,

I know I'm new here but I'm going to plunge right in - I hope that's OK.

As a writer, my current genre is SF, but as an historian I blanche at some of the current offerings, particularly of the Sword-and-sorcery style. I feel very strongly that "fiction" shouldn't mean "inaccurate" Wink I grit my teeth every time someone does something impossible with a horse (my particular "expert" area) - I can imagine you guys do when you read fight passages. Happy

So, I have some q's regarding my current in-third-draft world-building project - and swordsmanship is my weak area. I hope you gentlemen can help me.

Basically, I have two cultures that have different fighting styles, although as frequent opponents they must obviously adjust their styles to meet the other's effectively.

So, my first question is: how would a person from a culture that fights in a more precise style, say, rapiers/16th C-type stuff, meet an attack from a culture that prefers the "hack and bash" to the "slash"... ?

The second question is: what sort of adjustments would be necessary to the weaponry itself once a culture realised the other used heavier weapons than they, if any?

Pretend I'm a complete ignoramus who knows absolutely nothing about anything - you wouldn't be too far wrong Wink

Many thanks. Happy
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2003 8:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Heather, and welcome!

Of course we don't mind you plunging right in!

Let me see if I can help you out a little, as someone who's specialties are 16th century Italian rapier and 14th century German two handed longsword. (the two fighting styles sound about like what you're after, ironically.)

First off, let me just applaud you for wanting fiction to be believable. Too many authors, especially Sci-Fi/Fantasy, don't really care, and the sword area is one where many authors fail miserably.

Now, for you story, are these two cultures warring, as in fighting full scale battles, or are they duelling, as in one on one encounters? I ask, because you mention the rapier. The rapier was a civilian dueling weapon, and it excelled in a one on one unarmored encounter, and was not designed for battlefield combat. It was designed with the thrust in mind, since a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, and since the rapier was intended for civilian fighting, there was less of a concern about having to deal with other factors, such as multiple attackers or armor (gross generalization there, but you get the idea). In my experience of crossing rapier vs. longsword, I use many voiding tactics against the longsword. What I mean is that I spend most of my time using footwork to avoid the powerful swings so that I can counter afterwards. Many of the rapier's primary techniques don't work as well against a two handed weapon, so good footwork is how you can counter it. You will also see many "disengages", or maneuvers that involve going around the blade rather than opposing it. For the other way around, fighting against the rapier, I try to use the longsword to bind the quick tip out of the way and get in close, as the tip is the main threat of a rapier.

I should point out a common myth though, which is the assumption that a rapier is light while weapons such as a longsword are heavy. All in all, they weigh roughly the same, with many rapiers being heavier than their battlefield cousins. They all typically weigh somewhere in the 2.5 to 3.5 lb range.

Something else I'll just point out (while I'm hogging the podium here Wink ) is the concept of brutish, "hack and bash" fighting vs. finesse fighters. But something I would like to bring up is that just because a culture uses a large weapon, such an axe, a mace, or the German style of longsword, does not mean it has any less finesse. German martial arts are known for their brutal effectiveness, but anyone who has studied their arts also will see a beautiful simplicity, and proper technique really does have a certain finesse to it. Rapier is a very precise weapon, too, and deserves its reputation, but I bring this up simply because in fantasy writing those who use big swords are generally brutish and use strength to make up for lack of skill. Since you mentioned the "hack and bash" style, my opinion is that it is more realistic to make them skilled martial artists that the other culture views as barbaric, regardless of skill level. The more "civilized" culture may even blame their losses on the "barbaric" nature of the fighters, who don't fight "correctly."

Just some thoughts. Take what you want from them, and by all means feel free to ask more questions, as there are many more knowledgable people around here. Happy
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Gary Venable




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PostPosted: Wed 10 Sep, 2003 8:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I am no expert in the subject a historical point would be to look at might be the Scots using the heavier basket hilt swords verses the rapiers that were popular in the south. The basic principle for the rapier swordsman would be to avoid the large slower attacks and respond with quick stratigic strikes that would wear down the oppenent and then go for the kill. The same tactic could be used as the large scale war with one side having smaller elite bands slowly weakening a large invading hoard with tactical strikes. One of the primary rules in warfare is to hit the enemy is were they are weakest.

I would see it more as a change in tactics than a change in weaponry. But, perhaps to say to use ranged weapons (English Longbow vs French Knight) or close formation pikes (Scottish/Swiss pike men vs mounted knights).

Just a few humble ideas.

Gary
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Heather Gent




Location: Queensland, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 2:37 am    Post subject: Fascinating subject!         Reply with quote

Hmmm... I am looking at a full-scale situation where there is hand-to-hand.... so obviously I need to up my research here. I will also have situations where people meet one-on-one. I have gotten "away" with it thus far by saying as little as possible but you can only fake it so far, eh. Wink Battle tactics I don't have too much difficulty with (fortunately I have a father and uncle who are helpful in that area, too), but the hand-to-hand comparison is a difficulty for me. Fortunately, also, fighting isn't the central storyline, yet I still would like to get it right. Happy And I don't really want to use the fall-back of something like "The eagle flows into darkness flowed into cat jumps off a hot dunny roof and the sword sliced cleanly into... blah blah blah" (sorry if I've inadvertantly offended any Robert Jordan fans out there Wink).

Quote:
Something else I'll just point out (while I'm hogging the podium here ) is the concept of brutish, "hack and bash" fighting vs. finesse fighters. But something I would like to bring up is that just because a culture uses a large weapon, such an axe, a mace, or the German style of longsword, does not mean it has any less finesse.


Point well taken. Happy

Probably a better way of explaining what I meant (or rather, intended to mean because I didn't explain it at all, eh *grins*) is that I have been told/read that weapons from, say, the med. era that covers 1100-1250 or so, the weapons were designed more for crushing , bruising and hacking (through chain mail, etc and aiming at bare skin, necks) than cutting/slicing (like getting sword points through the gaps in plate). Gross generalisation of what I was told, and correct me if I'm wrong, of course. *grin*

I have also been led to believe that it is impossible for someone to slice off someone's head (which actually makes sense to me, the spine would catch the blade, surely?). Is this true? And is it also true that if you have two men of equal ability: one with a sword and shield and the other with two swords (yet another SF S&S cliche *rolls eyes*) that the odds are on the sword/shield combination? If so, why?

Quote:
big swords are generally brutish and use strength to make up for lack of skill


Yes *sighs* The Conan the Barbarian type who can't actually move his arms because his arms are too big and keep knocking against his sides. *gack* (sorry - personal dislike there). My longsword fellow is tall and reasonably lean, one shoulder slightly higher than the other. One thing I did manage to pick up from the little I learned (being female) is that brute strength doesn't necessarily win bouts (which is good for me). Women tend to be stronger around the hips than men (in a like comparison), and that's where most of our "power" comes from, I guess. If we had to rely purely on upper body, we'd lose every time. Surely that applies to littler against bigger men, too?

A bit more detail is that I have one lot who are breaking away from the "rapier" users (I use rapier for lack of a better term: you may suggest a better weapon?) and joining forces with the "broad/longsword" users, and the char. is being taught about some of the things she needs to counter. Yet she does, in fact, have more info on her own type of fighting than her "teacher". Apart from the differences in footwork, and being quicker, what would she say to the broadsword user to help him counter the "rapier" user?

Sorry if that's unclear... Confused I really have only done the wee basics and am feeling a mite out of my depth. Happy I've spent 12 years studying the med. era and hadn't really had much interest in swordplay before - although I did teach one of my horses to joust, once... sort of. (hoboy!) Reading this site has piqued my interest more, though.

Quote:
While I am no expert in the subject a historical point would be to look at might be the Scots using the heavier basket hilt swords verses the rapiers that were popular in the south.


That is actually very similar to what I had in mind. And those are good ideas... how would it work for the other side, though, do you think?

Quote:
The more "civilized" culture may even blame their losses on the "barbaric" nature of the fighters, who don't fight "correctly."


Did you read my mind? Wink

My hand weaponry is not set in stone, btw, although I am fairly keen to have a difference, whatever that may be. I am also interested in daggers/knives against swords, but I reckon one thing at a time, eh. Happy

Leads to another q: Has anyone here had bouts against women, and if so, did you have to make any adjustments compared to a fight against a man?
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Ciaran Flanagan




Location: Dublin, Ireland
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No historical info here LOL..

FIrst....I love this picci and It juat happens to be a Guy (me) with a longsword fighting a guy with arapier and dagger. In real battle he would have killed me Im sure.



Secondly, Tho not historical in anyway the final fight in the film Rob Roy. Rob Is using a scottish basket hilt broadsword and his nemisis who's name escapes me at the moment is using a spodroon (sp?) which is very similar to a rapier. There different weapons use very different fighting styles but In my experience from palying as in the picci above I believe the guy with the rapier would inflict serious damage until such a time as the "slower" weapon got a lucky shot in.

Then there is teh school of thaught that ita pples and oranges and that it never happened historically that these would meet in battle..but hey..its your fantasy world so you can have whatever you like fight LOL


Ciaran

Ciaran

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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 5:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

good points...It's interesting that the Scottish baskethilt is one of the few weapons that was used for both duels and in warfare. Targes are a bit more common in the battles- provides alot of good bashing potential. Happy
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Jeff Stewart




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 9:53 am    Post subject: Just some thoughtsÖ         Reply with quote

Broadswords are slow?

Honestly, and without meaning to offend anyone, my first impression was of a sewing machine fighting a lawn mower that can cut and thrust, go to half sword, be inverted like a hammer or used like a spear, and block.

There are many good essays reflecting usage and style comparison both on this site and on the ARMA site.

Another thing to keep in mind is the layered training that went into broader blades. Not only were footwork, timing, and swordplay emphasized; as with the rapier, but high degrees of wrestling and dagger were also practiced in preparation for using the broadsword. Itís just a matter of specialization really. The rapier user would be excellently equipped to deliver a series of quick jabs to systematically disable an opponent while the broadsword user would be equally equipped with the ability to slice through a quick jab and into their opponent in a series of repeating blows.

The description for your longsword guy seems very good. Thereís nothing worse than the Conan stereotype that spends 3 hours flipping his sword around like a circus juggler before throwing a foolishly over-powered blow. Swords are very light and donít require body builders to use them. As in most martial arts, technique, agility, and speed reign supreme.

As for the two swords versus sword and shield, there would be many obvious advantages to the shield user that will vary greatly depending on what type of shield you have in mind and what types of swords the duel wielder was using. I would suggest researching some plates to get a better idea of what period combat had in store. Much of it will surprise you. Just as a quick example: If the guy with two swords were equipped with a falchion and a short sword, he may easily be able to take a guy using sword and shield. On the other hand, lets say the sword and shield guy were using a bucker and a short sword, then he would not only have the ability to punch, cut, deflect, and thrust, but with the small handle of the buckler be able to carry a dagger in the same hand (which was not unheard of by any means) and gain the ability to stab.
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 1:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Venable wrote:
While I am no expert in the subject a historical point would be to look at might be the Scots using the heavier basket hilt swords verses the rapiers that were popular in the south. The basic principle for the rapier swordsman would be to avoid the large slower attacks and respond with quick stratigic strikes that would wear down the oppenent and then go for the kill.


Sorry Gary, but its a common, modern misconception that the typical rapier was "lighter" than the typical baskethilt. Actually, the baskethilt, sideswords, and backswords were typically lighter than rapiers.

But like with so many things, there was tremendous variation. While the typical Scot baskethilt appears to have weighed between 2.25lbs and 2.5lbs, while the typical 1600's rapier would be more like 2.75 to 3lbs, there are surviving teastrainers over 4lbs, and I know of a couple of surviving rapiers lighter than 2.5lbs.

Still, if we're considering "average", the average teastrainer was shorter, lighter, quicker, and more maneuverable than the typical rapier.

As a sidenote, at Benicia this year, there was a bout between a rapierman and a sideswordsman, and the sideswordsman won quickly, both times......... Not that this should be considered the way things "should be", but it did shed a different light on things for at least a couple folks I know of that attended........

swords are fun
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 2:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To continue what Gus and others are saying, I have a bastard sword that is lighter, quicker, more versatile than the typical thrusting rapier. Admittedly it is one of the lightest around (an ATrim DD1611 weighing just over 2 lbs). But, unless my opponent was much more skilled than me, I don't see how the rapier could deal with my bastard.


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Heather Gent




Location: Queensland, Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 3:32 pm    Post subject: Cute pic!         Reply with quote

Quote:
Then there is teh school of thaught that it apples and oranges and that it never happened historically that these would meet in battle..but hey..its your fantasy world so you can have whatever you like fight LOL


This is true, and my world is a new one, not an historical model, however you bring up a good point. While there were certainly different swords around the world at one period of time, the ones that were very different in form and style were separated by distance (say, Japan vs France), and those in constant contact with each other adapted as their enemies developed different armour, etc, so that's probably something I should consider more closely.


Quote:
Another thing to keep in mind is the layered training that went into broader blades. Not only were footwork, timing, and swordplay emphasized; as with the rapier, but high degrees of wrestling and dagger were also practiced in preparation for using the broadsword.


Yes. I have to admit that I've always thought of the broadsword-trained as more of "fighters" than the later styles, but I clocked that up to ignorance. (My historical specialty is the D.A 400s - c1400, Crusades, military orders, but more from the VP of political & personal history than tactics/fighting. I always figured I'd learn that "later". Well, it's now "later". *grins*).

Does anyone disagree with the sewing machine vs lawn mower analogy? (i'd heard of the rapier being described as a "knitting needle" *winks*).

Quote:
but with the small handle of the buckler be able to carry a dagger in the same hand (which was not unheard of by any means) and gain the ability to stab.


I need to visualise that. Exactly how would he hold the dagger - reversed?

Quote:
2.25lbs and 2.5lbs


*mentally converts to metric* That's suprisingly light, only, what, a kilo or so? I'd imagined them being double that. I'm sorry, what do you mean by "teastrainer"? Big Grin

So, in other words, it's not weight, persay, but technique that makes the difference?

So, if you could sum it up in one or two words, what's the major difference in technique between the "raopier" style of fighting and the "long/broadsword" style?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 6:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Heather,

In your search for authenticity you also need to differentiate between civilian and military weapons.

The rapier was primarily a civilian weapon, not a military one. As with most other weapons it was developed to meet a specific need in a specific set of circumstances, which did not include the battlefield. Discussions of "which is best" and "who would win if...." really need to be discarded and ignored in any search for historical accuracy. For information on the specifics of various techniques I second the suggestion of checking out the ARMA website. You'll find many helpful essay there that deal with these types of questions. If your writing a fantasy/SciFi novel you can only take the realisim so far, but the attempt is admirable.

Oh, the term "teastrainer" was a playful name that we adopted in the old days to describe a Scottish Baskethilt, like the term "Kabbagecutter" for the japanese Katana Big Grin

BTW, I stopped reading Jordans Wheel of Time series two or three books ago. I got tired of going through hundreds of pages of verbage with nothing significant happening. It's turning into a literary soap opera.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 6:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gus beat me to it. Baskethilts and sideswords and such are typically lighter than rapiers.

Quote:
It's interesting that the Scottish baskethilt is one of the few weapons that was used for both duels and in warfare.


Actually, most swords were used for both. The rapier happens to be a specialized weapon that is optimal for duelling. But even weapons like poleaxes, maces, and two handers were used both for war and for duelling.

Quote:
So, in other words, it's not weight, persay, but technique that makes the difference?


Absolutely!

Quote:
So, if you could sum it up in one or two words, what's the major difference in technique between the "raopier" style of fighting and the "long/broadsword" style?


Well, it'll take more than one or two words, but to oversimplify: Rapier is almost purely thrust oriented, involving subtle movements of the arm and wrist to gain a geometric advantage of the sword. The sword is held far from the body to gain distance as well. Longsword will have more cutting motions (though there's still plenty of thrusting), and it involves more arm motions to gain the geometric advantages, but at the same time the weapon is held fairly close to the body usually, which give control and leverage to the weapon. Longsword tends to involve a fair amount of closing in to make it difficult for the opponent to use his or her weapon effectively.

As a thought, Heather, for a battlefield weapon that has the air of grace and sophistication, I'd recommend something like a cavalry saber. Here you can have saberists that have trained in formalized fencing sallets, vs. longsword (or whatever medieval weapon you choose) fighters that have been trained as part of their village training, or something to that affect. Since it's a fantasy world, you might be able to pull that off.
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Jeff Stewart




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 6:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I need to visualise that. Exactly how would he hold the dagger - reversed?

This is just the first example that I ran across in my stockpile of plates on disc. Though this is not a buckler, the shield is small enough for it to work nearly the same. The dagger could also be held rightside up and spun to any direction that the shield could be maneuvered to.

Iíve added an inset to help understand the illustration.

Quote:
I have also been led to believe that it is impossible for someone to slice off someone's head (which actually makes sense to me, the spine would catch the blade, surely?). Is this true?

Sorry I didnít respond to this in my last post, the whole dagger thing just had me in the mood for looking up pictures. Iíve also seen footage of someone cutting off a dead mule deerís head before the hunter had cleaned it. It was a nearly flawless and quite impressive cut. The neck of a deer is around two times the size of a human neck and has much denser muscle tissue on average.


Quote:
So, if you could sum it up in one or two words, what's the major difference in technique between the "raopier" style of fighting and the "long/broadsword" style?

The main difference between the two weapons is function. A rapier is a thrusting blade while the cutting sword is for cut and thrust techniques.


Last edited by Jeff Stewart on Thu 11 Sep, 2003 6:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Jeff Stewart




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PostPosted: Thu 11 Sep, 2003 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Argh... Got beaten to the "difference between thing" while playing in Photoshop and searching through plates and not paying attention... Razz
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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2003 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

More on the reverse dagger grip
Though this is not a period painting - it is a depiction of how the dirk was gripped downward behind the targe...



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Fredrik HŲrnell




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2003 6:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Conserning behaeding:

Many swords is capable of this if the cutter is a good one - tecnique and speed (more than brute strenght) is the key.

How often this did occur in a dual or in combat however?
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Ciaran Flanagan




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PostPosted: Fri 12 Sep, 2003 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Im not sure if the comments regarding Rapiers and broadswords being lighter and heavier was in ref to my comment but I was specifically referring to the rapier in the picture as Shown above. I own also a Lutel Rapier and yes, Its as heavy as the H&H and is nowhere like the one in the picture...so basically a rapier is a very very generic term..

Ciaran

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Heather Gent




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PostPosted: Sat 13 Sep, 2003 5:11 pm    Post subject: You guys are amazing!         Reply with quote

Quote:
BTW, I stopped reading Jordans Wheel of Time series two or three books ago. I got tired of going through hundreds of pages of verbage with nothing significant happening. It's turning into a literary soap opera.


Yeah. I didn't bother to buy Book 10, but then, I'm somewhat of a masochist, I reckon, bothering with anything after Book six. I used to be "just finish it, already!!", but I no longer even care where it's heading. Rand has turned into some sort of uber-puppet with no concept of keeping faith with the reader, and I'm tired of the whole "start small and build yourself into some all-powerful being who would have been dealt with by the bad guy earlier if he'd been paying attention with half his brain" thing. I just keep wondering when Stephano Di Mera is going to turn up. Big Grin

The cavalry idea is actually something I was playing with (there is a cavalry component to one of the cultures), although cavalry won't make a real appearance until later (yes, it is a series, but not Jordanesque: stops at 4, and is already planned/mostly written from beginning to end, so no stop/start publishing. It would have been three, but trilogies are an over-done device Wink).

I'm not *too* concerned with real-Earth "historical" accuracy for this one, but technical accuracy (although I am drinking up the historical points as well: I write historicals too, set in MA. Trouble is, they keep trying to turn into fantasies - characters devolp ESP, etc, so I thought I'd better get that out of my system first Wink). However, the point about civilian/battle weaponry is something I hadn't considered, and I will go away and think about it. Happy Besides the sabre suggestion, what would you suggest in place of the "rapier" (still in quotes because that's still not *exactly* what it is, I think... what I'm picturing may have a completely different name *grins*)... another thrusting weapon as opposed to a cutting weapon, I mean?

It's nice to know, however, that one of the original scenes as written *may* not need to be changed too much - I had my "light" sword character overbalancing against the "longsword" character because she keeps trying to over-reach her thrust. (now's time for the pundits to cry "foul!" Big Grin).

Quote:
Rapier is almost purely thrust oriented, involving subtle movements of the arm and wrist to gain a geometric advantage of the sword. The sword is held far from the body to gain distance as well.


A bit like fencing/foils? (sorry, that is probably a stupid question: I keep trying to relate what's being said to what I can reciognise/already know Happy).

Those pics are terrific, Happy, and I will certainly read through the ARMA articles (have read some, but they're quite technical, so I'm spending time looking stuff up as I go, it's a bit slow *grin* Steep learning curve, but gee it's fun Happy).

Right. Now for the clincher:
Would anyone here be prepared to read through the chapters I have close-quarter training/ battles in and point out to me any obvious & stupid mistakes or impossibilities once I'm done with the draft? Bearing in mind that, usually, the books are character-driven (it's not a "typical" Sword-and-Sorcery) and that the battles/training itself aren't the focus, but the busywork-while-speaking/plot, so you may find the actual story a bit... boring?? Mushy?? Who knows, depending on other interests??

I have another book started recently where I'll be needing to learn a small amount about DA & Ancient non-Roman weaponry: completely out of my scope, so there will be more inane questions to come. Happy

I tell you what, though, I left this research until I was writing the last draft, thinking it would be a bit, you know.... over-manly-like and dull (j/k!! mostly, anyhow... Wink) but you guys have really piqued my interest. I'm thinking I should trash my wee collection of miniature swords and just go for the biggies. Big Grin

Hmm. After I win Lotto. Wink

PS. Just so's yu know I am a 'real" writer, not just some girl trying to spin your wheels Wink if you can, pick up the October issue of Aurealis - it should be available in the States. I have an article in that issue. Happy
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sun 14 Sep, 2003 2:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
A bit like fencing/foils?


Well, while the technical side of me wants to disagree, yes, you could say that. They're different on a specific level, but in general, yeah, close enough. The rapier is longer and heavier than a foil, and consequently needs to be used in fewer motions less you tire your arm out.

Quote:
Would anyone here be prepared to read through the chapters I have close-quarter training/ battles in and point out to me any obvious & stupid mistakes or impossibilities once I'm done with the draft? Bearing in mind that, usually, the books are character-driven (it's not a "typical" Sword-and-Sorcery) and that the battles/training itself aren't the focus, but the busywork-while-speaking/plot, so you may find the actual story a bit... boring?? Mushy?? Who knows, depending on other interests??


I'd love to, Heather. Send me a PM.

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It's nice to know, however, that one of the original scenes as written *may* not need to be changed too much - I had my "light" sword character overbalancing against the "longsword" character because she keeps trying to over-reach her thrust. (now's time for the pundits to cry "foul!" ).


Heheh... here's where I call "foul!" Wink Well, not exactly. Is the character with the "light" sword an expert? Trying to over-reach with her thrust is actually a very realistic problem with a novice, or even someone who is moderately skilled. Any one with much experience, however, would not do such a thing as it would leave one blatantly open. To be in such a situation makes me imagine her using a short thrusting weapon, such as a smallsword, in which a case a skilled sword fighter would most likely get in close, using the sword to sweep the tip of the opposing weapon out of the way, then useing the short reach of the sword to her advantage while being so close.

However, a smallsword is another civilian sidearm, so once again, that may not solve your problem.

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Besides the sabre suggestion, what would you suggest in place of the "rapier" (still in quotes because that's still not *exactly* what it is, I think... what I'm picturing may have a completely different name *grins*)... another thrusting weapon as opposed to a cutting weapon, I mean?


Hmmm... Still puzzling over that myself. You see, there were MANY thrusting weapons used on the battlefield, but based off of what you want for your story, it's hard to come up with something that has the "finesse" status of the rapier. My only real suggestion would be the earlier forms of the rapier, what many nowadays would refer to as a "sidesword", or a "cut and thrust" sword. These terms are both misnomers, however, and don't appear to be terms that Renaissance swordsmen used, so I don't know if you want to use either name or not. Nonetheless, this is a weapon that was a light sidearm, usually with a complex hilt, like a rapier, and was often used in a much more thrust oriented style than many other types of single hand swords. (Big generalization.) Italian schools taught it's use with the same sort of "grace" as the rapier, and the weapon was suitable for military use as well as civilian, so that may fit into your story.

A thought: Maybe, since it's a fantasy world, you could use the "sidesword", but call it something relating to the nationality that uses them. That way you're creating something specific to the world, not using an incorrect name, and still basing it on a realistic weapon.
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