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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 2:18 am    Post subject: So Now I'm Trying the Rapier         Reply with quote

As seen here: http://www.youtube.com/user/SkinnyGuy31#p/a/u/0/g0bPkolJuP4

"This may be proof of ADD or something, but I've switched from German longsword to an attempt at some rapier work. I start with a technique from Capo Ferro (also German) and then try Salvator Fabris (Italian). I'll go back to the longsword stuff soon enough though. I just have a short attention span and like to bounce around. Big Grin

It comes to me a little easier than the longsword work I think, given that I just got the sucker today and never touched one before. It's a Hanwei Bone Handled Swept Hilt Rapier, try saying that five times fast.

I think it is a little whippy since you can see the blade droop in the video and I have heard a lot about how historical rapiers were usually rather stiff. Because of the balance, it also seems very light compared to my other swords... at first. Holding it out at arms-length repeatedly gets a little old. I hasten to clarify that this feeling comes from the weight being largely in the hilt. It is only 5 ounces less than the Hanwei War Sword I show in my other video. It is largely a myth that rapiers were much lighter than the swords that came before them.

Disclaimer: I have, as mentioned above, never done this before and have had no official training. I welcome any useful advice. I intend to keep at this and upload a bigger video with more techniques in the future. Offer subject to limited terms and conditions. See participating stores for details.

Oh, and that is Blue Oyster Cult, Veterans of the Psychic Wars, in the background. Next time I'll turn it up so the audience can hear my bad/great taste in music."

So, as before with my attempt at German Longsword, I am posting here in the hopes that people will give me some advice. I only did two moves so picking it apart should be a little easier.
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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 6:14 am    Post subject: Re: So Now I'm Trying the Rapier         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:
I think it is a little whippy since you can see the blade droop in the video and I have heard a lot about how historical rapiers were usually rather stiff.

Historical rapiers varied in their stiffness, some were rather flexible and others were quite stiff. While the rapier you have it a little "whippier" than I like, it certainly won't prevent you from learning historical techniques. Generally, training rapiers can be quite flexible without being "whippy" if the blade is tapered (I've had excellent results in the regard from Darkwood Armory). The rapier you have will get you pretty far.

Colt Reeves wrote:
Disclaimer: I have, as mentioned above, never done this before and have had no official training. I welcome any useful advice. I intend to keep at this and upload a bigger video with more techniques in the future.

The one thing you absolutely must practice so that it is ingrained as a habit is the correct order of movement when lunging. All of the 17th century Italian sources are in agreement in this, so we don't have to get into different interpretations. That is, you must extend your arm before stepping forward with your front foot.

I have a video I made of myself about 2 years ago showing the "Capoferro" lunge and recovery:
Slow Capoferro Lunge | YouTube Version
In this video, I am performing the lunge slowly so that the viewer can see all of the various details. However, in practice (i.e. against an opponent), it should be explosive and performed as fast as you can while still under control.

Also, here is a video of a "Fabris-style" advance and retreat:
Advance-Retreat | YouTube Version
Note how the weight is predominantly on the back leg (as per the texts) and there is very little movement except that which is necessary to perform the steps.

Finally, here is a video of a bad advance and retreat
Bad Advance-Retreat | YouTube Version
I have exaggerated the motions somewhat to illustrate what not to do. Notice that I bob up and down on every step. The step should be a smooth motion. What I didn't show (but probably should have) is the tendency some have to learn the body more and less forward with each step.

Steve


Last edited by Steven Reich on Sat 21 Aug, 2010 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Glennan Carnie




Location: UK
Joined: 23 Aug 2006

Posts: 289

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to say I'm really disappointed to see this thread.

Just one week ago you posted a video of yourself attempting some German longsword techniques, asking for criticism. A lot of very knowledgeable, very talented people went out of their way to offer you constructive criticism.

And now, a mere week later, you have decided to try the rapier, because "It comes to me a little easier than the longsword work I think, given that I just got the sucker today and never touched one before" (Ummm... no it doesn't.)

It would have been nice to have seen a video from you saying "I've been practising what you pointed out to me; have I improved?"

Fencing and instant gratification are not comfortable bedfellows. If you want to get better - with any weapon - it means putting in practice. And that means doing lots and lots of boring stuff, like footwork drills. The basic flaws identified in your technique will take you months - if not years - of training to get rid of. You can't get better just by asking for comments.

I'm afraid if you're not prepared to put the effort in you'll always look like a kid swinging his sword around in his bedroom.

Others may not see it this way (and that's good, because I'm not renowned for my generosity and I'd like to think there are still some good-hearted people in this world) but I see this as an insult to all those who offered to help you.
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Jim Mearkle




Location: Colonie, NY
Joined: 20 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to agree with Glennan. Pick one, stick to it, learn it, then if you want to branch out, you can, but I suspect trying to learn the basics of two different systems will only slow you down, and possibly lead to bad habits.

It takes 300-500 repetitions of a motion to really learn it, but if you learn it wrong, it then takes 3000-5000 repetitions to unlearn and relearn it correctly.

Without instruction from someone who knows what they are doing, you're almost certain to pick up bad habits. If there are any WMA schools near you, look into what they offer. If there is a longsword school near you, go that route. If there is a rapier school, do that. If you are lucky enough to have both, try three months of one, then three months at the other, then pick one and stick to it.

Here are some lists of WMA clubs and schools:

Jim
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 10:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jim Mearkle wrote:
I have to agree with Glennan


Ditto.

The rapier is a great weapon and a worthy pursuit. I hope you stick with it. Or go back to longsword and stick with that. Or stick with both. As long as you stick with something and put in the work.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 1:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My apologies, I did not mean to insult. I have been working on applying the advice I was given concerning the longsword, but wanted to play with my new toy (as noted I just received it yesterday).

Concerning nearby schools, I already looked into that and the nearest is a 45 minute plane ride followed by a 22 minute drive (which would obviously be a rental or taxi, since I don't know anyone over there). Back home it's a two-three hour drive if I remember correctly. Neither are impossible, but both take up time and money and if I go for the three months you recommend I would have to do that during break two semesters from now and skip working or find a local job. I'm sorry, I realize I can't learn this from Youtube and whathaveyou, but at this particular time and place it is simply the easiest option and I'll admit I am lazy.

Let me ask you this (I am serious and not ranting): Given my apparent lack of dedication, do you recommend forgetting about the swords and simply putting them aside until such time I as go out and find a teacher? Would you simply prefer I do not bother the board and waste your time? Do you feel I am misrepresenting myself as someone who intends to practice six hours a day?


Again, I do not wish to insult or anything, I spent probably twenty minutes here looking this post over and debating whether to submit it. If you feel I am not worthy of your advice or treat it too lightly I will not ask for it in the future.
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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt,

Part of being young is that you waste time you'll wish you could have back when you're older (speaking from personal experience). I don't personally see anything wrong with meandering to see what draws you (i.e. what type of swordsmanship)--at some point, if you decide to get serious, you'll figure out what you have to do.

While the ideal is to have personal instruction, even in the case that you do, your fundamentals will be learned and reinforced by much solo practice. If you learn to correctly advance, retreat, lunge, and recover on your own, then when you do get a chance to take lessons, your time will be more productive.

The great thing about the rapier is that you're far less likely to destroy your ceiling or furniture or accidentally hit anyone when practicing indoors as compared to practicing indoors with the longsword. I have to echo what Michael said--keep practicing. Of course, when you first pick up the sword, you want to use it (i.e. fence). However, if you stick with it long enough, you start to see what else there is to studying swordsmanship--an unending series of drills and practice. While this might not seem appealing initially, at some point, you'll grow to appreciate the physical and mental challenge of the more "mundane" aspects of your art (and you'll realize that they aren't actually mundane).

I hope that you'll pick one or the other (or both) and stick with it. Not out of any disappointment on my part, but because I think that that is how you get everything out of swordsmanship that it has to offer...

Steve
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Michael Edelson




Location: New York
Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:
My apologies, I did not mean to insult. I have been working on applying the advice I was given concerning the longsword, but wanted to play with my new toy (as noted I just received it yesterday).


I don't think anyone was insulted, I certainly wasn't. I speak from the perspective of a teacher, and sometimes that means I am pedantic and annoying. Happy

Quote:

Concerning nearby schools, I already looked into that and the nearest is a 45 minute plane ride followed by a 22 minute drive (which would obviously be a rental or taxi, since I don't know anyone over there). Back home it's a two-three hour drive if I remember correctly. Neither are impossible, but both take up time and money and if I go for the three months you recommend I would have to do that during break two semesters from now and skip working or find a local job. I'm sorry, I realize I can't learn this from Youtube and whathaveyou, but at this particular time and place it is simply the easiest option and I'll admit I am lazy.


I don't think that means you're lazy, those shchools are obviously too far away from you. However, there are distance learning programs. MEMAG has one (see their website). And many people in this community have been adopted by a remote teacher and made just one trip to that teacher (or paid for that teacher to come to them) and then practiced what they were shown (and then repeated the process every year or couple of years or whatever). Another option is to attend seminars and events. That will give you a great start that you can then build upon (but choose your instructors carefully). Steven might know if there are any distance learning type things with the rapier, should that appeal to you more.

Obviously working under a remote teacher or just going to seminars sucks compared to attending a regular school (all other things being equal) but there are people who've accomplished much in this way.

Where are you located? Someone might know of someone a lot closer to you that doesn't advertise.

Quote:
Let me ask you this (I am serious and not ranting): Given my apparent lack of dedication, do you recommend forgetting about the swords and simply putting them aside until such time I as go out and find a teacher? Would you simply prefer I do not bother the board and waste your time? Do you feel I am misrepresenting myself as someone who intends to practice six hours a day?


No. And who said you were wasting anyone's time? I post here for my own amusement and in the hope that I can help someone. If I can do both, great, if only one, that's okay too.

And, last but not least, who says you have to be serious about this stuff? These are swords for cyring out loud. They are toys, and this is a hobby, no matter how seriuosly you take it. Enjoy yourself, and don't listen to anyone who tells you to do something you don't enjoy.

I enjoy feeling miserable and injuring myself to further my obsolete martial skills. Does that sound normal to you? Happy

Do what makes you happy, just be honest with yourself and others about it.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

Byakkokan Dojo
http://newyorkbattodo.com/
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt: If you have a passion for it, go for it, but you may stumble around a bit before you find focus and know what you want.

Those who are " serious " trainers are serious because they care about getting better and have put in the time needed to get better but at the bottom of it all they have to follow their hearts and do something they care about: No one keeps putting in the work if they don't eventually get something out of it and that may be just having fun or the feeling of having worked hard and attained some goal or skill or even if they never get good at it performance wise they are getting knowledge they value about how it was done. ( You are the final judge in choosing the goal you set yourself ).

The tedious stuff seems tedious in part because initially it all seems the same whether you are doing it well or badly because without a lot of practice and study one can't tell the difference between good execution of a technique and a sloppy approximation of a technique.


I'm with Michael in that nobody forced me to post and give an opinion: If it helps you good and I'm glad, but I guess I post first for my own satisfaction and because I enjoy the discussions and I wasn't insulted or offended. Wink Cool

I'm not a teacher but I can also be pedantic and annoying and verbose. Wink Razz Laughing Out Loud Cool

( Note: At the same time Glennan is absolutely entitled to his opinion, and although I wouldn't be crushed by it, reflecting on his opinion and taking is opinion seriously is worth while. Everyone we meet is like a mirror, not necessarily a true mirror, but we can always learn something from the way someone else has perceived us ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

Posts: 112

PostPosted: Sat 21 Aug, 2010 11:17 pm    Post subject: Re: So Now I'm Trying the Rapier         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:

...
I think it is a little whippy since you can see the blade droop in the video ...
Disclaimer: I have, as mentioned above, never done this before and have had no official training. I welcome any useful .


With my own disclaimer that I am essentially an interested bystander with the rapier: It does seem your blade has a bit of flex on the thrust, but I wonder if this is not (in part) an artifact of your tensing up at the end of the extension of your arm? It is hard to tell from the video, but I think if you try to relax more and 'stab' less you will not see quite such a pronounced wobble in your blade. Locking up your arm/muscle is something to avoid - I can get my rapier to flex a bit if I do this (actually I can even get a fairly stiff longsword to do it too), but the problem more or less disappears on a positive, flowing, less jerky thrust.

One remedy may be to try thrusts against a fixed target rather than an imaginary opponent. If you do not have it, I would recommend you have a look a Guy Windsor's 'The Duellists' Companion' for advice on practicing the thrust (edit: watch out for 'breaking the wrist' too - 30 odd seconds into your video).

Neil
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 10:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I thank you again for any and all criticism and advice. I can see where you are coming from Glennan, and I apologize again.

Just to clarify my position though, I have ordered two longsword blunts for safer training, Christian Henry Tobler's Fighting with the German Longsword, and The Longsword of Johannes Leckuchner DVD. Concerning the rapier, all I have ordered is a blunt so I can switch out the blades.

Despite my earlier flippant tone my main focus has been and continues to be German Longsword. So I guess what I am saying is that if you are insulted that I am taking advice and criticism for granted, it isn't that of the longsword I am taking lightly, it is that of the rapier. That doesn't change the insult, but it changes the target a little.



Michael Edelson wrote:
Quote:
Where are you located? Someone might know of someone a lot closer to you that doesn't advertise.


Violating my general rule of not revealing specifics online: Hilo HI. Nearest that I know of is an ARMA group of unknown size on another island, hence the plane flight.

And again:
Quote:
I enjoy feeling miserable and injuring myself to further my obsolete martial skills. Does that sound normal to you?

Not really, but who wants to be normal anyway? (I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who could honestly claim to be normal. There's a girl back home who says she is, but...)
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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Aug, 2010 11:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is turning into quite an interesting thread.

I must agree with Glennan on this one,pick a weapon(s) and stick with it. I am very knowledgeable in rapier fencing,as I have been both studying and practicing (and lately teaching) at my local school the Diamond Rose Academie,for over four years.This weapon is amazing,and I wholly recommend you study it.There are so many things you can learn;French, German ,Spanish ,and Italian styles of fighting,using rapier in combination with buckler,cloak,dagger,brace.....the possibillities for learning are endless! After four years I have just begun to scratch the surface.In other words,exactly what Glennan wrote previously ...."fencing and instant gratification are not comfortable bedfellows". Nicely put man. Wink

You really didn't do too bad for having never picked up a rapier. What Mr Reich wrote about extending your sword totally before moving is crucial.If you lunge with a bent arm and your opponent lunges fully extended ....it's off to Davy Jones locker for you Big Grin
Though not as important and more as a matter of opinion,you will get far better tip control with such a fast sword if you hold it with your palm towards the sky(suppination).Also ,I wouldn't recommend squarring up so much on your recovery;it leaves you wide open to sneaky counterattacks.
Just keep in mind that everything in rapier fencing is fluid and efficient.You aren't bashing skulls,you're poking holes.Never move more than necessary to send your enemy to his grave.Congrats on your new sword , I hope it's put to good use.Any questions or comments... go for it.

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Colt Reeves





Joined: 09 Mar 2009

Posts: 466

PostPosted: Mon 23 Aug, 2010 1:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I should make sure to put a qualifier on my statement about taking the rapier advice lightly. By lightly I mean relative to the longsword. It will by no means be ignored or unpracticed. I'm sure many of you have preferences for certain weapons or styles despite practicing with several.
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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Mon 23 Aug, 2010 6:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Isaac H. wrote:
What Mr Reich wrote

Oh geeze, just call me 'Steve'--otherwise, I might start thinking I'm important Happy

Steve
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Isaac H.




Location: Northern California
Joined: 06 Jun 2010
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PostPosted: Fri 27 Aug, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

well now I certainly don't want to be guilty of ego boosting.....Mr Reich Razz

Don't worry,you are officially "Steve" from now on.

Wounds of flesh a surgeons skill may heal...

But wounded honor is only cured with steel.

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Each of us should please his neighbor for his good ,to build him up.
Romans 15:1-2
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Michael R. Black





Joined: 24 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Aug, 2010 6:40 am    Post subject: checking out different styles         Reply with quote

I'm only a novice swordperson, but I did study shotokan karate for roughly 25 years, with some teaching thrown in along the way. Also did a little aikido and judo.

I think it is good to check out a few different styles/arts before committing to one.

michael
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