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Chris Lampe




Location: United States
Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 211

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Looking for a WMA for solo practice         Reply with quote

I'm trying to become more active and improve my health and I'm considering picking up one of the WMA books to use primarily as an exercise program. I've thought about taking a traditional martial art but I'm not real big on going to classes or working in groups and WMA holds a significant intrinsic interest for me.

My primary interest is in single-hand swords and I'm wondering if any of the commonly available books offer a significant number of solo drills that I can utilize. The books I'm interested in so far:

Medieval Sword and Shield by Wagner & Hand: Chivalry Bookshelf's website doesn't have any sample pages so I don't have any idea what the content is like.

English Swordsmanship by Hand: I read one review that indicates this book may contain a fair number of solo drills but Chivalry Bookshelf's sample pages don't show this.

Sigmund Ringek's Knightly Arts of Combat by Lindholm: Amazon's sample pages show excellent and easy to understand diagrams for I.33 but I don't know how extensive that section is since the book also covers two other styles of fighting.

I know there are several longsword books and I own one (Windsor's) but I don't really have any enthusiasm for the weapon.

Does anyone have any input on these three books or any others that I haven't mentioned? Training tools is also a consideration with the I.33 tools being the easiest to come by and an English backsword trainer being more of a problem.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 3:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you read all the reviews in our bookstore?

Medieval Sword & Shield: The Combat System of Royal Armouries MS I.33

English Swordsmanship: The True Fight of George Silver

Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art Of The Longsword

That's a start and I'd encourage others to provide additional input based on the needs you expressed.

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Chris Lampe




Location: United States
Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 211

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Have you read all the reviews in our bookstore?

Medieval Sword & Shield: The Combat System of Royal Armouries MS I.33

English Swordsmanship: The True Fight of George Silver

Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art Of The Longsword

That's a start and I'd encourage others to provide additional input based on the needs you expressed.


No, I haven't. I've spent something like five years scouring over what I thought was every inch of this website but somehow the book review sections has eluded me. Thanks!
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Reading list: 34 books

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Looking for a WMA for solo practice         Reply with quote

Chris Lampe wrote:
I'm trying to become more active and improve my health and I'm considering picking up one of the WMA books to use primarily as an exercise program. I've thought about taking a traditional martial art but I'm not real big on going to classes or working in groups and WMA holds a significant intrinsic interest for me.

My primary interest is in single-hand swords and I'm wondering if any of the commonly available books offer a significant number of solo drills that I can utilize. The books I'm interested in so far:

Medieval Sword and Shield by Wagner & Hand: Chivalry Bookshelf's website doesn't have any sample pages so I don't have any idea what the content is like.

English Swordsmanship by Hand: I read one review that indicates this book may contain a fair number of solo drills but Chivalry Bookshelf's sample pages don't show this.

Sigmund Ringek's Knightly Arts of Combat by Lindholm: Amazon's sample pages show excellent and easy to understand diagrams for I.33 but I don't know how extensive that section is since the book also covers two other styles of fighting.

I know there are several longsword books and I own one (Windsor's) but I don't really have any enthusiasm for the weapon.

Does anyone have any input on these three books or any others that I haven't mentioned? Training tools is also a consideration with the I.33 tools being the easiest to come by and an English backsword trainer being more of a problem.


I have all three books, and I don't believe any of them have many solo drills in them. For example, in Hand's book on Silver, the only things he does without a partner are demonstrations of the foot work and the basic cuts. In fact, I, personally, believe that there is little valuable solo work that can be done in WMA other than pell work. You can practice guard transitions and simple cuts, but that's very basic stuff. Most historical European systems are really about the bind--how to get into one and what to do when you're there--and so don't have a lot of things (again, always excepting pell work) to practice meaningfully by yourself. Some folks do a lot of cutting the air in free-form patterns, so you might enjoy that, but again, I, personally, don't think it all that valuable. Having said all of that, you might look into some of the very late manuals; I know that someone found evidence for air-cutting practice in some of them.

Incidentally, the Lindholm book does not contain *any* I.33. It attempts to demonstrate Lignitzer's 6 plays of the buckler as written in the Ringeck MS, but that's the only buckler work in it.

Regards,
Hugh
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Andrew Maxwell




Location: New Zealand
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you considered the Bolognese material? It has lots of solo assaults. Steve Reich and Tom Leoni both have books and online material out.

see http://www.freelanceacademypress.com/complete...dsman.aspx

Men do not care how nobly they live, but only how long, although it is within the reach of every man to live nobly, but within no man's power to live long. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You could try some of the Bolognese style such as Manciolino which has a number of assaulto (series of moves in an attack) that you could do repetiviely... I think someone posted some on you tube a while ago...
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

jinx...

here is what I was referring to... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6Ws3rZO9Is
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Chris Lampe




Location: United States
Joined: 07 Mar 2005

Posts: 211

PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh,

Thanks for the information on the three books I mentioned. I realized later that the buckler material in the Ringeck book wasn't actually I.33.

Christopher and Andrew, thanks for pointing me toward the Bolognese material. I was aware that such a thing existed but I know nothing about it. The YouTube video is interesting as I've considered Tai chi for the sword forms and that doesn't look all that disimilar. I'll do some research into the Bolognese school(s) of swordsmanship.
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Neil Langley




Location: Stockport, UK
Joined: 23 Jan 2006

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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find that Medieval Sword and Shield is a rather stilted interpretation of I.33 (indeed Stephen hand has acknowledged the shortcomings of the interpretation in his article for Spada 2 so I hope he will agree with this). For a great take on the dynamics of I.33 I can heartily recommend you see Dave Rawling's Boar’s Tooth DVDs (http://fightmedieval.com/store), which focus on a comparatively narrow set of wards, but show the basic mechanics of I.33 very effectively indeed. Whilst not adding much in the way of solo work these DVDs will really help you in terms of correct movement and balance!

By the way, if you are interested in the wider aspects of sword and buckler work, not just I.33, then Hugh Knight's own book based on the 15th century masters is well worth adding to your collection too (as indeed are all Hugh's works - which are available from www.lulu.com).

Neil
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Hugh Knight




Location: San Bernardino, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 5:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Neil Langley wrote:
By the way, if you are interested in the wider aspects of sword and buckler work, not just I.33, then Hugh Knight's own book based on the 15th century masters is well worth adding to your collection too (as indeed are all Hugh's works - which are available from www.lulu.com).


Thanks for the plug, Neil!

Regards,
Hugh
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Craig Shackleton




Location: Ottawa, Canada
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 8:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Honestly, if you are looking for solo drills with single sword, I'd go to Joachim Meyer's Kunst des Fechtens, available in translation by Jeffrey Forgeng. Even though (or perhaps because) it was published in 1570, the drills stand up very well and build in complexity as you learn them. While the largest single section is on longsword, he has significant chapters on dussack (essentially a messer trainer) and rapier, with specific solo drills for both.

I.33 does not lend itself to solo drill, regardless of which interpretation you follow, and I don't believe that either the Hand/Wagner book nor the Rawlings video give particular guidance on solo drills. I also feel pretty strongly that both of these interpretations were published early in their development process and do not hold up to extended use or scrutiny. As full disclosure though, I should admit that I have my own extensive interpretation of I.33 that differs greatly from both of theirs.

I also feel that Hand's Silver book also doesn't really cover solo drill, although otherwise it is in every way superior to his I.33 book.

Ottawa Swordplay
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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 8:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Somehow, only half my post showed up. I'll add the rest here:

Lignitzer's sword and buckler material seems more suited to solo drill than I.33, and Hugh's book touches on this. I like Hugh's book. Thetre' is more paired work than solo, though, obviously

The other big single sword source I like is Leckuchner's messer. Agilitas TV's video is really good, although I'm not an authority on the material. There are some solo drills, but again most of th material is for pairs.

Overall, I echo Hugh's comments; solo drill can only take you so far, and really, not very far. Even if you just want to do this for exercise, you should find a training partner, or better yet, a competent instructor.

Good luck n your quest!

Ottawa Swordplay
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 12 Oct, 2010 10:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like to second what Craig Shackleton wrote about long sword. I think it's better suited for an exercise regimine, particulary because both of your arms are employed when delivering strikes and blows. Meyer is a good manual to work from, since he includes cutting drills which Craig mentioned.

Go with the long sword.
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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 5:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my opinion, the best WMA solo stuff available for exercise would be the stuff for Spadone/Montante (i.e. the very large two-handed swords). The sword is quite big and will be a good workout--plus, it is historical as some of the period authors talk about it being good for fitness (e.g. Alfieri).

You can get a wooden trainer from Purpleheart Armoury here and Eric Myers and Steve Hick have made a translation of Figueyredo's material which is freely available here from the Oakeshott Institute.

Steve

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Steve's suggestion is excellent. You could also simply do longsword exercise (Italian, German) but with a larger sword. I practice occassionally with a very heavy sword to get a good workout. Certainly, some later German sources, such as the so-called Goliath Fechtbuch, show true two-handed swords being used with Liechtenauer's techniques.

Poleaxe and/or halberd drills are also a good workout. We have some (though not a lot) of solo work on our poleaxe instructional DVD.

Cheers,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:
I.33 does not lend itself to solo drill, regardless of which interpretation you follow...

Craig

I must disagree. As Stewart Feil of True Edge Academy noted a couple of years ago when he was in ARMA, if you start making cuts and thrusts with sword & buckler you will quickly move into and out of all of the seven guards of I.33. Cutting to the guards in their order makes a very nice solo drill. The first four guards are but the result of a left and right zorn above the buckler and a left and right zorn below the buckler. Without good knowledge of the relationship between cuts and guards any pair drills will suffer.

Respectfully,

Ran Pleasant
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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 9:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Pleasant wrote:
Craig Shackleton wrote:
I.33 does not lend itself to solo drill, regardless of which interpretation you follow...

Craig

I must disagree.[...]

I agree with Ran, in fact, I think that every martial art benefits from solo drilling--it's just that beginners might not be able to pull out meaningful solo drills out of a system on their own (except that striking and stepping is about the simplest solo drill there is and at the same time one of the most important ones). Therefore, some material lends itself to beginners better than others. I recommended the Montante material because it has the benefit of being freely available and specifically presented for solo drilling--that is, you follow the directions as-is without extrapolating drills from short plays the way you would for some other systems.

Also, as Christian said, polearms are a great workout (and wooden ones are relatively cheap, too).

Steve

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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 11:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a derailment, but just to defend my earlier statement, yes, all sword arts require some solo drill, but most of the techniques in I.33 cannot be meaningfully practiced without a partner. Also, I specifically meant that neither Hand and Wagner's book nor Rawling's video direct you as to how to do any significant amount of solo drill.

As far as cutting through the seven wards, it does make a nice little drill, but it doesn't teach us anything about I.33. I suspect this exact drill was essentially a kata that was taught to the "common fencers" that our friend Clerus Lutegerus so often refers to. But since the manual never once instructs us to cut directly from out of distance from a ward, and actually ignores how to fight from several of the wards, I would contend that the manual doesn't support the use of that particular dill, and the drill doesn't teach the techniques actually laid down in the manuscript.

I understand that my contention is not widely accepted. I am happy to discuss it further, and welcome any evidence that contradicts my beliefs, but in another thread, please. I won't respond in this thread to any further discussion about the specifics of Clerus Lutegerus' system, I just wanted to clarify why I said that it does not suit solo drill.

On a separate and more on topic note, I agree with the comments about Montante, which I know little about, except that it's a big sword, and that the source material seems to include solo drills specifically. Nice call!

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Craig,

I see what you're driving at. Indeed, there are no solo drills *inherent* in I.33 per se. In general, I.33 is a pedagogy for a series of decisions that are made in a fight, and not a primer on how to fight with cutting swords with bucklers. As Sean Hayes has aptly observed, I.33 is a great lesson plan, but very short on technical/mechanical details (how do I step, close measure, etc.)

However, an ultimately meaningful interpretation of I.33 would have to have such drills, I feel.

To a lesser extent though, the same solo drill critique could be leveled at Liechtenauer or Fiore; such drills must be evolved out of an interpretation - they're not inherent in the material itself. Meyer is quite different: he explicitly gives you cutting exercises to perform solo.

As a bit of a sidebar, but perhaps more germane to the thread at hand: solo exercises can also be drawn out of partnered actions. I do this all the time - 'shadow box' through a play without a partner. I get a lot of exercise doing this, and often do some 'first pass' interpretation in this fashion.

Cheers,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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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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Steven Reich




Location: Arlington, VA
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Oct, 2010 12:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:
As far as cutting through the seven wards, it does make a nice little drill, but it doesn't teach us anything about I.33. I suspect this exact drill was essentially a kata that was taught to the "common fencers" that our friend Clerus Lutegerus so often refers to. But since the manual never once instructs us to cut directly from out of distance from a ward, and actually ignores how to fight from several of the wards, I would contend that the manual doesn't support the use of that particular dill, and the drill doesn't teach the techniques actually laid down in the manuscript.

I actually think that cutting through the seven wards shows us a lot about the system of I.33 if we consider that correctly forming the wards, attacking from them, and finishing in them are fundamentals for that system. Now I understand that doing all of that doesn't really teach much about an overbind, but it does teach you about a lot of the motions that get you into an overbind and it teaches you to move your body correctly (i.e. so that your sword and buckler remain in correct position as you perform various actions). While cutting through the wards and stepping properly is conceptually simple, "simple" does not necessarily equate with "easy". That said, there are parts of I.33 that just don't exist outside of paired practice, but that can be said about pretty much any system of swordsmanship; solo drills are an important part of classical fencing, but you'll never learn how to execute an expulsion or fianconata with them. With the proper application of solo drills, you actually increase the productivity of your pair drills because you spend less time worrying about what your hands and feet are doing and more time concentrating on the changing tactical relationship with your partner (i.e. your relative positions, timing, and distance).

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
As a bit of a sidebar, but perhaps more germane to the thread at hand: solo exercises can also be drawn out of partnered actions. I do this all the time - 'shadow box' through a play without a partner. I get a lot of exercise doing this, and often do some 'first pass' interpretation in this fashion.

Not really a sidebar at all, since most of the surviving material for systems doesn't include specific solo drills--Iberian Montante, Bolognese, and Meyer being notable exceptions.

Steve

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