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Alen L




Location: Ljubljana, SLovenia
Joined: 20 May 2010

Posts: 63

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 8:15 am    Post subject: On sparring gloves and sore fingers         Reply with quote

Hello everyone. Here's a topic practitioners of WMA can relate to, I imagine: getting hit on the fingers. It's helluva annoying. I practice the German school of longsword (currently focusing on Meyer), and I tend to get hit on the fingers every couple of weeks. It is true that when the for is correct, and when i do things properly, that does not happen. However, when it does, the punishment is disporportionate to the crime, especially in sparring. Thing is, when i get hit a couple of times, I become reluctant, so I get hit even more often. So, I decided i shall do everything i can to protect my fingers. So far, i have found two things that work:

One, sword with a ring on the guard. Works wonders in zwerch, for instance.

Second, good sparring gloves. Now, this is a problem... I've tried many gloves, but none of them were prefect. They either had the fingers insufficiently padded (leaon paul) or limited movement (mostly of the thumb, lacross gloves, for instance). So I decided to risk 60 eur (with postage), and see if this would work:

http://www.thetimeseller.com/product.aspx?p=2...11&l=2

When i first tried them on, I thought them pretty good for sparring, still not quite what i wanted, though. The protection seemed great, but the thumb was one-piece and a bit stiff. Still, I worked with them. With some effort, i could do all the strikes with them, though the thumb did give me a bit of a problem. The protection, however, was awesome. A very nice, useful detail is that the side of the index finger is also padded.

Now, here's the good part: it seems that, with use, the leather on the thumb softened up, so now it gives me almost no problem (have the gloves for less than 2 months), and the protection is still awesome. It happened once or twice that i got a direct hit, and though it still hurt a bit, the pain was gone in a minute and no finger was swollen or anything.

Now, the downsides: While most of the gloves are leather, the few in-between parts are simply covered with some cheap plastic-like material, which peels away after a few days. A cosmetic thing, but still a bit annoying.

The other thing is that one of the padded segments was not sown properly on one side, so the thread let loose. So far, it hasn't effected functionality, but I believe it will require some work in the future.

Still, these are by far the best swordsman gloves i've ever tried, though still not perfect. Close enough, though. I'd say I'd give them a 8,5/10

Any other glove recommendations?
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Allen Foster





Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 244

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been studying the WMA glove problem for a while and have even conducted some informal polls about where people are getting hit.

To make a very long story short, we found that most (80%) of the bad injuries (broken bones and smashed fingers), happened in four different areas of the hands. essentially the outside exposed fingers. The worst injuries in order of most frequent to least frequent were :

1) The thumb on the lead sword hand including the thumb metacarpal.
2) The forefinger on the lead sword hand.
3) The little finger on the lead hand including the metacarpal.
4) The last two finders on the rear hand including the pinkie metacarpal.

I too practice Meyer and value the need for good dexterity in order to execute some of the complex handworks. Therefore, I am playing with ideas of taping hardened protection to the areas above and wearing a lighter gloves over them. Right now I am splinting my finders with popsicle sticks with a method we call "Dutch Knuckles". This method was invented by Arnoet Stahlenberg (Netherlands) so he could fight with a injured hand at the World Open Championships in Germany last year. The splints disperse the force of the blow just enough to help prevent some of the injuries I usually get. While popsicle splints are certainly not the answer to our glove problems, it does help for now while we try to come up with a more standardized HEMA pro gear.

I've never tried the gloves you mentioned.

"Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face."
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Eric Hejdström




Location: Visby, Sweden
Joined: 13 Mar 2007

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't found any rally good gloves either. Depending och what type of sparring you do different ones may work well enough. When I've used shinais for sparring, most kinds of lacrosse gloves work just fine. For sparring with federschwert the ones with scales seem to work ok. I don't think there's a really good glove that fits WMA/HEMA. I know that Wilhelm Schütz (who is a member of this forum) is trying to make some good ones with kydex. Ask him.
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
Joined: 17 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How about a pair of well constructed Visby or belled cuff finger gauntlets? Would this restrict your mobility too much?

I'm interested to hear forum member's experience with historically accurate gauntlets as I have my first WMA class tonight and will need some form of hand protection eventually.

...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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James Arlen Gillaspie
Industry Professional



Location: upstate NY
Joined: 10 Nov 2005

Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 11:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gauntlets have to made with proper ergonomic understanding to give full mobility; it is certainly not enough to ape the shape of period hand protection. An example would be the classic 15th century Italian heavy cavalry gauntlet. It is typically concluded that, since the gauntlets made by MODERN smiths have limited mobility, the ORIGINALS could not work very well, either. But how would you know if you had never handled a real gauntlet?
jamesarlen.com
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find the biggest injury in our salle is from pinky finger hits. I used to get them a lot but have since gotten fewer when use proper guard alignment and cutting angles.

I think you will never get the perfect glove. I've even seen injuries when using metal gauntlets so finger injuries will happen. My view is a good glove "deadens" the force of the blow but doesn't prevent the full force of the blow from the hit.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryce Felperin wrote:
I find the biggest injury in our salle is from pinky finger hits. I used to get them a lot but have since gotten fewer when use proper guard alignment and cutting angles.

I think you will never get the perfect glove. I've even seen injuries when using metal gauntlets so finger injuries will happen. My view is a good glove "deadens" the force of the blow but doesn't prevent the full force of the blow from the hit.


I think in 4 years it happened to me once on the pinky and I did it to someone else maybe 2 to 4 times ..... luck or skills or the fact that our group emphasized control and a no touch system ??? Mostly stop hits when someone was careless about just leaving their hands out there or where out-timed.

Mostly one wouldn't deliberately aim for the hands but a golden opportunity might present itself for hitting the hands that was so compelling that one took the shot without even thinking about it.

Good control does help keep the accidental hits to the hands and fingers less serious than they would be if one went all out with maximum aggression but the combination of both people misjudging distance can sabotage even the best control intentions.

I did buy these gloves and they do seem to give decent protection to the hand and fingers unless one is very unlucky and a hit happens just at the joint between the thicker padding:
http://revival.us/kevlar-reinforcedlightsparringgloves.aspx

They where very stiff initially but became more flexible with time but they still reduce one's dexterity to a degree but I would generally recommend them. There was one small failure in the stitching between two fingers where they connect to the palm but this hasn't gotten worse ..... about 1/2" of broken thread but not a real problem.

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





Joined: 17 Feb 2008
Reading list: 4 books

Posts: 244

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 2:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
How about a pair of well constructed Visby or belled cuff finger gauntlets? Would this restrict your mobility too much?

I'm interested to hear forum member's experience with historically accurate gauntlets as I have my first WMA class tonight and will need some form of hand protection eventually.


Well most of us in Western Martial Arts practice blossfetchen "unarmoured" combat and if we were to going to be historically accurate, we wouldn't wear any protection except for maybe a gambeson.

The cost of harnisfetchen is out of the price range for a vast majority of the participants in Western Martial Arts. Even with that being said, we all harbor a secret desire to possess a full set of armour and a war horse to fight on. Wink So alas we are relegated to our mutual fates of broken hands and bodies while learning the precarious art of blossfetchen with hockey and cricket gloves. Cry

"Rise up, O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face."
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Sander Marechal




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 04 Dec 2009
Reading list: 17 books

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Posts: 671

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I did buy these gloves and they do seem to give decent protection to the hand and fingers unless one is very unlucky and a hit happens just at the joint between the thicker padding:
http://revival.us/kevlar-reinforcedlightsparringgloves.aspx

They where very stiff initially but became more flexible with time but they still reduce one's dexterity to a degree but I would generally recommend them.


Did you get hit on the fingers with those? How did they hold up (your fingers that is)? I recently inspected a pair that a member of my WMA group bought. The rigid kevlar protection only seems to cover the back of the hand and the knuckles. The fingers themselves seem to be protected by just padding.

The Knights Hospitaller: http://www.hospitaalridders.nl
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 4:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Bryce Felperin wrote:
I find the biggest injury in our salle is from pinky finger hits. I used to get them a lot but have since gotten fewer when use proper guard alignment and cutting angles.

I think you will never get the perfect glove. I've even seen injuries when using metal gauntlets so finger injuries will happen. My view is a good glove "deadens" the force of the blow but doesn't prevent the full force of the blow from the hit.


I think in 4 years it happened to me once on the pinky and I did it to someone else maybe 2 to 4 times ..... luck or skills or the fact that our group emphasized control and a no touch system ??? Mostly stop hits when someone was careless about just leaving their hands out there or where out-timed.

Mostly one wouldn't deliberately aim for the hands but a golden opportunity might present itself for hitting the hands that was so compelling that one took the shot without even thinking about it.

Good control does help keep the accidental hits to the hands and fingers less serious than they would be if one went all out with maximum aggression but the combination of both people misjudging distance can sabotage even the best control intentions.

I did buy these gloves and they do seem to give decent protection to the hand and fingers unless one is very unlucky and a hit happens just at the joint between the thicker padding:
http://revival.us/kevlar-reinforcedlightsparringgloves.aspx

They where very stiff initially but became more flexible with time but they still reduce one's dexterity to a degree but I would generally recommend them. There was one small failure in the stitching between two fingers where they connect to the palm but this hasn't gotten worse ..... about 1/2" of broken thread but not a real problem.


I have the same gloves Jean, and they're what I fight with in bouts with wasters. We usually don't do full speed with blunt steel, so our salle has had very few injuries from those, but wasters still hit hard, especially when the hitter doesn't have full control.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
Joined: 16 Feb 2006

Posts: 552

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 4:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I did buy these gloves and they do seem to give decent protection to the hand and fingers unless one is very unlucky and a hit happens just at the joint between the thicker padding:
http://revival.us/kevlar-reinforcedlightsparringgloves.aspx

They where very stiff initially but became more flexible with time but they still reduce one's dexterity to a degree but I would generally recommend them.


Did you get hit on the fingers with those? How did they hold up (your fingers that is)? I recently inspected a pair that a member of my WMA group bought. The rigid kevlar protection only seems to cover the back of the hand and the knuckles. The fingers themselves seem to be protected by just padding.


I'm not Jean, but my pair hold up pretty good. They do reduce dexterity a tad bit and they have no protection for the "sides" of the fingers, just the tops. However Lacrosse and Hockey gloves don't protect finger sides any better either. I've been hit a few times by less controlled opponents or when I made an error in my edge/guard alignment during a cut and my fingers still stung from a hit in these gloves, but it was a lot less of a "whap" than when using only thin leather gloves, which I wear for drills.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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Spotlight topics: 5
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PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sander Marechal wrote:
Jean Thibodeau wrote:

I did buy these gloves and they do seem to give decent protection to the hand and fingers unless one is very unlucky and a hit happens just at the joint between the thicker padding:
http://revival.us/kevlar-reinforcedlightsparringgloves.aspx

They where very stiff initially but became more flexible with time but they still reduce one's dexterity to a degree but I would generally recommend them.


Did you get hit on the fingers with those? How did they hold up (your fingers that is)? I recently inspected a pair that a member of my WMA group bought. The rigid kevlar protection only seems to cover the back of the hand and the knuckles. The fingers themselves seem to be protected by just padding.


Well no I didn't get hit on the fingers and I don't plan to. Wink Laughing Out Loud But the padding does seem a lot better than some other kinds of gloves and often we would wear only much lighter motorcycle gloves.The parts covered by kevlar should be very protective but as you said the fingers only have thick padding that doesn't cover the joints.

But if I wanted better protection I would wear my Mercenary Tailor's Wisby gauntlets but realistically gloves are mostly there to minimize damage and shouldn't be expected to let one take or give maximum power blows to the hands and expect to not have pain or risk a broken finger ...... but a broken finger when wearing a glove like this might mean something really really serious on unprotected hands.

Control and good technique prevents most accidents but " stuff " does and can happen in any sport and many sports have much worse injury rates.

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




Location: Vancouver Canada
Joined: 08 Aug 2007

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 6:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A couple of years back I participated in a longsword tourney here in Vancouver where a number of people suffered nasty hand injuries. In most of those injuries the people were wearing hockey or lacrosse gloves. It is my opinion that hockey or lacrosse gloves are not sufficient protection for longsword work where the hands are a legal and legitimate target.

My sword caused one of the injuries. The gentleman I was matched with was wearing nice steel body, arms and legs but was running hockey-gloves. He misjudged the target of my blow and blocked with his hands. My blow put him out of the tournament with an injured hand and rather destroyed my enjoyment of the event.

I use EGG gauntletshttp://www.eggarmor.net/index.html for full speed sparing. They are not a perfect solution being somewhat bulky and plastic but they are light, inexpensive and protective.
Mackenzie
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Christian Henry Tobler
Industry Professional



Location: Oxford, CT
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 690

PostPosted: Thu 03 Feb, 2011 9:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott Hrouda wrote:
How about a pair of well constructed Visby or belled cuff finger gauntlets? Would this restrict your mobility too much?

I'm interested to hear forum member's experience with historically accurate gauntlets as I have my first WMA class tonight and will need some form of hand protection eventually.


Hi Scott!

I've fought longsword with hourglass, Wisby, and Gothic gauntlets. If you buy a pair of good quality, you'll experience little compromise in mobility, and be far safer than you would be with most modern alternatives.

I also have a pair of medium padded leather gloves that are fitted with mail - these too have served me well.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
Order of Selohaar

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

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