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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 3:28 pm    Post subject: Fighting unarmed opponents?         Reply with quote

Hello,

This might sound like an odd angle to look at things from, but I've been wondering if there ever were any recording on how to deal with one or more unarmed (and generally unarmoured as well, I suppose) opponents while you yourself are wielding a sword or other striking weapon? The unarmed opponent will certainly be in a grave disadvantage for both offense and defense, but I can also imagine that the armed fighter loses his cool and posture in order to press the situation further in his favour - which could lead to the unarmed man being able to feint and close with the sword-swinger and wrest the weapon from him or otherwise remove his high ground. This is likely to require a significant degree of skill, but I am sure that it must have happened at one point or another throughout history's course.

Imagine, of course, that both combatants are skilled soldiers who are fighting for their lives against each other. How would the swordsman approach a situation like the above?
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Swordsman would just need to keep the distance...
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 3:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
Swordsman would just need to keep the distance...


Yes, but whenever he moves to strike the distance will be shortened to where a fast opponent might spring an action of his own. Was there a different kind of swordsmanship to apply against the unarmed like there was against the armoured? I'm merely speaking out of my own theories now, but I imagine that the swordsman can forego some of what is used in a more even bout since there is no opposing blade to control and bypass.
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Luka Borscak wrote:
Swordsman would just need to keep the distance...


Yes, but whenever he moves to strike the distance will be shortened to where a fast opponent might spring an action of his own. Was there a different kind of swordsmanship to apply against the unarmed like there was against the armoured? I'm merely speaking out of my own theories now, but I imagine that the swordsman can forego some of what is used in a more even bout since there is no opposing blade to control and bypass.


The nice things about swords is that you have multiple weapons in one that you can use aside from cutting with the blade. In your example there are a few ways of using a sword, other than thrusting or cutting with it that come to mind.

1) Half-sword it and use it as both a kind of quarterstaff and as a dagger. In this way can use a sword as a lever for joint locks or stabs with the tip at short range.

2) Nothing beats a pommel bash to the face for getting their attention if the distance closes enough to do so. The quillons also work for quick jabs to the face, body and joints.

3) Reverse grip for Murder strokes (grabbing the sword pointy end and bringing it down so the quillons work as a hammer). You can also use the reverse grip even to jam it in the back of their knees to bring them down by hooking the quillons to the back of their knees and pulling them off their feet. You can also hook loose clothing to pull them off balance or off their feet as well.

Remember, the sword is really a big lever that you can use as a further levering tool against your opponent or a even as a sort of club to hit them with. Any object is a weapon if you use it right.
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 4:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The basic principle is to put your sword between you and the opponent, and cover yourself as you strike. This is the same against a unarmed target. Do what normaly do, and it will suffice
"this [fight] looks curious, almost like a game. See, they are looking around them before they fall, to find a dry spot to fall on, or they are falling on their shields. Can you see blood on their cloths and weapons? No. This must be trickery."
-Reidar Sendeman, from King Sverre's Saga, 1201
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David Cooper




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 9:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that fighting an unarmed opponent with a sword was just called murder. As far as I know there were few treatises written describing how to best murder unarmed opponents. There has been a lot written about unarmed combat from the other side howing how an unarmed person may take on an armed opponent. Some sword manuals show how to grapple and disarm an opponent if a sword has been lost in a fight but most unarmed combat manuals have been produced in the 20th century and do not cover an opponent armed with a sword.. There were certainly plenty of cases in history where unarmed groups have been despatched by sword, axe, spear and gun but it would take a particularly warped individual to write about how best to do it. On the battlefield unharmed opponents are usually encountered as they try to flee the battle after defeat and are simply cut down from behind as they run.
The journey not the destination
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Michael Edelson




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David Cooper wrote:
I think that fighting an unarmed opponent with a sword was just called murder.


LMAO!!!

+1

In the early 90s I used to work in a dojang teaching TKD and hapkido, and people knew I also did JSA. I had this foam contraption I made for illicit extra curricular sparring, and all kinds of people from visiting aikido teachers to boxers would want a go at me with the sword (they would be unarmed, I would have sword). They tried all kinds of crazy things, one even shoulder rolled at me trying to get under my sword (it almost worked because I was staring at him with my mouth hanging open) but in the end it was always the same thing. BAM. Dead.

If the sword is sheathed, though, and the fight starts close, there is a good chance, especially if it's a European sword.

New York Historical Fencing Association
www.newyorklongsword.com

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William Frisbee




Location: South Shore, MA
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 10:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Every time I read something like this all I keep remembering is a story about an English Knight during the 100 Year War that somehow got separated from his group and wandered into an French village.

The French being, well French, decided that this was a faux pas, decided they would group up, and kill said knight.


They failed to do so, the English Knight killed a good number of villagers during the attack and wounded many many more and ended up walking out of town with its wealth in hand.
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Mike O'Hara




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 1:05 am    Post subject: Sword v Unarmed         Reply with quote

Hi folks

Oh pick me to be the unarmed person - not.

There are a number of drills in Eastern martial arts where its armed v unarmed. I've tried a number as the both armed and unarmed practitioner.

Assuming a skilled opponent, you can win as the unarmed fighter in one condition (well two really)
1. They stuff up and get impatient.
2. You are lucky.

Apart from that my experience with any kind of longer weapon (staff, sword) is the same as Michael's - bang I'm dead.

Against a not so skilled or nervous opponent, your odds improve from none to slim.

cheers

mike

MIke O'Hara
Location: Plimmerton, New Zealand
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 3:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unarmed people have defeated sword-wielding people in the past. It can be done, and done for real.

Typically, it's done by closing while the sword-wielder is "winding-up" for a big swing, or has just missed a big swing. Example from real life: a WW2 Japanese officer lifts his sword up to cut downwards, opponent tackles him around the waist. Opponent gets cut across the back, but defeats sword-wielder.

If using the sword, don't be overconfident, don't wind up for big swings, don't make big wild swings. Use the point, and win at long range.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Bartek Strojek




Location: Poland
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 4:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Unarmed people have defeated sword-wielding people in the past. It can be done, and done for real.

Typically, it's done by closing while the sword-wielder is "winding-up" for a big swing, or has just missed a big swing. Example from real life: a WW2 Japanese officer lifts his sword up to cut downwards, opponent tackles him around the waist. Opponent gets cut across the back, but defeats sword-wielder.

If using the sword, don't be overconfident, don't wind up for big swings, don't make big wild swings. Use the point, and win at long range.


This raises interesting and probably tricky question for any practitioners of WMAs, SCA guys, Belarusian bohurt craies Wink etc: How useful in actually harming your enemy would swords of all kinds e on the ground? How hard would it be to use?


Beacuse as mentioned, only slight chance for a "bare" guy would be probably shooting for the legs AQuicklyAP take him down and cling to him for a dear life. Probably wouldn't help against something like imperial era gladius, but against longsword he would actually have nice position and options what to do - put sword out of game and punish opponent, seize sword himself, block it with one leg and initiate stomping with the other one...
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A.V. Dolan




Location: Tokyo
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Unarmed people have defeated sword-wielding people in the past. It can be done, and done for real.

Typically, it's done by closing while the sword-wielder is "winding-up" for a big swing, or has just missed a big swing. Example from real life: a WW2 Japanese officer lifts his sword up to cut downwards, opponent tackles him around the waist. Opponent gets cut across the back, but defeats sword-wielder.

If using the sword, don't be overconfident, don't wind up for big swings, don't make big wild swings. Use the point, and win at long range.
Well, even when fighting normally (i.e. against other folks with swords) you don't want to make big wild swings or wind up.
Vincit qui se vincit
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As I've experimented quite a bit with this subject and have a wide range of martial arts experience, I was going to describe several methonds of negating disarm attempts, tackles, grapples and throws, as well as counter grapples that leave the sword free. One ending up as a slit throat, another as a broken neck or a choke. But it occurred to me that I don't think we should be discussing this in any real technique detail over an open forum. This is way above violence accepted by peacetime society. I decided I don't want an unethical person knowing all that much about it. Better to keep it in WMA-schools & dojos where there's at least a teacher to weed out the bad seeds, or nurture them with an honor code to be less of it.

A point that I think should be clearly made is that if you actually manage to kill, or as has already been said, murder someone unarmed while you're weilding a sword, it could end up as serious jail time for you.
On the other hand, say you're being attacked in your home by a high as a kite assailant, or someone much larger than you who doesn't understand what a gruesome weapon a sword is or as some criminals do, simply think you don't have the guts to use it for real, then it can happen to ordinary people just defending their lives. I'm a bit torn here really.

The obvious thing is to keep your advantage, that is never let somebody else take the sword or let them step into your arc of cutting. Half swording, a deep open stance with the free arm forward fending off grapples and tackles, or rapier fencer stance with an aimed point they'd run straight into helps with this. Also the James bond stance, with sword close to the body and point on the opponent, that one is very hard to disarm and also less threatening than a wide cutting stance and still very lethal.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Bartek Strojek




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 5:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
This is way above violence accepted by peacetime society. I decided I don't want an unethical person knowing all that much about it. Better to keep it in WMA-schools & dojos where there's at least a teacher to weed out the bad seeds, or nurture them with an honor code to be less of it.

.


Not sure if I follow this logic o be onest... Not talking about grapplig techniques bcause somebody would make wrong use out of it? WTF?!

People can see any kind of grappling competition, knife tutorials, crime scene reports or whatever on the Internet.... Doesn't mean that they will be any more dangerous because of it, jut as I wont become better footballer by knowing a lot of theoretical knowledge and techniques. Wink
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Well, even when fighting normally (i.e. against other folks with swords) you don't want to make big wild swings or wind up.

Yes, in general, unless it's a well rehearsed feint luring them in. Wink

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 5:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bartek Strojek wrote:
Johan Gemvik wrote:
This is way above violence accepted by peacetime society. I decided I don't want an unethical person knowing all that much about it. Better to keep it in WMA-schools & dojos where there's at least a teacher to weed out the bad seeds, or nurture them with an honor code to be less of it.

.


Not sure if I follow this logic o be onest... Not talking about grapplig techniques bcause somebody would make wrong use out of it? WTF?!

People can see any kind of grappling competition, knife tutorials, crime scene reports or whatever on the Internet.... Doesn't mean that they will be any more dangerous because of it, jut as I wont become better footballer by knowing a lot of theoretical knowledge and techniques. Wink


Yes, good point actually.

Allright, then here's one way to stop a tackle takedown, can be used with or without a sword of course as seen in MMA and UFC today.
Extend the back leg to the extreme, as the tackle comes close lean forward and push with the left hand at their shoulder to reduce some momentum, then lean over and wrap left arm under armpit and across the front of the throat. Sit down. Your chest, body weight and left arm trap and choke, you can hurt or even break the neck this way depending on body angle, momentum and your own strenght and weight. Since you don't want that be careful especially in training. It also means you have an arm free to do whatever you like with, say use a sword. Or drop it and use both arms at the neck for a more secure choke.
As anything this takes some practice and a good exercise partner willing to let you experiment to get right.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Bob Burns




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 8:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As yet another formally trained martial artist with two blackbelts and a high brown, loss of temper is equated with loss of control of the situation, armed or unarmed. Though there is no real defense against a drawn gun, but this is about a swordsman against multiple unarmed attackers! First guy you take out is the most threatening of the group which deflates the courage of the others. No real life threatening situation can be controlled with a preconceived by the book defense technique, in reality it is a "Nightmare" in there and loss of temper, honed skills of timing, distance control and all offense and guard techniques become "blunt"!

Bob

It IS What It IS! Only In Truth, Can Reality Exist!
To "Learn" we must empty our minds and therefore open our mind and spirit. A wet sponge absorbs no water. A preconceived mind is recalcitrant to new knowledge!
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Very well said Bob, bringing up keeping cool, fight psychology and control strategy which are the most important parts of all and still often forgotten. Without it the rest will fall apart but done right you might not have to fight or hurt anyone at all.
"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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William Frisbee




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:


Typically, it's done by closing while the sword-wielder is "winding-up" for a big swing, or has just missed a big swing. Example from real life: a WW2 Japanese officer lifts his sword up to cut downwards, opponent tackles him around the waist. Opponent gets cut across the back, but defeats sword-wielder.
.



That being said an experienced swordsman does neither...
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Edelson wrote:
If the sword is sheathed, though, and the fight starts close, there is a good chance, especially if it's a European sword.


Why would a European sword be an additional disadvantage here?

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