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K. Larson




Location: Shanghai
Joined: 04 Oct 2007

Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 2:50 pm    Post subject: Training Blunt Considerations (Fechterspiel)         Reply with quote

Some of the member of my group, which has heretofore only used polymer wasters, have decided to spend more time with steel.

I am currently attempting to decide on a steel blunt that will be used in drills as well as lightly-armoured sparring/bouting. The blunt I chose will need to stand up to (from both a materials and a handling perspective) a few early-model A&A Spada da Zhogos, Atrim I-Beams, and Hanwei Federfechters.

I'm very attracted to the A&A Fechterspiel, which seems highly thought of. However, my only experience with "feather/foil" style wasters has been the Hanwei Federfechter, which I feel is too whippy to meaningfully execute oppositional incrossa against a spada da zhogo or I-beam.

My question is for anyone with direct experience of A&A Fechterspiel. How floppy/flexible is the A&A compared to the Hanwei? Is the weapon stiff/heavy enough to meaningfully oppose the I-beams and Spada da Zhogos?

Thanks,
Kip
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Hugh Knight




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

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 4:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello,

To be honest, there's absolutely *no* comparison between the A&A Fechterspiel and the Hanwei Federschwert. The Fechterspiel is better in every possible way, except that the furniture on the Federschwert is stainless, and I wish it was on the Fechterspiel. The Fechterspiel is stiffer, better balanced, has a more reasonable weight, handles better, looks better and is far more durable.

If I sound like a convert, I am. The Fechterspiel is the *only* steel longsword I allow to be used in my classes (and no, I don't even know anyone at A&A). We practice the Liechtenauer school, so we do lots of Winden, binding actions, etc., and the swords work perfectly for everything. I have never practiced against one of the I-Beam swords, but I do not believe you will have any difficulty doing so because the Fechterspiel is quite stiff enough, and I know of other schools that mix swords without any complaints.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Training Blunt Considerations (Fechterspiel)         Reply with quote

K. Larson wrote:

My question is for anyone with direct experience of A&A Fechterspiel. How floppy/flexible is the A&A compared to the Hanwei? Is the weapon stiff/heavy enough to meaningfully oppose the I-beams and Spada da Zhogos?


The Fechterspiel is much less floppy than the Hanwei. It is stiff enough to oppose the I-Beam & the Spada Da Zhogo. However, I have some reason to question the Fechterspiel's durability (at least compared to the comparable Albion offerings). My practice partner used an A&A customized Fechterspiel against my Albion Meyer about twice weekly, for approximately one year. They were used pretty much exclusively against each other. He had to constantly tighten the Fechterspiel and it eventually broke, right at the tang/blade junction. I never had to tighten my Meyer (ignoring the fact that you couldn't tighten it yourself even if it did become loose), and it still has not broken, outliving the Fechterspiel by over 2 years and still going strong.

My 2 cents: The Fechterspiel is not a bad sword, but I will not purchase one for myself.
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Tristán Zukowski




Location: Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined: 29 Oct 2009

Posts: 41

PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 7:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Training Blunt Considerations (Fechterspiel)         Reply with quote

Dustin R. Reagan wrote:
K. Larson wrote:

My question is for anyone with direct experience of A&A Fechterspiel. How floppy/flexible is the A&A compared to the Hanwei? Is the weapon stiff/heavy enough to meaningfully oppose the I-beams and Spada da Zhogos?


The Fechterspiel is much less floppy than the Hanwei. It is stiff enough to oppose the I-Beam & the Spada Da Zhogo. However, I have some reason to question the Fechterspiel's durability (at least compared to the comparable Albion offerings). My practice partner used an A&A customized Fechterspiel against my Albion Meyer about twice weekly, for approximately one year. They were used pretty much exclusively against each other. He had to constantly tighten the Fechterspiel and it eventually broke, right at the tang/blade junction. I never had to tighten my Meyer (ignoring the fact that you couldn't tighten it yourself even if it did become loose), and it still has not broken, outliving the Fechterspiel by over 2 years and still going strong.

My 2 cents: The Fechterspiel is not a bad sword, but I will not purchase one for myself.


To add two more cents to this: At NYHFA (the Brooklyn branch) we use Fechterspiels exclusively for [steel] sparring. For paired drills, we use both those and Albion Meyers, and they hold up well to the beatings they receive from one another. My Meyer's crossguard has been rattled slightly loose, and if I wanted to tighten it up I'd have to re-peen the shoulder of the blade a bit. If a Fechterspiel gets loose, well.. just tighten it with a wrench. The only occurrence we've had of a Fechter breaking was the 'weak' of the blade, maybe a 10-inch chunk?, from a particularly vigorous short-edge Unterhau against a swinging 4x4 pell. I've never used my Meyer against a pell of any sort, only against another sword, so I can't really make a abuse-ability comparison. Also I'm not entirely sure how old that particular Fechter was to begin with.

I use both, I like both, but I just recently ordered a second Meyer. Just personal preference.

Tristan P. Zukowski
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, New York Historical Fencing Association
Longsword (KdF) Instructor, Sword Class NYC
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Knight wrote:
Hello,

To be honest, there's absolutely *no* comparison between the A&A Fechterspiel and the Hanwei Federschwert. The Fechterspiel is better in every possible way, except that the furniture on the Federschwert is stainless, and I wish it was on the Fechterspiel. The Fechterspiel is stiffer, better balanced, has a more reasonable weight, handles better, looks better and is far more durable.


In interest of perspective I'd like to point out that characteristics like weight and balance are subject to personal preference both today and in period. The Federschwert is within historical norms for both.

As such neither the Federschwert nor the Fechterspiel can be said to be "better" in those properties; instead they can better suit an individual's preferences.

The stiffness of the Fechterspiel has both advantages and disadvantages. The flex of the Federschwert is safer in the thrust. Also, note that the current generation of Feders have an improved profile that limits the flex to the last foot, while still allowing plenty of flex. There is a reason that the Feder is the most commonly used sword of it's type for competition.

As to the comparative durability, I'm not sure we can draw accurate conclusions. The vastly larger number of Feders in use means that even if they have the exact same failure rate, as a percentage, we will have heard about far more. Additionally, far more have been used for the highest intensity applications i.e. tournaments than probably all others combined.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Hugh Knight




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

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
In interest of perspective I'd like to point out that characteristics like weight and balance are subject to personal preference both today and in period. The Federschwert is within historical norms for both.


Can that be said, Steven? I have been told (rumor--not evidence) that the Federschwert is significantly lighter and more flexible than the piece it is was copied from or that, alternatively, the piece has been so sanded and ground over the year that it is no longer representative. Can anyone verify or deny those rumors?

Regardless, the Federschwert is too light and flexible to replicate the handling of a real sword, whether it accurately represents any of the historical sporting items we have or not. That may not be a bad thing if someone wants to practice the late-period sporting version of the art, so I don't mean that as a criticism (always supposing the rumors I've heard about aren't true--see above). But I've handled real swords of the period, and some superb replicas that feel about the same, and the Fechterspiel handles much more like they do than the Federschwert does.

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 12:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stats on the Feder from the Hanwei website:

Overall: 51 ½”
Blade Length: 37”
Handle Length: 13 ½”
Weight: 3lb
Point of Balance: 3 1/2"
Point of Harmonics: 23"
Width at Guard: 2.71"
Width at Tip: .84"
Thickness at Guard: .29"
Thickness at Tip: .24"


Specs will vary slightly
from piece to piece.

As I said before the flex is isolated in the weak of the sword in the current generation.

I've also handled period swords and come to a different conclusion. There is a diversity of opinion on these swords.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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Hugh Knight




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

Posts: 739

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 1:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steven H wrote:
Stats on the Feder from the Hanwei website:

Overall: 51 ½”
Blade Length: 37”
Handle Length: 13 ½”
Weight: 3lb
Point of Balance: 3 1/2"
Point of Harmonics: 23"
Width at Guard: 2.71"
Width at Tip: .84"
Thickness at Guard: .29"
Thickness at Tip: .24"


That doesn't answer my question: Those are the stats for the Hanwei sword (I double checked that on their web page), but does anyone know if it is similar in handling etc. to the original piece in Switzerland from which it copied? And if so, does anyone know if that original piece is still representative of others of its type, or has it, as some have said, been ground down until it is significantly lighter and/or more flexible than it was originally?

Regards,
Hugh
www.schlachtschule.org
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Steven H




Location: Boston
Joined: 10 May 2006

Posts: 545

PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stats on the Fechterspiel from the review on this site:

Weight: 3 pounds, 3 ounces
Overall length: 48 inches
Blade length: 37 1/2 inches
Blade width: 1 3/4 inches at base, tapering to 5/8 inch
Edge thickness: 1/4 inch, tapering to 1/8 inch
Grip length: 8 inches
Guard width: 9 inches
Point of Balance: 2 7/8 inches from guard

So you can see the stats are quite similar. But different folks prefer different specs. No biggie.

Cheers,
Steven

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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