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Johan K





Joined: 15 Oct 2010

Posts: 22

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 3:41 am    Post subject: The Knight Shop: synthetic wasters         Reply with quote

I've been a lurker for some time now, but this seemed the kind of question you could help me out with.

My longsword group practices almost exclusively with the Rawlings synthetic wasters these days, so I feel my time has come to add some of these new toys to the list too. However, the Knight Shop sells two kinds of synthetic wasters: the "normal" ones and a "pro-line" which have stainless steel pomels, crossguards and supposedly special blades.

As I've never come across this pro-line before I was wondering: Have you? What's your opinion on them? How to they compete against the "normal" synthetic wasters? Can the two be combined in sparring (as the blade is different) ?

aka: Are they worthwhile?
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Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 7:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently obtained a pair of these at the HEMAC event in Dijon. As it was explained to me, the Pro Line blades have a polished finish that allow slightly better winding action. They are less whippy than previous generations of Knight Shop blades. Furthermore, the normal (practically useless) moulded rubber guard is replaced with a stainless steel casting in the same shape. These guards were flying off the table at the event, for obvious reasons.

IMHO, these are better than wooden wasters to train newbies but should never be mistaken for a sword simulator appropriate to testing technique. Our people found them vastly amusing to play with without any safety equipment. We have had a few bouts with them after class, once the wobbly pops were opened. I must admit, I am dumbfounded that so much of the historical sword community has been using them for tournaments.

BTW, the guys that designed and produced these are excellent folks dedicated to the HEMA community. If your group decided to use these products as basic training weapons, you won't go wrong dealing with the Knight Shop.
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Job Overbeek





Joined: 21 Apr 2011

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The normal blades are very whippy, the pro-line less so but still not great.
Anyway imo the best approximation is using a pro-line sword with metal guard and plastic pommel, if you use a metal pommel as well your POB comes somewhere on the hilt, with only the guard it's roughly at the right spot imo.
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Colin F.




Location: Bradford, UK
Joined: 30 Oct 2005
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 134

PostPosted: Thu 07 Jul, 2011 10:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kel Rekuta wrote:
I must admit, I am dumbfounded that so much of the historical sword community has been using them for tournaments.


From my point of view, I can see exactly why they are used. I can agree they still don't show technique as well as steel can, however, when you're getting a lot of people together from different clubs, with different fighting perspectives, levels of intent and strength, they are a lot safer.

They also reduce the cost of being able to fight in a tournament, as a good, safe and flexible steel swords are still fairly hard to come by (at a reasonable price) and a standardised level of protection even more so, whereas, the plastics need less and it's cheaper.

Melchett - "In short, a German spy is giving away every one of our battle plans."
Cpt. Darling - "You look surprised, Blackadder."
Edmund - "I cerainly am, sir. I didn't realise we had any battle plans."
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Will Law





Joined: 09 Mar 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As what is probably best described as an interested idiot in medieval-period swordsmanship (no HEMA clubs near me, worse luck), I bought a couple of the "normal" wasters a year or so ago, and I and my friends find them a fun means to fighting one another without causing any serious harm - I wouldn't strike someone in an unprotected head/face/neck with one, but otherwise they seem safe enough as long as you don't mind skinned knuckles and the occasional (small) bruise.

In fact I fought a few bouts with them just this weekend, and since I'm probably too inexperienced to pick up on their shortcomings I really like them. People who do a lot of steel-on-steel fighting seem to prefer the pro-line blades and metal guards, but until I'm a considerably better swordsman I doubt I'll worry about that. Also, I think the stiffer pro-line blades may necessitate some padding worn against thrusts - even my "whippy" blades aren't too comfortable to get stabbed by.

TLDR version: No real substitute for steel from a handling point of view*, safer than wooden wasters**, great fun to have at one another with***.

* Opinion not based on personal experience - just an impression picked up from discussions between people more experienced then I.

** I assume - I haven't owned a wooden sword since I was a child, but looking back I don't understand how we didn't maim one another with them.

*** This I can attest to.
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will nice first post and what I don't like about the plastic wasters is that when too flexible it becomes difficult to get a feel for techniques when at the sword and being very light one can snipe with them too easily without " consequences " and this doesn't simulate a real fight as well as steel.

If you don't have any good training books I recommend the ones by Hugh Knight as very well written and clear pics.

Here is an old Topic thread about the books and how to order them from LuLu:
http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...light=lulu

I regularly refer to this book and the other books written by Hugh to use for solo practice or just to remind me how the techniques are supposed to work, at least with his interpretations.

Books can't really help you get the feel of steel on steel, timing and pressure, distance etc .... but at least they can give you an idea of how the techniques work.

For someone who has some actual experience the books are great in refreshing one's memory: Having muscle memory of having done some of the techniques obviously makes this more efficient.

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




Location: Helena MT
Joined: 05 Sep 2008
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Posts: 55

PostPosted: Mon 11 Jul, 2011 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recently bought the new pro line from Purpleheart armory. They do not come with steel guards - at least in the US. That is an additional cost option. As I understand it, the 'sparring' are the original style, while the pro-line are stiffer. I have also been informed (via the HEMA Alliance) that there is a new version - the proline Xtreme - that are stiffer yet.

While synthetics can never replace steel, they offer a less costly alternative to steel that can do quite will and are much safer. HEMA protective equipment is still fare from mature and can be quite expensive for the beginner. Wooden wasters are all well and good, but can be quite dangerous in the thrust.

I think one should look at synthetic wasters as another option for the practitioner - certainly not a replacement for steel - but a great way to get started in a relatively safe and realistic manner.
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Will Law





Joined: 09 Mar 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 1:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the book reccomendations John, I will look into them. Not that I'm short of books - I've already got a few hardcopy HEMA manuals, and innumberable .pdf downloads, but more are always welcome. What I really could do with more of is sparring partners, but I have high hopes that my more enthusiastic friends will prove willing.

Tod Glenn wrote:
I think one should look at synthetic wasters as another option for the practitioner - certainly not a replacement for steel - but a great way to get started in a relatively safe and realistic manner.


The fact that I can use these sword without having to invest in any additional protective equipment (again, we're not targetting the head; unrealistic I know, but eyes are delicate and fencing masks are expensive!) has been great for me - since I'm not sinking loads of time into this hobby at the moment, I can't really justify spending loads of money on kit, either.

Although its worth noting that these are the only synthetic wasters I've found that I'd consider particularly "safe"; I have a synthetic Cold Steel bokken too, and I wouldn't thrust that at any unprotected people I liked, I'd probably break their ribs. But with the Kinight Shop wasters I can do that without expecting to do any more than discomfort them (again, as long as I'm not stupid with them).
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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Will Law wrote:
but eyes are delicate and fencing masks are expensive!) has been great for me - since I'm not sinking loads of time into this hobby at the moment, I can't really justify spending loads of money on kit, either.

Although its worth noting that these are the only synthetic wasters I've found that I'd consider particularly "safe"; I have a synthetic Cold Steel bokken too, and I wouldn't thrust that at any unprotected people I liked, I'd probably break their ribs. But with the Kinight Shop wasters I can do that without expecting to do any more than discomfort them (again, as long as I'm not stupid with them).


If not a fencing mask you could get safety goggles or a face shield and still not target the face but there just in case of an error.

I also have a pair of the Cold Steel synthetic longswords and they do have their advantages:

A) Almost unbreakable.
B) Like a steel blunt they bend across the flats but are rigid across the edges so that in the bind I find them better than wood wasters.
C) The blade and handle could be an inch or two longer in my opinion.

One error in perception people may make is that there being made of polypropylene ( plastic ) they think they are safe to hit hard with and this is just not true as one could easily break bones with them.

The rounded tip need a little filling down because as received the point is small and sharp enough to scratch or even cut skin. Also they are as rigid as wood in the thrust.

Bottom line I like them as better in feel than wood and close to steel in slipperiness than wood on wood.

They also work fine against a wood waster if you only buy one, but better to get them in pairs.
http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=...ning+Sword

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Tod Glenn




Location: Helena MT
Joined: 05 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jul, 2011 8:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

We started with Col Steel synthetics. While inexpensive, they have their problems. They don't feel like real swords - more like a club. As noted, the grip is shorter than the Rawlings. They don't flex much so thrusts are pretty much like a wood waster. We had one person actually cut by one. I would not use one without a mask.

Fencing masks are really not that expensive, and very cheap versus losing an eye. Watch ebay, or buy one from a place like Absolute or Blue Gauntlet for about $45.
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Matt Easton




Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK.
Joined: 30 Jun 2004

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2011 8:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I recommend them highly, but then I would as my group (Schola Gladiatoria) is one of those that helped develop them (along with Boar's Tooth, School of the Sword and Academy of Historical Fencing).

We regularly use them for beginners drilling weapons and beginner and more advanced sparring weapons, alongside steel for the more advanced people.

I personally only now use the proline 'xtreme' blades with the steel crossguards and plastic pommels (though some people in the group use the steel pommels as well). I also highly recommend the single-handers and new basket hilts. The flexibility issue compared to steel is moot, as the proline xtreme blades are stiffer than a Hanwei sabre or rapier and about as stiff (or perhaps more than) a Hanwei feder...

You can use any of the versions against any of the other versions, but the stiffer versions will have an advantage in the bind and hit a bit harder. The steel crossguard is far better at protecting your hands and makes the weapon weight more realistic - the plastic guards make the weapon lighter and quicker, of course.

As stated above, of course a steel sword is more like a steel sword, but a plastic sword is obviously safer than a steel sword, as well as being much cheaper.

Regards,
Matt

Schola Gladiatoria - www.fioredeiliberi.org
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/scholagladiatoria
Antique Swords: www.antique-swords.co.uk/
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Benjamin Floyd II





Joined: 13 Dec 2008

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got my Absolute Fencing masks for less than the Rawlings swords cost ($50). They don't have to be expensive to be good masks. Unless you're going slow, you're just asking to get a eye out.

I like the new Rawlings (less than steel), hate the Cold Steel, and like the new Hanwei feders. If we're fighting harder than normal, it's nice to use the Rawlings instead of the Hanweis because you can use less protection with less risk.
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Will Law





Joined: 09 Mar 2010

Posts: 8

PostPosted: Thu 14 Jul, 2011 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Having said that fencing masks are expensive, that was true when I last checked eighteen months ago, but I now notice that the Knight Shop has brought out a budget range (I'm in the UK; all you USA residents make me constantly jealous with your cheaper consumer goods!) so I can probably buy one or two...that would be a) safer and b) allow more realistic techniques. I reckon I'll do that, although having bought head protection I think I may be starting down a slippery slope of buying/making an array weapons in wooden and thereafter some padding to protect myself from them!
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