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Jeffrey Faulk




Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 11:53 am    Post subject: Cutting swords with Lichtenauer, Talhoffer etc?         Reply with quote

Hello,

Just a quick question but there may be more as the thread develops. Feel free to correct me if I misunderstand anything; I'm basically a total newb and I'd like to learn even from my mistakes...

My understanding of the teachings of most, if not almost all, of the medieval fight-books is that they are focused upon hand-and-a-half or longswords devoted to the cut-and-thrust. In general these would be Oakeshott XVa's and XVIIIa/b's.

However, for quite some time the longswords available were strictly cutting weapons-- XIIa's and XIIIa's. While one can thrust with them, they're not as optimal for that purpose as they are for cutting.

So, if I had a XIIIa, and I wanted to train in, say, Talhoffer's style, how would I adjust for that? Are there any fight-books that teach the use of the cutting sword, or are the disciplines fairly similar?

Thanks for your help!
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Mackenzie Cosens




Location: Vancouver Canada
Joined: 08 Aug 2007

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Cutting swords with Lichtenauer, Talhoffer etc?         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Faulk wrote:
Hello,

Just a quick question but there may be more as the thread develops. Feel free to correct me if I misunderstand anything; I'm basically a total newb and I'd like to learn even from my mistakes...

My understanding of the teachings of most, if not almost all, of the medieval fight-books is that they are focused upon hand-and-a-half or longswords devoted to the cut-and-thrust. In general these would be Oakeshott XVa's and XVIIIa/b's.

However, for quite some time the longswords available were strictly cutting weapons-- XIIa's and XIIIa's. While one can thrust with them, they're not as optimal for that purpose as they are for cutting.

So, if I had a XIIIa, and I wanted to train in, say, Talhoffer's style, how would I adjust for that? Are there any fight-books that teach the use of the cutting sword, or are the disciplines fairly similar?

Thanks for your help!


Note I am not a Liechtenauer stylest, but If you think you have to get rid of the thrust and you what to keep to the Liechtenauer tradition, since I believe that Talhoffer is on branch of that tradition, you could try Meyer's "The Art of Combat". By the late 16th Century Meyer is teaching longsword as the base of his art, but it has given up the thrust:
Quote:
But I will here remind the friendly reader at the outset, since there is a great difference between sword combat in our time and how it was practiced by our predecessors and combat masters of old, that this account of the cuts will only cover what currently in use and pertinent to the sword. And as to the practice of former days, when they fought dangerously both with cuts and thrusts, I will discuss it in its proper and separate place.
Meyer Art of Combat, Translation J.L. Forgeng p 56

So Meyer tells us that he is going to teach a "safe" art of the longsword one without the dangerous thrust. It is not likely the same art that was used in Germany in the late 13th century but may contain some of the same stylistic DNA. I don't believe that any of the early manuals in the Liechtenauer tradition that teach a cut only curriculum, so you will be left with later authors from when longsword has become a sport that no longer allows the thrust.



mackenzie
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Eric G.




Location: Arizona
Joined: 08 Feb 2011
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Posts: 249

PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 4:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem is that we have more types of weapons than we have fencing manuals on how to use them. I suppose that this kind of stuff that has been lost in time. Worried I recently discovered that there are no real resources out there for learning to fight in the archetypical knightly style of single-handed sword and heater shield =( A modern day student by the name of Stephen Hand has a good article in a compilation of works called "Spada" but that's about it.

I recently realized how very different the style of fighting is in the fight books that we do have between fighting in and out of armor. The long sword becomes almost a different weapon when one is clad in full plate. In full plate the cross guard and pommel become much more important, and this is also when half swording and thrusting is (I believe) the most important. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. When fighting without armor the thrust becomes less important since it takes a longer tempo to execute. Plus, I think that a good cut might be a quicker way to dispatch (sans armor) an enemy than a thrust.

In short, my best guess at answering your question would have two parts:
1) with the type of protection that existed during the time when the XIIa's and XIIIa's were in use you might be able to thrust without too much trouble.
2) You could also adapt by just thrusting less/focusing more on the cut.

Eric Gregersen
www.EricGregersen.com
Knowledge applied is power.
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Joined: 06 Feb 2008
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Posts: 416

PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While I know NOTHING WHATSOEVER about German Longsword, I do sympathise.

I experienced a similar type of problem when adapting my Chinese Jian techniques to use with a Chinese Goose Quill Sabre, or "Yanmaodao". I had always heard that a Yanmaodao could be used with both Jian and Dao (Sabre) methods, so I was obsessed for a while with making it so.

While the pointy end of a Yanmaodao is a marked improvement over most other Chinese Sabres, it is not as good for thrusting as the tip of a Jian obviously is. And the balance of Yanmaodao vs. Jian is different enough to make a difference too. So I found I had to take a lot of the thrusting out when practicing. I might've removed 60-70% of the pure thrusts from some of the Jian forms I know.

But it works great! The way to do it is to practice a bit, then some more practice, and finally some practice. The main thing to get past is the instinctive pausing at first, however briefly, to remember not to thrust and moving on with the movements. Keeping it moving with no pauses where a thrust would be. Once that's handled, the rest is easy enough...

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of the German manuals, like Goliath, depict large, cutting oriented swords. There is no indication that these are to be employed any differently from other swords in the Liechtenauer tradition. http://www.parttimepolymath.net/Images/man13.jpg

Remember, if you are talking about blossfechten, the unarmoured fencing, even a sword with an extremely spatulate point such as Albion's Duke can still cause devastating harm if it is used to thrust to the face or chest. Yes, a XVa, XVII, and XVIIIa,b,c will work better in some respects, but there's nothing that prevents you from using a broader long sword for blossfechten.
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Eric G.




Location: Arizona
Joined: 08 Feb 2011
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Oct, 2011 9:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

Remember, if you are talking about blossfechten, the unarmoured fencing, even a sword with an extremely spatulate point such as Albion's Duke can still cause devastating harm if it is used to thrust to the face or chest. Yes, a XVa, XVII, and XVIIIa,b,c will work better in some respects, but there's nothing that prevents you from using a broader long sword for blossfechten.


This is kinda what I was trying to say with my first point, except that Craig knows much more about this than I do. Plus he put it much better than I.

Eric Gregersen
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Knowledge applied is power.
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