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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 3:19 am    Post subject: sparring training         Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwgDwW8XRKQ

Sparring training during class. Yellow dot represents the survivor with wounds. Red dot represents the survivor without a scratch. Results were reviewed through frame by frame inspections and may not concur with the decision during filming.

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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 10:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Most blows seem to be very weak. I would not count on a light blow to the head to incapacitate my opponent. Weak cuts to the body without a slicing motion also would not penetrate thick clothes such as woolen doublet, let alone some leather garment. Dedicated attacker will not be stopped by a cut to the face or left arm. Unless you guys train to fight with 3 foot long chainsaws you should either aim for a decisive blow (for example there were some good blows that would have cut a leg off, thrust were also quite good since they don't require much force) or for multiple weaker hits, but in this case you should not stop the fight after one hit. There were cases where the smaller guy after receiving a weak hit to the head could land a devastating blow on his opponent. He never attempted it though.

Another thing is that there are a lot of hits to the hand. That is good, hands are very fragile and usually are not protected. But at least in some cases it seems that guards on your swords are simply too small to protect hands because you use very thick gauntlets and blades are also very thick. Maybe you should make guards larger to compensate for this?

So in short, I advise you to do 2 things:
1) don't stop the fight after a hit unless it is a very strong hit that would split scull or cut a leg off. Allow at least 2 or 3 seconds for counterattack.
2) try putting larger guards on swords
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Colt Reeves





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PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 11:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ummmm... The swords they are using are designed after actual swords, Lancelot's personal "Deva Slayer" and I assume a katana for the other guy. Altering the guards makes them something other than what they are intended to represent.

Edit: Perhaps more form-fitting gloves or ignoring any glancing blows that might have completely missed if not wearing gloves?

"Tears are for the craven, prayers are for the clown.
Halters for the silly neck that cannot keep a crown.
As my loss is grievous, so my hope is small.
For Iron, Cold Iron, must be master of men all..."
-Cold Iron, Rudyard Kipling
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Sun 13 Nov, 2011 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to make it clear. We're simulating totally unarmored combat. So a cut to the face or head, especially when you see my partner's head being knocked back, is definitely a stopping hit. There was no helmet in the count, no gambeson or thick clothing. The low frequency of his successful defense on my seemingly weak strikes, speaks of the power of the strikes. Many of the strikes punched through his guard and got him good.

We were not simulating SCA heavy fighting, or armored blunt swords combat. And for training purpose, we were not training to be capable of withstanding cuts and thrusts with our face and body. It's better not to be hit at all.

Our basic training starts with sharp swords and cutting. So we have plenty ideas about how deep such attacks would do.

Perhaps next I should put up a test cut video to demonstrate the effect with those lighter cuts. Hhehe. Big Grin

Thanks for your advices anyway.

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 2:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have seen your cutting videos and was always amazed how light your cuts seem but how powerful they actually are...
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 3:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h03imwdo30

This is one of the quickest attacks for Chinese 2 handed swords that I employed A LOT in my recent sparring. I tried it on newspapers roll.

Be minded that a free hanging newspapers rolls are difficult targets.

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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 3:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was also speaking about unarmored combat. Try splitting a scull some time and then see if you managed to do it. If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent. Even running your opponent through might not stop him. You need to sever some major muscles that keep human upright, cut off arm holding the weapon or damage central nervous system to reliably and instantly incapacitate your opponent.

Test cutting is great, but please try your test cutting with a blunter sword. Like bash your sword against the flat of another sword a couple of times to simulate effective blocking and then try cutting. For some reason I think it would be quite another story. And try cutting through a block, for example let somebody strongly hold a thick stick in the path of your strike so that you beat it aside and cut whatever is behind it. Try cutting with short movements you sometimes do in the video, not from the shoulder. Good technique will work with both razor-sharp blade and not so sharp one, against opponent in a t-shirt and against opponent in a leather jacket. Thick clothes make cutting much, much harder, especially if the blade is not very sharp. And for example where I live it's COLD in winter so people tend to wear something thicker than a t-shirt for at least half of the year.

My saying that most blows are weak was probably wrong, but there definitely were some weaker hits that would not have stopped a dedicated attacker. After all it is you who are training so you decide how you do it. But not stopping immediately after a hit would prepare you for situations where either your or your opponent's blow did not succeed entirely. There may be many situations like this in real life, from blunted weapons to thick clothes for cold weather to poor edge alignment to even concealed armor.

By the way, how much do your weapons weigh? They seem to be quite heavy, comparable to real weapons.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing is that, my sword was relatively blunt compare to many katana out there because it was designed to withstand contact with metal and had done that full contact, accidentally. I hit the metal part of my cutting stand once, leaving a deep dent on the metal, deforming it, without the edge damaged at all.






The blade cross section can be seen through the curve light reflection along the surface. It's not that sharp.



Yes, our sparring swords are weighed to the exact weight and balance of our real swords. My sword is 4lbs 13 oz, 7.625" balance off the guard. So it's quite heavy and the seemingly light hits actually carried more momentum than it looked.

And I agree with you about even running through an opponent would not stop him. That's true. And cutting muscles and tendons yield to stopping a motion. That's true as well.

What we differ maybe about how a metal hit one's face/head would cause. I agree tolerance spectrum is actually pretty broad. Some would fall and some would go on. Actual combat is not something that's totally predictable.

Here's a real life example. My student who sparred with me in the video above, was injured in an accident last week when sparring with our friend from SCA, Tom Biliter. The accident occurred when Tom's crossguard, which the padding around the quillon had worn off already, gone through the side of my student's helmet face cage and hit his temple slightly, causing a bleeding wound approx. 1cm square. The guard was rounded and was 5 to 6mm thick, not sharp at all.

In fact, on the day he sparred with me, the scar was still healing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94P6UFAJjE
Please skip to 0:30 and notice how quick my student fell after taking that hit.

And I've accidentally hit my face with sharp sword many many years ago when I was very tired and out of focus. It yielded to a scar between my brows. Thus I knew firsthand what it was like to be hit on the face and the following stunning effect. I've also accidentally hit myself on the head with my real longsword's quillon and it was very disturbing.

I would say that an intentional hit with steel object to the face or cranium, while is not always lethal, would produce a stopping effect at least long enough for a killing blow to follow, if not any longer.

I agree clothing have much protective effect too. So mostly, we agree on the major issues. Big Grin And I'm honored to have you provide comments in such friendly manner. Thanks a lot!

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
I was also speaking about unarmored combat. Try splitting a scull some time and then see if you managed to do it. If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent. Even running your opponent through might not stop him. You need to sever some major muscles that keep human upright, cut off arm holding the weapon or damage central nervous system to reliably and instantly incapacitate your opponent.

Test cutting is great, but please try your test cutting with a blunter sword. Like bash your sword against the flat of another sword a couple of times to simulate effective blocking and then try cutting. For some reason I think it would be quite another story. And try cutting through a block, for example let somebody strongly hold a thick stick in the path of your strike so that you beat it aside and cut whatever is behind it. Try cutting with short movements you sometimes do in the video, not from the shoulder. Good technique will work with both razor-sharp blade and not so sharp one, against opponent in a t-shirt and against opponent in a leather jacket. Thick clothes make cutting much, much harder, especially if the blade is not very sharp. And for example where I live it's COLD in winter so people tend to wear something thicker than a t-shirt for at least half of the year.

My saying that most blows are weak was probably wrong, but there definitely were some weaker hits that would not have stopped a dedicated attacker. After all it is you who are training so you decide how you do it. But not stopping immediately after a hit would prepare you for situations where either your or your opponent's blow did not succeed entirely. There may be many situations like this in real life, from blunted weapons to thick clothes for cold weather to poor edge alignment to even concealed armor.

By the way, how much do your weapons weigh? They seem to be quite heavy, comparable to real weapons.

Ancient Combat Association http://www.acahk.org
Realistic Sparring Weapons http://www.rsw.com.hk
Nightstalkers http://www.nightstalkers.com.hk


Last edited by Lancelot Chan on Mon 14 Nov, 2011 8:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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J Helmes
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This looks like tons of fun Lancelot. Thanks for adding the dot system. It makes it easier to see what happened. Now I want to see if I can sell my wife on the idea.
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 6:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Aleksei,

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent.


I've been (accidentally) struck by a blunt sword, at 1/3 power, in the head. The blow struck right above my right eye. It rendered me senseless for three seconds, during which time my opponent could have hit me five more times.

Not only did the blow stop me, it rendered me defenseless.

Cheers,

Christian

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 6:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I echo this experience! And I hope you did not have a permanent scar left on your face.

However, you look cool and handsome either way!

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hi Aleksei,

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent.


I've been (accidentally) struck by a blunt sword, at 1/3 power, in the head. The blow struck right above my right eye. It rendered me senseless for three seconds, during which time my opponent could have hit me five more times.

Not only did the blow stop me, it rendered me defenseless.

Cheers,

Christian

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J Helmes wrote:
This looks like tons of fun Lancelot. Thanks for adding the dot system. It makes it easier to see what happened. Now I want to see if I can sell my wife on the idea.


Thanks for your kind words.

It was because most people watching the videos did not have the luxury to use frame by frame inspections at 60 frames per second, and could not figure out who had hit who.

So I eventually bit the bullet to do the work for everybody. You can see that we were wrong with our real-time decisions sometimes. Thus we have learned to be humble and always prepared to be stand corrected by a later video review, usually together with all the participants.

It was always educating and sometimes brings a good laugh when viewing frame by frame, highlighting the moment of truth.

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Colt Reeves wrote:
Ummmm... The swords they are using are designed after actual swords, Lancelot's personal "Deva Slayer" and I assume a katana for the other guy. Altering the guards makes them something other than what they are intended to represent.

Edit: Perhaps more form-fitting gloves or ignoring any glancing blows that might have completely missed if not wearing gloves?


You're correct. Indeed, we don't count the blows that ran down along the blade and then ran over the guard. Those hits would not happen with steel swords.

We don't train with RSW alone. We also train with live blades (a lot, solo and cutting) and blunts (controlled sparring, occasionally to verify our experience). So we are aware of the blade-running-over-guard tendencies on RSW sparring and the lack of it when we did it with steel swords.

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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hi Aleksei,

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent.


I've been (accidentally) struck by a blunt sword, at 1/3 power, in the head. The blow struck right above my right eye. It rendered me senseless for three seconds, during which time my opponent could have hit me five more times.

Not only did the blow stop me, it rendered me defenseless.

Cheers,

Christian


I have had my finger broken in the fight. I continued on till the end of the round. I have seen another guy do the same. Yet I have seen two cases when a person was instantly rendered totally helpless by a fracture in a small bone (finger in one case and hand in another). I have been hit on the head quite hard and it did not stop me though it did distract me a lot. The worst head injure was when I was hit by a stone in the forehead. Blood that gushed from the wound covered my eyes so that I could barely see anything.

I know several people who were hit with bottles on the head and continued fighting despite heavily bleeding. There were cases when people did not loose consciousness even when their sculls were fractured. A lot depends on exact hit placement. Temples are very vulnerable while forehead is so strong that it can be used to break attacker's fist when he tries to punch you.

We mostly are not real fighters. We don't fight to the death, our blood vessels are not filled with adrenaline, we are not driven by blood lust. And we are not used to injuries A blow that would knock me out would not knock out a professional boxer.

Blows to the head are surely effective even if the bone remains intact, but out of 10 people 1 or 2 would not be daunted by such injure and if the attacker counts on such a blow to incapacitate his opponent he will be in for a big surprise. Probably the last surprise in his life.

Quote:
One thing is that, my sword was relatively blunt compare to many katana out there because it was designed to withstand contact with metal and had done that full contact, accidentally. I hit the metal part of my cutting stand once, leaving a deep dent on the metal, deforming it, without the edge damaged at all.


The object that you hit seems to be made of brass, a very soft material. Even mild steel is VERY soft compared to a sword blade. Anyone who works with metal would tell you that when two metal objects of different hardness are struck against each other the softer one gets damaged and the harder one usually remains intact even if difference in hardness is only slight. A file that is aroung 60-65 HRC can cut a sword blade that is 50 HRC (this is only 10-15 HRC difference or about 20-27%). And here you have a sword that is 50 HRC and a brass object that probably won't even measure in Rockwell scale. Even if we assume that brass is 20 HRC it would still make 30 HRC or 150% difference. That's why I told you to try hitting flat of another blade. I will be more precise: of another equally hard blade. If you don't want to damage your weapon (which is understandable) you can try this trick with a couple of cheap large kitchen knives.
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's not brass because the weight is not like that. But that's not too hard a metal for sure.

I've hit other swords with my sword (not deva slayer, but Brescia Spadona), because I had dueled to the first blood once, leaving 2 superficial wounds and 1 slit on the jacket of my challenger, and practice sharp sword controlled sparring 2 to 3 times back in the days I practice German longsword. So I know what happened to my sword edge afterwards. I even took photos of the edge damage for documentation purpose. I also hit full contact swords vs swords with some cheaper swords just to see how well some blocks would do, and observe the damage done on the edge.

I also agree with you on the broad spectrum of tolerance. I just don't practice taking hits and shrugging them off. I practice not to get hits. Happy And yes, dealing out a finishing blow after initial contacts were made is good idea, if you're planning to have no friends to spar with afterward. :P Those were students and I dun plan to send them off lessons in pain and have no more tuition fee and starve myself to death because I always "finish them off" after face blows. Big Grin

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
The object that you hit seems to be made of brass, a very soft material. Even mild steel is VERY soft compared to a sword blade. Anyone who works with metal would tell you that when two metal objects of different hardness are struck against each other the softer one gets damaged and the harder one usually remains intact even if difference in hardness is only slight. A file that is aroung 60-65 HRC can cut a sword blade that is 50 HRC (this is only 10-15 HRC difference or about 20-27%). And here you have a sword that is 50 HRC and a brass object that probably won't even measure in Rockwell scale. Even if we assume that brass is 20 HRC it would still make 30 HRC or 150% difference. That's why I told you to try hitting flat of another blade. I will be more precise: of another equally hard blade. If you don't want to damage your weapon (which is understandable) you can try this trick with a couple of cheap large kitchen knives.

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Aleksei,

I've had fingers broken bouting too and continued on. I've also had three ribs cracked, and also continued.

The experience I relayed above was quite different.

Beyond that (and I hope this is *not* what you're advocating), there's a phrase appropriate to modern practitioners who deliver fully powered blows in friendly sparring exchanges: "don't play with them." Beyond the obvious modern safety reasons for this, we also have the ones from the past: they didn't do this.

We know full power blows weren't used because 16th c. Fechtschulen involved wounds like scalp splitting - not skull splitting. Obviously, they pulled their blows for safety.

Cheers,

Christian

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Aleksei Sosnovski





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hey, guys! I don't say that one has to hit very hard and injure his sparring partners! I just came from a training and on Thursday on the next training I want to see same people back, eager to fight with me. What I am saying is that it is more realistic and useful not to stop immediately after one blow unless it is a clearly "incapacitating" one but to continue a second or two after a hit. That serves following reasons:
1) teaches not to open oneself when attacking because counterattack may come even if your blow reached its target
2) teaches not to stop after being hit. Hopefully this reflex will never become useful in real life, but chances are greater than zero that at some point of time you fill have to fight, will be wounded and bringing your opponent down despite the wound will be your only chance to survive (yes, I know that it is freaky, but I want my trainings to be as useful as possible even if the art itself is pretty much useless nowadays).
3) prepares for "surprises" such as concealed armor. Well, you know, SWAT is also taught to shoot until the target is down, and for a good reason.
4) prepares for fighting with something less sharp and pointy than a sword. In real life one will more likely fight with a stick or a crowbar than with a sword and considering oneself "dead" after receiving a single blow is just as bad as considering your opponent "dead" after hitting him once.

I do not say that you can receive hits and just shrug them off. Avoiding being hit is much more important than hitting your opponent. Without armor that is, in armor it is sometimes actually a very good idea to receive a blow on the armor while using your weapon to attack.

After all we study same art and in general agree on most things. We train differently and I am glad that we can discuss our methods here.

Lancelot Chan, can you please share these pictures with me? I also tried different blocks against a sharp sword, but it was a relatively soft sword (40-45 HRC) with blade geometry optimized for thrusting rather than cutting. I would like to see what happens to a quality cut-oriented sword and I am sure that other guys from my club would be glad to see these photos as well.
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
in armor it is sometimes actually a very good idea to receive a blow on the armor while using your weapon to attack.


Very true. When armored, allowing a blow to land in exchange for a much heavier blow is a good strategy. I usually focus on guarding the head and shrug off the body and arm blows that slip past. The best defense can be a good offense
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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2011 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, I can try to dig up some photos.

BTW, the metal part of the cutting stand, though soft, wasn't THAT soft because if you pay attention to the rim, there were 2 cuts on it, made by a windlass 15th century longsword accidentally. The longsword has its edge nicked in both cases. That speaks something for Deva Slayer's edge robust.

Here I attach 2 of my Brescia Spadona's damage after controlled live blade sparring, and 1 after full force hitting pig skull and caught its teeth. The damage of hitting the teeth was exactly like when I did full force sword vs sword hitting, so I'm just including this pic for reference.



 Attachment: 33.82 KB
PICT0197.jpg


 Attachment: 168.87 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 154.94 KB
[ Download ]

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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2011 11:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If that was the whack from Steve at WMAW2002, I agree. You would have been done. I thought you took that very well, all things considered.


Christian Henry Tobler wrote:
Hi Aleksei,

Aleksei Sosnovski wrote:
If you didn't then you didn't stop you opponent.


I've been (accidentally) struck by a blunt sword, at 1/3 power, in the head. The blow struck right above my right eye. It rendered me senseless for three seconds, during which time my opponent could have hit me five more times.

Not only did the blow stop me, it rendered me defenseless.

Cheers,

Christian
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