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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 02 Apr, 2013 8:01 pm    Post subject: Strongest strikes with the longsword and single sword?         Reply with quote

One of the early longsword texts (Ringeck, if I'm not mistaken) says that the strongest blow with the longsword for a right-handed man is one coming from the right (the opponent's left) towards the left (the opponent's right) and delivered with a passing step. On the other hand, some later texts on the rapier and/or single sword (most notably Viggiani) state that the most powerful blow is a riverso--that is, a backhand blow delivered from the left (the opponent's right) towards the right, again assuming a right-handed fencer.

Now, this disagreement has intrigued me for a long while. Working from the assumption that both sources are correct, I've been assuming that Ringeck (and perhaps others in the Liechtenauer tradition) assumes that the right-to-left strike is more powerful (at least for the initial closing from Zufechten into Krieg) due to the passing step that helps put more of the body's momentum into the blow, while Viggiani finds the riverso more powerful because it has more distance to travel and gain momentum in a predominantly right-foot-forward style of swordsmanship (although Viggiani still makes infrequent use of passing steps and left-foot-forward guards). But the most fundamental cut (cut 1) in much later right-foot-forward English military sabre and broadsword systems is the diagonal downwards cut from right to left (along a similar line to the German right-side Zornhau). I wonder what others think about this?

(I'm not looking for any resolution or definite conclusion as to which blow is really more powerful -- just some discussion on the various factors involved in why some master or another might think that this cut or that is the most powerful, including but not limited to body mechanics, footwork, timing, and the like.)
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Kjell Magnusson




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 12:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If we look at the longsword to rapier period, I suspect it's because the earlier texts discuss the longsword, and using it in two hands, while the later texts discuss single handed weapons.

On possible reason for why this transition would change the side where you have the most power is that for two-handed use, most of the power in the cut is probably delivered by the left hand, whereas with a single handed sword you're obviously only going to get power from the right (or at least it'll feel that way).

So in both cases, the most powerful cut is one delivered towards the side of the "strong" arm.

As for the later variants where we're back to cutting right to left, perhaps influences from lighter fencing weapons made for a less strength-utilising style? Though I'm not familiar enough with these bits to have all that much of an opinion there.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 2:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't read Viggiani; what kind of cut is he talking about, here? Done from the wrist, elbow, or shoulder?
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 03 Apr, 2013 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kjell Magnusson wrote:
On possible reason for why this transition would change the side where you have the most power is that for two-handed use, most of the power in the cut is probably delivered by the left hand, whereas with a single handed sword you're obviously only going to get power from the right (or at least it'll feel that way).

Yes I think that's one of the reason. The rear hand is ordinarily the one powering the cut because actions near the pommel are more efficiently transmitted to the blade. With a two-handed weapon the cut is also easier to control and power when the arms stay uncrossed.
With a companion weapon, I'd say even one-handed swords are more naturally used from the right. The companion creates sorts of "blind spots" on the other side which can make some strikes more complicated.

Without companion weapons, I do think the reverse can be made a bit more powerfully. Your joints are less constrained when you cut from the left. It also uses more of the back muscles. That said, forehand cuts combine better with steps in my opinion, as the motion removes your targets further from the opponent, whereas a backhand blow tends to bring your left side forward. I think that's why forehand blows remained important in other sources.

Regards,

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Vincent
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 04 Apr, 2013 7:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
I haven't read Viggiani; what kind of cut is he talking about, here? Done from the wrist, elbow, or shoulder?


He doesn't make it clear in the text, but his illustrations seem to imply cuts going all the way from the shoulder.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 5:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as modern day chivalry sports go, a forehand with a step past or pivoted on the off side foot is the most powerful both with single and two handed "swords".
But if the opponent is using a shiled the most easily delverable hard blow with nothing half blocking or otherwise decreasing the effect in the target is an off body and it would hit a rather sensitive part of the body, kidney or armpit area. My way of doing that shot is from the shoulder and you turn the upper body left and lean forward and to the side a bit to get past the guard.
This would incidentally equate to what both sources are stating thoug probably with a modern approach to the technique.
I'll definitey look up the manuals discussed though, sounds like a good read.

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




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PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr, 2013 12:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Unless I misunderstood the original post, aren't both cuts mirroring each other? The longsword cut travels diagonally downwards from your right shoulder while the riverso travels along the same path but upwards. If you want to cut upwards with the true edge of a longsword you mainly use your right hand since your left can't do much and it cannot either with the false edge. A one-handed sword can more easily be drawn than a longsword, well, it really depends on the length of the sword and your ability, but assuming this is the case, you might get a preference for an upward cut from the sheath with a one-handed sword.

Both cuts mirror each other, both can easily be reversed into the other one and both can easily transition into a thrust. One is a rising cut and the other is a falling cut along the diagonal, that's basically what you can do with a sword. The montante drills of Figueyredo start with rising cuts and that's a longsword. I think that learning to cut upwards before learning to cut downwards is pedagogical more sound although it is counter-intuitive. One cut shouldn't be stronger than the other one, they should be equal and to teach that you start with cutting upwards.
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick De Block wrote:
Unless I misunderstood the original post, aren't both cuts mirroring each other? The longsword cut travels diagonally downwards from your right shoulder while the riverso travels along the same path but upwards. If you want to cut upwards with the true edge of a longsword you mainly use your right hand since your left can't do much and it cannot either with the false edge. A one-handed sword can more easily be drawn than a longsword, well, it really depends on the length of the sword and your ability, but assuming this is the case, you might get a preference for an upward cut from the sheath with a one-handed sword.

Both cuts mirror each other, both can easily be reversed into the other one and both can easily transition into a thrust. One is a rising cut and the other is a falling cut along the diagonal, that's basically what you can do with a sword. The montante drills of Figueyredo start with rising cuts and that's a longsword. I think that learning to cut upwards before learning to cut downwards is pedagogical more sound although it is counter-intuitive. One cut shouldn't be stronger than the other one, they should be equal and to teach that you start with cutting upwards.


Actually I think Patrick that the upward blows are a fundamental aspect to Iberian fencing, at least from the time of Pietro Monte (Pedro Monte), they are called "levata" (in both Spanish and the Latin).
Steve

Steve Hick
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Mart Shearer




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PostPosted: Mon 08 Apr, 2013 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although the wrist is turned differently, I was reminded of the body mechanics of the tennis stroke, where forehand is considered stronger than backhand.
Quote:
Muscles Used

Both the backhand and forehand strokes rely on strong leg and core muscles, as well as strong forearms and wrists, but because the angle of your arm is different with a forehand than with a backhand, certain muscles in the upper arm and shoulder are emphasized with each stroke. For example, the forehand relies more on the biceps and the anterior deltoids on the front of the shoulders. The backhand emphasizes the triceps and the posterior deltoids on the back of the shoulders.


Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/541416-diff...z2Pu4muLY0

ferrum ferro acuitur et homo exacuit faciem amici sui
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Patrick De Block




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2013 11:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Hick wrote:


Actually I think Patrick that the upward blows are a fundamental aspect to Iberian fencing, at least from the time of Pietro Monte (Pedro Monte), they are called "levata" (in both Spanish and the Latin).
Steve


Yes, Steve. In the 'esgrima vulgar' upwards blows are fundamental. But what did 'peasants' (vulgar men) know that was despised by educated men who based their swordplay on mathematics. Why don't you share your thoughts on this. You are more knowledgeable on this than I am.

Patrick
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Reece Nelson




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Apr, 2013 10:11 pm    Post subject: most powerful blows         Reply with quote

An important thing to add is the "push-Pull" motion you do with the hilt of the sword (right hand pushed, left hand pulls).

I've done a number of very simple strikes with just just those two motions with the hands and delivered VERY powerful strikes Big Grin But if it came done to one, I'd say it's the Schielhau. Its breaks langennort (long point) and the pflug (the plow) guards, but when I apply the push and pulling with the hands it sends my opponents sword WAY offline and at the same time delivering a powerful cut, which can then also sets myself up for a nice thrust to the face Cool There are variations I've seen and tried, and I feel that striking down the center feels strongest. Mostly cuz I'll use my back muscles and keep it tight within my body with my arms and hands. Let the body do the work Wink

-Reece
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2013 6:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting discussion so far! I'm particularly intrigued, too, by the point about the importance of upwards blows in esgrima vulgar, since the ascending "violent motion" blows that figure at the beginning of many Figueyredo montante plays felt so unique to me (not in the sense that they're unusual, but that they seem to be more strongly emphasised than in most other European traditions), and I'd certainly like to know either the reasoning or the traditional backgrounds behind it if we have any sources/evidence for that.
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Wed 17 Apr, 2013 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick De Block wrote:
Steve Hick wrote:


Actually I think Patrick that the upward blows are a fundamental aspect to Iberian fencing, at least from the time of Pietro Monte (Pedro Monte), they are called "levata" (in both Spanish and the Latin).
Steve


Yes, Steve. In the 'esgrima vulgar' upwards blows are fundamental. But what did 'peasants' (vulgar men) know that was despised by educated men who based their swordplay on mathematics. Why don't you share your thoughts on this. You are more knowledgeable on this than I am.

Patrick


Actually the whole system of using attacks to clear the center is false in the LVD world and also anything rising is off course violent and not natural. LVD depends on logically controlling things and not at all on what the opponent's reaction might be. There are only 5 or so fundamental axioms of LVD from which you could derive the majority of the system.

Steve

Steve Hick
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Patrick De Block




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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr, 2013 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Hick wrote:


Actually the whole system of using attacks to clear the center is false in the LVD world and also anything rising is off course violent and not natural. LVD depends on logically controlling things and not at all on what the opponent's reaction might be. There are only 5 or so fundamental axioms of LVD from which you could derive the majority of the system.

Steve


As far as I understand your answer:
Steve Hick wrote:


Actually the whole system of using attacks to clear the center is false in the LVD world and also anything rising is off course violent and not natural. LVD depends on logically controlling things and not at all on what the opponent's reaction might be.

Steve


is one thought and:
Steve Hick wrote:


There are only 5 or so fundamental axioms of LVD from which you could derive the majority of the system.

Steve


is your second thought. Could you elaborate on both, if my division is right.

Do you mean to say that an upward blow is an attack meant to clear the center is what LVD doesn't like because to their logic it is not natural and thus violent (too vulgar)?

And what are the 5 or so fundamental axioms, according to you?

What I was actually thinking about was: if someone gives you a smack in the face he would not bring up his hand above his shoulder. If he did that, he was only threatening and all you had to do was back off, but if he is really angry it goes 'smack' before you can react.
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Benjamin Floyd II





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PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr, 2013 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Interesting discussion so far! I'm particularly intrigued, too, by the point about the importance of upwards blows in esgrima vulgar, since the ascending "violent motion" blows that figure at the beginning of many Figueyredo montante plays felt so unique to me (not in the sense that they're unusual, but that they seem to be more strongly emphasised than in most other European traditions), and I'd certainly like to know either the reasoning or the traditional backgrounds behind it if we have any sources/evidence for that.


Joachim Meyer uses a LOT of ascending blows. Maybe it's a big weapon thing?

Krieg School of Historical Swordsmanship
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 5:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick De Block wrote:
Steve Hick wrote:


Actually the whole system of using attacks to clear the center is false in the LVD world and also anything rising is off course violent and not natural. LVD depends on logically controlling things and not at all on what the opponent's reaction might be. There are only 5 or so fundamental axioms of LVD from which you could derive the majority of the system.

Steve


As far as I understand your answer:
Steve Hick wrote:


Actually the whole system of using attacks to clear the center is false in the LVD world and also anything rising is off course violent and not natural. LVD depends on logically controlling things and not at all on what the opponent's reaction might be.

Steve


is one thought and:
Steve Hick wrote:


There are only 5 or so fundamental axioms of LVD from which you could derive the majority of the system.

Steve


is your second thought. Could you elaborate on both, if my division is right.

Do you mean to say that an upward blow is an attack meant to clear the center is what LVD doesn't like because to their logic it is not natural and thus violent (too vulgar)?

And what are the 5 or so fundamental axioms, according to you?

What I was actually thinking about was: if someone gives you a smack in the face he would not bring up his hand above his shoulder. If he did that, he was only threatening and all you had to do was back off, but if he is really angry it goes 'smack' before you can react.


Greetings, for better descriptions of LVD, see Puck Curtis, he's not over here, are you on Facebook, Patrick? If so try Destreza in the SCA group (bring pearls before swine). He explains it better than I.

The introductory course he teaches generally teaches 12 fencing actions (3 defenses, 5 attacks, and 4 spirals) bound together with the theory. I was referencing the 5 attacks.

Per Puck: "We have covered the three defenses that LVD considers the Universals. There are two false defenses which are deflections (Desvíos) and engagements or "aggregations" (Agregación).

The Five Defenses:
1. Right Angle (true and universal)
2. Atajo (true and universal)
3. Movement of Conclusion (true and universal but potentially dangerous)
4. Deflections (False)
5. Aggregation (False) "

So the techniques the clear the center are one of these, a deflection.

When you do something and your blade and arm rise, it is "violent" as it moves against gravity. So a rising blow that deflects the opponents blade from the center is both a false defenze ( deflection) and the movement itself is violent.

Steve Hick
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Apr, 2013 5:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Benjamin Floyd II wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Interesting discussion so far! I'm particularly intrigued, too, by the point about the importance of upwards blows in esgrima vulgar, since the ascending "violent motion" blows that figure at the beginning of many Figueyredo montante plays felt so unique to me (not in the sense that they're unusual, but that they seem to be more strongly emphasised than in most other European traditions), and I'd certainly like to know either the reasoning or the traditional backgrounds behind it if we have any sources/evidence for that.


Joachim Meyer uses a LOT of ascending blows. Maybe it's a big weapon thing?


I would think so, for big swords, especially anything influenced by the Iberians, I've not seen that much of it from Marozzo, especially as a preliminary. Pietro Monte in his collection says the rising blows are the fundamentals. I think it is also part of the preparation for an attack, in that you gotta raise the sword up anyway, why not do something with it?
Steve

Steve Hick
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Patrick De Block




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Apr, 2013 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Steve,

Thank you. I'm not on Facebook and I don't intend too. But I do have the the Destreza text published by Freelance Academy Press which I apparently didn't read well enough. This text doesn't say anything about the four circular movements but I guess this has to do with the four hand positions. Unless, once again, I didn't read it well enough.

This text says that a downwards movement is stronger (natural) because you can use the weight of your upper body while with an upwards movement you can only use your arms (violent). This is where I tend to disagree. Apart from gravity there also exists normal force or ground reaction force. This is why I think an upwards movement can be as strong as a downwards movement if you succeed in using the ground reaction force. So, to come back to the original post, which is stronger? Neither, they can be equal, unless you only use your arms instead of your upper body.

And this is disregarding the strategic advantage to which you were referring, I guess.

Patrick
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Benjamin Floyd II





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PostPosted: Thu 25 Apr, 2013 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Hick wrote:
I would think so, for big swords, especially anything influenced by the Iberians, I've not seen that much of it from Marozzo, especially as a preliminary. Pietro Monte in his collection says the rising blows are the fundamentals. I think it is also part of the preparation for an attack, in that you gotta raise the sword up anyway, why not do something with it?
Steve


I've found that a rising cut followed by another action, but within the same passing step, to be incredibly useful. If he cuts during the underhauw, you can displace it or bind. If he doesn't react, which is the most common response given the measure/timing of the first cut, you move on to try and hit him with the following action.

Meyer 1.26r1 (Forgeng) wrote:
In the Onset come into the right Change; take heed as soon as he pulls up his sword for a stroke, and quickly slash through upward before him, and cut in with a Thwart from your right at the same time as him; in the cut, step well to his left side.


This is of course violates some folks notion of stepping with each strike, but c'est la vie.

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A HEMA Alliance Affliate


Last edited by Benjamin Floyd II on Fri 26 Apr, 2013 3:33 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Apr, 2013 4:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick De Block wrote:
Hello Steve,

Thank you. I'm not on Facebook and I don't intend too. But I do have the the Destreza text published by Freelance Academy Press which I apparently didn't read well enough. This text doesn't say anything about the four circular movements but I guess this has to do with the four hand positions. Unless, once again, I didn't read it well enough.

This text says that a downwards movement is stronger (natural) because you can use the weight of your upper body while with an upwards movement you can only use your arms (violent). This is where I tend to disagree. Apart from gravity there also exists normal force or ground reaction force. This is why I think an upwards movement can be as strong as a downwards movement if you succeed in using the ground reaction force. So, to come back to the original post, which is stronger? Neither, they can be equal, unless you only use your arms instead of your upper body.

And this is disregarding the strategic advantage to which you were referring, I guess.

Patrick


I'm merely repearing Pacheco and Carranza using Aristotlean physics. The rising falling with the same step is discussed as the ripping blow by Godinho

Steve Hick
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