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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Real combat?         Reply with quote

Hi all

First of all, I'm not sure if I can post this topic on this forum, but I'm going to try it. From what I understand, a rapier/small sword or modern cavalry sabers are very deadly weapons, it can kill a man easily(I mean what doesn't kill a man). It's form of fighting were also refined through out the centuries.

I had someone from a European fencing group(mainly longsword) that keeps telling me longsword is real combat and rapier, small sword/saber were not, and they belong to some form of competition and sports. I did not understand that statement, I seek opinions from you guys, thanks!

Sincerely
Ed
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Scott Hrouda




Location: Minnesota, USA
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not quite sure what you are asking. Any bladed weapon in the hands of an experienced person will produce devastating results. To say one weapon is superior over another is just trolling for a trouble. It really depends upon the time frame in question, the rule set, the weapons, and (most importantly) the skill of the opponents.
...and that, my liege, is how we know the Earth to be banana shaped. - Sir Bedevere
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Ralph Grinly





Joined: 19 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern fencing with epee's could be considered "real combat' - except that the weapons are not sharpened and (hopefully) the fencers have no INTENTION to actually kill each other. The same rules apply to those who now 'fight' with modern replicas of broadswords and rapiers. Different styles of weapons, and techniques based on period-correct manuals written at the time. Again, broadswords are not sharpened and rapiers would have blunted tips. However, even blunted, ANY sword is quite capable of killing if the intent is there.
Modern bouts can be considered "real" in the sense that they are not choreographed, with move and countermove worked out in advance and the outcome of the match pre-determined.

As time progressed, fashions in swords changed, also they tended to move from the purely military towards becoming 'fashion' accessories. Gentlemen wouldn't be seen out in any public function without a fancy sword any more than they'd appear in clothes of the 'lower classes". However, although fancy, these small swords were very capable weapons if used skilfully. They may not have stood up to the rigours of full-blown military battles, but they weren't intended to. Carrying a sword that can't kill is like a modern soldier being armed with a weapon that can't fire.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 7:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, really appreciate you guys taking time to write them.

to Mr.Hrouda:

I'll rephrase it, what I was told by the other practitioner of longsword was that all European martial arts after the 15th century were considered as competition and sports, I did not agree with him but also I am uncertain. From what Mr.Grinly said, rapier and small swords were effective kill tools designed if used correctly. My question is if that longsword practitioner was right about the rapiers and small sword being competition and sports only.

P.S-oops accidentally typed appropriate instead of appreciate, my mistake.
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Tom King




Location: florida
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

modern saber and foil fencing has been sporterized past the point of considering them to be combat. Next time the olympics come on watch what they do- essentially a quick draw contest where the guy who wins hit first, the winner being hit a 1/64th of a second later. The techniques taught for modern foil fencing would be useless with a smallsword, let alone a rapier. This is because of ultralight weapons, limited legal strikes, limited legal strike locations, etc. so within the confines of the rules the spoertized system works best, but without the rules it is near useless. similar to how in reenactment communities like the SCA shield and sword is so common because any strike is considered a killing blow, so correct forms of combat are neutered and a pseudo combat sport evolves to match the rule set.

Same goes for kendo with it's limited strikes, legal hit locations, and ritualized bouts.

in it's purest form olympic foil and saber can be applied to sabers and small swords, but they are different animals and when compared to historical methods of fencing they will be lacking.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ubsfz17mo4glwor/Polish%20Saber%20HEMA.pdf
compare ^ to modern saber; attempting to use a real saber as a "saber" or vise versa would be rather comical and if you handed a olympic purist a thumb ring Szabla and had him fight a man trained in traditional saber fencing it would be a quick fight, although if the tables were reversed and the rules of olympic saber fencing were in place it could go the other way.
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
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PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 9:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, if we are talking historical smallswords, sabers, and rapers, then yes, valid and deadly martial arts. Rapiers in particular were born in close combat urban environments, where they really excel. Sabers are often just continuations of classic curved swords and a skilled user is pretty dangerous. But it should be remembered that they and their style existed when swords were only barely a battlefield weapon and sometimes that lack of martiality shows.

Smallswords are a bit different though. Mostly a specialized weapon designed to face other smallswords in one on one duals, I severely doubt that they'd be much good against many other weapons or multiple opponents. Still, it was practiced to be lethal (at least occasionally), so I think of it still as a martial art, if on the extreme edge of it.

Modern representations though are certainly martial sports, concerned with points not fighting. Sure you could probably kill an opponent with some of the techniques, but that is not the intention of anything you learn in them. That's why I don't think of them as martial arts. Add in that a lot of their techniques would be suicidal against a real swordsman, and no I don't think they are combat arts at all.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Real combat?         Reply with quote

Edward Lee wrote:
Hi all

First of all, I'm not sure if I can post this topic on this forum, but I'm going to try it. From what I understand, a rapier/small sword or modern cavalry sabers are very deadly weapons, it can kill a man easily(I mean what doesn't kill a man). It's form of fighting were also refined through out the centuries.

I had someone from a European fencing group(mainly longsword) that keeps telling me longsword is real combat and rapier, small sword/saber were not, and they belong to some form of competition and sports. I did not understand that statement, I seek opinions from you guys, thanks!

Sincerely
Ed


They are all deadly weapons pick your choice

But from experience in all of them, the long sword/ arming sword is the deadliest, no ands ifs or buts about it.

Call me bias, I have handled almost all the types now and nothing beats the old swords, they were made to KILL with no fanciness and fashion attached to it. I'll take a 12th century arming sword over any saber any day.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
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Posts: 313

PostPosted: Sun 21 Jul, 2013 10:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys for the replies, really learned a lot. But yes I was asking about the historical rapier and small swords, sabers too.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2013 5:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rapiers, smallswords and sabers where definitely designed for battle. The Spanish used "colonial rapiers" right up into the end of the 18th century. Smallswords with heavier blades like colichimards and spadrons were used by the military such as the English and French also into the 19th century. And the saber was used all the way into WWII with its last effective use at the end of the 19th century prior to the wholesale introduction of automatic weapons.
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Mike Janis




Location: Atlanta GA
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2013 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don’t understand:
Quote:
nothing beats the old swords, they were made to KILL with no fanciness and fashion attached to it. I'll take a 12th century arming sword over any saber any day.


I cut off your arm with a long sword – you die. I slash you open with a curved saber and your guts fall on the floor – you die. I run a rapier through your heart – you die. I “transfix your chest“ with a “Patton Saber” – you die. How is one deadlier than the other? It’s not like one can kill you twice.

Note: the U.S. Army manual Saber Exercise 1914 written by Lt. George Patton uses the word “transfix” a lot. Usually in regard to your opponent’s chest.

Another note; any logical analysis would classify the Patton Saber as a rapier. The straight blade is ~42 inches long; it tapers from 1.175” to a chisel point. While sharp, it is not designed for cutting – only thrusting. Lt. Patton makes it clear in the manual, that it is to be used for thrusting and only to be used for cuts "on rare occasions." He says that it is sharp "so that it may be more easily withdrawn from a body,"

MikeJ
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2013 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I understand your friend's statement correctly, he's comparing different weapons used properly within their own intended context with one another, NOT comparing a weapon used within its intended context with a modern swordlike sport such as Olympic fencing or Japanese kendo. The issue of swordsmanship becoming corrupted with nonviable techniques which nonetheless score points in a game is something that concerns me too, and why there is a movement among fencers to stay true to classical roots and why people still seek out Japanese koryu when other schools are so much more abundant. Your friend seems to be taking up something closer to George Silver's position, dismissing the weapon itself even assuming we're dealing with a fencer who knows what he's doing and has real skin in the game. Is this accurate?

For the most part, whenever someone starts going Silver on me about which type of sword or martial art is more "real" than others, that's when I yawn and walk away. Context is important here, and as others have already said, they were all deadly weapons. In the hands of a skilled fighter, they could all yield devastating results. You could get just as dead from a rapier as from a longsword. It tends to be ego which takes the contrary position, and a desire to inflate one's own importance by belittling others.

Besides, it's sort of self-defeating to slight a group of weapons and arts for not being "real combat" when there is exactly zero chance of having to use a longsword on a battlefield. These arts are all equally obsolete in a strictly military sense, so none of them are exactly "real" anymore. We who still pursue them must be satisfied reaping rewards other than survival in the wars of the past. This does not mean that I'm a fan of how some arts have been sportified; I do believe there is value in training with a martial mindset and paying attention to sound tactics. It's just that if someone wants "real combat" in this day and age, I'd advise them to join the Marines. Wink

Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2013 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Silver was not a grunt.
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Guy Bayes




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jul, 2013 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Probably your friend is thinking more along the lines of a ruleset not being very close to real combat as opposed to a weapon.

There are certainly sporting and dueling rulesets that are pretty far removed from real fighting, sportified

One of the interesting things about HEMA longsword training, at least the ones I have attended, is there is not a lot of things you are trained not to because you are not allowed

It is kind of interesting to wonder in an anything goes fight with swords, which traditions would be popular.
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Christopher Treichel




Location: Metro D.C.
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 9:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem you are always going to have is that the moment you take away the threat of damage/death any martial art involving what would have been a deadly weapon... damage becomes a secondary thought. It does not matter if its open hand or using longswords, smallswords etc

Experiment: (ok probably not a good idea but lets just say...)

Fence with your protective equipment on... as usual you don't really worry about getting hit because that just resets the action.... Or at the very least its not really something you worry about too much.

Now fence with point de arret or with sabers...bare chested... Now watch what happens to your defensive work vs your offensive work. You become really concerned to not get hit because its going to cause damage or at the least hurt.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Another note; any logical analysis would classify the Patton Saber as a rapier. The straight blade is ~42 inches long; it tapers from 1.175” to a chisel point.


The sword's overall length is 42 inches and the blade has a spear point, not chisel. More properly regarded as a pallasch, from which the sword was derived.

Cheers

GC
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Robert W Tucker




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jul, 2013 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe that all bladed weapons were designed to kill, however some are not intended to fight others though they could, if I had A small sword in hand against A saber I would wish I had A saber most small swords are to light to defend against such weapons, but that particular person might be exceptionally suited to the small sword and choose it regardless he may still win or loose that has more to do with the fighter themselves not the weapon , even the masters of those weapons saw a difference between duel and war even rapier masters of the day, most of them speak of weapons better suited for war not that they wont kill but there are more versatile weaponry, master Silver never said that rapiers were not efficient killing tools they just lacked certain components of combat that he preferred, even long swords can go from mostly suited for armored combat not great for cutting but thrusting to really only good for unarmored combat. To say that small sword or saber has no martial grounds though against another sword is like saying karate will beat all other hand arts or that .45 ACP will always kill faster then 9 mm. But where we see the real difference is in sport combat SCA, ken-do, foil,epee, wrestling, boxing you name it, they had there start in martial combat, but now barely have meaning in the word in my opinion they have gone beyond and turned into entertainment A physical game of wit and endurance with a point system. in conclusion all these weapons have practical application for killing to this day even though we do not use them for such anymore but the martial art forms are still much better suited for the practice of them then then the sports are.
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As for one sword being more deadly than another to the point of the other not being a "real" weapon, any sharp and/ or fully pointy blade able to cut or pierce flesh is a real weapon regardless of historical or geographical origin.
Blunts on the other hand are training, recreational or competition tools and made to be as non-lethal as possible. This includes lonsword trainers.


Is there such a thing as the deadliest sword?

For defeating armour a sword isn't ever the best tool in the first place, but a stiff thrust oriented one might penetrate lighter plate or maille. Some forms of longswords had this adaption with a ridged or hollow diamond cross-section but there were other sword forms better suited for it.
A massive greatsword might clobber someone to incapacitation or even death by brute force applied.

For when metal armour isn't being used, a thin, curved cut oriented sword like the shamshir or any equivalent saber would be the most effective.
Versus flesh without armour this blade type cuts one handed and flick of the wrist quick about the same as the best hollow ground two-handed longsword blades using perfect technique -and two hands.

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




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interestingly enough though, dueling in the west at east, evolved into almost entirely straight blades without hardly any cutting
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Jaroslav Jakubov




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 7:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say it would depend on type of usage of the sword and type of combat situation.As an example, on horseback, longer straight sword would be more effective against other cavalrymen and infantry than curved saber due to reach and thrusting usage, anyway actual skill would play much greater role than sword type.
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Glen A Cleeton




Location: Nipmuc USA
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Jul, 2013 8:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guy Bayes wrote:
Interestingly enough though, dueling in the west at east, evolved into almost entirely straight blades without hardly any cutting


Nonsense Happy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMWsOyOHaaA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTKh60BdPUM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crvxvvwkpB8



If I am not mistaken, even modern western Olympic style sabre fencing shows as many or more blows (cuts) than thrusts.



<sidebar>Then look to say, cutlass training on US warships up into the 20th century.

Despite the mostly European continental preference for a straight sword for cavalry late in the 19th century, some countries continued to field sabres (including new models) for melee vs line charges. Nothing changed in that. A sabre is more useful for close quarter horseback combat.</sidebar>

To say dueling with swords evolved to only straight swords with mostly thrusting is, perhaps, a little misguided.

Cheers

GC
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