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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Oct 2010

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject: Half-swording large two-handed swords?         Reply with quote

Hello,

The popular german type of two-handed swords usually feature a large ricasso with parrying hooks that would seem perfect for grabbing hold of to shorten the sword when in close combat. It's also usually brought up in discussions as an advantage that they could use. However, I can't recall reading even the tiniest bit about it when looking through historical texts about two-handed swords. I've mostly been looking at Alfieri's work on the Spadone and Figueyredo's work on the Montante which doesn't (always, at least) feature the same kind of ricasso with hooks as german swords, but I'd imagine that they could still be used in that same manner.

One important aspect about the works I mentioned is that they seem to focus on scenarios where you're outnumbered, and that's surely why they don't go into either half-swording or grappling at all, but I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned anywhere else, either. Are there any preserved images that shows any kind of half-swording with these large swords?

Thanks in advance!
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Robert B. Marks




Location: Kingston, Ont.
Joined: 04 Feb 2004

Posts: 82

PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 10:10 am    Post subject: Re: Half-swording large two-handed swords?         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Hello,

The popular german type of two-handed swords usually feature a large ricasso with parrying hooks that would seem perfect for grabbing hold of to shorten the sword when in close combat. It's also usually brought up in discussions as an advantage that they could use. However, I can't recall reading even the tiniest bit about it when looking through historical texts about two-handed swords. I've mostly been looking at Alfieri's work on the Spadone and Figueyredo's work on the Montante which doesn't (always, at least) feature the same kind of ricasso with hooks as german swords, but I'd imagine that they could still be used in that same manner.

One important aspect about the works I mentioned is that they seem to focus on scenarios where you're outnumbered, and that's surely why they don't go into either half-swording or grappling at all, but I don't think I've ever seen it mentioned anywhere else, either. Are there any preserved images that shows any kind of half-swording with these large swords?

Thanks in advance!


Well, the only thing that comes immediately to mind on my part is Talhoffer's fechtbuch (I hope I spelled that correctly), which has a number of illustrations of people half-swording longswords. Mind you, if that is useful, it is as a precursor, as I think Talhoffer predates those big Zweihanders by at least a century...

Robert Marks
Darksword Armory, Inc.
www.darksword-armory.com
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

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Posts: 843

PostPosted: Tue 06 Aug, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello!

There is at least one image in Marozzo: look up "Guardia Contra Arma Inastate" on this page. As you can see it's not done in the German way, here the right hand goes on the blade. I guess more details could be found in the text if you can read it, I'm not familiar with it.

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Thu 08 Aug, 2013 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

one application i thought of by looking at the cross sections of these big swords and attempting to apply the montante rules to it, is that the ricassos of these swords are very thick and robust. i haven't been able to document any of the actually swords myself, a lot of the information I'm getting on measurements is coming second hand. some information shows that in the montante styled sword, the ricasso is very thick in cross section, and as the blade begins, there is a very steep taper that then becomes gradual yet much less taper until the tip.

my theory, a practitioner would have to follow up to see if i may be correct, is that the ricassos are so large because many of the motions of the sword are to parry away the opponents weapon. so i thinking that contact with the opposing weapon could be focused on this beefy part of the blade to spare the swords edge.

as for half-swording, your taking away 2 functions of the sword that give it its edge over other weapons #1 reach. i believe that two handed swords function pretty well for keeping someone at a distance. #2 is taking away the momentum of the cut. now this may be where the montante and broader swords of the two handed nature differ. montante's primary attack seems to come from a thrust (its construction seems to constitute this well) while the bigger broader swords seems to have very little to no advantage with a thrust. their broad blades sometimes taper out to the tip to add weight, and support a bold rounded tip. so half-swording it to thrust or bind seems to limit its potential for its primary function.

other ideas fall into place when you think of where the sword is being used. pike formations, or a judicial duel. chances are in a pike formation, after the initial shock charge (if used in that way) or if pressed together in tight formation, the sword would be abandoned for a smaller bladed weapon as in tight formation the sword becomes more of a hindrance than an advantage.

of course these are just my theory's on the sword, someone with piratical handling knowledge may be able to prove my ideas incorrect, but I've done the same thing Emily. in looking at the period manuals i see an absence of what is familiar in longsword fighting, and i think why? it may simply be because we are trying to apply what we already know to this sword, and in the end two handed swords may not be meant to be used in the half-swording fashion.
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Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon 12 Aug, 2013 11:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Hello!

There is at least one image in Marozzo: look up "Guardia Contra Arma Inastate" on this page. As you can see it's not done in the German way, here the right hand goes on the blade. I guess more details could be found in the text if you can read it, I'm not familiar with it.

Regards,


Also, Marozzo uses the half-sword grip (spada in arme or punta corta) in his second or third assalto for the spadone, and the Anonymous has a few plays at stretto that do the same.

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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Tim Rivera





Joined: 22 Mar 2010

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat 17 Aug, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perez de Mendoza (Resumen, 1675) advises that you grip the montante with the right hand on the recazo (57r). Godinho (Arte de Esgrima, 1599) gives the opposite advice, saying that the fingers doesn't need to grip the close third of the blade (111r). So it wasn't unheard of among the Iberians, even if most advise it being gripped with both hands on the hilt.

Tim
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