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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Tue 08 Oct, 2013 7:12 pm    Post subject: Help with solo set-plays/flourishes         Reply with quote

I know I'm not a highly skilled or experienced swordsman, but lately I've been asked on a number of occasions to demonstrate some of what I've learned about medieval and Renaissance European martial arts, particularly swordsmanship. The problem here is that many of the most interesting techniques from the tradition I'm most familiar with (i.e. the Liechtenauer lineage and closely-related branches) work at/from the bind, so I can't really show them off except on rare occasions when one of my old practice partners just happens to be around and available for the same event.

In short, I think I may need to develop a routine for showing off the simpler cuts, thrusts, slices, footwork, and other aspects of the art that can be demonstrated without the need for an opponent's presence. But I don't know where to start -- so any tips or pointers would be appreciated.
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Dustin R. Reagan





Joined: 09 May 2006

Posts: 264

PostPosted: Tue 08 Oct, 2013 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Help with solo set-plays/flourishes         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I know I'm not a highly skilled or experienced swordsman, but lately I've been asked on a number of occasions to demonstrate some of what I've learned about medieval and Renaissance European martial arts, particularly swordsmanship. The problem here is that many of the most interesting techniques from the tradition I'm most familiar with (i.e. the Liechtenauer lineage and closely-related branches) work at/from the bind, so I can't really show them off except on rare occasions when one of my old practice partners just happens to be around and available for the same event.

In short, I think I may need to develop a routine for showing off the simpler cuts, thrusts, slices, footwork, and other aspects of the art that can be demonstrated without the need for an opponent's presence. But I don't know where to start -- so any tips or pointers would be appreciated.


The flourish described in codex 3227a (often referred to as "Codex Döbringer", or just "Döbringer"), is a good place to start:
Translation by Thomas Stoeppler wrote:

If you wish to stride towards your opponent in a elegant manner in school fencing or just for fun, and intend to show off grace,
so at first shake your sword bravely and fall sideways into the Schrankhut to both sides and transition from guard to guard in wide motions, from one side upwards to the other with steps. After that set yourself in the lower hanging from both sides with steps and then come to the upper hangings from both sides with steps. Then come into the crossing strikes to both sides with steps. So that whenever you move through one of the techniques described before to one side you also have to take a step. If you execute it to your left so place the right foot in front and vice versa. And do this if you are coming to him and then do something appropriate what is useful for sport and so on.


Here's an interesting paper regarding this flourish:
http://www.hemaalliance.com/documents/Dobring...ourish.pdf

Also, I'd add that a lot of Joachim Meyer's plays are perfect for performing solo...
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 08 Oct, 2013 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find that a demonstration of the meisterhau are a good place to start. Strong cuts with strong defenses, footwork, immediate opportunities for thrusts. Combine them into a some flourishes to demonstrate how they would work with each other and you've got a good quick demo.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Tue 08 Oct, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A really effective way to demonstrate your ability is just to work through each of the actions for a particular strike or technique. So, for example, you cycle through all the of the zornhau techniques, or all of the krumphau techniques. To make it life-like, just imagine there really is an opponent ready to strike you, and then intensely strike and displace as though you are actually fighting him. The benefit in doing this is that you will demonstrate the actions in zufechten- like the five meisterhau- which are more exciting for most audiences to watch, while still revealing the subtleties of binding, save that you have had to imagine the opponent.

These days, I avoid any other types of flourishes in my practice. Although it certainly is possible to string together a series of strikes, displacements, thrusts, feints and so forth in a manner that is dynamic and flows, you are investing time and energy practicing techniques that get in the way of the true art. In a sense, you are practicing bad habits, because in ernst fechten, you don't do a random series of actions; you lead with a strike or blow, then feel and drive with the most efficient attack to the next opening. Therefore, it makes sense to practice techniques in this way, and practice them as though you are really fighting. The added benefit is that you will be demonstrating the genuine actions of the art for people, rather than putting on a "flourish performance".
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William Carew




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Wed 09 Oct, 2013 9:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Much of the Renaissance two-handed sword work that we currently know of survives primarily as solo flourishes or drills.

A very detailed source that could be used for solo public performances is the Memorial Of the Practice of the Montante of Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo (translated by Steve Hick and Eric Myers). While the montante lessons are most impressive when performed with a full sized montante or spadone, they can be performed just as well with a regular sized longsword too.

Bill Carew
Jogo do Pau Brisbane
COLLEGIUM IN ARMIS
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Oct, 2013 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owcre_q-RKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr3H2Zynesc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fZH2GgHZDs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNVojNVs2XE

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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William Carew




Location: Australia
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PostPosted: Thu 10 Oct, 2013 3:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owcre_q-RKU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mr3H2Zynesc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fZH2GgHZDs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNVojNVs2XE


Those are some of my videos. Bear in mind with the first two montante rules, those are variations I'm showing. I've actually got some other variations with fuller cuts that I prefer a little more now so I'd like to redo those two on YT. I'm pretty happy with the third rule although there again, I have other equally valid interpretations.

Bill Carew
Jogo do Pau Brisbane
COLLEGIUM IN ARMIS
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
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PostPosted: Fri 11 Oct, 2013 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Those show half cuts with the point remaining on the opponent, right? Nicely done. Montante has some very graceful movement.
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 9:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
A really effective way to demonstrate your ability is just to work through each of the actions for a particular strike or technique. So, for example, you cycle through all the of the zornhau techniques, or all of the krumphau techniques. To make it life-like, just imagine there really is an opponent ready to strike you, and then intensely strike and displace as though you are actually fighting him. The benefit in doing this is that you will demonstrate the actions in zufechten- like the five meisterhau- which are more exciting for most audiences to watch, while still revealing the subtleties of binding, save that you have had to imagine the opponent.


Shadow-fencing, basically? It's what I've been doing so far, but I have the tendency to go autistic when I do that (in the sense that I concentrate too much on my imaginary opponent and forget that I'm trying to demonstrate the techniques to an audience). I suppose it's possible to break that bad habit.


William Carew wrote:
Much of the Renaissance two-handed sword work that we currently know of survives primarily as solo flourishes or drills.

A very detailed source that could be used for solo public performances is the Memorial Of the Practice of the Montante of Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo (translated by Steve Hick and Eric Myers). While the montante lessons are most impressive when performed with a full sized montante or spadone, they can be performed just as well with a regular sized longsword too.


And there I forgot that I've been dabbling in the montante too! The actions certainly look more impressive to an untrained audience that can't follow Liechtenauer techniques at full speed, and I think I should really consider getting or making a very large waster (since a full-sized two-handed steel blunt is rather beyond my budget at the moment).
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 10:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

Shadow-fencing, basically? It's what I've been doing so far, but I have the tendency to go autistic when I do that (in the sense that I concentrate too much on my imaginary opponent and forget that I'm trying to demonstrate the techniques to an audience). I suppose it's possible to break that bad habit.


Do you mean you zone-out and get so caught up doing the technique that you forget to explain it? I'm a little unclear on your problem. If you're worried about not engaging with the audience, then actually teach them the techniques as you demonstrate them. I don't mean that you put a sword in an audience member's hand, but rather, you explain a specific technique or action to the audience in detail, so they know exactly what is going on. As you explain, you perform the cut or thrust, plus bind and follow up actions, at a slow speed. Then, once they have seen the technique slowly and understand what is going on, perform it with more intensity, as you would in real life.

Although it breaks the sense of fluidity and flow that comes from performing one play after another, the advantage is that it forces you not to zone out.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Wed 23 Oct, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Exactly. I just get so caught up in dealing with the "other guy" that I lose sight of the fact that I'm not there to fight "him," but to help the audience understand what medieval/Renaissance European martial arts were all about.
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