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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 5:14 pm    Post subject: How one instinctively uses a sword in actual combat         Reply with quote

I have thought about this many times, how would I REALLY use a sword "or a knife" incidentally if I was attacking someone or fighting for my life? It's easy to take your time and plan out combinations when you practice cutting air or slicing up some tatami rolls but do you really do this at the spur of the moment and when someone else is coming at you with the same intention you have for them?

This is how I pick the swords I buy. I pick swords that work well in real world situations.

This guy talks about it, which intrigued me because very few people actually have.

http://youtu.be/teBH1lb63c0

URL doesn't work.
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Edward Lee




Location: New York
Joined: 05 Jul 2013

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PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 7:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I once took a pommel to the face, my father's friend teaches Tai Chi and he was showing me a trick with the snappy thing and the pommel hit me in the forehead by accident. It was pretty light so it only hurt for about 30 mins or so.

Imagine in a real fight you half sword someone and bash them in the face with the cross guard. Brandishing a sword these days are just more intimidating, like on the news some random kid pulls out a sword and scare the home invaders away. There was this college kid, he had this professional burglar stealing stuff from his garage, and when the kid confronted him with a samurai sword, the guy jumped at him. In the end the kid cut the burglar's hand off, and pretty sliced his belly open. The kid was scared, and no charges was pressed against him.

This is one of the home invasion scenario with unarmed opponent. But if you really are fighting someone with a sword or knife, I'd say there is a very high chance that the invader would run. Scoundrels only prey on the weak and defenseless.
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Mike O'Hara




Location: New Zealand
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 8:19 pm    Post subject: When its real         Reply with quote

Hi all

There is a gentleman named Marc MacYoung who has published an awful lot of stuff on real martial arts i.e. what may actually work and he talks about instinctual vs trained as well. He speaks from significant experience.

Try Knives, Knife Fighting and Related Hassles.

Also the Little Black Book of Violence by Lawrence Kane and Kris Wilder.

Edifying.

cheers
mike

MIke O'Hara
Location: Plimmerton, New Zealand
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 9:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Christopher,

Are we talking about someone who's trained or untrained in fighting with a sword? A trained long swordsman should be able to quickly pick a strike to lead with and close with the intention of making a controlled strike before the opponent has a chance to do anything. Then, the follow up response and action should be instinctual and intuitive, because the swordsman has spent so much time practicing and drilling that the opponent's actions cannot come as a surprise to him, and he is, without thinking, completing each of his own motions with as much control and precision as his body will allow in a life-and-death conflict. In other words, all of the training needs to be directed towards being able to quickly and precisely deliver each attack and action before the opponent has an adequate chance to respond. The trained swordsman is like the master chess player, who has played the game so often that he understands the patterns of moving pieces almost innately and intuitively.

Of course, untrained is a different story. The truth of the matter is, even if your technique and form largely go down the toilet, you will still likely survive-assuming the other swordsman is not well trained- just by leading with a strike, and then keeping your point directed towards the opponent, or turning the edge if the point is not aiming towards him, and driving stabs towards him. Usually, he'll be overwhelmed.

Probably the simplest attacks to use against an opponent are either a thrust from the middle guard (pflug) or a wrath cut (zornhau), the instinctive descending diagonal cut, to the head. If you know what you are doing with a wrath cut, you can successfully deal with any other strike, and it is a simple, natural cut to lead with in a dangerous situation. Someone who is well trained with a long sword can skillfully lead with any of the five strikes, since they're all quite simple, but in many ways, the wrath cut represents the most simple technique you can use in a fight.

If you are using a single handed sword paired with a shield, then some version of the wrath cut is almost certainly what you would employ.
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 9:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Christopher,

Are we talking about someone who's trained or untrained in fighting with a sword? A trained long swordsman should be able to quickly pick a strike to lead with and close with the intention of making a controlled strike before the opponent has a chance to do anything. Then, the follow up response and action should be instinctual and intuitive, because the swordsman has spent so much time practicing and drilling that the opponent's actions cannot come as a surprise to him, and he is, without thinking, completing each of his own motions with as much control and precision as his body will allow in a life-and-death conflict. In other words, all of the training needs to be directed towards being able to quickly and precisely deliver each attack and action before the opponent has an adequate chance to respond. The trained swordsman is like the master chess player, who has played the game so often that he understands the patterns of moving pieces almost innately and intuitively.

Of course, untrained is a different story. The truth of the matter is, even if your technique and form largely go down the toilet, you will still likely survive-assuming the other swordsman is not well trained- just by leading with a strike, and then keeping your point directed towards the opponent, or turning the edge if the point is not aiming towards him, and driving stabs towards him. Usually, he'll be overwhelmed.

Probably the simplest attacks to use against an opponent are either a thrust from the middle guard (pflug) or a wrath cut (zornhau), the instinctive descending diagonal cut, to the head. If you know what you are doing with a wrath cut, you can successfully deal with any other strike, and it is a simple, natural cut to lead with in a dangerous situation. Someone who is well trained with a long sword can skillfully lead with any of the five strikes, since they're all quite simple, but in many ways, the wrath cut represents the most simple technique you can use in a fight.

If you are using a single handed sword paired with a shield, then some version of the wrath cut is almost certainly what you would employ.


I have pretty much perfected the "wrath cut" as you call it with consistent, excellent edge alignment with a 1 handed sword.
I find that starting from your right shoulder and cutting down and towards your left seems to be the most natural attack however it has an edge alignment problem especially for wide blades. Not only is it difficult to get a good cut, the risk to bend the blade is high.

So with the sword over my head, I cut down and to the right. Edge alignment is far easier for me this way because the wrist is locked and also, you can swing the sword around and come back without losing all of the energy.

That's my favorite attack, and of course it's aiming for the head ideally. Foot work is also a major importance.

If you are a real professional swordsmen and have trained many hours a day for years, the muscle memory should be there to attack a less natural way as you stated. So yes it's true.
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Jeroen T




Location: Holland
Joined: 23 Oct 2013

Posts: 56

PostPosted: Wed 04 Dec, 2013 10:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think it's not so different from a unarmed streetfigth.

No matter how much training you have, in a streetfigth it's usually figthing on instinct and reflexes.
So no fancy moves just straigth effective attacks.

With a blade that means stabbing. Stabbing is a fast natural movement and you get the best range with it.
Even with a stick or baseball bat a stab to the face is very quick and effective.
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Tom King




Location: florida
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 12:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Once you learn the system, it works for anything you can hold in your hands. Pipe, hewing axe, tire thumper etc. can be used effectively with the german, italian, etc. longsword system.

Chris, do you study HEMA or only do test cutting? After a hundred odd hours of live sparring under your belt it is exceedingly obvious how easy it is to take on the untrained with hand weapons.

Personally, as part of the Adrian Empire and a graduate member of an HS group, I deal with a lot of untrained or lightly trained individuals, as well as those who "think" they are trained. It takes two cuts every time; a cut to the shoulder, followed by a counter cut to the opposite temple. Every Time There is only one way to really block it, by shifting into the ochs guard, but when you don't know what the ochs guard is...
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Marc Blaydoe




Location: Maryland
Joined: 29 Sep 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 6:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is called muscle memory or "you fight as you train". You practice moves until they become "memorized" or automatic. The other part is that you don't practice until you get it right, you practice until you don't do it wrong. The Japanese call this the state of "no mind" where you don't think you simply act.

Aside from that, I doubt you will ever have to deal with a skilled swordsman as an opponent. You will be going up against some who is unarmed or may have a smaller blade than you do (and lots less practice I assume). If you act quickly and automatically there won't be that much to it and it will be over pretty quickly (most "real" sword fights usually are). Of course if your opponent has a gun that is a totally different ballgame. But then, if you can close the distance quick enough, and have surprise on your side, you can still come out alive.

An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

Posts: 580

PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

to apply the word 'instinctive' is hard to explain - nothing is really instinctive, there was a you tube video of a guy that was describing instinctive shooting for bow, and explained this much better than what I can sum up. we apply the work instinctive when something becomes a natural function, but you've taught yourself this natural function to the point that you no longer need to recall all the steps to complete it.

when spur of the moment happens, as stated - the trained and untrained would have very different results in how they handle a situation.



aside from that, I see Edward Lee's post, brings to mind a situation that happened in upper state Pa a few years ago, a man was attacked in his home by a burglar as he walked in on him on the act, he ran the guy through with a military saber as he felt his life was endanger and had nothing at hand to defend himself. the assailant died, but his family pushed a law suit and he got 10 years for manslaughter due to what the court ruled as an inhumane death. last I had heard he attempted to appeal the ruling - but never heard much else of it.
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 12:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I'd probably side step with a Zornhau. Mainly because its easy and I've trained that pretty heavily. From unfortunately common experience, in fights you tend to go with the simplest Techniques that you've trained the most. In my cases straight punches and hard blocks can easiest and were quite effective. I doubt it would be much different with a sword.
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Harry Marinakis




PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another factor to consider in "instinctive" fighting is skill level. Let me explain.

A few decades ago I quit my job in order to participate full-time in the sport that I loved. For several years I was an unemployed bum, I ate out of garbage dumpsters, slept on the ground in the woods, and had the time of my life living my sport every day, all day.

With daily practice, all day, my skill level accelerated at an exponential rate. I achieved an extremely high level of expertise that is hard for most people to imagine - and is also difficult for me to believe when I look back at those years.

Most people in the modern never achieve this high level of expertise is a sport because they are never able - or willing - to make the personal sacrifices necessary. Things like jobs and family get in the way. And you can't reach this level practicing 1-2 hours every evening.

But I imagine that knights were able to practice enough to achieve a very high level of expertise in sword play. When you're at that high level, you really don't have to think very much about what you're doing.

At that level you also move beyond trying to apply your skills - and you move into realms where you are developing novel skills and tactics that others try to emulate.
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Guy Bayes




Location: United States
Joined: 07 Oct 2012

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 9:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd say for untrained folk, nine out of ten people are going to do an Oberhau, just start over their head somewhere and swing downward for a cut

This is why one of the first things you learn is 99 ways to kill someone who is doing an Oberhau.

There isn't that much difference between HEMA style longsword and "street fighting" in my opinion, back then it was do what works, and if what works is a wrist lock and a throw, that was fine for those guys. Not much kicking though
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 9:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Tom King wrote:


Personally, as part of the Adrian Empire and a graduate member of an HS group, I deal with a lot of untrained or lightly trained individuals, as well as those who "think" they are trained. It takes two cuts every time; a cut to the shoulder, followed by a counter cut to the opposite temple. Every Time There is only one way to really block it, by shifting into the ochs guard, but when you don't know what the ochs guard is...


Indeed, it is true that these people only think they're trained. If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't be blocking with ochs at all, but instead would strike wrathfully against your first strike, feel, and then shoot the point forward toward your face the moment you pulled free from the bind to strike the other opening. ;-)
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 10:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Another factor to consider in "instinctive" fighting is skill level. Let me explain.

A few decades ago I quit my job in order to participate full-time in the sport that I loved. For several years I was an unemployed bum, I ate out of garbage dumpsters, slept on the ground in the woods, and had the time of my life living my sport every day, all day.

With daily practice, all day, my skill level accelerated at an exponential rate. I achieved an extremely high level of expertise that is hard for most people to imagine - and is also difficult for me to believe when I look back at those years.

Most people in the modern never achieve this high level of expertise is a sport because they are never able - or willing - to make the personal sacrifices necessary. Things like jobs and family get in the way. And you can't reach this level practicing 1-2 hours every evening.

But I imagine that knights were able to practice enough to achieve a very high level of expertise in sword play. When you're at that high level, you really don't have to think very much about what you're doing.

At that level you also move beyond trying to apply your skills - and you move into realms where you are developing novel skills and tactics that others try to emulate.

O.O Harry, you are very lucky you are alive today, that is insane. The food you had to eat becasuse you voluntarily quit your job could have killed you
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Philip Dyer





Joined: 25 Jul 2013

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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harry Marinakis wrote:
Another factor to consider in "instinctive" fighting is skill level. Let me explain.

A few decades ago I quit my job in order to participate full-time in the sport that I loved. For several years I was an unemployed bum, I ate out of garbage dumpsters, slept on the ground in the woods, and had the time of my life living my sport every day, all day.

With daily practice, all day, my skill level accelerated at an exponential rate. I achieved an extremely high level of expertise that is hard for most people to imagine - and is also difficult for me to believe when I look back at those years.

Most people in the modern never achieve this high level of expertise is a sport because they are never able - or willing - to make the personal sacrifices necessary. Things like jobs and family get in the way. And you can't reach this level practicing 1-2 hours every evening.

But I imagine that knights were able to practice enough to achieve a very high level of expertise in sword play. When you're at that high level, you really don't have to think very much about what you're doing.

At that level you also move beyond trying to apply your skills - and you move into realms where you are developing novel skills and tactics that others try to emulate.

O.O Harry, you are very lucky you are alive today, that is insane. The food you had to eat because you voluntarily quit your job could have killed you.
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 10:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let the Force guide you. Laughing Out Loud Otherwise, it's just pure instinct. You need to get good at reading your opponent. Watch their body language. I won't even go into great detail. Long day. Other than that, I've never heard of someone killing(with a sword) a running, screaming Scotsman in full kilt with a claymore in full swing. But that's just me. Really. Me. Laughing Out Loud ..........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 11:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a nice "instinctive" fight scene in Yojimbo (I think; the scene I'm thinking of might be in Sanjuro instead). Two gangs face each other in the street, swords drawn. One man advances a little, waves his sword around, and retreats. Nobody wants to be first to be cut. It's all fear and stress and trying to appear brave in front of your gang. The quality of the swordwork is rather poor.

When I first saw it, it reminded me of footage I had seen of a shootout (in Brazil?), where participants would hide behind a fence, stick their pistol over the fence, and randomly empty their pistol, unaimed.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Tom King




Location: florida
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PostPosted: Thu 05 Dec, 2013 11:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Tom King wrote:


Personally, as part of the Adrian Empire and a graduate member of an HS group, I deal with a lot of untrained or lightly trained individuals, as well as those who "think" they are trained. It takes two cuts every time; a cut to the shoulder, followed by a counter cut to the opposite temple. Every Time There is only one way to really block it, by shifting into the ochs guard, but when you don't know what the ochs guard is...


Indeed, it is true that these people only think they're trained. If they knew what they were doing, they wouldn't be blocking with ochs at all, but instead would strike wrathfully against your first strike, feel, and then shoot the point forward toward your face the moment you pulled free from the bind to strike the other opening. ;-)


who ever said anything about pulling out of the blind? All I'm doing is transitioning into the ochs guard (and changing the line of attack) and cutting across the temple coming from a strike of wrath or a strike from Nebenhut. When you transfer into the ochs guard to block, it then gives you the option to stab me in the face.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec, 2013 4:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Any time you strike across from one opening to another, whether or not you are in a bind, leaves you exposed to the point of a sword. My point is that this technique might be good for demonstrating to beginners what not to do, but it imperils you in the process.
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Tom King




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PostPosted: Fri 06 Dec, 2013 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Any time you strike across from one opening to another, whether or not you are in a bind, leaves you exposed to the point of a sword. My point is that this technique might be good for demonstrating to beginners what not to do, but it imperils you in the process.


The points well past my body and in a different cardinal direction; the swords don't stop being in the strong until I'm bringing it into my opponents temple.

I'm also left handed, so things work a bit... better for me. Cool
although it still works for righties
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