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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
Joined: 01 Dec 2012

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 3:24 am    Post subject: Unintentionally amusing video on drawing a sword from back         Reply with quote

There is nothing he said that I didn't agree with, yet I can't help but laugh at the amusing video. Laughing Out Loud
There is just something funny about drawing a sword from the back, because it's so ridiculous probably.

Where do people get that from anyway? Purely hollywood?



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYiXEPHLeUY
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William P




Location: Sydney, Australia
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 4:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

skallagrim has some great videos
as for swords on the back it probably comes from a few places that are likely distorted views of reality, it depends on the region and time period i suppose, in china there are fashion reasons for scholars to carry the jian on their back

i m willing to bet some two handed swords were carried on the back during travels perhaps.. or people assumed they did..

in japan theshinobi might have done this for specialist scenarios like, say, scaling a wall or shimmying up a tight space where you dont want a sword through the belt accidently banging against things..
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 9:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Carrying isn't the same as drawing. And you can destroy the idea of a back draw with one sentence. "Now put it back in the sheath."
"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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Bryan Heff




Location: Philadelphia
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 9:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mall Ninjas need to strap swords to their backs. This way they can do back and front flips, cart wheels and other acrobatic maneuvers. The sword will remain safely attached to their back and not get in the way, like it might if it was in a scabbard attached to your waist. Duh. Big Grin

Thinking about this a bit further all kidding aside, I have to think this idea started perhaps with some Ninja movies, and then Conan the Barbarian picked up on it (huge movie) and then Mel Gibson in Braveheart (even Huger movie). Now its just part of Hollywood, used when ever they want to increase the "cool factor" of a character, make sure the sword is strapped to the back, or better yet, 2 swords.

Lancelot? from King Arthur a few years back...

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Unintentionally amusing video on drawing a sword from ba         Reply with quote

Christopher B Lellis wrote:
Where do people get that from anyway? Purely hollywood?


I know of no earlier precedent, for the draw-over-the-shoulders back scabbard. While there were historical back scabbards, e.g., http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?p=214289 , these were quite different, and on the lower back.

"There is no historical evidence to suggest that swords were ever worn on the back with the intention of being able to use them in combat." is overstated. Wrong, even, as the charioteer in the post linked above shows. Sometimes, ease of access isn't the most important thing for your secondary (or tertiary) weapon; not having it interfere with use of your primary weapon matters a lot.

A "bad idea to draw a sword from the back as opposed wearing it on the hip" ignores a whole bunch of other ways to wear/carry swords.

But "Just because you've seen it in Hollywood movies doesn't mean it's a good idea." is spot-on!

"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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Peter Messent




Location: Texas
Joined: 03 Jan 2009

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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 1:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan Heff wrote:
Conan the Barbarian picked up on it (huge movie)


It's been a while since I've seen Conan, but if I recall correctly, Conan had a baldric to carry his sword on his back while traveling, but when he had to use it he would drop it off his shoulder, cinch it round his waist and draw from there. Out of all the back-carry ideas movies have put out, I find that the most plausible and practical idea!

I could definitely see the advantage of a back-mounted sheath for carrying (read: travelling with) a larger two-handed sword but I don't see why people are still defending the idea of fighting that way. It seems to be the same people who still think that a Katana will cut through a european sword and split you in half so fast it'll take the audience a minute to notice Big Grin
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Christopher B Lellis




Location: Houston, Texas
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PostPosted: Mon 16 Dec, 2013 3:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan Heff wrote:
Mall Ninjas need to strap swords to their backs. This way they can do back and front flips, cart wheels and other acrobatic maneuvers. The sword will remain safely attached to their back and not get in the way, like it might if it was in a scabbard attached to your waist. Duh. Big Grin

Thinking about this a bit further all kidding aside, I have to think this idea started perhaps with some Ninja movies, and then Conan the Barbarian picked up on it (huge movie) and then Mel Gibson in Braveheart (even Huger movie). Now its just part of Hollywood, used when ever they want to increase the "cool factor" of a character, make sure the sword is strapped to the back, or better yet, 2 swords.

Lancelot? from King Arthur a few years back...



"Mall ninjas"
Hahaha

As for that King Arthur series, I saw that, Game of thrones was much better, but it could have been good with a few changes.
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I ran across this fellows video while I was watching scholagladiatoria clips, he looks a bit on the wild side, but still seems to have practical experience.
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
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PostPosted: Tue 17 Dec, 2013 9:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find that is often the case with Historic Fencers. This ain't exactly knitting. (No disrespect to knitters!)
"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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Edward Rees




Location: Portland, OR
Joined: 02 Dec 2010

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PostPosted: Wed 18 Dec, 2013 8:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

My theory for the Hollywood Back Scabbard is that it allows for the sword to be in the frame during dialog. You can zoom in on someone and the audience still knows he's armed and dangerous. Just a thought.
The church is close but the roads are icy; the tavern is far, I will walk carefully.
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Bennison N




Location: Auckland, New Zealand
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Dec, 2013 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ottomans wore Yataghans across the lower back... Does that count? I've practiced, I can draw and sheathe the sword that way quickly and reasonably easily. It's not over the shoulder though...

There was also a debate about Chinese Qing Bannermen drawing from behind the back, mainly because of the odd (to our eyes, but I bet not to theirs) way they hung their swords from their belts. In the end, nobody really knows, but it works...

I think it may be logical to assume that carrying a longer weapon that way as in your photos and the 1980s Ninja movies would be comfortable while traveling or marching?

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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Quinn W.




Location: Bellingham, WA
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Dec, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Rees wrote:
My theory for the Hollywood Back Scabbard is that it allows for the sword to be in the frame during dialog. You can zoom in on someone and the audience still knows he's armed and dangerous. Just a thought.

Makes a lot of sense to me. Same reason you don't see many protagonists with helmets or shields because they obscure the actor, and spears are tricky because you have to zoom out quite a bit to see what's going on with them. I guess I can't fault them too much if there's a cinematic reason for the discrepancy, but a whole lot of non-historic decisions still just leave me scratching my head...

"Some say that the age of chivalry is past, that the spirit of romance is dead. The age of chivalry is never past, so long as there is a wrong left unredressed on earth"
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Ruel A. Macaraeg





Joined: 25 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Fri 20 Dec, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bennison N wrote:
Ottomans wore Yataghans across the lower back... Does that count?

Hi Bennison, where have you seen that? I've only ever seen yataghans worn [1] tucked at the front waist or [2] suspended vertically at the hip from the shoulder.

Quote:
There was also a debate about Chinese Qing Bannermen drawing from behind the back, mainly because of the odd (to our eyes, but I bet not to theirs) way they hung their swords from their belts.

The Manchu definitely drew from the back; this practice is recorded by the Jesuit Martini: "On their left side they hang Scymiters, but so as the point goes before, and the handle behind, and therefore when they fight they draw it out with the right hand behind them without holding the Scabbard with the other."
Reference: http://www.forensicfashion.com/1644ManchuPrince.html

They also hung their sabers hilt-backward to clear space for using the bow; at least that's the impression I get from trying my own Bannerman kit. See how, in the photo below, the bow has alot of clearance with the hit moved out of the way. http://www.forensicfashion.com/1796QingImperialGuard.html

http://ForensicFashion.com/CostumeStudies.html
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Marik C.S.




Location: Germany
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Dec, 2013 10:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Assuming this comes from Hollywood, health and safety might be an issue?

Walking with a longsword suspended from your belt is a hassle if you are near anything that barely resembles a crowd. Especially so if these are people not used to having swords around and therefor not especially careful. You know, like Actors and Extras and the like, or the average tourist on any medieval faire.

You knock people in the legs with your scabbard, people stumble into you and you are basically more occupied with keeping your belt-jewellery out of trouble rather than enjoying your stay.

If you have a character in a movie moving amongst men, be it because he is in some marketsquare or because he is within some troops, and that character has a particularly long sword on him it is easier for everyone involved if that sword is strapped to his back and you have no risk of someone getting hit by it.


And no this is in no way inspired by the fact that I just attended a medieval christmas market/faire in the intention to go walkies with a new sword and being annoyed by just these occurrences Wink

Europe - Where the History comes from. - Eddie Izzard
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Paul B.G




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Dec, 2013 2:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You can always have it both ways Wink

http://www.ravenswoodleather.com/index.php?p=product&id=123

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To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 25 Dec, 2013 11:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Edward Rees wrote:
My theory for the Hollywood Back Scabbard is that it allows for the sword to be in the frame during dialog. You can zoom in on someone and the audience still knows he's armed and dangerous. Just a thought.


This theory has also been proposed for the prevalence of back-mounted scabbards in electronic games: especially in early games where the characters are depicted as low-resolution sprites with only a handful of pixels each. A scabbard on the back would only have involved the addition of a few additional pixels without increasing the size of the rectangle needed to contain the sprite, whereas a more realistic hip-mounted scabbards would have required not only the additional sprites but also a larger rectangle with much more "dead space" within.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Thu 26 Dec, 2013 1:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Edward Rees wrote:
My theory for the Hollywood Back Scabbard is that it allows for the sword to be in the frame during dialog. You can zoom in on someone and the audience still knows he's armed and dangerous. Just a thought.


This theory has also been proposed for the prevalence of back-mounted scabbards in electronic games: especially in early games where the characters are depicted as low-resolution sprites with only a handful of pixels each. A scabbard on the back would only have involved the addition of a few additional pixels without increasing the size of the rectangle needed to contain the sprite, whereas a more realistic hip-mounted scabbards would have required not only the additional sprites but also a larger rectangle with much more "dead space" within.

Actually, it's more of a thing with early 3D graphics than sprites - with sprite graphics, up through and even after the 16-bit era, the vast majority of games simply show your weapons permanently in hand, e.g. Adventure, C64 Barbarian or SNES Magic Sword, or not at all except when attacking, e.g. Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy up to VI or any 2D Castlevania.

The thing with sprites is, having a character with a sword at their side means you ideally need two different sets of sprites for every move: one when the scabbard is on your side, and another when it's behind them. Of course, most games just ignored this and mirrored the sprites anyway to save some storage space (pay attention to e.g. Link's shield in the original LoZ), counting on people either not noticing or not caring, but having the weapon on the back and thus always behind the character could make it less incongruous.

(And then some games did something different, like Dragon's Lair for the SNES - very different from and vastly superior to its infamous NES predecessor - where Dirk Daring wears his sword properly and prominently at his hip and only draws it for the attack animation... and it's always on your side of the character no matter which way he faces. Happy)

With 3D graphics facing is no problem, you just rotate the model, but a near-horizontal scabbard that protrudes too far from the model causes clipping issues, i.e. either it gets stuck on the scenery or phases through supposedly solid objects; the former is murder on gameplay and the latter looks silly. So having the weapon flat against the character's back (as if held on by powerful magnets!) makes it much more convenient in that regard.

Although, all that said... I actually can't recall off the top of my head any non-ninja sprite-based game where you carry a sword on your back. Guess I gotta go fire up some emulators again. For research! Big Grin

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Joshua Stolarz




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PostPosted: Sun 29 Dec, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are a lot of people who don't even like carrying military fighting knives in a back holster because if you fall on your back it can result in serious injury. Strapping a huge sword on your back hardly seems a good idea.
You can't get a cup of tea big enough, or a book long enough to suit me. - C.S. Lewis
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Mon 30 Dec, 2013 5:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From my larp days of my youth I found that wearing a "rubber" sword strapped to the back was easier when swimming, mountainclimbing or scaling stone walls with it (yes we were insane), and in some cases crawling through heavy bush and branches it got stuck less. Not being solid and less of a danger of injury than a real sword this worked fine.
At all other times it was way easier to have it at the hip. Quicker draw from the hip as you can angle it sideways and fold up your torso to add clear distance to a pull and though your real life didn't depend on it you won fights in the game with it and got to keep your character a bit longer. So what I did back then was re-strap to the back for those special occasions and re-strap to the hip as fast as I could when it was done. Especially since (just like in that video) my favorite longsword couldn't be very easily drawn when strapped like that.

I remember some guys wore their swords strapped point up, that actually makes for an easier draw than drawing up over the shoulder because you can get some flexibility and distance to a draw with the torso similar to a hip draw.
Now this was just fun and games, but human body mechanics are the same.

I imagine that historically some soldiers would get tired of having a sword at the hip all the time and carried it slung over the shoulder to change the load for a while, say during long marches. Didn't mean you'd keep it there when combat ready but you might get depicted like that if an artist saw you pass by. Then the shoulder mount legend was born.

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