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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 5:58 am    Post subject: Sword feel heavy?         Reply with quote

Is it normal for a blade feel heavy when you handle a real blade the first time in your life?

Asking people who are experienced in HEMA

My first blade is a falchion that weight 1.2 kg, Point of balance is at 3.5 inches away from crossguard

Descanse En Paz
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Marik C.S.




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You have to make a distinction between heavy and sluggish. Both depend on the sword in question but heavy also has to do with expectation.

Heavy can be either pure weight - as in the sword really is heavy, or rather heavier than you expected it to feel - or balance - especially on a very blade heavy weapon even a light sword can feel heavy. Again heavier than you expected as you picked it up for example.
Even a very heavy blade can be quite nimble if it is made well.

A sluggish blade just feels.. slow and heavy. It doesn't really want to get going, once it is moving it doesn't want to change direction or be stopped. It feels like swinging an iron bar.

The latter can be a problem if you try the wrong technique for the weapon - using a falchion like a rapier for example is going to feel very wrong and give you a bad impression - or a problem with a badly balanced sword.

So how exactly is it heavy?

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Foong Chen Hong




Location: Malaysia
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am not sure how to tell, due to me actually trying out my blade in first day.

I could describe it as blade heavy I believe, or just my arm is just weak even I do heavy lifting as my job.

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Lancelot Chan
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 7:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello. It's common. Because people usually describe historically accurate sword to be "light, fast, agile". That's due to the reason that they had their expectation built up by SLO (Sword-like-objects). But if you never handled those SLOs before, and came to the real sword for the first time with their comments in mind, you'll find that it's not as light, as fast, and as agile as you might have imagined.

It happened to me before.

The truth is from the stats you stated for the falchion, it was relatively fast and light sword! You just have to understand how to wield it properly. It takes practice and patient, strength and body weight as well. Wink

You're not alone on that feel at the start, but as you practice more and handled more, your understanding will change with the growth of your knowledge.

Foong Chen Hong wrote:
I am not sure how to tell, due to me actually trying out my blade in first day.

I could describe it as blade heavy I believe, or just my arm is just weak even I do heavy lifting as my job.

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Foong Chen Hong




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 8:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, thank you for enlightening me and encourage me.
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Mark Moore




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 10:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll give you a 'for instance'-------------I own four Hanwei swords, all of which I love dearly. My Hanwei Claymore two-hander.....absolute blade-heavy beast. But, hey,...it's a claymore. My Hanwei Rhinelander longsword......a bit blade-heavy, but the long grip makes it easy to manage. My Hanwei Cawood Viking sword.....A truly wieldable weapon. Near perfect balance, with just enough blade presence that you know you have some steel in hand. My Hanwei Side Sword.....A dream come true. That sword is like lightning in my hand and can be maneuvered with such prescision as to poke a fly on the wall. A sword is a weapon, after all. Different weapons of different sizes and weights were used to suit the needs of the times. Big Grin ...........McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Daniel Wallace




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the profiles of the blade can also contribute to a weighty feeling, profile taper, and distal taper. at the weight your describing, I'd suspect there's little distal taper in your swords blade. distal taper helps with the distribution of mass in a sword, and effects balance, centers of rotation, and harmonics. (factoring in a fuller also contributes to this)

I was able to speak with a gent over a two handed sword I was interested in about a year ago. by its profile taper it was very thin, I suspected it to be agile, but I was informed that it was very blade heavy, later when I had seen measurements of the sword, it may have only been 2 cm wide at the tip, but tapered to nearly 4 mm in thickness leaving a good bit of mass at the swords tip.

its not too uncommon that a production sword doesn't have a gradual taper in it. it take considerable a good bit more material and time to have the proper profiles in distal taper for the way they are produced.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Sword feel heavy?         Reply with quote

Foong Chen Hong wrote:
Is it normal for a blade feel heavy when you handle a real blade the first time in your life?


Judging by reactions from people who have never held a sword before, it's common enough. Same sword, different people: "It's really heavy!" and "It's really light!". Without anything else similar to compare with, how can people judge "heavy" and "light"?

It depends on the sword, of course. Put a 400g sword in people's hands, and they'll usually remark on its lightness. Fewer will do so for a 1.6kg sword. But swords in the 900g-1.2kg range will get a really wide range of comments.

1.2kg is not a light sword. About the weight of a typical Viking sword, or a rapier. Heavier than typical jian, one-handed dao, heavier than typical katana. Heavier than the British 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword (about 1.1kg) and the 1796 Light Cavalry sword (900g). About the same weight as a British 1890 cavalry sword, which I'd call a moderately heavy sword.

"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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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Sword feel heavy?         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:


Judging by reactions from people who have never held a sword before, it's common enough. Same sword, different people: "It's really heavy!" and "It's really light!". Without anything else similar to compare with, how can people judge "heavy" and "light"?


I will seccond this. Not that long ago I picked up a new 2hander. Very wide blade but with a good amount of distal taper that weighs in at 2.5 kg. While juggling it and a camera to try and take some picks, I got my wife to hold the sword while I adjusted lighting, and she was surprised enough by the weight to exclaim "wow, its lighter than I thought". I am used to a Hanwei bastard, so to me this new one feels like an absolute monster, but for someone unused to any sword going only from appearance/expectations it seems light.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How does it feel during safe, controlled swings not near any other person, animal, or object? Happy

Sometimes swords feel heavy when held statically. Luckily, swords were not meant to be held statically. The perceived weight on some swords can greatly aid things when the sword is in motion. In motion, some swords that feel terrible when held still really sing.

Happy

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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 6:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some thoughts about sword weight:

A lot of people who pick up one of my Albions for the first time immediately comment that the sword is heavy. This perception derives from the way that a sword feels in hand. Most swords that exhibit a good balance will feel as though the majority of the mass of the weapon is concentrated down in the hilt. Consequently, when you first pick up a sword, you're most likely to notice all of that mass in your hand, which seems heavy.

A better test is to strike with the blade and notice how that feels. Even with a heftier blade, you can still tell if the blade has good balance; although the sword may not feel agile and light when you strike with it, it will not feel awkward, unbalanced, and sluggish. The way the sword feels in hand when you use it, as opposed to when you first pick it up, is a much better indication of its quality.

Also, something to bear in mind is that your level of personal fitness has a huge impact upon your experience of holding and wielding a sword. The people who work out at the gym a lot tend to perceive swords as being lighter and better balanced than those who do not. Personally, I know that my level of fitness has a big impact. If I don't spend time practicing with swords, then some of my more robust cutters feel “heavier” to me when I pick them up, and I become fatigued more quickly when using them. As I practice more, both of these problems fade.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I remember how awkward, and thus heavy, my first sword felt. That awkwardness faded with handling experience, some study, and some lessons. Yours sounds pretty reasonable in weight and static balance for its type. Give it a couple of months of (safe) daily handling, and I bet you'll be surprised at how 'light' it becomes.

-JD
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Foong Chen Hong




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 8:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I understand now, though my falchion isn't really safe as it is sharp from Regenyei.
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Edward Lee




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PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 9:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If it's made wrong the sword feels weird. It's like you are swinging a metal bar instead of a sword. My first sword was made of stainless steel and it was so heavy that I though medieval swords were suppose to be like that.

I don't own any Albion Mestro line swords but from what I heard they resembles the sharps in weight balance and handling. Pick up the DT2162 and it feels like something HE MAN would use.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 18 Jun, 2014 10:42 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I understand now, though my falchion isn't really safe as it is sharp from Regenyei.


Actually, you can practice with sharp swords. I have done it pretty much since receiving my first sharp. You just need to keep a few things in mine. First, make sure you're practicing on a surface where you won't slip. Grass is not ideal for practicing, and I wouldn't recommend starting on it. Likewise, if it's raining or there's water on the ground, don't practice. Being careful with your footwork is one of the best ways to make sure you are not injured.

Second, when you're practicing at first, take it easy. Strike at one quarter speed. Spend a bunch of time striking slowly so that become comfortable with how the sword feels in hand. You'll get in trouble only if you're too hasty and want to strike with speed and power right away. Let yourself "play around" with striking with the sword and getting the feel of it at first. The key for sword play that is easy to miss is that you want to be striking with control and precision, first and foremost. Anyone can swing a sword with a lot of speed and extremely sloppy form; what matters is your ability to strike quickly with superb preciseness, control, and balance. Focus on balance, precision, control- being able to move with speed is the icing on the cake that comes last of all.
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Foong Chen Hong




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2014 5:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:
Quote:
I understand now, though my falchion isn't really safe as it is sharp from Regenyei.


Actually, you can practice with sharp swords. I have done it pretty much since receiving my first sharp. You just need to keep a few things in mine. First, make sure you're practicing on a surface where you won't slip. Grass is not ideal for practicing, and I wouldn't recommend starting on it. Likewise, if it's raining or there's water on the ground, don't practice. Being careful with your footwork is one of the best ways to make sure you are not injured.

Second, when you're practicing at first, take it easy. Strike at one quarter speed. Spend a bunch of time striking slowly so that become comfortable with how the sword feels in hand. You'll get in trouble only if you're too hasty and want to strike with speed and power right away. Let yourself "play around" with striking with the sword and getting the feel of it at first. The key for sword play that is easy to miss is that you want to be striking with control and precision, first and foremost. Anyone can swing a sword with a lot of speed and extremely sloppy form; what matters is your ability to strike quickly with superb preciseness, control, and balance. Focus on balance, precision, control- being able to move with speed is the icing on the cake that comes last of all.


I see, I already made mistake that I start off with quick strike, that explain why I only had 30% success rate at cutting plastic bottles.

Thanks for your tip and advice

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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"It will seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first. Bows are difficult to draw, halberds are difficult to wield. In each case, you get used to the tool: as you become accustomed to the bow your pull will become stronger, and as you become used to wielding the long sword, you will gain the power of the Way and wield the sword easily. (...) You must study hard." (Miyamoto Musashi, A Book of Five Rings, 1645)

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Ben Coomer




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2014 11:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Give yourself a month or so handling it and you'll be surprised how quickly it goes from "wow, heavy!" to "I barely notice it."

Part of it is that swords are really quite different than any other long objects most people handle. So the first time you hold one you're engaging muscles in ways you really haven't before. So they often seem a bit more awkward than you'd expect. Build up the muscles and get used to it and things fall into place pretty quickly.

Unless you got a crowbar with a hilt. Nothing seems to fix those.
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Foong Chen Hong




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jun, 2014 2:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alright, is I.33 also apply on falchion? I see everyone practice straight sword with it
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Christine Munro




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Jun, 2014 4:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lancelot Chan wrote:
Hello. It's common. Because people usually describe historically accurate sword to be "light, fast, agile". That's due to the reason that they had their expectation built up by SLO (Sword-like-objects). But if you never handled those SLOs before, and came to the real sword for the first time with their comments in mind, you'll find that it's not as light, as fast, and as agile as you might have imagined.

It happened to me before.

It's happened to me too. The first sword I really handled was an Albion Gallowglass, and I remember my impression at the time was distinctly "meh" at its cumbersome massiveness. In contrast, an Armour Class Mediaeval with a skinny blade felt extremely agile.

Fast forward a year or two (I hasten to add I still have absolutely no skill with a sword whatsoever and shouldn't be allowed near one) and I love the balance of the Gallowglass, it feels extremely agile in my hand, whereas the Mediaeval feels oddly insubstantial now. My ideal swords seem to be the likes of the Chevalier and Kingmaker, whereas the Arn and Valkyrja feel like real blade-heavy beasts.

Seems it just depends what I'm used to, and the capricious nature of whatever feels good at the time!
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