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Aurélien Liégeois




Location: Belgium
Joined: 02 Apr 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2015 3:44 am    Post subject: Towards an early warsword: in need of advises!         Reply with quote

Good morning (or good evening) to you all!

For years, I have read many discussions that you held on this website without ever taking part in it and, today, I would change that and post my first message to request your help! For years, I have been interested by the ancient fighting arts of the Middle Age and I recently have taken my first steps into HEMA by taking part in the martial training of a belgian reenactment group. It is probably not the ideal way of discovering HEMA, but there are sadly very few HEMA clubs in southern Belgium (to my knowledge) and none nearby Charleroi. So, I decided to learn some of the basics (such as the control of the sword) with reenactors before delving in the teachings of Fiore dei Liberi (with the group or with a sparring partner) in a more HEMAist manner.

I am actually training with a borrowed steel sword and, in the coming months (the time to assemble a budget), I would like to buy my own practice steel sword. I would like a good quality sword, as historically accurate as possible, for a budget of 200-300 euros (wich would be sent to Belgium). It would be a training equivalent of the type XIIa or XIIIa warsword (in the style of the Albion Baron and the Albion Duke). I have heard that Viktor Berbekucz, Jiri Krondak, and Pavel Marek are decent craftsmen within my price range. Could you tell me if there are notable differences between their respective productions? Maybe one of them make stronger swords or more historically accurate ones? Perhaps does someone know an even better craftsman in that price range? Anyways, I am all ears for your recommendations!

Since I would like to focus on the wielding of early warswords (and maybe similar styled greatswords such as the Albion Archduke), I wonder which master would be the more adapted to that end. As there no manuals dedicated to the early warsword fighting techniques, I am enclined to study the teachings of Fiore dei Liberi because he is one of the earliest known masters and his fightbooks contain a rather complete system. But maybe someone can indicate me a better master for approaching the warsword?

In advance, I thank you all for your answers and I am most eager to read you!
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

Posts: 184

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2015 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe the Goliath manual?

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Goliath_%28MS_Germ.Quart.2020%29

The swords are quite big compared to a normal longsword. It's early 16th century though.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Sun 18 Jan, 2015 10:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I study Kunst des Fechtens not Armizare, with that in mind;

First, a "warsword" like a XIIa or XIIIa is a kind of longsword. "Longsword" is a family of weapons not a specific weapon configuration. Second, KDF was already hundreds of years old when Liechtenauer learned it which necessarily means early practitioners were using KDF with their XIIa's and XIIIa's. There were some differences of course because styles do tend to evolve over time. One of the differences we can see in early artwork is they were using a variant of pflug with the point towards the ground... just like a plow. Happy This variant is taught in 3227.a in the anonymous gloss found in 18r-40r, might be a good place to start. Learn the fundamentals from the fechtbucher then study historical artwork if you want more of a 13th/early 14th c. feel.
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Aurélien Liégeois




Location: Belgium
Joined: 02 Apr 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2015 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I thank you both, for you have given me ample matter to think about. Since the early warswords were mostly originating from Germany, it would be indeed quite logical to study the Kunst des Fechtens rather than the Armizare.

As for the matter of the subtleties of finding a good craftsman to forge my practice sword, are there any advises that you could give me?
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
Joined: 11 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2015 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Of the smiths you mentioned, I only handled Berbekucz swords, I fought with several of them, handled even more and I think they are very good swords.
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Actually, I wonder if a Lutel comission wouldn't be a bad idea. They're modular swords, generally a bit overbuilt, of good quality materials. I anticipate such a sword would be relatively affordable in comparison to just about any flavor of Albion, though their Squire line is not excessively expensive and you should get a very high quality product should you opt for that. If you want a waster, I would reccomend Arms & Armor; if you want an actual sword, A&A would also be a good route with their 12th Century Sword, which is more economical than the Albion couterpart (and actually hand-made!). Links for your convenience:

http://www.lutel-handicraft.com/
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/sq...rd-MII.htm
http://www.arms-n-armor.com/swords.html

...Sorry, I am from the US, so more local manufacturers in your area are quite unknown to me.

As per fechtbuch material, my own study has been focused on what has been recorded of Master Liechtenauer's work by his students (and students of "his" system). I'd highly recommend getting yourself a copy of Christian Tobler's Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship from Freelance Academy Press. This is a translation and further commentary on Ringeck's glosa of Liechtenauer's merkverse. Should you opt for the German material, and go this route in particular, I'd reccomend that you read Dobringer's glosa on the merkverse after you read Tobler's work. I think it is also important to briefly overview the seven general wards found in I.33 as well, as this seems to be the foundation/common knowledge of swordsmanship throughout medieval Europe. I really liked these articles from ARMA's website on the matter:

http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/i33/i33.htm
http://www.thearma.org/essays/I33-guards-footwork.html
http://www.thearma.org/Manuals/I33-guards.html

A question for you, Mr. Ruhala: Concerning Meyer's text (if this is indeed what you are referencing), where does he cover the early definition of pflug? ...That may just be a poor question. Rather, are there actually illustrations for the so-called "Dobringer Fechtbuch"? I realize that, yes, he ("Dobringer") refers to what we commonly call "alber" the pflug and vice versa - however, the functionality never changed in those guards despite what they were called, and their usage remains the same regardless of the manual in question so far as I can tell. I ask this as the only version of Dobringer I've been able to read has been the section on blossfechten from the ARMA website; Rossfechten and Harnissfechten are not available in English, at least on Wiktenauer.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2015 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Assuming that you're going to spar with this sword, I recommend the Albion Maestro Epee de Guerre

To quote Albion, it "exhibits the handling characteristics of the Epée de Guerre (sword of war) of the late 13th and early 14th centuries and would make an excellent practice equivalent to the Next Generation Baron and Duke." It costs more than your stated limit, but it is a very fine sword, and I don't think you could do better. I have one, and like it very much.



 Attachment: 98.56 KB
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Epee de Guerre
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Jimi Edmonds




Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Joined: 25 May 2009
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PostPosted: Mon 19 Jan, 2015 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pflug (the plough) is mentioned as pointing to the ground in a plough like fashion, and Alber is described as having the hilt down (at the hip) and point upward (ready for stabbings etc.) within the HS.3227a (14th C.).

I am unsure which others (Masters, that) also describe the leger this way, as for some reason the positions of pflug and alber were swapped early on in the fithteenth century

I don't think Joachim Meyer say's anything regarding the 'old' position of the two leger in question, as to why he would? who knows. Besides it's nearly 200 years between his works of 1570 and that of Liechtenauer's verse's of the late 1300's.

The Albion that Roger Hooper has posted would fit the bill, even for cool looks alone!, Makes me think of the movie 'Ironclad' (except for the inaccuracies! and vauge historical references).
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 8:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hanwei makes a "practical bastard sword" that might work for you.
http://kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=SH2428

I own one and I like it a lot.

The bad: finish is a little sloppy, the leather seam on the hilt gaps at the riser on mine. The harmonics aren't terrible, but not what they could be.

The good: beefy tang, I've rehilted one and the tang is HUGE. Peen construction. Thick edges. It's sturdy, it's weight is within the historic boundary but it's on the heavy side.

It's a 50" sword and it weighs about 3 3/4 pounds. I would classify it on the border between a Longsword and a small two hand sword. I think it would be excellent for your purpose of learning to use the early war swords, and your interest in the Archduke.

I've been studying Fiore for 5 years and Montante/Spadone for a year and a half, and it's excellent for learning Montante http://www.oakshott.org/Figueiredo_Montante_T...ick_v2.pdf

"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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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

Posts: 169

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 9:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jimi Edmonds wrote:
Pflug (the plough) is mentioned as pointing to the ground in a plough like fashion, and Alber is described as having the hilt down (at the hip) and point upward (ready for stabbings etc.) within the HS.3227a (14th C.).

I am unsure which others (Masters, that) also describe the leger this way, as for some reason the positions of pflug and alber were swapped early on in the fithteenth century

I don't think Joachim Meyer say's anything regarding the 'old' position of the two leger in question, as to why he would? who knows. Besides it's nearly 200 years between his works of 1570 and that of Liechtenauer's verse's of the late 1300's.


Something of an aside here.

However, two comments:

1) HS.3227a isn't guaranteed to be 14th century - that date is normally based on the calendar included in the book, but that could easily be a past or future calendar.

2) There's a good argument that the switching of pflug and alber in the vier leger section in 3227a is a scribal error. In the zwerhau section, he uses pflug as the lower opening in the standard manner.

In short, there's a perfectly good argument that pflug being the lower hanger goes back to Liechtenauer directly, and 3227a is a branch text which has a scribal error confusing matters.
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Jimi Edmonds




Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Joined: 25 May 2009
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PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 9:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:
Jimi Edmonds wrote:
Pflug (the plough) is mentioned as pointing to the ground in a plough like fashion, and Alber is described as having the hilt down (at the hip) and point upward (ready for stabbings etc.) within the HS.3227a (14th C.).

I am unsure which others (Masters, that) also describe the leger this way, as for some reason the positions of pflug and alber were swapped early on in the fithteenth century

I don't think Joachim Meyer say's anything regarding the 'old' position of the two leger in question, as to why he would? who knows. Besides it's nearly 200 years between his works of 1570 and that of Liechtenauer's verse's of the late 1300's.


Something of an aside here.

However, two comments:

1) HS.3227a isn't guaranteed to be 14th century - that date is normally based on the calendar included in the book, but that could easily be a past or future calendar.

2) There's a good argument that the switching of pflug and alber in the vier leger section in 3227a is a scribal error. In the zwerhau section, he uses pflug as the lower opening in the standard manner.

In short, there's a perfectly good argument that pflug being the lower hanger goes back to Liechtenauer directly, and 3227a is a branch text which has a scribal error confusing matters.


True, that's a point with striking to the Ochs, to the Pflug etc.
cheers.
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Aurélien Liégeois




Location: Belgium
Joined: 02 Apr 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 10:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I will surely consider the Albion Maestro Epee de Guerre, but its price is higher than my estimated budget and I would have to change the Maestro grip (that I dislike aesthetically) for a leather one (which would cost another 75$ apparently if the change is made by Albion). I like Albion swords (even if I do not possess one), I know of their good reputation, but I am not sure I have the means to buy one... especially for a first practice sword. (And sadly, Albion Europe will cease to take custom orders before I have even assembled enough money to order one!) So, I think I will probably look elsewhere for my first practice sword... back to my craftsmen problems then!

On the upside, I have begun to research a bit more the Kunst des Fechtens and I just bought the AHA German Longsword Study Guide in ebook format for a start! I have recommended David Lindholm's Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword, but I have heard that Christian Tobler is in the process of revising and republishing his book Fighting with the German Longsword. Should I wait for Tobler's book since it would be more up to date? Or is Lindholm's book better suited for a beginner? Maybe do you know others interesting books? (I already have the books of Guy Windsor on Fiore dei Liberi!)
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Michael Beeching





Joined: 22 Jan 2014
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 158

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 10:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

T. Kew wrote:

Something of an aside here.

However, two comments:

1) HS.3227a isn't guaranteed to be 14th century - that date is normally based on the calendar included in the book, but that could easily be a past or future calendar.

2) There's a good argument that the switching of pflug and alber in the vier leger section in 3227a is a scribal error. In the zwerhau section, he uses pflug as the lower opening in the standard manner.

In short, there's a perfectly good argument that pflug being the lower hanger goes back to Liechtenauer directly, and 3227a is a branch text which has a scribal error confusing matters.


On the second point: yes, I had wondered if it was an error of sorts. However, the functionality of the guard remains the same regardless of the name, as the upper and lower hangers are clearly indicated. I had missed the fact that in the zwerchau section, it seems to indicate the pflug as what we normally call the pflug! However, a zwerch would still be effective against the low guard should a thrust or undercut come from that position. Therefore, that's good evidence that the scribe did in fact make a mistake, yet, it can also be argued the other way as well.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

Posts: 328

PostPosted: Tue 20 Jan, 2015 11:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Beeching wrote:

A question for you, Mr. Ruhala: Concerning Meyer's text (if this is indeed what you are referencing), where does he cover the early definition of pflug? ...That may just be a poor question. Rather, are there actually illustrations for the so-called "Dobringer Fechtbuch"? I realize that, yes, he ("Dobringer") refers to what we commonly call "alber" the pflug and vice versa - however, the functionality never changed in those guards despite what they were called, and their usage remains the same regardless of the manual in question so far as I can tell. I ask this as the only version of Dobringer I've been able to read has been the section on blossfechten from the ARMA website; Rossfechten and Harnissfechten are not available in English, at least on Wiktenauer.


I didn't say anything about Meyer and I use Wiktenauer.

http://wiktenauer.com/wiki/Codex_D%C3%B6bringer_(MS_3227a)

It helps to be able to read German at least a little though, there are considerable errors in the English translation. Much of this seems to be introduced interpretation-disguised-as-translation as it revolves around the concept of using strength when the original text is often actually referencing the strong of the blade or use of posture and abdominal muscles as found in many familiar Western arts such as wrestling, boxing, ballet, modern fencing, etc.

In the gloss I'm referencing the four openings are defined by dividing the body straight down the middle for the vertical arm of the cross and at the belt for the horizontal division, this is different than some other versions of the same concept which place the horizontal division higher or even introduce additional crosses. It matters because point-down pflug can cover the entire lower opening whereas point-up pflug can't. The English translation on Wiktenauer suggests '"fool" as a translation for "alber," but there's nothing in the original text to support that. What's more likely is that "alber" comes from "halber," a reference to the idea that this guard is halfway between the system's ochs and pflug.

I don't buy into the idea that this gloss is merely a corruption because as a system it's conceptually coherent. It is different than what we see in other glossa and it does have some consistencies with what we see in artwork from the pre-fechtbuch era. Since we can date other glossa more accurately and know they are post-14th c. but we can't accurately date this anonymous gloss it's entirely possible that it's a century or two older than we currently believe or at least it's combining an older sub-style of KDF with "modern" teachings.

ETA: note that there is a difference between upper/lower hanger and upper/lower opening. In the twerehawe teaching in that anonymous gloss pflug is associated with the opening, consistent with the horizontal division of the body at the belt.

For actual contrafechten I can't recommend heavy blunts like Albion's Epee de Guerre or Hanwei's Practical Bastard Sword. While they might have some application for reenactors their stiff, heavy blades and forward point of balance means they'll hit like sharps, i.e. way too hard to allow you to use any kind of speed or intent unless you armor up so heavily that you can no longer move like you're unarmored. We do see this in a lot of HEMA tournaments but if you're just going to hang out in posta breve or right vom tag with the right foot forward then why even pretend it's Medieval European longsword? Just do modern kendo.

Since cost matters you'd be better off using a synthetic training sword. They're durable, inexpensive and the protective gear used with them costs less, too. Supplement that with a sharp for cutting practice. That'll teach you way more about how to use real swords than swinging a heavy blunt around will.

I don't have any experience with the smiths mentioned in the OP but the Albion Duke is a pretty good sword and the Baron is phenomenal, easily my favorite of any Albion I've tried so far. I haven't handled an ArchDuke but I have handled and done some light cutting with a Maximillian which shares the same blade and is similar in other respects. It's a good sword and works fine with the standard KDF repertoire. On the low end the Hanwei Tinker Great Sword of War isn't very historically accurate but it has the properties of a XIIIa.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 3:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Have you considered Figueyredo's montante? It focuses much more on cuts than on thrusts (relative to, say, Fiore or the Liechtenauer tradition) and does not rely that much upon actions on the bind that work better with the stiffer blades of Oakeshott's types XV-XVIII swords. In that way it might be somewhat more appropriate to type XIIa or XIIIa war-swords than Fiore or the Liechtenauer linage (or at least the earlier glosses that rely pretty heavily on thrusts). The relative lack of focus on the bind may also be an advantage for solo practice since you don't need a similarly-armed practice partner in order to work through most of Figueyredo's "rules" (plays).
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Traditional foil fencing is very heavy on binding and winding and it works fine with blades that are way less stiff than any type XIIa or XIIIa. I've owned an Albion Baron and H/T GSOW, I've also handled an Albion Duke... flexibility won't be a problem. Heck, it isn't a problem with the Hanwei federschwert.

There are 7 main cuts in KDF, even in the Liechtenauer material, and several times that once you consider all their variations. There are at least 6 ways to cut on every line. It's a mistake to confuse the stucke with the system, the stucke are just examples some fencing master thought were nifty. The system itself adapts to the weapon in your hand according to its properties, among them its relative facility with the 3 wounders. A triecker for instance will focus heavily on thrusts, a schlachtschwert will focus heavily on cuts.

That said, the montante material is good stuff.
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Aurélien Liégeois




Location: Belgium
Joined: 02 Apr 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Thu 05 Feb, 2015 4:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have considered using synthetic wasters, but I fear it is not a option right now. The reenactment group I train with uses only steel training swords and I presume synthetic wasters were not made to fight against steel training swords. Unless - by miracle - I manage to change the views of my present instructor, I will have to wait for the moment and to find a regular partner willing to learn medieval fencing in a more proper HEMA-way. So, my first sword will be a more traditional steel training sword (I am guessing that a federschwert would suffer against reenactment swords during training).

Concerning Figueyredo, I have found a translation of his work by Eric Myers and I will most certainly use it. Although I think I will learn the basics of the Kunst des Fechtens to begin with. There seems to be more material published on the matter and my present instructor has taught us the four fundamental guards (Ochs, Pflug, Alber, and vom Tag), but we do not use them much during sparring drills. (Which is one of the things I dislike about the reenactment teaching of medieval fencing).
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
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PostPosted: Fri 06 Feb, 2015 1:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been mulling your question over in the back of my mind, and a couple thoughts have crawled out of the recesses.

You're asking about four different fencing styles. They have similarities and commonalities as they are all about using a sword in two hands. 1) Early greatsword 2) Fiore 3) KDF 4) true two handed swords. But they are different styles and each have a "best" style sword.

I believe (and I could be totally off base) that the early great swords and the true two handers were used in a similar manner, and that the Fiore and KdF fencing are optimized for a different weapon.

Since the great swords and the two handlers are cutting oriented, it makes sense to me , that they would be used like the Montante. Primarily in circular cutting movements. Yes they can thrust and yes it was done, but there primary mission was shearing strikes. The early great swords , at least the Albiones, are very well balanced and you can perform fencing moves with them, blade on blade windings etc. but again, optimized for the cut. So if that is what you are interested in, then a cutting sword you should find. Again I'll mention the Practical Bastard, as it splits the difference between great sword and Montante. Montante tend to be blade heavy to propel them through the continuous circling that is the hallmark of their use. Best would be to get one or the other of course, as a halfway point the PBS isn't a fantastic Montante, too short and a little light, nor is it an ideal great sword, a little heavy, and not very lively.

best bet for a great sword is... A great sword.
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/sq...rd-MII.htm

It's not sharpened, but the edges are on the thin side, and they aren't sold to be safe for fencing, but of you look up the 15th century bastard sword review, Pamela has used that squire line sword for fencing and it has stood up very well. I spar with a Hanwei Tinker Longsword, which also has complaints about thin edges and I haven't had any problems with it at all. It's my opinion that excessive notching is a result of improper technique.

In the same vein the 15th century bastard would be great for KdF and it's ideal for Fiore, Fiore leans more towards disengagements and closing to grapple. It does feature a lot of winding but a little less then the KdF style. It's a good sword for halfswording too. The 15 century bastard is a tad shorter then many bastard swords, and I think that works particularly well with Fiore. For the KDF I would use the Hanwei Tinker long sword, it has a nice long grip that fits with the Germanic style very nicely. It's what I use for my Fiore classes since it's less expensive and I like it so much I picked up an extra blade after I bought the trainer.

Now they may or may not work for reenactment, I don't know what kind of blocking and parrying is taught so something with thicker edges may work better for that.

I know people will disagree with the Squire line choices and they have every right too, this is just "what I would look at if I were in your shoes." I think a slightly delicate edge is a good way to learn proper parrying. And no, I'm not in the "parrying is only done with the flat of the blade" school either. Cutting into your opponents flat, and cutting into the blade at an angle that changes the direction of an incoming strike without directly opposing it are all... Ok, getting ahead of myself!

True two handed swords. My two hander from Szymon Chlebowski just came in.
https://m.facebook.com/SwordsSzymonChlebowski?refsrc=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSwordsSzymonChlebowski

It's not in hand yet, it was part of a group order, but it's beautiful and the specs are very nice. To learn a weapon it's best to get that particular weapon or simulator. With everything you've mentioned a compromise will be just that.

For me, I prefer rebated swords to feders, and thin edges don't bother me, or my instructor. So those are the choices I've made, or wished I had made looking back. But no one can tell you what's best for your compromise.

A lot of guys in HEMA don't have a nice sharp, you'll never use it for its intended purpose, and you can't spare with them. But I think it's good to not just cut with a sword, but solo drilling with an accurate replica will help too. So I have a few nice cutting awords of the type I'm most interested in. On myArmoury that's not uncommon, but it's less so in the HEMA community.

I hope some of this is useful, and if it wasn't I'm glad to have put some of my random thoughts down.

"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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Aurélien Liégeois




Location: Belgium
Joined: 02 Apr 2013

Posts: 9

PostPosted: Fri 13 Mar, 2015 4:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dear Matthew, my answer comes late, but better late than never! (Or so I think!) The last days, I have been reading a bit about Fiore dei Liberi's Armizare of Fiore dei, Johannes Liechtenauer's Kunst des Fechtens, and Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo's Memorial of the Practice of the Montante.

I will study Figueyredo's teachings, I think, but they won't constitute the core of my training. The Montante was a larger and a longer sword than the early greatswords were and, although both favor the cut, I believe they were not used in the same way for this very reason. They were more agile than a Montante (being smaller and lighter) and they lack reach in comparison of the latter. The biggest amongst the early greatswords that I know of do not exceed the length of an Albion Baron or an Albion Duke while a Montante can measure around 140-150 cm... that makes quite a difference in my opinion in the handling of the sword. The length of the grip is also quite different between the two. Moreover, they were probably not intended for the same use: the early greatswords were (I think) knightly swords used on the battlefield by dismounted (or mounted) knights clad in mail during the XIIth - XIIIth centuries ; the Montante had a more specific use. From what I saw, the latter need to be kept in motion (due to the weight and the momentum probably) when you fight with it ; it is not quite the case for the early greatsword.

Therefore, for my core training, I will either choose between Fiore dei Liberi (and Philippo Vadi) and Johannes Liechtenauer's lineage. Which of the two? I do not know yet with certainty. The Kunst des Fechtens appears to be a very suitable candidate: it originates from "Germany", it dates back to the XIVth century (and earlier), and this style favors longer swords (while Fiore's style favors shorter swords and close quarters combat). In any cases, I would have to learn to work more the cutting techniques than the thrusts, since the early greatswords were primarily cutting swords. As they have significant differences, maybe it is best that I try both (since I have the sources and the books now) to see which system works best for me. After all, we all have our physical limitations and our own way of thinking.

Concerning the wrestling techniques (because any proper fencer must also know unarmed combat), can someone tell me which style of medieval wrestling is the most similar to aïkido? I practiced judo during two years and all that I learned was that I did not do so well with this style of hand-to-hand combat. Although I am tall and heavy build, I was not really cconfortable with most of the judo techniques I learned. I always found aïkido techniques to be more suited to my tastes and abilities. I practiced it during my years at the university and I was better at it. So, I would prefer to study a medieval wrestling style closer to aïkido than judo...

In any cases, I thank you for your answer. You can be sure that I will - one day - count amongst the HEMA people possessing a nice sword with a sharp blade. (An Albion, I hope.) And not just for decorating. As for my future practice sword, I will have soon the opportunity to examine Jiri Krondak's swords through the stand of a retailer in a fantasy fair. A opportunity to forge my opinion about his swords that I will not miss, I think. It is always better to see the product in person before buying anything.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 19 Mar, 2015 4:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aurélien Liégeois wrote:
the Montante had a more specific use. From what I saw, the latter need to be kept in motion (due to the weight and the momentum probably) when you fight with it ; it is not quite the case for the early greatsword.


Actually, if you grab a longsword or greatsword in one hand, it moves pretty much like the montante. That's why I find it very useful -- not to mention that the techniques aren't too hard to adapt for use with a kite or heater shield.


Quote:
Concerning the wrestling techniques (because any proper fencer must also know unarmed combat), can someone tell me which style of medieval wrestling is the most similar to aïkido? I practiced judo during two years and all that I learned was that I did not do so well with this style of hand-to-hand combat. Although I am tall and heavy build, I was not really cconfortable with most of the judo techniques I learned. I always found aïkido techniques to be more suited to my tastes and abilities. I practiced it during my years at the university and I was better at it. So, I would prefer to study a medieval wrestling style closer to aïkido than judo...


I'm afraid that's not a very productive approach to take -- medieval wrestling is an art in its own right, and it's probably better to just try to learn it as it is while filtering out influences from other arts in the beginning (except, perhaps, for breakfalls and rolls since these aren't explicitly taught in the sources but absolutely necessary to work with them safely). Later on, when you think you already have a solid grasp of the basics, you'll have the opportunity to mix and match to form a personal style. I had a background in aikido too but the two are different enough that trying to shoehorn medieval wrestling techniques (mostly Ott's in my particular case) into an aikido framework was more a hindrance than a help in my learning. Keeping the two separate isn't that hard after all. Then, much later (indeed, not until very recently in my case), once you've practiced the techniques enough that you know the rote mechanical parts by heart, will you start being able to feel and make use of the similarities (especially in terms of the "Fuhlen" and "Indes" -- I think, like "aiki," they're just attempts to make verbal or written explanations of how to read, follow, and manipulate the opponent's force with the use of the tactile and kinesthetic senses. None of them make particularly adequate theoretical explanations since it's something that can only be learned in practice.)
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