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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Purpose of halfswording Reply to topic
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Adam M.M.





Joined: 02 Aug 2014

Posts: 54

PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 5:06 am    Post subject: Purpose of halfswording         Reply with quote

As I understand it the purpose of halfswording is to gain more control over the point so you can thrust through the gaps in armor, but wouldn't someone carrying a sword usually be carrying a dagger as well? So wouldn't it be better to just drop the sword and pull out the dagger if you end up at grappling distance with an armored person?
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 6:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It gives you a different kind of leverage that's useful for wrestling and bearing against the opponent's weapon as well as a way to shorten your sword for fighting at very close quarters yet you'll still be able to go back to fencing long at an instant.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 6:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Halfswording has a whole different body of techniques that allow hooking, tripping, and throwing -- it's not just a matter of thrusting through gaps. Of course, it's possible to do those things with daggers too, but the sword's longer length allows a greater variety of grips and more leverage, which opens up many more possibilities that can't be adequately explored with the dagger (not to mention that many armoured dagger plays seem to be a matter of drawing the dagger and stabbing through a gap after the opponent had been wrestled down to the ground).
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Luka Borscak




Location: Croatia
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Halfswording gives you a lot more flexibility in fighting style than a dagger. You are in a position for short tip cuts, strong thrusts, hooking with tip, crossguard or pommel, striking with any of these parts, switching back to long fencing...
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Adam M.M.





Joined: 02 Aug 2014

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I see. But what then is the point of the dagger if the sword can be equally good or better in grappling as well as being obviously better when fencing long?
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T. Kew




Location: Cambridge, UK
Joined: 21 Apr 2012

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 12:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The same question applies just as well to other pairings. Why bother with a sword when you could have a pollaxe?

And the key is that the dagger is easy to carry as well as the sword (or, indeed, the pollaxe). If you are unfortunate enough to lose or break your primary weapon, having an effective and compact secondary weapon is very useful.

As an aside, halfswording is kinda just a way to make the sword into a short, unbreakable spear. Or alternatively into a pollaxe. In both cases, you aren't getting the full advantage of those weapons, but you get other advantages - such as the versatility to fence long against an unarmoured target.
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Ben Coomer




Location: Colorado
Joined: 06 Sep 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its also important to realize that battle is fairly often not joined in empty fields where the opponents have ample time to prepare.

Say you were sitting at a table. You've either taken off your sword or its hilt is pointed more or less backwards when someone attacks. A short dagger you can draw on the spot. Or say you were just walking when someone barrels into you. No time to draw a sword, but a dagger can be. Or you are fighting in armor and your opponent has wrenched your sword away and is closing to grapple. Or you got knocked down and they are about to use halfswording on you.

There's many tactical reason that a dagger would be necessary. It may not be in idea situations, but in fights you rarely get ideal situations.
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Scott Hanson




Location: La Crosse, WI
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PostPosted: Mon 26 Jan, 2015 5:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another point about dagger. If you end up wrestling on the ground with your opponent, your longsword is now useless and you'll wish you had a dagger.

Halfswording is used at sort of a medium/short range, not extreme close grappling.

Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another"

Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association (WHFA)
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
Joined: 08 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue 27 Jan, 2015 9:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as I understand things about arms in the medival period its about how armed you need to be given various situations. A dagger is pretty ubiquitous. Most men carried a dagger or largish knife as a matter of course for work, food processing, and self defense. So you start off having a dagger. If you are traveling you might add a long sword, or sword and buckler, or what have you, as a deterrent to an attack or mugging etc. You might have some light protective clothing also, padded coat, and a secrette (spelling?) the steel cap worn under a hat? Then if you are expecting combat it goes up from there.

So the dagger is the minimum and you build off it.

I think a big part of the popularity, mystique, and appeal of the sword is that it's such a happy medium of a weapon. Any bigger and you couldn't wear it on your hip, but it's still large enough to give you a decent shot at defending yourself from attack from larger weapons.

A half sword grip enables you to parry strikes from larger heavier poll weapons. Once you have crossed with another weapon you press and wind, if you loose contact with the attacking weapon then you can't feel what your opponent is doing. So you press and wind while keeping your grip on the blade.

"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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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

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PostPosted: Sat 31 Jan, 2015 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just an idea [not from own experience]
I'm guessing that half-swording also have an advantage when fighting in plate-armour when it comes to close-contact with grappling taking place. You can use your sword as a lever for pushing down your opponent or at least out of balance, while having your sword in one hand makes you more easy to “rotate“ out of balance or getting a grip on your sword arm.
So half-swording might make you more “centered and stable“ since if you start to topple over in heavy armour it would be much harder to avoid falling and then getting a rondel through your visor!

Half-swording for controlling the tip better when finding gaps in the enemy armour would likely be its primery use, but I think the above explanation could be a secondary one.
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