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Ronald M




Location: vancouver bc canada
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2015 10:32 pm    Post subject: Using a onehanded sword with two hands         Reply with quote

what i mean by this is using a one handed handle with two hands on the grip
imagine what i mean by imagining a backhand grip on a small tennis racquet by someone with really big hands
or if the above won't work how about simply grabbing the pommel for extra control

im asking this cause i was wondering whether or not people would have done this after they've lost their off hand item or a similar situation

smiley face 123? no? lol yeah well im here cause i like...swords and weapons and stuff obv
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2015 10:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote











Last edited by Craig Peters on Thu 19 Nov, 2015 11:14 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Ronald M




Location: vancouver bc canada
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2015 10:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Peters wrote:

well i was asking in a sparring/fight context cause i was thinking it might be a little awkward to have your hands grasp each other like in the image

smiley face 123? no? lol yeah well im here cause i like...swords and weapons and stuff obv
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Thu 19 Nov, 2015 10:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This image is a fighting context. It's not that awkward to hold a sword like this. And if you want to deliver a powerful coup de grace, this is a good way to do it.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2015 1:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yup! This is very likely the origins of the longsword systems recorded in the fechtbucher. Messer/arming sword cuts and guards are named differently but analogous to both-hands techniques and this fact was even recognized by some of the ancient masters. Heck, I've read that the term "longsword" was first applied to long single-handed swords with the suggestion that this really goes back to the differentiation between the spatha and gladius as the archetypal long and short swords in western culture.

FWIW I've done years of intensive training in classical and historical fencing, I've placed in a number of tournaments with a variety of weapons and I'm completely confident in the utility of a two-handed grip on a single handed sword. The funny thing is that one of the more advanced pursuits with a longsword is mastering attack and defense with only one hand on the grip. Ultimately it's not really about the sword, it's about the swordsman. The skill set can be broken down as fencing(one handed), fencing long(two hands on grip) and fencing short(one hand on grip the other on blade). You can do all of these with most swords.
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Greyson Brown




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2015 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am trying to remember where I read it (I thought it was in The Archaeology of Weapons, but I couldn't find it), but I know I have read that some of the Viking Sagas mention warriors using two hands to wield their swords as well.

-- Greyson

"So long as I can keep the path of honor I am well content."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2015 6:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Using both hands on a 1.5 or 2 hand sword makes sense because it allows one to both counteract the weight of a heavy sword and apply leverage between the two hands for rapid rotations of the sword. Those advantages are not so clear in a one hand sword unless it's getting really heavy (for me 3.5 lbs is about the limit on an otherwise well-balanced one-hand sword). And the leverage advantage is not there because the hands must be placed in approximately the same position (obviously, because the grip is relatively short). It will provide more weight and muscular power behind the blow of course, but I find that in many situations it slows things down quite a bit because one does not have the same freedom of motion that one has with a single hand grip. Given that velocity has a huge influence on the power and impact of the blow, that's a big disadvantage. So I think that's likely why the use of two hands on a single hand sword was restricted to special circumstances, like those described above. Physics and the basic structure of the human body have not changed in 800 years.
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Ronald M




Location: vancouver bc canada
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PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2015 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Using both hands on a 1.5 or 2 hand sword makes sense because it allows one to both counteract the weight of a heavy sword and apply leverage between the two hands for rapid rotations of the sword. Those advantages are not so clear in a one hand sword unless it's getting really heavy (for me 3.5 lbs is about the limit on an otherwise well-balanced one-hand sword). And the leverage advantage is not there because the hands must be placed in approximately the same position (obviously, because the grip is relatively short). It will provide more weight and muscular power behind the blow of course, but I find that in many situations it slows things down quite a bit because one does not have the same freedom of motion that one has with a single hand grip. Given that velocity has a huge influence on the power and impact of the blow, that's a big disadvantage. So I think that's likely why the use of two hands on a single hand sword was restricted to special circumstances, like those described above. Physics and the basic structure of the human body have not changed in 800 years.

yeah this puts my thoughts into words perfectly, i did try with my 2nd post above but as you can see i used fighting context where yes it is in a fighting context but i think i was wondering whether or not it would be used normally in combat

smiley face 123? no? lol yeah well im here cause i like...swords and weapons and stuff obv
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Michael Beeching





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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2015 12:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think this is actually quite an interesting topic, and there's quie a few aspects thereof worth considering:

1. When I first got my arming sword, I found it to be a bit heavy in one hand. Thus, I'd wrap my other hand around the pommel. In doing this, I improved the amount of control I had over the weapon by a substantial margin. If you're not in shape, a two and a half pound sword can become rather tiring, and a second hand can help tremendously. If you are in shape, a second hand is of help when you're tired... or just need a bit more moxy - but that's already been covered.

2. There are a number of ways of using a sword with two hands - this does not include half-swording. The illuminations provided above illustrated a sort of "pistol girp," which I have not tried out much in practice. In gerneral, I cannot see this sort of grip improving your striking power with the weapon by a great deal, as only one hand has an appreciable amount of contact authority with the sword. I would, however, expect that this should improve your control over the sword, as you become a more stable striking platform. It will also prevent the hands from "pinching," which is a shortcoming of the next method.

If the sword has a longer pommel, or one that is friendly to the hand, like a wheel, scent, or fish-tail, gripping by the pommel is a good way of improving control and short-distance striking power. A sword with a brazil-nut or other earlier style may be much less friendly to hold in this manner. Regardless of the pommel type (granted, you have to get your hand around it first), a problem you may encounter is "pinching." If your objective is drilling and your target is the empty air, you may find the follow-through with a srtike terribly uncomfortable... there was not enough room to hold the sword in two hands to begin with, and now both hands press into each other at the full reach of the strike. I've developed a few blisters using the sword in this manner.

There are also a few other methods I've seen and tested myslef. This includes a "push grip" on the top of the dominant hand and a second type of "pistol grip" which loosely grips the pommel below the dominant hand. The "push grip" is demonstrated here by Hurstwic:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9UHFjvpsXw

...I think they had a more detailed exposition of this grip in a different video, but I was not quite of the mind to find it. If the sword you're using has a short guard/quillons, or the quillons curve upwards, this is a seemingly viable method. The hands do not seem to crowd each other and the swordsman should get a bit of extra power and control from the grip. Due to the position of the grip, however, this may be a difficult grip to transition into in a hurry.

The second "pistol grip" is reminiscent of a modern pistol grip (interestingly, the first pistol grip mentioned in this post is an older style of grip which has fallen out of favor), with a loose grip on the pommel with the off-hand's fingers cupping the dominant hand's grip on the sword. This grip allows for extra leverage on the weapon, increased control, and also prevents pinching. Because the hands are not crowded, the off hand can quickly be removed from the sword and used for grappling or half-swording, etc. The grip does not allow for such great control as firmly gripping the pommel/wrapping the hand around the pommel, but makes the sword much more flexible in general use. I am currently of the opinion that this is the best way of using an arming sword, or any other one-handed sword for that matter, with two hands.

3. There are also ways I am convinced that one should not use a sword with both hands. Or, there is at least *one* way which should be avoided. This entails gripping the sword by clasping both hands together, such that the fingers of both hands lock together at the knuckles. I'm certain I've seen this done in the movies often, and I think I may have even seen the martial artist chap on "Forged in Fire" do this as well. Although this will prevent the hands from separating, it will prevent either hand from establishing a firm grip on the sword. Thus, your ability to control edge alignment is greatly reduced, as is fine control of the sword through the wrist. Your hands are also at great risk due to shock - the fingers are so tightly linked together in this hold that any impact transfered to the hands from the stike could be quite painful indeed. You are prevented from using either hand freely from the sword in this grip as well. As with anything, you might as well try it out for yourself, but I think your conclusions will ultimately be the same as mine.

4. I should conclude by going back to point #1., at least on a tanget thereof: a one-handed sword is designed to be used with one hand. The only times worth considering using a one-handed sword with two hands is under irregular circomstances. These circumstances may include fatigue, a hand with nothing else to do (e.g. lack of shield), or the need for just a bit more moxy. If you are using a one-handed sword with two hands and cannot place yourself into any of these three circumstances, you're probably doing something wrong. Using a sword does not require a tremendous amount of strength, but it does require some - more so, it requires endurance. I usually cringe a little when I see a one-handed sword used with two hands from the get-go, as it generally doesn't improve the performance of the weapon by a great margin (from my assessments, at least); generally, it only implies that the swordsman is either inept in terms of technique or physique, or perhaps a bit of both. Learn to use two hands, but make sure you master using one first.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2015 6:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:
Using both hands on a 1.5 or 2 hand sword makes sense because it allows one to both counteract the weight of a heavy sword and apply leverage between the two hands for rapid rotations of the sword. Those advantages are not so clear in a one hand sword unless it's getting really heavy (for me 3.5 lbs is about the limit on an otherwise well-balanced one-hand sword). And the leverage advantage is not there because the hands must be placed in approximately the same position (obviously, because the grip is relatively short).


There's not much practical leverage to be had on a grip shorter than 4 hands. You can push with one hand and pull with the other to maneuver the sword but to generate any real cleaving power you're going to have to use your body either through stepping and skeletal alignment or hip rotation and grounding.

Quote:
It will provide more weight and muscular power behind the blow of course, but I find that in many situations it slows things down quite a bit because one does not have the same freedom of motion that one has with a single hand grip. Given that velocity has a huge influence on the power and impact of the blow, that's a big disadvantage. So I think that's likely why the use of two hands on a single hand sword was restricted to special circumstances, like those described above. Physics and the basic structure of the human body have not changed in 800 years.


You should be making large gains in velocity and maneuverability when taking a single handed cutting sword in two hands because in effect your arm just got a lot stronger. What style do you study and where are you encountering the knots? An extended grip is better but it should be close.

The big advantages of using one hand on a sword is significantly greater reach for a given blade length and the ability to use an off-hand weapon. As far as velocity is concerned you do need some but what's much more important is the timing of the impact in relation to your body mechanics and concentrating force in the actual moment of impact.
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Jeroen T




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PostPosted: Sun 22 Nov, 2015 10:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's instinctive figthing.
If you want to deliver a powerful blow you automatically use 2 hands.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 2:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
J.D. Crawford wrote:
Using both hands on a 1.5 or 2 hand sword makes sense because it allows one to both counteract the weight of a heavy sword and apply leverage between the two hands for rapid rotations of the sword. Those advantages are not so clear in a one hand sword unless it's getting really heavy (for me 3.5 lbs is about the limit on an otherwise well-balanced one-hand sword). And the leverage advantage is not there because the hands must be placed in approximately the same position (obviously, because the grip is relatively short).

There's not much practical leverage to be had on a grip shorter than 4 hands. You can push with one hand and pull with the other to maneuver the sword but to generate any real cleaving power you're going to have to use your body either through stepping and skeletal alignment or hip rotation and grounding.


Yes, I was referring to maneuvering the sword, not to added cleaving power.

[quote="Mike Ruhala"]
J.D. Crawford wrote:
Quote:
It will provide more weight and muscular power behind the blow of course, but I find that in many situations it slows things down quite a bit because one does not have the same freedom of motion that one has with a single hand grip. Given that velocity has a huge influence on the power and impact of the blow, that's a big disadvantage. So I think that's likely why the use of two hands on a single hand sword was restricted to special circumstances, like those described above. Physics and the basic structure of the human body have not changed in 800 years.


You should be making large gains in velocity and maneuverability when taking a single handed cutting sword in two hands because in effect your arm just got a lot stronger. What style do you study and where are you encountering the knots? An extended grip is better but it should be close.


Should if all else were equal, but fixing both hands to the same position is often biomechanically disadvantageous to one arm or the other, or both. There is not the same freedom of motion (coordinated across the full 7 degrees freedom of arm-wrist motion), except perhaps for a few special paths. So if there is need for more strength and no gain in leverage, one might as well use the biomechanically optimal motion.

I am not referring to every situation you would encounter in combat. I am speaking here from my own experience with drills and free fencing with lots of room to maneuvre, cutting practice against certain light media, and (theoretically) from horseback against targets on the ground (I have never actually done this).

Mike Ruhala wrote:
The big advantages of using one hand on a sword is significantly greater reach for a given blade length and the ability to use an off-hand weapon.


Other advantages are the use of the free arm as a counter-balance when moving around, or to hold onto a horse. Conversely, another disadvantage of using two hands is that it requires more energy (which will tire you out faster if not necessary) both directly for the arm and in the added work your body needs to do to balance against two arms and a sword in motion.

Mike Ruhala wrote:
As far as velocity is concerned you do need some but what's much more important is the timing of the impact in relation to your body mechanics and concentrating force in the actual moment of impact.


I've forgotten my newtonian physics, but I believe there are threads around here that have argued very convincingly that the most important factor for cutting is velocity (I'll let others do the math, I'm getting too old for that stuff).

I'm not trying to say that velocity is the only factor in all combat situations, but if all else were equal, I would rather get there first and cut deeper. I'm also not trying to say the use of two hands on a one hand sword is wrong, but rather that is suits certain situations and not others. Otherwise, everyone would be holding two hands on their arming sword most of the time.
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Mon 23 Nov, 2015 3:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J.D. Crawford wrote:

Should if all else were equal, but fixing both hands to the same position is often biomechanically disadvantageous to one arm or the other, or both. There is not the same freedom of motion (coordinated across the full 7 degrees freedom of arm-wrist motion), except perhaps for a few special paths. So if there is need for more strength and no gain in leverage, one might as well use the biomechanically optimal motion.


When I say "should" I'm not speaking hypothetically. None of the major cuts, guards or handworks in KDF are choked by using 2 hands whether that's with an extended grip or one hand on top of the other. I do notice a bit of a drag using two hands on a smallsword/foil/epee but those are very high rez weapons. It may just be a matter of familiarity, I was comfy with a longsword years before I was fluent with an arming sword.

Quote:

Other advantages are the use of the free arm as a counter-balance when moving around, or to hold onto a horse.


Funny thing is they actually did use 2 hands on their longswords from horseback in the Renaissance, blew my mind when I found out. They wrestled from horseback, too. I do understand your point, though.

Quote:
Conversely, another disadvantage of using two hands is that it requires more energy (which will tire you out faster if not necessary) both directly for the arm and in the added work your body needs to do to balance against two arms and a sword in motion.


That I can't agree with and in all the years I've been fighting competitively up and down the east coast of the US I've never seen anyone who could fight longer with an arming sword than a longsword. The weight is similar, the techniques are analogous and with one weapon you have essentially twice the strength.

Quote:

I've forgotten my newtonian physics, but I believe there are threads around here that have argued very convincingly that the most important factor for cutting is velocity (I'll let others do the math, I'm getting too old for that stuff).


They're probably looking at it from an academic perspective and focusing on kinetic energy. It's the old mass times velocity equation and the way the multipliers work out you get more bang for your buck in terms of pure energy from increasing velocity but there's a lot more to terminal effects with blades or ballistics than just energy. The velocity is definitely important because you'd need a heap ton more energy to successfully cut a target if you're packing very little velocity(even then you'd probably just push your target over unless it was braced against something) but if you're a human being you'll top out around 70 or 80 MPH so you have to tap your body's mass to make up the deficit. That's why we can do cool tricks like cutting through a mat with a sword that only has one foot to accelerate. You won't get anywhere near your max swing speed but you can get enough velocity and make up the rest with mechanics.
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Nov, 2015 1:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike, I'm sure you have good reasons for using two hands on a single hand sword in the situations you described.

And I'm equally certain there are plenty of good reasons why most people hold a one-hand sword with one hand most of the time, whether in current times or in medieval art. But I don't want to repeat myself anymore.

-JD
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