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Michael Kelly





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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2016 9:44 am    Post subject: Albion Liechtenauer...         Reply with quote

So I'm considering picking up an Albion Liechtenauer for training and drills... Does anyone have hands on experience with one? Thoughts and opinions? Can anyone think of a reason I shouldn't?
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2016 10:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have hands on experience with those and I would recommend against it for many reasons.

-It's a blunt, blunts weren't used as training weapons in the Medieval or Renaissance eras and saw only limited use in the 19th century. The only picture of Liechtenauer we have doesn't show a weapon that looks anything like this, it shows a feder in his hand as was typical of his era.

-It's stiff and heavy so it's dangerous if you're actually training with any kind of intensity. At best it will force you to wear heavy protection while trying to practice an unarmored style. At one event I went to we were throwing apples up in the air and cutting them with an off the shelf Liechtenauer.

-Most major events won't allow blunts in competition

-Even though it kind of looks like a sharp sword it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords, that's 100% driven by whatever instruction you receive and the conventions you train under. Even if you have no instruction or conventions to begin with it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords because you can make just as many mistakes with a blunt as you can with any other training weapon.

If you want a training weapon from Albion you'd be better off with a Meyer. It's a modern sport feder and as such is very different in design than the Medieval/Renaissance originals but it's allowed at most major events and is a bit safer than the Liechtenauer. My general advice for new practitioners is to buy a quality synthetic waster and an affordable sharp. Everything about fencing with synths is much more affordable than fencing with steel and an actual sharp will do a much better job showing you what a sharp handles like and you can use it for cutting practice which will teach you much more about really fighting with sharps than swinging a blunt around can.
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2016 11:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In case you haven't seen it, here is a review posted a few years back. - http://myArmoury.com/review_alb_liecht.html

Also - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNILhANF5sc
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Robert Morgan




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2016 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maybe an Arms & Armor Fechterspiel would be a better alternative?
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Johannes Zenker





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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2016 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've had good experiences with it.

With the obvious caveat of not being quite as stiff and not sticking in a bind, it does a very good job at simulating an actual sword. Amy simulator is a compromise, with the Liechtenauer sacrificing some "safety" in favor of "handling more authentically".

It's safe enough to use for decently heavy sparring given appropriate protection. Getting jabbed with it might hurt a bit, mind you, but I don't see that as a bad thing. You get hit, you feel pain, you don't want that to happen in future. Injury risk is quite on-par with other simulators, although the added mass in the blade will pose a slightly greater threat to exposed fingers compared to light Feders. A more flexible blade would be an obstacle to properly working in a bind (in addition to aforementioned "not sticking", which already substantially changes the dynamics of a bind).

Unless you're like that one guy from my club who managed to break two Albion I:33s, the Liechtenauer will last you quite a long time.

Concerning cutting thrown apples: Any steel bar with an "edge" of less than 4mm will cut an apple in flight, Feders and blunts alike.

You should ask your club's other members (if you haven't already) if they have had experiences using the Liechtenauer for practice, sparring and its use at tournaments in your region (if that's even your thing).
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Alan E




Location: UK
Joined: 21 Jan 2016

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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2016 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johannes Zenker wrote:
I've had good experiences with it.

With the obvious caveat of not being quite as stiff and not sticking in a bind, it does a very good job at simulating an actual sword. Amy simulator is a compromise, with the Liechtenauer sacrificing some "safety" in favor of "handling more authentically".

It's safe enough to use for decently heavy sparring given appropriate protection. Getting jabbed with it might hurt a bit, mind you, but I don't see that as a bad thing. You get hit, you feel pain, you don't want that to happen in future. Injury risk is quite on-par with other simulators, although the added mass in the blade will pose a slightly greater threat to exposed fingers compared to light Feders. A more flexible blade would be an obstacle to properly working in a bind (in addition to aforementioned "not sticking", which already substantially changes the dynamics of a bind).

Unless you're like that one guy from my club who managed to break two Albion I:33s, the Liechtenauer will last you quite a long time.

Concerning cutting thrown apples: Any steel bar with an "edge" of less than 4mm will cut an apple in flight, Feders and blunts alike.

You should ask your club's other members (if you haven't already) if they have had experiences using the Liechtenauer for practice, sparring and its use at tournaments in your region (if that's even your thing).


Exactly.

At The Exiles http://the-exiles.org.uk/ we use it as our standard sword.

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I have hands on experience with those and I would recommend against it for many reasons.

-It's a blunt, blunts weren't used as training weapons in the Medieval or Renaissance eras and saw only limited use in the 19th century. The only picture of Liechtenauer we have doesn't show a weapon that looks anything like this, it shows a feder in his hand as was typical of his era.

-It's stiff and heavy so it's dangerous if you're actually training with any kind of intensity. At best it will force you to wear heavy protection while trying to practice an unarmored style. At one event I went to we were throwing apples up in the air and cutting them with an off the shelf Liechtenauer.

-Most major events won't allow blunts in competition

-Even though it kind of looks like a sharp sword it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords, that's 100% driven by whatever instruction you receive and the conventions you train under. Even if you have no instruction or conventions to begin with it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords because you can make just as many mistakes with a blunt as you can with any other training weapon.

If you want a training weapon from Albion you'd be better off with a Meyer. It's a modern sport feder and as such is very different in design than the Medieval/Renaissance originals but it's allowed at most major events and is a bit safer than the Liechtenauer. My general advice for new practitioners is to buy a quality synthetic waster and an affordable sharp. Everything about fencing with synths is much more affordable than fencing with steel and an actual sharp will do a much better job showing you what a sharp handles like and you can use it for cutting practice which will teach you much more about really fighting with sharps than swinging a blunt around can.

No sword can inherently teach you how to fight with swords, that is why sword schools came about (originally and now). Sword training should be "100% driven by whatever instruction you receive and the conventions you train under ". As we (Exiles) train with Fiore's work, we find the Liechtenauer an ideal training implement. We train with intensity and safety. Anything stiffer than a pool noodle can be dangerous and even Feders can crack a skull if used with intensity and no regard to safety.
A modern sport feder is essential if you want to train for modern sports longsword: If you want to train for C14 styles, a simulator with more blade presence helps.

Member of Exiles Medieval Martial Arts.
Currently teaching Fiore's art in Ceredigion
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Mike Ruhala




Location: Stuart, Florida
Joined: 24 Jul 2011

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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2016 4:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robert Morgan wrote:
Maybe an Arms & Armor Fechterspiel would be a better alternative?


Those are good. The build quality isn't quite as nice as the Albion Meyer but they're a little better on flex. A-n-A tapers the blade towards the point so they can make it thicker than the originals without gaining a bunch of weight and the benefit to that is that they are accepted at most tournaments.

Johannes Zenker wrote:

It's safe enough to use for decently heavy sparring given appropriate protection. Getting jabbed with it might hurt a bit, mind you, but I don't see that as a bad thing. You get hit, you feel pain, you don't want that to happen in future.


I believe in "was sehrt, das lehrt" to a point but a bruise or stinging hit is one thing and broken bones or arthritis are quite another. There are young guys running around with their thumbs on sideways because of machismo run amuck. Different groups fight at different speeds and levels of force with different efficiencies in their mechanics so just as a warning to inexperienced readers, if you want to use a blunt like a Liechtenauer or even some of the stiff modern sport feders wear a plastic chest protector under your other gear because somebody like me striking you with a thrust at 75% force can break your ribs right through a thick gambeson even though I'm only 5'8 and not out to hurt anybody. Similarly get some high end open steel tournament gloves, they'll cost you hundreds of dollars but they'll save you from shattered hands. If you get a guy who's trying a little too hard in your club people can get hurt really quick.

Quote:
A more flexible blade would be an obstacle to properly working in a bind (in addition to aforementioned "not sticking", which already substantially changes the dynamics of a bind).


I hear this a lot but strictly speaking it isn't true. Many ancient sharp swords had blades that were much more flexible than modern training weapons and even modern fencing foils bind and wind just fine as long as your technique is good. The trick is in the nuances of edge alignment throughout the execution of the technique. Original feders were quite flexible and 17th c. training rapiers, a few have in fact survived, are nothing like the blunts used by the SCA or similar groups... they're long foil blades on rapier hilts. The effect of sharp edges meeting is also overstated, all it does is buy you a tiny bit more time to go into an action. Training with traditional tools will actually condition you to be more sensitive and react more quickly.

Quote:

Concerning cutting thrown apples: Any steel bar with an "edge" of less than 4mm will cut an apple in flight, Feders and blunts alike.


That's a good reason to make sure you cover up all bare skin when fencing with steel. I know somebody who's cut tatami with H/T blunts. Those have the added benefit of quickly developing a saw-like edge. Exclamation

Alan E wrote:
Anything stiffer than a pool noodle can be dangerous and even Feders can crack a skull if used with intensity and no regard to safety.


I can more or less agree with that but at the same time there's some designs that are inherently safer than others. For instance I know a technique that can result in a modern epee blade breaking ribs if the opponent isn't wearing a chest protector under their uniform, it's related to how flexible blades can bind and wind actually, but an epee is still inherently safer on the thrust than a blunt or modern sport feder.

Quote:
A modern sport feder is essential if you want to train for modern sports longsword: If you want to train for C14 styles, a simulator with more blade presence helps.


Personally I'd like to see more people training and competing with accurate reproductions of historical training tools but the event hosts are concerned about blade durability. I think a better solution would be to tape the flats of historically accurate trainers to control broken blade segments and develop a fencing culture that's self-confident enough to bring the whack-o's under control. Many of the decisions that are being made right now are the same ones that lead to many of the things most of us don't like about modern sport fencing and I say this as someone who's done classical, historical and electric so I'm well familiar with the pluses and minuses of each format.

If blunts are working for your group that's fine, clearly you have the conventions in place to be safe with them. I'm not trying to change your choice just warning inexperienced people to be careful. It's also nice, especially for isolated individuals or small groups, to have equipment that is accepted widely throughout the community so they have more opportunities open to them. Heck, it's good for everybody to step outside their comfort zone once in a while.
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Sam Barris




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Apr, 2016 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can throw in a second nod to the Albion Meyer. It's a fantastic trainer, and feels just as alive in the hand as the best of their sharps.
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 09 Apr, 2016 6:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Albion Liechtenauer...         Reply with quote

Michael Kelly wrote:
So I'm considering picking up an Albion Liechtenauer for training and drills...


Much of the above comments have related to sparring with the Liechtenauer. For some (many!) HEMA groups, that's a really major part of training, so that's quite natural. It's the one training activity where the Liechtenauer can be inferior (depending on how one spars).

For solo drills and controlled partner drills, it's good. It the same weight and balance as a good sharp longsword, and blunt enough for much, much, more safety than trying to do that kind of thing with a sharp (or something like an unsharpened Windlass).

If you are only planning to do solo training in the near future, you could consider a sharp. Yes, it isn't as safe, but you can also cut with it. For drills with a partner, I think the Liechtenauer is fine (slow, controlled drills mean you don't need much protective gear (eye/face protection is always good, though); faster drills mean more protection is needed). For sparring, you could consider something like a synthetic waster (e.g., the Rawlings, though they're a bit floppy).

"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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Mordred Grey





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PostPosted: Sun 10 Apr, 2016 4:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The long and the short of it is that blunts, sharps, feders, wasters and synthetics all have their strengths and weaknesses. It all depends on what you're wanting to use them for. And asking this kind of question is just going to prompt everyone to try and steer you toward their favorites. All of those opinions will be valid, and most of them will assume your goals are the same as theirs. Especially since you haven't told us what your goals are.

Personally, I have all of the above. My favorite is the Albion Epee de Guerre. It's a sister sword of the Leichtenauer but more my style and time period. More than any of my other training weapons, it looks, feels, and handles like the sharps in my collection. It's a lively and active sword (much more so than my Regenyei federschwert). All of this is important to me. As with learning anything (guitar, for instance), I've found that the more attractive I find the tool, the more I want to pick it up and the more I'll practice. You can't put a price on that.

That being said, I've only used it for solo drills (and only ever intended to), though I might consider doing some low-speed partner work with it. Sparring not so much. But, then, that's not my thing, at least not at this point.

If you're looking to join a group, buy and use what they use.

If you're looking to compete, check out the appropriate tournament regulations and buy and use what they require.

If you're looking to do very controlled work with a sword that looks, feels and handles like a sword (but won't cut you if you goof up), the Albion Maestro blunts are the absolute top-of-the-line.

There is also no reason not to collect a variety of practice tools, as each will teach you something a little different.
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Michael Kelly





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PostPosted: Sun 10 Apr, 2016 7:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for all the input... I asked at a lot of different forums and of a lot of people. Ultimately I decided to pull the trigger and get one. For my current needs of primarily solo and controlled partner drilling i thint it'll fill the role nicely..
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Mark T




PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2016 1:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And there's nothing wrong with getting a range of blunts, feders, and sharps and learning what you can from each ...
Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2016 3:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike Ruhala wrote:
I have hands on experience with those and I would recommend against it for many reasons.

I would state the opposite: I have extensive experience with it and I would recommend it.

Mike Ruhala wrote:

-It's a blunt, blunts weren't used as training weapons in the Medieval or Renaissance eras and saw only limited use in the 19th century. The only picture of Liechtenauer we have doesn't show a weapon that looks anything like this, it shows a feder in his hand as was typical of his era.

I strongly disagree. There are illustrations of blunts used as training or tournament weapons.
The picture of Liechtenauer you are referring to is from the 44 A8 which was written a lot later - so not from "his era".

Mike Ruhala wrote:

-It's stiff and heavy so it's dangerous if you're actually training with any kind of intensity. At best it will force you to wear heavy protection while trying to practice an unarmored style. At one event I went to we were throwing apples up in the air and cutting them with an off the shelf Liechtenauer.

First of all, it is not that stiff. It can be used quite well with protective equipment like a good gambeson or fencing jacket…we do it all the time.

You can cut apples with a Feder as well, or with a ruler or a piece of wire…that has nothing to say.

Mike Ruhala wrote:

-Most major events won't allow blunts in competition

All major events I know INSIST on blunts in competition (a Feder is also blunt…isn't it?)

Mike Ruhala wrote:


-Even though it kind of looks like a sharp sword it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords, that's 100% driven by whatever instruction you receive and the conventions you train under. Even if you have no instruction or conventions to begin with it can't inherently teach you anything about fighting with sharp swords because you can make just as many mistakes with a blunt as you can with any other training weapon.

While I think I know what you want to say here, it can be misunderstood.

Training with a waster (wether nylon or wood) gives you a totally wrong feedback and is a lot worse than blunt steel. Best would be a sharp sword but there are many thoughts and problems with that. The next best thing to a sharp steel sword is a blunt steel sword.

Mike Ruhala wrote:


If you want a training weapon from Albion you'd be better off with a Meyer. It's a modern sport feder and as such is very different in design than the Medieval/Renaissance originals but it's allowed at most major events and is a bit safer than the Liechtenauer. My general advice for new practitioners is to buy a quality synthetic waster and an affordable sharp. Everything about fencing with synths is much more affordable than fencing with steel and an actual sharp will do a much better job showing you what a sharp handles like and you can use it for cutting practice which will teach you much more about really fighting with sharps than swinging a blunt around can.

As said, a blunt is better than a waster because the feedback is better in all manners. Certain techniques are very hard (some would say impossible) to train with nylon wasters. Try to do a proper winden and you'll notice.

The Albion Liechtenauer and Meyer are two different swords for two different goals. While the Liechtenauer is a sword to practice swordsmanship according to the early sources, the Meyer is a Feder to train according to later sources and for Schulfechten.
Both can be used for the other aim but basically that is what they have been designed for…as is clear when you read the manuscripts from the time.

But this would lead the discussion into different area.

So, my conclusion: If you like it, buy it. It is of top quality, well made and the customer service is great (to my experience).
It is perfect for early sources, for later sources it is a bit on the short side, especially the handle.

I hope I could help!

Best wishes

Herbert

www.arsgladii.at
Historical European Martial Arts
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Mike Ruhala




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2016 2:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Herbert Schmidt wrote:

I strongly disagree. There are illustrations of blunts used as training or tournament weapons.


Armored tournaments are an entirely different matter and featured a lot of highly specialized gear. I would be interested in seeing any evidence you feel suggests the use of blunts as training weapons for blossfechten and especially in a KDF context.

Quote:

The picture of Liechtenauer you are referring to is from the 44 A8 which was written a lot later - so not from "his era".


If Liechtenauer was a real person he most likely lived in the late 14th and/or early 15th century. 44.A.8 is dated to 1452. The Late Middle Ages era is commonly reckoned to consist of the 14th and 15th centuries, 44.A.8 contains the works of 4 known members of the society that established Liechtenauer's art.

Quote:

First of all, it is not that stiff. It can be used quite well with protective equipment like a good gambeson or fencing jacket…we do it all the time.


You may not be hitting each other very hard. That's fine if that's the case but you should mention that, lots of inexperienced practitioners end up with broken bones when they hear something is safe without the necessary caveats.

Quote:

All major events I know INSIST on blunts in competition (a Feder is also blunt…isn't it?)


No, feders are very different than blunts. Blunts are designed as essentially unsharpened swords with handling characteristics intended to closely mimic those of the sharps they are meant to approximate. Original feders, like the vast majority of traditional Western training swords, are designed to be lighter and more flexible than sharps and to hit with less impact on the cut and thrust and therefore be compatible with relatively light or even no specialized protective gear. Modern sport feders are somewhere between the two and are exclusively the type of weapon allowed at most mainstream HEMA longsword tournaments.


Quote:

As said, a blunt is better than a waster because the feedback is better in all manners. Certain techniques are very hard (some would say impossible) to train with nylon wasters. Try to do a proper winden and you'll notice.


I'll agree that some synthetic wasters are better than others, for instance the Rawlings are a lot more slippery and floppy than the PH3's are but if you can't bind and wind with PH3's it's your technique not the waster. Many people also try to force the technique in an inappropriate situation which doesn't help. Unfortunately you're in Austria so I have no practical way to demonstrate the technique to you but if we ever meet in person I would be happy to show you what I know. As far as someone on your continent goes Matt Easton made a comment in one of his videos that leads me to believe he might be familiar with the technique but I haven't seen him perform it and I'm very sure the style he learned when he was younger was different than the style I was taught so that may also affect things, still worth a shot though.

With all that out of the way I'll say I do prefer steel(in the form of feders, preferably historically accurate feders) to synthetics because steel is more sensitive and precise. Nevertheless a new practitioner can get a quality synthetic waster and minimum pro gear for the same price as just an Albion Liechtenauer by itself.

Quote:

While the Liechtenauer is a sword to practice swordsmanship according to the early sources, the Meyer is a Feder to train according to later sources and for Schulfechten.
Both can be used for the other aim but basically that is what they have been designed for…as is clear when you read the manuscripts from the time.


I read the manuscripts just about every day and none of them I have ever seen say that. Conversely I can think of several sources which explicitly depict or discuss deadly combat in dueling or on the battlefield which show feders being used as training weapons. As with the existence of blunt longswords for training prior to the 20th century I am willing to look at your evidence.
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Herbert Schmidt




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Apr, 2016 11:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

@Mike

Let's not sidedrag this discussion.

The question was wether or not an Albion Liechtenauer is recommendable…and I think it is.

All the other arguments you bring are assumptions on his level of training, his training environment etc.
If I remember, he never stated any of these.

For training and drills, as Michael asked, I can recommend it. That was the question.

I will answer the rest via pm.

All the best

Herbert

www.arsgladii.at
Historical European Martial Arts
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