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Eric Wargo




Location: Alexandria, VA
Joined: 31 Aug 2004

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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 8:38 am    Post subject: Longsword Fencing Videos         Reply with quote

After much procrastination, I have posted a page of bouting videos of students in Bill Grandy's advanced longsword class at the Virginia Academy of Fencing, outside DC. After our 10-11PM class the die-hards stay late and spar (and those of us with real jobs have a tough time of it the next day!). Other groups (like Schola Gladiatoria) have posted their bouting videos, and it is a great way to see what other folks with this hobby around the globe are doing; so hopefully people will get some enjoyment and edification from these too -- or even just a few laughs.

Most of the bouts (except where noted) are using aluminum wasters, with only gambesons for protection, so we don't quite go full speed or full power, although there are a few harder-hitting shinai bouts (and some admittedly ugly dagger work and other weapons).

There's no pretense of perfection. Constructive criticism is welcome. Complaints about our technique or form should be directed to Bill Grandy -- it's all his fault. ;)

Cheers,

Eric
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 9:15 am    Post subject: Re: Longsword Fencing Videos         Reply with quote

Eric Wargo wrote:
(and those of us with real jobs have a tough time of it the next day!).


Thank god I don't have one of those!

Thanks for making these vids, Eric, these have been awesome learning tools.

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Aaron Schnatterly




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Longsword Fencing Videos         Reply with quote

Eric Wargo wrote:
... or even just a few laughs.


The only one I've been able to see thus far (on this slow as hell connection at work) is the first vid between Amanda and Pamela. I wasn't laughing. Eek!

I'm most definitely looking forward to the rest, which I'll hopefully get to soon. If that's any indication, I'm in for a few real treats.

Most excellent, Eric, Bill, and the rest! These are extremely interesting and very valuable, not only to you guys as "highlight films for review", but for the rest of us to see and learn as well.

Thanks!
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric thanks for posting those videos very useful: Just had a look at a couple, nice that it's Quicktime because I have no problem accessing them on my MAC.

Oh, there may be a mislabelling on one though ? When I look at the one that is supposed to be John versus Bill Pollaxes it looks like swords to me. Question

In any case nice to see bouting as opposed to a training session showing how thing should be done if everything went as planned, in a real fight there is always mistiming or miscalculation or people of similar skill cancelling out each others skill.

Naturally if one has no practical experience decoding what is happening: Who won, lost or did something clever or dumb is not immediately easy. The DVD I recently purchased " The Longsword of Johannes Liechtenauer " Agilitas. TV from Chivalry Bookshelf does help. Actually reviewing the DVD often and then re-viewing the bouting videos should be very useful in intellectually decoding the action.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Longsword Fencing Videos         Reply with quote

Aaron Schnatterly wrote:
I wasn't laughing. Eek!


Heh, you clearly haven't gone through them all. Eek! Wink

Seriously, thanks, though. I'm sure Pamela and Amanda will say that you're blind or something, that their form is awful, but I happen to agree with you. Happy

Eric's main sword page is actually a nice one for a brief overview of historical European swordsmanship in general.

http://www.ericwargo.com/sword/index.html

Naturally a lot of it is "common sense" to people who've been around the western sword community for any period of time, but I'm actually going to start referring brand new people to it, as it's really well written without being too technical.

edit: Eric, I just noticed you put a cutting video on the "misconceptions" page... Was that always there? I never noticed it before. Regardless, that's cool... I want to see more cutting footage!

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd love to see more of these videos presented on-line. They're an invaluable training toll for those of us who don't have access to schools or instructors.

Thanks!
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Eric Wargo




Location: Alexandria, VA
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Oh, there may be a mislabelling on one though ? When I look at the one that is supposed to be John versus Bill Pollaxes it looks like swords to me. :?:

Now fixed -- thanks for catching that, John!

I agree with you about the Agilitas DVD -- it's a great resource. Basically, I'm for any use of video in learning this stuff. I find I learn best by watching and imitating. When I started out I scoured the internet for what few German longsword video clips I could find, and they made a great supplement to the wonderful books by Tobler and others.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric;

Just went back up to your link in your first post and bookmarked your site on my MAC: I initially just thought it was someone posting a few very good videos ( Not thinking Blush Laughing Out Loud ) but since reading the last few posts Idea I went back and saved it for " frequent " re-viewing as even with no new material it would be worth keeping easily findable. Oh, I have to get back to all those videos and read the articles.

A BIG THANK YOU: Very valuable.

Oh, yes Jean is the French version of John and not the English female name that sounds like Gene. Laughing Out Loud
Also it isn't pronounce Gene either: Just a general note for everyone who might not know. Big Grin
( Eric: Absolutely no offence taken and no criticism intended. )

Cheers.

Jean / John Cool

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Eric Wargo




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Oh, yes Jean is the French version of John and not the English female name that sounds like Gene. Laughing Out Loud
Also it isn't pronounce Gene either: Just a general note for everyone who might not know. Big Grin

Eek! And to think my day job is being an editor! Apologies, Jean. And thanks for the compliments.
Cheers,
Eric
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Anton de Vries





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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Useful and fun to watch. Thanks.

The gauntlets seem to work well. May I ask who made those? A picture would be nice too.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Dec, 2005 9:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Anton de Vries wrote:
The gauntlets seem to work well. May I ask who made those? A picture would be nice too.


They're made by a gentleman named Lewis Moore who does excellent work. The only thing better than his craftsmanship is his amazing customer service. (my thanks to Christian Tobler for telling me about him, Lewis is definately getting more business from us!)

Here's a pic:



 Attachment: 32.33 KB
lewismooregauntlets.JPG


Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Martin Wallgren




Location: Bjästa, Sweden
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 1:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looking quite good!

Nice to see use of the Döbringer Pricipals! If I have any critic it´s that it is a little bit linear. And You are a little bit to nice to eachother on the Nachshlag (best be sure they are down).

Martin

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Anton de Vries





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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Bill.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
And You are a little bit to nice to eachother on the Nachshlag (best be sure they are down).


Heh, I'll take this to heart! Laughing Out Loud

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 10:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill;

Enjoying watching the bouting over and over again and will have to go frame by frame to understand what is going on as the action is very fast and for a total NON practitioner the first thing is learning to see what there is to see.

Here are a few questions / observations / suggestions:

1) In a real fight with sharp blades their might be a lot more time spent hesitating before committing to a techniques or attack than with bouting in comparative safety: If one got a major electric shock every time a cut or a trust would have been lethal or seriously crippling it might raise the stakes to the same level as a real fight. No way would this be practical or fun but it would really focus one's attention.

2) When bouting there are many sequential engagements as opposed to a real fight that might be over in seconds and that would be it: So one goes from engagement to engagement rapidly to practice many times a technique or many techniques.

I think that between these short engagements there are two very different pauses observed: The first are part of the fight, even if nothing seems to be happening, where one is sizing up the situation or looking for or creating lines of attack.
The second type of pauses are just that, real pauses when one gets a little rest, jokes around, comment on the previous clash. These pauses wouldn't happen in a real "serious " fight as it would be like going into condition " White " in close proximity to someone intent on killing you. ( At least one would back up way out of range to banter. )

So my point / suggestions would be that getting into the habit of completely lowering ones guard and jumping back in without some clear distinction between the two kinds of pauses would create some bad habits that would have gotten you killed if back in the time and if ever one was in a real fight.

3) I have notices in a few of the bouts ( Haven't looked at them all yet. ) the habit of hitting the ground with the tip of the sword on the ground: Is this a nervous tick ? A signal that the action in now engaged ? A bad habit ?
With a real sharp I wouldn't want to do this and in a real fight it would seem to me to be wasted motion at best or creating an opening at worse: Might also be seem as a " tell " or telegraphing a coming attack.

In themselves a fairly harmless habit but repeating it constantly it becomes part of the rhythm of the fight and not in a useful way.

Finally: Even if this is a signal to start the action and has a purpose it does become automatic and one does tend to fight in the same way as one trains.

If I'm completely off in my observations the explanation why will be as useful to me than if I am right about some things.

Oh, bottom line you guys sure do look as if you are having fun and getting a good workout. Cool Laughing Out Loud

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 11:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Martin Wallgren wrote:
And You are a little bit to nice to eachother on the Nachshlag (best be sure they are down).


Heh, I'll take this to heart! Laughing Out Loud


I had the best teacher on this, hehe! Mr Joachim "Pitbull" Nilsson!

No seriously I think your fighting look very good and I would gladly cross blades with you some day. (On a friendly sparring basis of course!)

Martin

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
ervations / suggestions:

1) In a real fight with sharp blades their might be a lot more time spent hesitating before committing to a techniques or attack than with bouting in comparative safety: If one got a major electric shock every time a cut or a trust would have been lethal or seriously crippling it might raise the stakes to the same level as a real fight. No way would this be practical or fun but it would really focus one's attention.



Just a breef reply on this! I haven´t sparred with shinais but with wooden waisters it hurts alot when it hits.

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Anton de Vries





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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 12:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
I haven´t sparred with shinais but with wooden waisters it hurts alot when it hits.

A good shinai hit can hurt like hell too, in spite of protective clothing.



 Attachment: 23.15 KB
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 12:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jean,

Jean Thibodeau wrote:

1) In a real fight with sharp blades their might be a lot more time spent hesitating before committing to a techniques or attack than with bouting in comparative safety: If one got a major electric shock every time a cut or a trust would have been lethal or seriously crippling it might raise the stakes to the same level as a real fight. No way would this be practical or fun but it would really focus one's attention.


Trust me, it hurts to get hit by shinai, wasters, aluminum, or steel. Happy Heck, last night even one of the padded swords gave one of our members a minor wrist injury, unfortunately.

But I agree with what you are saying, and am very well aware of it. It is important for everyone involved that we understand that sparring isn't realistic. It is only one aspect of training, in the same way doing solo forms is. Sparring is a way of testing certain applications under pressure in a more chaotic environment, but there are so many factors that sparring simply can't cover. So when we approach sparring, we have to be faithful to the idea that if we were hit by these swords, we'd be dead. Double hits are one of my biggest pet peeves, as they usually mean a person was ignoring the realism of deadly combat in favor of "getting the touch". They will happen no matter what, but the goal is to try to treat the bouting match as if it were realistic. It is also important that bouting isn't the only form of training done, but rather used in conjunction with other forms of training to triangulate an understanding of realistic combat.

Quote:
2) When bouting there are many sequential engagements as opposed to a real fight that might be over in seconds and that would be it: So one goes from engagement to engagement rapidly to practice many times a technique or many techniques. <snip>

So my point / suggestions would be that getting into the habit of completely lowering ones guard and jumping back in without some clear distinction between the two kinds of pauses would create some bad habits that would have gotten you killed if back in the time and if ever one was in a real fight.


Understood. This somewhat has to do with the fact that you happen to be seeing us when we're just doing some free play in front of a camera. We have different ways of practicing free play, including group fighting where you can't just stand there after hitting someone because it means you'll be hit by someone else. We do tend to stop as soon as someone has hit, though, because there're so many variables to realistic combat that we can't fully take into consideration (did getting stabbed in the pinky finger mean you ignored it and kept fighting, or did it cause you to say, "Ow," and in that time you got stabbed in the face? Who knows without it really happening?), so this goes back into what I was saying about sparring being limited, and shouldn't be the goal of swordsmanship, but rather only one aspect of the method of learning.

Though after the New Year I was planning on experimenting with training bouts where one person can be hit three times and the other only once. This will force a person to keep going even after hitting.

Quote:
3) I have notices in a few of the bouts ( Haven't looked at them all yet. ) the habit of hitting the ground with the tip of the sword on the ground: Is this a nervous tick ? A signal that the action in now engaged ? A bad habit ?


It's a bad habit. Happy In fact, it's one I spend a lot of time teaching beginners not to do. Shame on Eric. :P To be fair to Eric, he normally doesn't do that, even though he does it quite a lot in one of those videos (and I think I did it once in the same video, too Eek! ) I think he was tired that night. Because he's a slacker. Happy

I appreciate the comments, Jean!

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."


Last edited by Bill Grandy on Thu 15 Dec, 2005 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 15 Dec, 2005 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:
No seriously I think your fighting look very good and I would gladly cross blades with you some day. (On a friendly sparring basis of course!)


I would love to! Sadly, I don't think I can afford a plane ticket out to your neck of the woods anytime soon, but I have really enjoyed watching the sparring vids that you and Joachim have shared in the past. Plus, it seems we all have the same taste in swords. Cool

Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


"A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of skill."
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