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Adam Sharp




Location: Fresno
Joined: 16 Feb 2007

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 16 Feb, 2007 5:42 pm    Post subject: Longsword Fencing         Reply with quote

Hello All, this is my first post here at myArmoury, though I have an account and a few posts over at swordforum, and another account and over 200 posts over at SBGswordforum. Thought I'd give this place a try as well.

Anyway, I recently put together a little how-to guide on beginning longsword fencing, and Paul Southren of Sword Buyers Guide has hosted it for me for free as part of his website. It's not complete yet(still have a glossary to write, as well as upload all the drills that I'm trying to film), and many of the pages will be expanded upon in the near future.

I'd like your input and or criticism so I can try to make it better for all. Please don't be too harsh though, as I said I'm still far from getting it to a point that I'm satisfied with it.

Thanks all in advance,

-Adam
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Adam Sharp




Location: Fresno
Joined: 16 Feb 2007

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 16 Feb, 2007 6:00 pm    Post subject: Oops...         Reply with quote

In retrospect, it'd be a good idea when asking for a review of a website to include the link thereto.

http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/trueswordsman-index.html

That is all.

-Adam
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,492

PostPosted: Fri 16 Feb, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a martial artist so I'm not going to comment on your content (much). I'm sure others will give you plenty of good feedback to chew on though. Opinions abound and are freely given.

I think you do a good job of framing things as your opinion and not absolute fact. The way you inserted photos and diagrams in the material makes it more interesting and readable. The flow through the content seems logical and makes it easy for the reader to work through the information. Overall a consistant layout and organization is maintained, which also makes it easier for the reader to work through your content.

Believe it or not some people may not know the exercises in your workout section, and people like looking at pictures. I think you should add some to liven that section up a bit.

There is also some inconsistancy among your links. More specifically, in some cases back takes you to the previous page, in other instances it takes you to an index page instead.

Jumping back and forth between Italian and German schools can make things a bit confusing, especially if your target audience is largely composed of new information seekers. When you have time, if you want to address both, I think you should consider making two distinct content paths (one for each school) when you move from your conditioning section to avoid blending things.

You talk about some other WMA organizations, I would suggest providing a reference section that will help people find them for more information if they want it.

If you are sourcing anything from other works (you should) it would be nice to include in text citations and a reference section in an standard format (APA or MLS are good). Its rarely done online, but it can greatly enhance content credibility to do so.

Finally your bio section could use a bit of tweaking. There are some spots where it does not flow as well as the rest of your content. Its also worth noting that some of the claims about your mentors are the kind of things that ring alarms with most people trying to study this stuff seriously. They are hard to prove when true. They are emotionally defended when false. After a student encounters claims of past deeds and secret association several times, one tends to become circumspect about people and content when encountering tales of this nature.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Fri 16 Feb, 2007 7:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Fri 16 Feb, 2007 7:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Oops...         Reply with quote

Adam

On your web site you wrote the following:
Quote:
Many books and a few organizations have sprung up on the subject, but so far, no websites dedicated specifically to the subject.

The closest would be www.thearma.org, however that's more of a Web Headquarters for the Association, and less of a site specifically dedicated to the techniques of Longsword Fencing.


Since you have not taken the time to read the ARMA web site I share the following information with you. The ARMA website was the first large scale web site devoted to the study of the longsword and other arts as a true martial arts. The ARMA website is still the largest website of its kind, providing the public with access to many historical manuals and to a very large collect of articles. Many of these article are specifically on longsword guards and techniques. The ARMA web site is still the largest website providing information on the use of the longsword and other Western sword arts.

The follow is a small sample of the articles provided on the ARMA web stie.

The Mastercuts – What They Are and What They Aren’t
http://www.thearma.org/essays/mastercuts.html

The Basic Guards of Medieval Longsword
http://www.thearma.org/essays/StancesIntro.htm

The Myth of Edge-On-Edge Parrying in Medieval Swordplay
http://www.thearma.org/essays/edgemyth.htm

How to Teach an Understanding of Parrying - Part I
http://www.thearma.org/essays/parrying.htm

How to Teach an Understanding of Parrying - Part II
http://www.thearma.org/essays/parrying2.htm

How to Teach an Understanding of Parrying - Part III The Two Positions
http://www.thearma.org/essays/parrying3.htm


In short, your web site is far from being completely truthful about The ARMA and its web site.

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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Adam Sharp




Location: Fresno
Joined: 16 Feb 2007

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri 16 Feb, 2007 9:28 pm    Post subject: The Arma Website         Reply with quote

I think you misinterpreted my meaning when I said that.

I wasn't trying to put down the ARMA website at all, and I have actually explored it quite a bit, I find it a great place to learn. But for someone who wants access to information on training with a longsword, the arma site is a bit hard to navigate. There are dozens of articles on many different things and the organization isn't optimal for someone who's brand new and wants an easy to navigate site referencing many aspects of longsword fencing.

I'm sorry if it came across negative for ARMA, I really didn't mean it to.
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Joe Fults




Location: Midwest
Joined: 02 Sep 2003

Posts: 3,492

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 5:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam,

If your intent for the ARMA section is being misunderstood, it might do to work on it a bit. Everyone reads different meanings into words. When I read your ARMA material I figured it would rub people. You might just say that ARMA has a wider focus than just longsword, and as a comprehensive site can be overwhelming for the beginner, while your content is designed to be more focussed and easily accessible to the beginer.

Alternately (perhaps) say nothing about other organizations and just provide information on how to find them if the reader wants more information.

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Michael Eging




Location: Ashburn, VA
Joined: 24 Apr 2004

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The longsword is a foundational weapon, and honestly, I began training through use of the ARMA website. The public areas are just the beginning of the resources available, and for those who are starting out with longsword, they can also join the organization and access much more indepth work on the longsword as well as other weapons. Further, ARMA has study groups that are organized to assist people in acquiring martial skills. The website is just the opening portal to the organizations hands-on-work.

My two cents.

Mike

M. Eging
Hamilton, VA
www.silverhornechoes.com
Member of the HEMA Alliance
http://hemaalliance.com/
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,148

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 8:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Guys, let's not get too hung up on the comment about ARMA: I didn't read it as a negative comment at all. It was merely saying (whether wrong or right) that his goal was to do a website focused purely on training, and that he felt there weren't any websites that did so. Maybe he's wrong, but keep in mind that the only link he provided to any WMA group was ARMA, and that this should be taken as a compliment to the organization.

Adam,
First off, I commend you on putting something like this together. I confess that I haven't given it a thorough read through yet, just a quick read, but it looks like you've got the basis of something that will be helpful for beginners. I do agree with Joe's comments, though, about mixing up the Italian and German stuff. For a beginner, that's really uneccessarily confusing. Besides which, you are only showing the Liechtenauer techniques, so it really doesn't make sense to mention the Italian side of things. Keep in mind that your target audience is a complete novice, and throwing so many names out is not only confusing, but will also cause the reader to lose interest. (Not to mention the fact that many of the guards are not quite the same thing in both traditions.)

I don't want to get into interpretation differences (at least on this thread), but one thing I noticed is that you said in your description of pflug that you did not like having the long edge up. Looking at the picture, I understand why: Your wrist is bent. This is meant to be held with the thumb on the blade (what you call the 90 degree grip), so that the wrist is straight and the forearm is aligned with the hand. I noticed that your pictures of the zwerchau also show the wrist bent. This is a very weak way of holding the sword, and is potentially even bad for your joints. Just an FYI.

Otherwise, good luck to your project, and I hope with your future updates you'll end up with something that you can really be proud of.

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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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 8:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam

Joe has provide very good advice and would indeed improve your site. I too should have provided such advice but when one is feeling the rub it is hard to be as positive as one would like. I do have a positive suggest that will add value to you site and help reduce any other rubs. Hidden away in one corner of your web site you note that you read books by John Clements, Christian Tobler, and Guy Windsor. I suggest that you make clear at the beginning of you web site where you got all of your material. Without providing a clear easy to see reference it makes it appear that you are providing an original interpretation rather than an overview of existing interpretations.

All the best,

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
Reading list: 43 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 4,148

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 8:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Pleasant wrote:
I do have a positive suggest that will add value to you site and help reduce any other rubs. Hidden away in one corner of your web site you note that you read books by John Clements, Christian Tobler, and Guy Windsor. I suggest that you make clear at the beginning of you web site where you got all of your material. Without providing a clear easy to see reference it makes it appear that you are providing an original interpretation rather than an overview of existing interpretations.


I do very much agree with this.

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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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
Joined: 24 Aug 2003

Posts: 333

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 8:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Guys, let's not get too hung up on the comment about ARMA: I didn't read it as a negative comment at all. It was merely saying (whether wrong or right) that his goal was to do a website focused purely on training, and that he felt there weren't any websites that did so. Maybe he's wrong, but keep in mind that the only link he provided to any WMA group was ARMA, and that this should be taken as a compliment to the organization.


I responed as I did to Adam's comments not because they were negative but because they were misleading. In addition, these comments were not on some post that will quickly sink to the depths of some forum, rather they are on a public web site. If it appears that I was a little too quick to respond to such things then just know that I and other ARMA members have had to respond to such things on almost a weekly bases for the last several years. You may see one or two things that are negative or misleading about ARMA but we see them all and have to deal with them all. In any case, Joe and I have made some suggestions to Adam that should help improve the value of his web site.

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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Michael Eging




Location: Ashburn, VA
Joined: 24 Apr 2004

Posts: 225

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 9:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sure hope I didn't sound negative, but shared my view of the website as a jump off point to the organization. Totally intended as constructive!

Cool

I like the overall layout too. Very easy to navigate.

M. Eging
Hamilton, VA
www.silverhornechoes.com
Member of the HEMA Alliance
http://hemaalliance.com/
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Michael Olsen





Joined: 28 Aug 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 10:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As others have said before, and is a common saying on Wikipedia: Cite your sources.
Let the reader know where you got your information. I would personally include both modern interpretations (Clements, Tobler, et. al ) as well as the historical manuals.

Show the history.
As mentioned before, try and show the historical equivalent of the techniques you describe and put into images. Since it is a reconstructed historical martial art, I think it's important that people see at least a part of the original text and image.

Think about breaking it up.
Quote:
In this site, I've tried my best to show and acknowledge BOTH german and italian stuff.

As I'm sure you realized while doing research, there are some similarities between the German and the Italian schools. However, there are also differences. Personally, I would break the two up so that people who only want to learn the German techniques or only the Italian techniques don't end up with what they may view as a "dirty mixture". I only mention this as I've recently discussed with a couple of individuals the perceived illegitimacy of a mixed instruction.

Cleanliness is next to godliness
There are a couple of the diagrams (stepping and sword parts, etc) that could benefit from being reworked. They appear very pixelated and detracted from the overall appearance of the site.

Connect
As others have mentioned, there are plenty of sword-based information websites around. You might want to create a page that gives people some ideas on where else to get information, especially for sources of online manuals. [/b]

Michael Olsen
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Adam Sharp




Location: Fresno
Joined: 16 Feb 2007

Posts: 7

PostPosted: Sat 17 Feb, 2007 6:52 pm    Post subject: Good Advice         Reply with quote

Thank you for so much input, I didn't expect this much so soon. Expect me to work on a lot of the changes you mentioned in the near future.

I realize about the gripping portion that the pictures(i.e. the zwerchau and the Long-Edge-up Pflug) that my grip isn't fantastic. Those pictures a little old when my understanding and technique wasn't as good, I'll be redoing the pictures soon as well incorporating the improved subtleties.

About the italian and german stuff, I guess I should make a little disclaimer.

I'm not trying to create the stie about specifically German or Italian stuff. What I'm trying to demonstrate is my knowledge and experience(which I believe to be off to a great start and well on their way towards good proficiency) which I have learned based on my study of both systems. I'm trying to acknowledge everything that's out there so people know that I'm not trying to say "this is how I do it and it's the best, blah blah". I'm trying to offer something of everything so people can see that and choose for themselves how to do things.

Similar to what George Silver wrote about in his 'Paradoxes of Defense' about individuals having individual strengths and weaknesses and personalities and one shouldn't teach everyone the same thing in the same way, I want to show what I've learned in MY OWN style of longsword fencing- I.e. what I've found to work for me. To avoid sounding too pretentious however, I'm showing and referencing the German and Italian stuff to show I didn't just grab this stuff out of thin air.

I am going to start including some actual quotes from some of the manuals and even the modern training books as well per your suggestions, as I think this has merit(that way people see not only my own words, but others' as well).

The text, pictures, and layout are going to be under constant revision as my understanding deepens. I hope this helps to clarify my intent, as well as acknowledge all the opinions brought up about the site.

Thanks for all the comments by the way, both positive and negative. It's really helped me evaluate myself and grow.
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