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Raymond R





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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 7:09 pm    Post subject: an odd sparring question. grabbing the blade         Reply with quote

I've recently seen members of the fencing group I'm in use a rather... unorthodox... technique. Using wooden wasters during sparring practice, I saw "Bob" grab the upper two thirds of the blade (we're assuing the Oakeshott Type XVIII), and render his opponent's sword immobile in order to make a draw cut. Unorthodox? or impossible/improbable for a swordfight.
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Mark Shier
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: grabbing sword         Reply with quote

Fiore and other medieval manuals show this technique.
mark
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Michael Olsen





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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just to clarify, whose blade did "Bob" grab? His own, or his opponents? And where did he grab it (I know you said 'upper', but that term gets thrown around to both ends of the sword sometimes) - near the hilt, or near the tip?

Sorry, I'm a bit slow today.

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Micha Hofmann




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This "grabbing the blade at the weak" ( I assume that you mean that, Raymond ), has caused a lot of discussion between my sparring partners and me in the past. IMO it happens the more often, the slower and the more controlled the sparring is done.
I've seen a lot of people grab a "50% speed fought, considering safety" blunt reenactment blade with 100% of their speed. I doubt this would work against a sharp blade wielded by someone with real hostile intentions.

It might work against a blade that's static in the bind, when it's wielder is not paying attention for a split second. But it is still a very risky technique I would not try in a duel with sharps.

But as I consider myself open to different opinions... bring it on, gentlemen. Happy

I would especially like to know, where / if some historical sources mention something like this.
Mark, do you have any pictures or quotes of ( preferably german ) manuals?
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm also curious about this, mostly because I still can't visualize what's happening in sufficient detail. Is "Bob" grabbing a sword in the middle of a cut or in a bind? If it's the second, I don't see how it'll be any different from half-swording, but if the first then I suppose he would have got half his hand cut off should he try it in a fight with sharps.

Last edited by Lafayette C Curtis on Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Grasping the opponent's blade is not impossible, and even shown in the historical fencing treatises. But there are a number of things that need to be kept in mind here. First, the blade must be immoble (i.e. after your blades have met in the bind, or if your opponent has the sword pointing forward but still). Second, it is not something you do where you hold onto the blade and simply stand still. You would grasp the blade just for a long enough moment that you can strike. If you just hold the blade, your opponent can painfully twist the sword out of your hand.

Now, it should also be kept in mind that sometimes people overdo the whole grabbing the blade business because they aren't faced with the threat of a real, sharpened blade in a real, life or death situation. Because of that I've noticed a number of people who grab blades all the time, which I would highly discourage. But used judiciously in the correct circumstances, it can be effective.

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Mark Shier
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:55 pm    Post subject: sword grabbing         Reply with quote

Sorry, I don't do German sword arts. Take a look at the Exiles site http://www.the-exiles.org/FioreProject/Project.htm or http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/ for Fiore translations.
The technique is in the the first few plays of the Giocco Largo section. The text says (and I can't remember which translation it is):
"My Master, who is before, taught me that when I am crossed in the middle of the blade, I have to immediately step forward (acresser inanci) and grab his sword, to wound with a cut or a thrust. Also, I can incapacitate his leg in the way you can see drawn here by injuring him with my foot over the back of the leg or under the knee."
Fiore also shows halfswording, and grabbing your opponent's knife blade.
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Now, it should also be kept in mind that sometimes people overdo the whole grabbing the blade business because they aren't faced with the threat of a real, sharpened blade in a real, life or death situation. Because of that I've noticed a number of people who grab blades all the time, which I would highly discourage. But used judiciously in the correct circumstances, it can be effective.


There. Bill says it better than I can. BTW, grabbing a moving blade is discouraged even in rapier and smallsword fighting, so I suppose it should apply with even more force to cutting swords.
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Jared Smith




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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ringeck describes a disarm tactic where the aggressor grasps both swords at the location where they are crossed (in bind.) I would hate to do this with my bare hands, but am interested in interpretations of the move! My interpretation of it is that the disarm is achieved by tucking the opponents tip under the arm and twisting somehow.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2007 9:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
Ringeck describes a disarm tactic where the aggressor grasps both swords at the location where they are crossed (in bind.) I would hate to do this with my bare hands, but am interested in interpretations of the move! My interpretation of it is that the disarm is achieved by tucking the opponents tip under the arm and twisting somehow.


It's pretty simple, actually. When the blades cross, you grasp the center where the blades meet with the thumb downwards. Push the hilt of the sword forward as you pull down with the off hand, making a "rowing" type of motion. You will push your pommel under your opponent's wrists and twist the opponent's arms so that he let's go.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, look here and scan down to the "disarm" section:

http://www.myArmoury.com/feature_arms_gls.html

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


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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 1:35 am    Post subject: Re: sword grabbing         Reply with quote

Mark Shier wrote:
Sorry, I don't do German sword arts. Take a look at the Exiles site http://www.the-exiles.org/FioreProject/Project.htm or http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/ for Fiore translations.
The technique is in the the first few plays of the Giocco Largo section. The text says (and I can't remember which translation it is):
"My Master, who is before, taught me that when I am crossed in the middle of the blade, I have to immediately step forward (acresser inanci) and grab his sword, to wound with a cut or a thrust. Also, I can incapacitate his leg in the way you can see drawn here by injuring him with my foot over the back of the leg or under the knee."
Fiore also shows halfswording, and grabbing your opponent's knife blade.
mark


Well, these techniques don't seem to involve grabbing a blade in mid-swing at all. What they do--explicitly stated--is grabbing the opponent's sword when "I am crossed in the middle of the blade," and this doesn't sound odd, peculiar, or unique at all, especially if the grabber has a thick glove protecting his/her hands.

We're still not sure about whether this is really what Raymond means, however.
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John H





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 9:52 am    Post subject: Grabbing blades         Reply with quote

In my experience, most effective blade grabbing takes place when your opponent's sword is bound up or thrusting. Typically you are grabbing the flat of the blade between the heel of your palm and your fingertips, so that you are not actually touching the blade. It is extremely difficult to wrench your sword free from someone gripping it thus, especially when that person is doing nasty things with his own sword, such as knocking in your teeth with the guard or pommel.
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Raymond R





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2007 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So apparently it is a valid technique, though rare. when judging such bouts, how should I make considerations for wrenching (when the grabee twists, pulls and makes a valid effort at trying to free himself before his opponent can make his move)?
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 2:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No, it's not rare at all. I expect it would be a rather common solution for escaping from a bind or continuing an attack that is meant to go through a bind. Not necessarily the most common, though.

The major consideration you have to make is whether the blade is moving or stationary. If the grabber catches the blade in the middle of a cut, you can rule that his off hand is gone. If he grabs from a bind, though, you can judge it a legal grab. You should consider attempts to free the sword from the grab, but not in any special way--just let the two move on and see which one comes first: the draw cut or the escape.
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Michal Plezia
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 3:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And have you got any good ideas how to hold the blade during half-sword techniques without cutting my own hand?
Maybe you can show it on the picture?

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
And have you got any good ideas how to hold the blade during half-sword techniques without cutting my own hand?
Maybe you can show it on the picture?


Just grab the blade halfway down to the tip. The trick is to have the right sword for this. a Oakeshott type XVb is good. but other tapering blades with quite some stiffness to the blade is good.

I have tested this with sharp blades! Here is a link to my experiment...

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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wallgren wrote:

Just grab the blade halfway down to the tip. The trick is to have the right sword for this. a Oakeshott type XVb is good. but other tapering blades with quite some stiffness to the blade is good.


There is no Type XVb. Question Did you mean XVa?

Happy

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Martin Wallgren




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:28 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Martin Wallgren wrote:

Just grab the blade halfway down to the tip. The trick is to have the right sword for this. a Oakeshott type XVb is good. but other tapering blades with quite some stiffness to the blade is good.


There is no Type XVb. Question Did you mean XVa?


Yepp!

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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Thu 12 Apr, 2007 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michal Plezia wrote:
And have you got any good ideas how to hold the blade during half-sword techniques without cutting my own hand?
Maybe you can show it on the picture?


Don't slide your hand along the blade. Pinch the flat on both sides more than contact all the way around like you would a tool handle. If you can wash a sharp kitchen knife in a sink full of soapy water without cutting yourself, this should be no problem.
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