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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject: Choosing my first Albion         Reply with quote

Hello all!

I'm considering buying my first Albion sword, but the choice is difficult... I know I'm not the first one to have this feeling Wink

What I'm looking for is a one-handed sword that is usable, even designed, for fighting on foot, a la I:33, with little or no armour, though I do not seriously study sword and buckler fighting right now. Looking at the comments for each sword on Albion's site, it seems that a type XIV is what they recommend. Among the NextGens, my preferred sword of this kind would be the Yeoman. However, I'm not sure I will like the short length of this sword.

Visually, I like the blade of the Squire better. It's also a cut and thrust blade, which I thought would make it rather suited to I:33. However Albion does not seem too keen on recommending this type of blade for this kind of fencing.

And then there are the classical type XIIs such as the Knight. As far as I understand it is somewhat less thrust-oriented.

I'm not set on a particular time frame. What I'm looking for is a sword that is balanced for the kind of fencing I'm interested in. Of course I've read the reviews on myArmoury, and they state that all three swords have this agility that would be suitable, but that does not help me further comparing the swords...

So I would appreciate opinions from people that would have handled two or more of these swords. How they move relative to each other, tip control, tracking, blade presence, you name it Happy I don't really want to judge based on raw cutting performance only, but of course this kind of info would be useful as well.

In fact, I would also be interested by one numerical stat. If anyone has been able to measure pivot points on one of these swords, I'd like to hear the result. I can detail the procedure for this measurement if anyone is interested in attempting the experiment... Given that I'm a strong proponent of combining pivot points with the usual info in order to reach conclusions about handling, I thought I'd walk the talk and try it myself, on swords I have never touched yet Happy

Thanks in advance !

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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may consider the Solingen from Albion's Museum line. It's a fair deal more expensive than the models you've listed but it may meet your specifications perfectly. Just a thought.....
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Max von Bargen




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I haven't handled any of these swords that you mentioned, but in Stephen Hand and Paul Wagner's book on I:33, Medieval Sword & Shield, the swords that they use to demonstrate the techniques are, if I recall correctly, Type XVI and Type XII. So I think you'd be fine with either of the NextGens that you mentioned.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes, I considered the Solingen, but I'm not ready for spending that much on a sword... yet Big Grin

Mostly so because I think that in the NextGen line up there is surely a more than decent compromise. But yes, if a longer XIV was in this line, it would be nearly perfect...

Max, thanks for the info. Now that you mention it I recall I read that in another thread as well. Which leaves me with three swords, still Wink

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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've handled all of the above extensively. Of the XIV's the Yoeman feels really good, though the Soveriegn has more authority in cutting, the Sheriff falls into the middle. The Solingen seemingly has more blade presence in projection than the Next Gen XIV's. The Solingen is more cutter and less thruster I feel, the others seem to follow the point better IMO.

As to lenghth 34" is quite long enough, IMO, especially where getting in close to an opponent a typical XII could get bound up easier(like the Knight for instance) I would think. The Knight IS a good all around weapon but more martial in many respects than the XIV line up. The Squire is a really good sword and does feel more lively than the Prince. It's hard for me to recall how they compare to the XIV's though.

In short I am biased towards the XIV's( I've had 3 Sovereings pass thru my ownership and only one XII(Laird) and no XVI's though I do own a XVIa bastard sword). The type represents for me the best versatility for a singlehand sword, unless you were to compare it to a messer or some such(that's another story). I don't believe that you would be disatisfied with a XIV or XVI from Albion. A XII may seem somewhat less than optimal for I.33(of course Stephen Hand may differ Wink) being more oriented for cutting than the XIV or XVI.

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Eric Spitler




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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 6:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own both the Squire and the Yeoman, and both are very lively in the thrust. But the Yeoman is definitely a much heftier cutter. It may look too short because of the three inch wide blade, but it actually feels a lot better in my hand than the Squire and I find it easier to control, although it took some getting used to.
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 7:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Perhaps the reason Albion doesn't push its Type XVI swords for I.33 work is because that type saw its highest popularity after I.33 may have been written. Some people (not all) date I.33 to the late 13th century, while Type XVIs like the Squire would have been more popular between 1300-1350. But some (including the Royal Armouries) date it to the "late 13th or early 14th century".

Another reason may be that I.33 doesn't seem to show swords with diamond cross-section tips, a hallmark of Type XVI swords. The swords illustrated sometimes depict a fuller, but the tip section (and in some cases the whole blade) does not show a mid-rib that would clearly indicate a diamond section.

Type XII and Type XIV might be more likely candidates for the era in which I.33 may have been written, though a number of Type XIVs (not all and probably not even most) are broader than the swords illustrated in that manuscript.

However, that said, I don't see why a Type XVI would be inappropriate for the forms and maneuvers in I.33. After all, it's not like I.33 was written down in the late 13th century and then its precepts were no longer practiced. Happy Many Type XVIs are good at both cut and thrust and should be suitable for I.33 form work, in my opinion. Since Type XVIs can be found on the late end of the date range in which I.33 was supposed to have been penned, their use is likely at least plausible in my opinion.

As an aside, from an evolutionary standpoint, I feel the progression of fullered blades goes XII-XIV-XVI (it should be noted, of course, that that's not hard and fast and weapon evolution is not always linear). So if someone feels Types XII and XVI are candidates for use, Type XIVs should also be considered, since they are kind of the not-so-missing link in the progression from Type XII to Type XVI.

Happy

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Don't obsess over what exact type of sword is best for I.33. It's just a sword. Happy As long as the sword is contemporary to the time period, and is a single hander, then it's fine. Remember that a good fencing system should not be limited to only one very specific sword. Furthermore, I.33 isn't the only sword and buckler fencing system, and people fought with all sorts of swords using bucklers, including those with grips long enough for two hands.

So if you like the squire, then get it. It will work perfectly fine for I.33. If you like type XIIs more, then they will also work fine for I.33. Technically even the viking swords will work for the techniques in I.33, though they aren't contemporary to the manuscript.

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B. Stark
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Sep, 2007 11:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bill Grandy wrote:
Don't obsess over what exact type of sword is best for I.33. Technically even the viking swords will work for the techniques in I.33, though they aren't contemporary to the manuscript.


Excellent point, it pleases me also to find that someone other than myself thinks so!

"Wyrd bi∂ ful aræd"
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2007 5:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks everyone for the advice!

Maybe my preference for longer, slender blades comes from my own physical frame: being tall and thin (downright skinny, in fact Wink ), I tend to fight rather from a distance Happy Either that or I choose blades that look most like me Big Grin

I fully agree that choosing the best sword for a fencing style would be tricky, I essentially mentioned I:33 to give an idea of what I'm looking for.

I think I've narrowed it down to the Squire vs. the Yeoman.

There seems to be a relative consensus about the Yeoman being more agile than the Squire... On the other hand, for the moment I'm used to my type XI that must be quite more difficult to handle than any of these. I don't think I'd have trouble with either.

I'd still be interested by pivot points on these two. Eric, since you own both, would you be willing to try? By the way, I found your website and the photos are very helpful already Happy

Please keep the comments coming, it helps a lot to see various opinions!

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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you are really going to fence with this sword, maybe the Albion Maestro I:33 is what you should be looking at.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2007 6:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roger Hooper wrote:
If you are really going to fence with this sword, maybe the Albion Maestro I:33 is what you should be looking at.


Indeed, I've been tempted by this sword as well... However, I'm not going to do any partnered drills in the foreseeable future. So I decided that I should buy a sword that is as real as possible, to get an idea of "the real thing"...

Also, it will be a whole lot easier to educate people around me about the reality of the medieval european sword if I have a close reproduction. A practice sword is not going to help about that... If I feel the need it will always be possible to build a waster. Or even to buy the I:33 later Happy

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Robert B. Allison




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2007 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree with Bill Grandy, pick whichever one-hander you like best, buy it and enjoy it. If you aren't hung up on a given time-period, are more just looking for a "practical" one handed sword, almost any of them will do just fine. If you are tall and thin and like the way a longer thinner blade looks and feels, you might also consider the Gaddhjalt, Norman or Templar.
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Eric Spitler




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PostPosted: Mon 24 Sep, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I'd still be interested by pivot points on these two. Eric, since you own both, would you be willing to try?


I attempted some simple wobble tests with the Squire and Yeoman, holding with two fingers under the cross and moving laterally side to side. I'm not sure I did it correctly, and my eyes deceive me on a regular basis, so take this with a big chunk of rock salt...

Squire Blade Length: 32.25" Vibrational node (pommel smack test): 20.25" Pivot (wobble test): 22.75"
Yeoman Blade Length: 27.75" Vibrational node: 17.125" Pivot: 18.125"

I also learned I really need to clean my Squire, cause it's growing spots.
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Tue 25 Sep, 2007 4:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Eric!

What you measured is actually quite in line with the feelings expressed earlier, so I guess your eyes haven't been deceiving you too much Wink

What I make out of it, comparing the Squire and the Yeoman:
- The Yeoman tracks faster in the cut (essentially because it is shorter)
- It has a bit more of blade presence
- The tip control is a bit different, the tip of the Squire would tend to "float" more, so thrusts could be slightly more intuitive with the Squire. Depending on what you are used to...
- Perhaps the Yeoman would be a bit easier to accelerate from the wrist.

Of course all this is to be taken with a huge chunk of salt as well, because it's only my interpretation of the numbers Wink It's evolving as I get to see more swords...

The other good thing is that I can make comparisons with my other weapons. It seems that the Squire is in fact closest to my iaito (with a one-handed grip, of course), which is a good thing because I like it Happy The Yeoman seems closest to a wushu jian that I was able to measure, but of course it wouldn't have the annoying flexibility of the jian.

Judging from your numbers, I'm still more attracted by the Squire. On the other hand, maybe I should choose what is farthest from what I already have, just for fun Big Grin

Thanks again for your help!

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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 12:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:

Of course all this is to be taken with a huge chunk of salt as well, because it's only my interpretation of the numbers Wink It's evolving as I get to see more swords...

The other good thing is that I can make comparisons with my other weapons. It seems that the Squire is in fact closest to my iaito (with a one-handed grip, of course), which is a good thing because I like it Happy The Yeoman seems closest to a wushu jian that I was able to measure, but of course it wouldn't have the annoying flexibility of the jian.

Judging from your numbers, I'm still more attracted by the Squire. On the other hand, maybe I should choose what is farthest from what I already have, just for fun Big Grin

Thanks again for your help!



Hi Vincent,

I respect what you're trying to do, but I feel the need to inform you that numbers don't tell you everything. I lost a lot of assumptions when I started handling some of Albion's pieces in their showroom. It turns out I absolutely fell in love with swords I previously had no interest in.

What I'm trying to tell you is, follow your instincts. You can try to visualize-- but when your hands clasp around "the one", you'll know it.

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

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Jeremiah Swanger




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 12:39 am    Post subject: A few additional notes...         Reply with quote

Jeremiah Swanger wrote:


Hi Vincent,

I respect what you're trying to do, but I feel the need to inform you that numbers don't tell you everything. I lost a lot of assumptions when I started handling some of Albion's pieces in their showroom. It turns out I absolutely fell in love with swords I previously had no interest in.

What I'm trying to tell you is, follow your instincts. You can try to visualize-- but when your hands clasp around "the one", you'll know it.



A few more notes, if you like...

I found the Kingmaker surprisingly-handy. Excellent mix of cut-and-thrust in that one. Very precise control.

Even though it may be a bit large for your intended purpose, the Castellan also works well as a quick cut-and-thrust single-hander. Though longer than what is typically consdered "optimal" for I:33, its proportions are surprisingly-manageable when wielded single-handed.

By contrast, the Poitiers would be more suited for the sword-and-buckler work in the German system of swordsmanship, as its point control is nothing short of phenomenal. While it is probably the fastest, most agile sword that Albion currently makes, it does lack some authority in the cut.. As far as my limited experience can tell, it would appear that I:33 does place some emphasis on short, powerful, chopping blows.

Also, even though it isn't an Albion product, A&A's Henry V sword may be a strong consideration for a future purchase, if you are planning to delve deeper into the Tower Manuscript...

"Rhaegar fought nobly.
Rhaegar fought valiantly.
Rhaegar fought honorably.
And Rhaegar died."

- G.R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire
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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 4:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Jeremiah,

I know numbers probably do not tell the whole story, but... It's really the only way I have to compare facts between swords I cannot handle myself. With the added bonus that they are not relative to what other people are used to. My interpretations may be flawed, but at least I'm able to relate to things I have actually handled myself.

Of course, if I could handle as many Albions as I would like, my choice would be a bit simpler... But this is geographically impossible for me.

And thank you for your advice on these other swords. I shall keep an eye on them for future purchases...

Regards,

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Gabriel Lebec
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PostPosted: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 7:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Vincent,

Perhaps you can check if there is any show or event Albion will have a table at near you in the near future. Odds are low, I admit (where are you from?). I personally will be going to the New York Custom Knife Show (or whatever it's called); I anticipate being surprised at how some Albion swords actually look and feel in person.

Good luck,
-Gabriel L.

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Vincent Le Chevalier




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PostPosted: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gabriel,

I'm in France, near Paris. I'm not aware of any event with Albion in the near future around here... Maybe they will be present at Dijon 2008? But it's a long wait... Sadly I missed the previous edition.

Best,

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