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Roland Warzecha





Joined: 27 Jan 2009

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2015 3:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Frankly I'm not a big fan of what Roland does on sharp swords.


Fair enough.

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
He is explicitely doing it with as little safety equipment as possible, in order to induce fear in the participants.

There is a crucial difference between being afraid and training the ability to control your fear and have confidence in your technique. If you are afraid – don't do it. I recommend this blog article by Guy Windsor.

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
He argues that it gets closer to a real fight this way,

I have never said this anywhere.
In fact, I find claiming to train more realistically than others is generally the mark of imposters and people ignorant of what martial arts are about.
So if you feel like presenting your view online, I would like to ask you to have the courtesy to not base your public criticism on wrong assertions.
To get this right – mostly for other readers – is why I post here today.
Time and again, I have made it very clear what I think about various sparring modes and the alleged realism of combat simulations.
Listen to this, if you care.

I welcome any examinations of original blades and scientific research on the physical qualities of the sword, as you do and provide.
But it is an insufficient data basis to make a qualified comment on particular physical exercises which take years of conditioning and practice , and which you have apparently very little experience with.

Sincerely,
Roland Warzecha
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
Joined: 03 Sep 2014

Spotlight topics: 15
Posts: 823

PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2015 5:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Roland Warzecha wrote:
Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
Frankly I'm not a big fan of what Roland does on sharp swords.


Fair enough.

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
He is explicitely doing it with as little safety equipment as possible, in order to induce fear in the participants.

There is a crucial difference between being afraid and training the ability to control your fear and have confidence in your technique. If you are afraid – don't do it. I recommend this blog article by Guy Windsor.

Vincent Le Chevalier wrote:
He argues that it gets closer to a real fight this way,

I have never said this anywhere.
In fact, I find claiming to train more realistically than others is generally the mark of imposters and people ignorant of what martial arts are about.
So if you feel like presenting your view online, I would like to ask you to have the courtesy to not base your public criticism on wrong assertions.
To get this right – mostly for other readers – is why I post here today.
Time and again, I have made it very clear what I think about various sparring modes and the alleged realism of combat simulations.
Listen to this, if you care.

I welcome any examinations of original blades and scientific research on the physical qualities of the sword, as you do and provide.
But it is an insufficient data basis to make a qualified comment on particular physical exercises which take years of conditioning and practice , and which you have apparently very little experience with.

Sincerely,
Roland Warzecha


I would say that the sharp-sword sparring done by Roland Warzecha is very important for a historical study of the martial-art aspects. In my opinion it is live archaeology - scientific.
Whether other groups should do it or not - it has to be done for a precise purpose, not just a "fear" aspect.

If people enter a bout with the primary purpose to "win" then sparring with sharp blades becomes potentially very dangerous. If people enter a bout with the purpose to "learn" then their mind is much more focused on safety!

What his studies with his group has shown (to my surprise) is just how DIFFERENT sharp blades interacts compared to blunt blades. So if you want to learn the martial-arts is it absolutely necessary to learn how the real blades react and perform.
Also accurate reproduction of blades from historical finds are critical in this equation as well and luckily more and more weapon smiths are doing excellent work.
Exact copying is the only way to really evaluate the old masters. Just because someone wrote a book hundreds of years ago doesn't mean that person got it all right or that his version is the only correct version, but our knowledge is still in it's infancy to even make this evaluation. So we need more knowledge and here sharp-blade sparring is very important.

Roland's research has really also opened my eyes to the fact that sword design is not random [I thought beforehand that much of it was changing fashion - aesthetic looks].
Pommels have specific functions and so will cross-guards and blade- geometry & -length. It even further underlines how important exact copying is to understand how these were used in combat. Form and function fits like a glove to the hand.
For instance the question I ponder at the moment is why is the "Danish two hander" so "weird"? Why did Scandinavians use "C-guard" swords and "pretzel" swords (without quillons). Had Scandinavia a local style of sword-fighting martial arts in the 1400-1500's which caused for local types of swords which perhaps ended with the renaissance and more "Europanization" of combat arts? (Salvator Fabris introducing Padova-rapier style to the Danish court in 1601-1606)?

Perhaps sparring with sharp swords should really only be done by experts and students with the right mind-set for safety first.
If you enter a place where they want to do it and your gut says no - then find another place as trust is paramount here.
If people do HEMA for the sporting aspect I see no point in risking sharp-blades as the HEMA competitions are done with blunt blades anyways.
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Tom King




Location: florida
Joined: 11 Sep 2009
Likes: 2 pages

Posts: 429

PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2015 12:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To throw my anecdotes into the ring I have two experiences that characterize my personal use of live sparring with metal swords (blunt, rebated, or sharp) and limited safety equipment.

the good one:
in my highschool reenactment group I had a close friend who also was very into HEMA. we started from manuals up together and had "sparred" frequently at 3/4 speed in nothing but our normal living history gear for the purpose of practice and attempting manual plates. We never ended up injuring ourselves or each other.

the bad one:
another "knight" within out group and I sparred with our swords and I almost lost an eye when he haphazardly thrust at my face. ended up with a scratch on my eyelid and a cut on my nose. His response when this happened was "oh sh*t i was just trying to hit your head!". with no understanding that he had a 3lb BKS longsword and not a pool noodle in his hand. I was fine, but I stopped trusting others to have the same skills or understanding I did right off the bat.

Control is key. I'd have no problem using my sharps to spar with my first associate. We'd both be too afraid of a nick we couldn't sharpen out Eek!
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Vincent Le Chevalier




Location: Paris, France
Joined: 07 Dec 2005
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 847

PostPosted: Sat 26 Dec, 2015 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Roland,

Please be aware that this is an old post you are responding to, and therefore not fully representative of what I think, or know about your methods, right now.

That being said it happens that I have not greatly changed my mind since then, having watched your newer videos of course. Since you are claiming that I am misrepresenting your position, I will take the liberty of lifting a few quotes from your own writings so that other can see how I came to that conclusion - that might be expressed a bit too tersely:
Quote:
He is explicitely doing it with as little safety equipment as possible, in order to induce fear in the participants. He argues that it gets closer to a real fight this way,


I don't think you would deny that you are one of the heralds of lightnening up the safety gear, having proclaimed not to wear any protection other than gloves and the occasional mask anymore:
Roland Warzecha wrote:
My personal observation over past decades with various sword-fighting related activities is that generally, the more protection people are wearing the less refined technique is being used, leave alone subtle skills like ”fühlen”. This is why I quit wearing all this kit.

It is also apparent in your work with sharps, which often appear in your publications without masks or vest or anything. This is of course not without consequences on safety, as a simple slip of control will lead to much more serious injuries. As the basic paradox of martial training is that of safety vs. realism, as you often mention, you must be giving up that safety for the sake of realism, otherwise it is useless risk. It is a conscious choice; you could go at the same intensity, still forbiding any contact, while wearing for example fencing vests and pants at a minimum, which do not meaningfully restrict motion but would foil most incidental thrusts and cuts to the torso and limbs.

How you think it increases realism is made clearer for example in your post on masks:
Roland Warzecha wrote:
But the true challenge of the fencing mask is a mental one: Because your subconscious mind knows that you are safe, you are likely to take risks that you would never take without face protection.

This to me, implies that you are effectively levering the fear of getting hurt to modify the behaviour of the participants - again, supposedly to increase the realism of said behaviour, otherwise what would be the point?

I understand why you do not like my formulation, as it makes it look like you are terrorizing your students! You're not doing that for sure, but by relying entirely on control to achieve safety, you are indeed using fear to set the level of engagement. This is not something I fancy getting experienced with, although I do want to explore the mechanical aspects of sharp swords at some point. That is the real added value, and can be explored in drills with a lot of added safety, without the distortions brought by insisting to spar. Consider this a training choice that I wanted to share with others.

Thanks for sharing your work, it is thought provoking at least even when I disagree.

Regards,

--
Vincent
Ensis Sub Caelo
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