Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Gripping and using a Viking sword Reply to topic
This is a Spotlight Topic Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, ... 12, 13, 14  Next 
Author Message
Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 9:58 am    Post subject: grip length         Reply with quote

Regarding comments that short grip length viking swords were meant to be used in the handshake grip, in part because because you can't use a hammer grip (e.g. Shane with the Shifford - great picture by the way), is it not possible that they were designed for folks, like myself, that would have no problem with a hammer grip in such a length, the longer grip lengths found on other viking swords being for folks with larger hands. I accept that big hands and short grips may work best by handshake, but would a man with big hands commission a short grip?
Comforted to see that the minority is slightly larger than I thought. Very enjoyable discussion.
Best
Geoff
View user's profile Send private message
Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 10:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Justice wrote:

You are not factoring in the pommel width and the crossguard width. if both are wide and perfectly straight, like the Petersen type H is, there will be some digging in the wrist using the hammer grip.


This is particularly true if you try to hold the sword with the hand rotated foreward, as for a thrust. Could that possibly be why some of the later style swords with more thrust oriented blades (to judge from the tapering profiles) tended to have pommels that were curved away from the grip, allowing more hand rotation before the wrist was fouled. Why do that if you are not using a hammer grip?
Regards
Geoff
View user's profile Send private message
Brian M




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 500

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Given that the swords of the Viking period were optimized for the cut, and not the thrust, that may not be much of a factor.

Brian M
View user's profile Send private message
Thomas McDonald
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 2,160

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 10:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just for the whatever of it, concerning small hands & Viking hilts ......

Here's a shot of Steve Han gripping his Vince Evans viking sword ...... the grip is only 3" inches !



Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Gary Grzybek




Location: Stillwater N.J.
Joined: 25 Aug 2003

Posts: 559

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:
Just for the whatever of it, concerning small hands & Viking hilts ......
Here's a shot of Steve Han gripping his Vince Evans viking sword ...... the grip is only 3" inches !
Mac



Hi Mac,

The curvature of the the guard and pommel must certainly offer more room than the common H shape we often see. My DT 2104 certainly felt snug until I let the pommel rest more in the palm. I think both grips have their application.

BTW, that sure is a beauty Big Grin

Gary Grzybek
ARMA Northern N.J.
www.armastudy.org
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Björn Hellqvist
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Aug 2003

Posts: 723

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David McElrea wrote:
Kirk wrote:
Quote:
As I read through the Viking sagas it amazes me how many cuts are made to the legs.


If I recall correctly, the vast majority of finds in battlefield archaeology (i.e. bodies) show severe trauma to the legs. It seems that the legs were a primary target, at least in medieval warfare. In this case forensics would corroborate the witness of the sagas very nicely.

David


Battlefield forensics is a subject riddled with traps. When it comes to evidence in the form of cuts found on bones, it is just that: a cut that left a groove in the bone. Trauma inflicted to the soft parts (like the stomach area) don't show up, which skews the statistic totals. While it isn't unlikely that less protected areas like the legs were targeted, the killing blows would be delivered to parts of the body that didn't leave any evidence.

My sword site
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Björn Hellqvist
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Aug 2003

Posts: 723

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alina Boyden wrote:
And now we run into a new problem. My hand isn't big enough to grip comfortably they way Peter and others are describing. I've tried it numerous times and I find it awkward and I feel that I'm about to drop the sword. Looking at Shane's picture I can see how it would be comfortable for a guy with a big hand, but I find it hard to accomplish.


The question is: what Viking sword replica have you used? Is the pommel of proper dimensions?

My sword site
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Björn Hellqvist
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: Sweden
Joined: 19 Aug 2003

Posts: 723

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blaz Berlec wrote:
What about such hilt designs?



They seem very non-ergonomic, no matter how you grip them. Although the "hand shake grip" seems logical, the sharp edges would dig into your palm or the "fleshy part of your thumb" when you rotate the sword. Or is the strong pyramid tapering of pommel designed just to avoid that? Should really try this on the replica, but unfortunately there’s none in my grasps’ reach.


Depends on the dimensions; it could be comfier than it looks. It might feel a lot different with a complete grip; sort of evens out things a bit. As for ergonomy: when you've rowed across the better part of the North Sea, your palms are hardly any tender little 21st century paws anymore, but rough and callused. Wink

My sword site
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Thomas McDonald
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 2,160

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Grzybek wrote:
Hi Mac,
The curvature of the the guard and pommel must certainly offer more room than the common H shape we often see. My DT 2104 certainly felt snug until I let the pommel rest more in the palm. I think both grips have their application.
BTW, that sure is a beauty Big Grin


Hi Gary

Yes, this Type Z does seem a little more forgiving .....



Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Risto Rautiainen




Location: Kontiolahti, Finland
Joined: 23 Feb 2004
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 176

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 11:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I've seen that piece in the national museum. What book is that page from? I haven't found any accurate data from local libraries about swords dug up in Finland, namely weights and measurements etc. That's a quite thin tang BTW.
View user's profile Send private message
David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Björn Hellqvist wrote:
Quote:
Battlefield forensics is a subject riddled with traps. When it comes to evidence in the form of cuts found on bones, it is just that: a cut that left a groove in the bone. Trauma inflicted to the soft parts (like the stomach area) don't show up, which skews the statistic totals. While it isn't unlikely that less protected areas like the legs were targeted, the killing blows would be delivered to parts of the body that didn't leave any evidence.


I am in total agreement with you Bjorn (at least I think so) Happy I wasn't suggesting that strikes to the legs were killing blows-- merely that battlefield forensics seem to show that a majority of the dead from the early-late Middle Ages display damage to the leg bones. These bodies don't only show damage to the legs, but it is significant, I think, that most show such damage.

I hate to post too much info without having the facts at hand, but if someone else recognises what I am talking about, perhaps they could give the location for the following. If not feel free to ignore it (it's probably superfluous anyway)... but the body of one Viking, found in Yorkshire I think, showed damage to the legs and then a hideous collection of wounds to other parts of the body, apparently done after he had fallen (possibly after he was dead).

While forensics can be a perilous science in some ways, it doesn't seem to contradict the sagas or common sense-- the legs offer a target more frequently than other parts of the body (assuming the use of a shield).

David
View user's profile Send private message
Thomas McDonald
myArmoury Alumni


myArmoury Alumni

Location: New Hampshire
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 2,160

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Risto Rautiainen wrote:
I think I've seen that piece in the national museum. What book is that page from? I haven't found any accurate data from local libraries about swords dug up in Finland, namely weights and measurements etc. That's a quite thin tang BTW.


Hi Risto

I believe that is a page from "Swords of the Viking Age", by Ian Peirce !

Mac

'Gott Bewahr Die Oprechte Schotten'
XX ANDRIA XX FARARA XX
Mac's PictureTrail
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,706

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 12:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:
Risto Rautiainen wrote:
I think I've seen that piece in the national museum. What book is that page from? I haven't found any accurate data from local libraries about swords dug up in Finland, namely weights and measurements etc. That's a quite thin tang BTW.


Hi Risto

I believe that is a page from "Swords of the Viking Age", by Ian Peirce !

Mac


Page 127 to be exact Big Grin

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
View user's profile Send private message
Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 12:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Brian M wrote:
Given that the swords of the Viking period were optimized for the cut, and not the thrust, that may not be much of a factor.

Brian M


Agreed for the first part (or at least so it appears to us now), but the comment was meant to be relative (hence the use of the term 'more') rather than absolute. Some of the later swords looked pointier and had pommels that curved away. I've found that with such a pommel, you can rotate the point futher forwad without wrist problems, and with a hammer grip. As I said, I'm not sure why you'd bother to design to allow that rotation with the handshake grip.
Looking again at Petersen etc. I can see how some of the flatter [when viewed side on], pommels could have been designed to allow the latter grip. That opens the question of pommels that would bulge out beyond the upper guard [e.g. as shown well on the Albion 'jarl' photgraphs]. That seems an odd thing to do if the handshake grip is intended.
Regards
Geoff
View user's profile Send private message
Brian M




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 500

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

True, wounds to the stomach would go unrecorded because the soft tissue no longer exists. This would be particularly problematic with a piercing weapon like an arrow. However, am I incorrect in believing that most "killing" blows would be to the head and neck, and not the abdomen? The Romans were trained to kill with the upward thrust into the abdomen, but the Europeans (Vikings et al) fought mainly with overhead or horizontal blows. Which is why we see the wounds mainly to the left outside of the body, the most obvious target for a right-handed blow. Also, many wounds to the arms were probably "defense" wounds, as a fighter who was down and/or lost his weapons shielded himself with his arms. Certainly, many wounds that were not immediately fatal on the battlefield ended up killing through blood loss or infection soon after.
In the Viking/Norman era, how would a victor administer the "coup de gras" once an enemy was wounded (in the leg for example) and down? Did they just hack at any available body part until the target ceased to move? A blow to the neck or head? Were the wounded left to die as a form of torture?

Regards,
Brian M
View user's profile Send private message
Joel Thompson




Location: Virginia Beach, Va
Joined: 30 Mar 2004

Posts: 26

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, I guess we can still beat this horse a bit. For those who have trouble with the grip being uncomfortable when transitioning to a relaxed grip, well.......or worried about being disarmed easily, well.......It's 'cause the sword ain't designed that way. IMHO. Seriously, though. Given that we disagree on the grip, the argument comes up concerning the frequent attacks to the legs.
As a martial artist who fights with Viking sword and shield as well as more modern swords, I must shed some light here. If you shift to the relaxed grip in order to reach out and hit your opponent's leg, you must also bend forward at the waist a bit and lean forward into the strike. This makes your head a nice target. Even if you simultaneously try to cover with your shield. If you try to hit me this way, my hammer gripped sword will come crashing down on your noggin (as I step away with my lead leg). Or I may just opt for cutting your outstretched arm. An experienced fighter will know this and not knowingly put his head and arm in harms way.
However, if you use your shield to good advantage and press your opponent close (as in mass combat) stifling his sword arm (or axe arm), you can easily (still using the hammer grip) drop your arm down and hit the lead leg. As a matter of fact, it's easy enough to do that you don't even need to see your target.
I believe that this was the reason for the frequency of leg trauma. Common battle strategy. With the hammer grip, fighting in close, you really only have a few options. Chopping cuts from above. a couple of inverted or horizontal back hand cuts, and the lower leg cut. The relaxed grip leg cut requires a bit of room that isn't needed with the arm drop cut.
Even in single combat with plenty of room, no one with sense is going to go for that leg shot with a short sword. Trust me, it's a close combat thing. Now of course, you could do the same arm drop cut with a relaxed grip, but why would you?
I think the cut is nastier with the hammer grip due to the simple nature of it. More rigid in posture. Less give at the point of contact.
And finally, as to the frequency of other wounds. Stomach wounds were less common for a couple of reasons. Granted that soft tissue wounds aren't very traceable and are hard to document. One, the shied protected well, and most fighters used the shield with most any weapon. Two, the Viking blades weren't really all that good at the thrust. A little too blunt and wide. Not that you wouldn't take the shot if it presented itself, but just that it's really not a thrusting weapon. Agreed on the frequency or upper left side wounds. A natural result of being struck by a right-handed person. And as for the arm hits, yes, a defensive maneuver. But also an offensive one. Many of us make the mistake of assuming that sword and shield fighting was more or less a one-two striking battle You swing at him, he blocks with shield, then swings at you, you parry with shield, then you swing back at him, one-two, and so on. But actually, in real fighting, blocking your opponent's strike while simultaneously stirking at his sword arm with your weapon is the most efficient thing and very common. So, in battle, with sharp weapons, arm wounds, both serious and minor would be in abundance.
OK, I'm turning the soap box back over to you guys now.

Joel
View user's profile Send private message
Thomas Jason




Location: New Joisey
Joined: 28 Jul 2004

Posts: 230

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've been holding off on replying because my swordsmanship training is Kali/Escrima rather than pure European styles.

Some of the Kali weapons such as the Moro Kris, Bolo and Barong have hilts similar in shape if not style to viking swords, IE oversized pommels with short gripps.

I generally hold them in the handshake grip as it provides the best range of motion and extension.

In Kali there are a lot of attacks to the lower leg, and these are easily done with the handshake grip.

You don't lean forward to attack the leg, this is just suicidal as it puts you off balance and puts you right in range for a quick killshot from your opponent.

Rather you drop the level of your entire body vertically when making these cuts and then spring upwards for a killshot.

A prime exmple can be found in the Numerado drill, the last few angles to be precise.

Also, many of the Kali weapons have tips that are rounded like the the typical type X. Thrusting is still taught with them and is still very effective.
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address ICQ Number
Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
Reading list: 42 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 5,706

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 5:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Geoff Wood wrote:
Brian M wrote:
Given that the swords of the Viking period were optimized for the cut, and not the thrust, that may not be much of a factor.

Brian M


Agreed for the first part (or at least so it appears to us now), but the comment was meant to be relative (hence the use of the term 'more') rather than absolute. Some of the later swords looked pointier and had pommels that curved away. I've found that with such a pommel, you can rotate the point futher forwad without wrist problems, and with a hammer grip. As I said, I'm not sure why you'd bother to design to allow that rotation with the handshake grip.
Looking again at Petersen etc. I can see how some of the flatter [when viewed side on], pommels could have been designed to allow the latter grip. That opens the question of pommels that would bulge out beyond the upper guard [e.g. as shown well on the Albion 'jarl' photgraphs]. That seems an odd thing to do if the handshake grip is intended.
Regards
Geoff


Hi Geoff,

I don't find the pommel shape of my Jarl to be an issue with the handshake grip. It's quite comfortable either way. Personally I think we're over emphasising the comfort issue. We're all a bunch of sissies compared to the "real" warriors of old.

As I have said repeatedly folks, both gripping techniques are effective depending upon circumstance. As with most other things in this field of research, claiming that something was "always", or "never" done is all too often a receipe for failure.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
View user's profile Send private message
Aaron Justice




Location: Southern California
Joined: 21 Aug 2003

Posts: 183

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:
Just for the whatever of it, concerning small hands & Viking hilts ......

Here's a shot of Steve Han gripping his Vince Evans viking sword ...... the grip is only 3" inches !

Mac


Hey Mac. I got to handle this wonderful sword about a year ago i think when i was at steve's joint. The sword was not uncomfortable to wield because of the curved pommel and cross. Imagine if the pommel and cross were straight instead of curved, there is much less room to play with...

The Del Tin I was referring to (and also my DT 2070) both have straight crosses. The 2070 has a 4 inch long grip and it still catches my wrist now and then. The 2100 has a 3.5 inch grip and even wider cross and pommel. I would have an injured wrist if I swung it at full speed and made contact with my target.

On a "wrist digger" like this, you don't feel it as much if you swing all the way through your target rather than "stopping" the blade in the air. However, milk jugs are not true targets Big Grin Try to swing though an armored foe, you could seriously hurt yourself.

But as I said, depending on the angle of the grip and the way the hilt interacts with the moving hand, wrist, and arm, you could have a pommel digging into your wrist, or one that feels quite comfortable.

How can there be a perfect sword when PEOPLE come in all shapes and sizes too?
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
David McElrea




Location: Canada
Joined: 26 Nov 2003

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 438

PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wrote:
Quote:
the body of one Viking, found in Yorkshire I think, showed damage to the legs and then a hideous collection of wounds to other parts of the body, apparently done after he had fallen (possibly after he was dead).


Sorry, I have to fess up to some really faulty argumentation with this example-- it occured to me some time later that I had simply assumed that the leg damage came first... how embarrassing! Happy

Nonetheless, that particular mishap aside, I still think the legs made pretty good targets. Laughing Out Loud

David
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Gripping and using a Viking sword
Page 2 of 14 Reply to topic
Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, ... 12, 13, 14  Next All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2019 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum