Collecting & WMA
For many years I've collected swords and enjoyed handling/test cutting. However, I didn't have the opportunity to really learn how to use a sword as a weapon until recently. I'm now taking lessons in German longsword, Italian longsword, and Marozzo's sword & buckler. The WMA practice is a far cry from my former playing at cutting pool noodles. I enjoy the physical testing and it's great exercise - I call it my medieval cross fit. I came to trying WMA as a way to learn the proper use of the swords I have and to be of greater danger to others than to myself in swinging a sword. Now what I've noticed in my short exposure to the WMA community is there are many practitioners having no real interest in "sharps." There apparently are also many collectors having little interest in knowing how to actually use the sword as a weapon. So my question is are you a collector, a WMA practitioner or do you have feet in both arenas?
good question, I think some collectors get into this hobby and it grows into practical handling. to me personally, its almost like having my foot in every area. I don't just own a long sword and hang it on the wall, I also attempt to understand and use some of its drills, then I go a bit further and understand construction. that's probably true for a few of us that look at our sword and want to begin a DIY project.

I'm more of a sort that can't tell you a swords typology weathers its an XIIA etc, nor a direct date of a styles particular use. however I can tell you of how they are build - and how they should act according to their construction. I've noticed since I started collecting nearly 15 years ago that I started with just something nice on the wall, that then grew to something more that just a wall hanger, and now I'm doing more on focusing research on a particular type to hopefully one day recreate a piece. in the far flung hope to be semi industry professional one day in the future.
I am a practitioner ...a fencer, so I have no sharps in my collection and no wall hangers or cutters. All my blades are bated or blunts because my primary focus is fencing and swordsmanship. I do have plans to collect some very nice blades in future but with all my other hobbies tied in - (ie guns and bayonets) - I have littlle spare cash to splash on collector blades. I am the Club Armorer of my Fencing school so my house is filled with practicals - though this does not mean some practicals cannot be aesthetically pleasing. I have a lovely rapier from Darkwood that if fitted with a sharp would satisfy the eyes of all but the most critical. However, I don''t really go in for bright flashy stainless hilted swords ... the reality is that the moment you take swords like that to combat, they would get dinged, dulled and scratched in very short order and end up looking like a dogs breakfast. Plain, dull and dangerous is my motto! ;-)

So essentially I am a HEMA practitioner rather than a collector - I haven't performed a cutting test in my life ... we have no need for it in practical fencing, when your opponent takes a touch, you can generally take it that they are maimed, injured or dead - and they would be!

Re: Collecting & WMA
Ken Jay wrote:
So my question is are you a collector, a WMA practitioner or do you have feet in both arenas?

Both. As far as martial arts goes, not exclusively WMA - more generally, armed martial arts will cover the weapons-relevant part (Western, Chinese, Japanese). Also do unarmed martial arts. As for collecting, replicas and a diverse bunch of antiques. Also have steel blunts and plastic and wood, but that's training gear as distinct from collection. There are some overlaps between the training gear and collection.
WMA or collector?
Also both.

I have a similar background to yours, Timo, from the sounds of it.

I find test cutting really checks whether the strikes you do in drills or sparring would work.

I think the two kinda go hand -in-hand. All but the newest to WMA will most likely own more than one weapon. McM

I do both. I own two Liechtenauers, but aside from that, I tend to purchase sharps. One of the reasons I buy sharps is because I like to own “real swords”; the other is that I prefer to do solo practice with sharps than with my Liechtenauers. Additionally, it's crucial to practice cutting with sharps, something that is not always done enough in the WMA community. You definitely need to use and handle both regularly, given that blunts distort the way a sword feels, as you know.

From a practical perspective, it makes more sense to buy multiple blunts over a sharp, because then you can train with a partner or several people. But I think there is some truth, as a general tendency, that WMA guys have blunts and few or no sharps. This is especially true for people who want to do WMA but have limited cash to devote to it.

I kinda get just collecting swords and holding/admiring them, since I have a collection of medieval coins. But swords are meant to be used. I like collectors who take the time to test cut, since they are learning how to strike with a sword. I would further argue that you really cannot fully understand a sword unless you can fight with it. Form is informed by function, and function is not just test cutting, but fighting.

Last edited by Craig Peters on Thu 23 Jan, 2014 9:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
I started with collection and since a year i practise WMA, but i'm one of few in my club that owns sharpies.
Some just don't have the interest, some just don't have the money because they are still studying, with all the gear needed WMA and re-enactment can be pretty expensive.
I got my sharp because of my WMA, and will probably only be adding to my collection in relation to that. Good swords are too expensive in my opinion to be just looked at. Add in that I think how a sword handles is a big part of what makes them good, and well I'll probably never have a wall full of swords, but the ones I do have I'm going to know like the back of my hand.
Both. Years ago when the Hanwei Tinker blades first came out, I picked up a Tinker Longsword sharp on a lark. As soon as I opened the box and had that thing in my hands, I knew their HAD to be an established way to use it. That brought me to Schola Saint George, Boston Heretics division. It's been too long since I've been able to attend practice.

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