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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Thu 12 Jan, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn Shaw wrote:

Plus, since they're real steel, you get the weight and "feel" of steel, rather than aluminum or wood.


My opinion, though, is that they don't feel like historical weapons at all. To be fair, I don't think most wooden wasters do, either, though wooden wasters are cheaper and a little bit safer. Every Starfire I've handled is heavy and the balance is concentrated in the hilt, making a weapon that doesn't really follow through in the cut. But they are inexpensive, and they are tough.

Steel blunts can be done to handle like real swords while still having thick edges, but they tend to run on the expensive side. A perfect example is A&A's fechterspiel sword. I love mine to death, but they do require some dough.

Aluminum wasters, if done correctly, are not any lighter than steel swords, but have thicker edges for safety. These are becoming more and more common in the western martial arts world, and while there's a subtle difference in feeling compared to steel (at least when the blades make contact), they're a lot cheaper than a good steel weapon. My opinion is that in the long run, if you're a serious student, you need to use steel at some point, but the aluminum wasters are a fantastic bridge.

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--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Shawn Shaw




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2006 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's true...starfires do tend to be heavy but one thing that I would say about that is....after practicing with a slightly overweight practice weapon...when you pick up the real thing, it feels like lightning in your hands.

So, maybe drills and some sparring with something like a Starfire and when it counts, pick up something a little nicer with better balance and be amazed how fast you can move it, having trained your muscles with the less wieldy weapon.

What do some of you folks with more martial arts experience think? That's my personal experience but it's a bit limited, I admit.
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2006 3:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shawn Shaw wrote:
That's true...starfires do tend to be heavy but one thing that I would say about that is....after practicing with a slightly overweight practice weapon...when you pick up the real thing, it feels like lightning in your hands.

So, maybe drills and some sparring with something like a Starfire and when it counts, pick up something a little nicer with better balance and be amazed how fast you can move it, having trained your muscles with the less wieldy weapon.

What do some of you folks with more martial arts experience think? That's my personal experience but it's a bit limited, I admit.

An overweight weapon will, of course, develop muscle; but you need to practice with one of proper weight, balance and harmonics in order to be used to handling it. I'd rather just lift weights to work on strength, and train with a proper instrument.

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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2006 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I basically agree with what Mikko said. It only makes sense to do strength training with a heavy sword IF you're only doing it as a supplement to training with an accurate sword, else all you're doing is fighting the learning process. You'll be over-compensating when you have a lighter sword in hand, you'll be moving incorrectly, etc.

That said, my main issue with Starfire swords isn't really the weight. There were lots of heavier swords historically. My issue is the fact that they don't handle like any antique sword I've ever handled, or any decent reproduction. This is because they're not made for western martial arts, they're made for a particular style of stage combat, and they serve that purpose just fine.

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--German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


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Gary Grzybek




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2006 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Shawn Shaw wrote:
That's true...starfires do tend to be heavy but one thing that I would say about that is....after practicing with a slightly overweight practice weapon...when you pick up the real thing, it feels like lightning in your hands.

So, maybe drills and some sparring with something like a Starfire and when it counts, pick up something a little nicer with better balance and be amazed how fast you can move it, having trained your muscles with the less wieldy weapon.

What do some of you folks with more martial arts experience think? That's my personal experience but it's a bit limited, I admit.

An overweight weapon will, of course, develop muscle; but you need to practice with one of proper weight, balance and harmonics in order to be used to handling it. I'd rather just lift weights to work on strength, and train with a proper instrument.



Agreed, a sword that is too heavy or balanced improperly could in fact distort technique. On the other hand it may help develope strength. I'd personally rather stick with swords of acceptable weight and find other ways of gaining strength.

But that's just me.

Gary Grzybek
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Cole Sibley




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PostPosted: Fri 13 Jan, 2006 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Certainly, in my own mind, I can see how the amount of material (steel) compromising the edge will determine its resistance to damage versus its cutting ability. But are there historic examples of edges having varying edge geometry along its length? For example rounded forte, thin/sharp tips, appleseed 'false' edges, or hollow ground 'true' edges? If so, is it on a case-by-case basis, or were there trends or evolutions over time?
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Phill Lappin




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PostPosted: Mon 31 Jul, 2006 11:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, I think it's obvious that defending with both the flat and the blade was used extensively, there's no point in re-visiting that. I tend to use the flat more, especially with a one handed sword, as it suits my style; lots of true guard and divert/deflecting parries, it's also good to increase the life of your blade.

With my hand and a half I tend to use both depending on what I'm doing, and I've found that my sword barely takes any damage from it while my opponents often get nasty dints and nicks. I'd like to say it's all because of my superior technique but I also think my sword has been tempered better than those who I spar with.

Oh, I just feel I had to comment on this
Stephen Hand wrote:
(trying a stoppe with the flat also places your wrist in a horrible position, the edge is in line with the bones of your forearm so presenting the flat requires you to turn your wrist, which places an unbelievable stress on your wrist)
I think that's exaggerating a little, if your wrist is flexible, strong and well stretched beforehand this doesn't cause discomfort. Of course that doesn't mean that it would leave you in the best position for a counterstrike, however I know that it isn't hard to do from plenty of practice.
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Jesse Eaton





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PostPosted: Wed 13 May, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Stephens criticism is right. Stopping the strike with the flat of your blade is dangerous to your wrists when the sword is simply shifted over to absorb the impact of the strike. It also tends to leave you open to additional strikes and makes a riposte near impossible. I think the point was made earlier in this thread that a 45 degree angle is more effective than flat or direct edge to edge impact. The 45 rolls nicely into a counter-cut or wind into a thrust, whether a two hand or single hand grip is being used. It is also less damaging to your blade

BTW: As far as training weapons go, the best I've seen are the plastics. Plastic on plastic (or even plastic on wood), they last for damn near ever with no dings. They bounce less than wood, slide like steel, and can be weighted to match the weapon you are trying to emulate. There are only a few suppliers that I know of though. Try reading this thread to see if the plastics are what you are looking for

http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=11462
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Jessica Finley
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PostPosted: Thu 14 May, 2009 6:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I tend to look at swords, whether plastic, wood or steel, blunt or sharp, as tools.

If you look at them that way, it will clarify for you the advantages to more expensive tools over cheap disposable tools.

For instance, I can go buy a car for $1,000 and limp it along for a while. It won't be very pretty, will require a ton of maintenance, and my give out on me at any time. But then, I can just keep dumping money into that one, or trashing it and buying repeated $1,000 cars every year or so. Of course, that in the end, costs me the same as a more expensive car that looks better, performs better, and is more reliable.

It's my choice, really, to end up spending $10,000 over 10 years on cars that are junk, or paying $10,000 for a car that works all 10 years, looks great, and is a quality machine.

Of course, that doesn't even begin to take into consideration the pride you have in a quality tool versus one you view as disposable.

Jess

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David E. Farrell




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PostPosted: Thu 14 May, 2009 8:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

just a note - the posts you guys responded to are, well, outdated.
AKA: 'Sparky' (so I don't need to explain later Wink )

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 14 May, 2009 9:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David E. Farrell wrote:
just a note - the posts you guys responded to are, well, outdated.


Yes, but then people do a search and find an old Topic thread and find that they wish to add something or disagree or agree to something and they resurrect the Topic: Now, some of the original posters are still active, some have gone away and won't reply and some are still active but less than they used to be.

In any case it's better than starting a new Topic on the same subject as one can read the old posts and go from there instead of reinventing the wheel and it does bring up old threads that new members may not have read before.

And yes, we know that this was an old thread. Laughing Out Loud

( Note: You will notice that this is a " Spotlight Topic " thread and the reason for this is that these threads were chosen by Nathan as valuable discussions and are highlighted so that people will find them easily and continue them. Don't forget that old topic end up lost in the history and high volume of previous threads as new Topics push them further into the past.
Unless one trips over one of these of Topics due to a search they are hard to find by just randomly browsing previous pages of Topics which run in the thousands by now. Wink Cool )

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Randall Pleasant




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jesse Eaton wrote:
I think Stephens criticism is right.

Jesse

I agree with Stephen that this topic has been done to death but I totally diagree with him on the subject. Like all good zombies this topic will always keep coming back. Regardless of what one believes or what interpretation one follows if you hit two sharp think peices of metal together really hard they will suffer damage.

Quote:

Stopping the strike with the flat of your blade is dangerous to your wrists when the sword is simply shifted over to absorb the impact of the strike.

The myth that parrying with your flat will injury your hands or that it will possibly break you sword is completely false. I've been in ARMA for almost 10 years and I have never once seen or heard of an injury or breakage due to a parrying with the flat of a sword blade. Please note that I'm not talking about some static block with the flat, we don't do that, rather I'm talking about actions such as a hanging parry or an absetzen.

Quote:
It also tends to leave you open to additional strikes and makes a riposte near impossible. I think the point was made earlier in this thread that a 45 degree angle is more effective than flat or direct edge to edge impact. The 45 rolls nicely into a counter-cut or wind into a thrust, whether a two hand or single hand grip is being used. It is also less damaging to your blade.

My experience has been totally different. Edge-on-edge actions basically ties your edge up, thus you must rotate your edge out of it before you can counter attack. Using the flat to parry, on the other hand, almost always gives you perfect edge alignment for a counter attack. Parrying with the flat is safe, effective, and historical.

Hopefully the following videos and images will help you understand my points better.

Videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmoSedeqrHo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsGU5KI1qJA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bZWuNd-tqY&feature=related















All the best,

Ran Pleasant
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Adam Rudling




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 3:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not everyone who uses this forum subscribes to ARMA's theories on parries, including a whole load of the 18th/19thC miltary combat manuals who specifically state to avoid parrying with the flat of the blade due to the tendancy of swords to snap when used so - but then I guess thats possibly a difference between earlier manuals / sword designs & later fencing practice with somewhat different blade profiles & manufacturing.

Mind you I have ripped tendons while Epee fencing from a perfectly done lunge on mine & my partners part that ended in a very heavy guard to guard action ie you can damage yourself even when doing things right !
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam Rudling wrote:
Not everyone who uses this forum subscribes to ARMA's theories on parries, including a whole load of the 18th/19thC miltary combat manuals who specifically state to avoid parrying with the flat of the blade due to the tendancy of swords to snap when used so - but then I guess thats possibly a difference between earlier manuals / sword designs & later fencing practice with somewhat different blade profiles & manufacturing.


Yes, you're last statement is correct. Not only that, but the style of fencing changed radically, particularly after the Baroque period when the smallsword took the place of the rapier and the long sword before it.

We even have an explicit mention in Codex Wallerstein at one point to parry with the flat, so we know that it was done. And I've seen first hand what happens from a bad impact; my Sempach suffered a minor edge failure where part of the edge literally peeled off of it from a forceful impact, and that wasn't even a direct, edge-to-edge impact.

Also, for the people who disagree that parrying with the flat is effective or that it can cause harm to your wrists, I'll give you a teaser- there are ways of angling the sword that are far stronger and far more sound for receiving an impact to the flat. I'll let you play with it to figure it out. Wink
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Alex Spreier




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PostPosted: Fri 15 May, 2009 10:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

*sigh* I seriously dislike these types of discussions as they tend to polarize people, but here are a few of my thoughts:

1. I agree with Jessica, et. al. who have stated that they view the sword as a tool; I do too. I believe we must remember that to the men who wrote these manuals the sword was just a tool. If their sword was damaged or broken they could get it fixed or simply pick up a new one (A simplistic view, I know, but it serves to make the point). We, who have to spend $100+ on a quality sword, want to preserve it and make it last longer so we don't have to shell out another big chunk of change for a new one.

2. As for the edge/flat debate, both can work. I prefer the very shallow, glancing edge to edge contact referenced above for my own reasons. But I have had "Oh $h!t!" moments and during those my only thought was to put my sword between my body and the other guy's sword and I did so with no thought to "edge vs flat".

3. As far as the bio-mechanical weakness of a bent wrist, it is not training, it is anatomy. Mr. Hand is correct in that with your wrist in line, and supported by, the forearm and the upper arm, you are in a "stronger" position. Essentially when you parry with a bent wrist it is a "weaker" position because you are encouraging your wrist to do what it wants to do naturally: Bend. Against a strong blow, this can cause compression or even hyper-extension of the wrist.

In the end, please remember: We are all entitled to our own opinions. It's what makes these arts so great! If we all thought and did the same thing, where would the fun be? (I know it sounds like an after-school special, but I believe it.)

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Adam Rudling




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PostPosted: Sat 16 May, 2009 1:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aside from reenactment fighting & fencing for 20+years I have only been training with german longsword for 6 or so years Wink , I do fully grasp what you you mean about the lack of static blocks in that system - but like many many others I disagree with ARMA's theories on some points, including the interpretation of the flat parry bit in Wallerstein.

What I really hate is the way the ARMA guys allways jump in on any edge damage / parry debate & shove their point of view forward without balancing the debate with references to later sword play s that explicitly state not to parry with the flat, as well as the references from earlier masters who state its something to avoid by good fencers - thus implying that its actually rather commonly done.

I have no problems with people debating stuff, as long as they are actually prepared to listen & learn !

As far as I'm concerned a sword is a tool to do a job, its not some precious thing that must be protected above & beyond your life, ie I'd rather make any kind of stop / parry than get myself cut up !

Anyway I'm glad there are many training schools around the world researching & developing their own interpretations of the old masters, it has enriched my life as I'm sure it does for many others.

Adam
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Randall Pleasant




Location: Flower Mound, Texas
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PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2009 10:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Alex Spreier wrote:
...these types of discussions as they tend to polarize people...

Which is natural and ok as long as everyone is friendly. Big Grin

Alex Spreier wrote:
I agree with Jessica, et. al. who have stated that they view the sword as a tool; I do too. I believe we must remember that to the men who wrote these manuals the sword was just a tool. If their sword was damaged or broken they could get it fixed or simply pick up a new one (A simplistic view, I know, but it serves to make the point). We, who have to spend $100+ on a quality sword, want to preserve it and make it last longer so we don't have to shell out another big chunk of change for a new one.

I must strong disagree with you and Jessica. A sword is a weapon, not a tool. A tool may be used as a weapon but rarely is a weapon used as a tool. A man cutting wood with an ax may be required to use the ax as a weaon but I'm guessing that men rarely used their swords as tools. Even today soldiers may call their M16 a weapon or a rifle but they are never allowed to call it a gun. A gun is a tool used from hunting and pleasure. A weapon is used only to defend one's life.

Personally, I don't think the men who actually fought with swords would have made the assumption that they could simply pick up another sword if their blade broke during the middle of a fight. My guess is that 99.9 percent of the men who's blade broke during a fight probably died within moments. One could only attempt to fix any damage to their sword in between fights.

Alex Spreier wrote:
As for the edge/flat debate, both can work.

True to some degree. However, one interpretation can cause major damage to one's edges and tie up their blade against another edge while the other interpretation limits the amount of damage and provides really good blade alignment for a counter attack. So the question is which sound more martially sound?

Alex Spreier wrote:
But I have had "Oh $h!t!" moments and during those my only thought was to put my sword between my body and the other guy's sword and I did so with no thought to "edge vs flat".

Those moments cannot be considered an actual part of an interpretation. Soldiers learn to take great care of their weapons to the greatest degree possible. Yet all of them also know that in some situations they may have to drag their weaon through mud.

Alex Spreier wrote:
As far as the bio-mechanical weakness of a bent wrist, it is not training, it is anatomy. Mr. Hand is correct in that with your wrist in line, and supported by, the forearm and the upper arm, you are in a "stronger" position. Essentially when you parry with a bent wrist it is a "weaker" position because you are encouraging your wrist to do what it wants to do naturally: Bend. Against a strong blow, this can cause compression or even hyper-extension of the wrist.

Please note in the 2nd and 4th picture I posted that the wrist is normally turned back during a hanging parry rather than forward, thus the hand is in a very strong position. How to perform a correct parry is one of the first things ARMA studys learn. A bent wrist is never used by ARMA members except in one of those "Oh S..." moments.

Alex Spreier wrote:

In the end, please remember: We are all entitled to our own opinions. It's what makes these arts so great! If we all thought and did the same thing, where would the fun be? (I know it sounds like an after-school special, but I believe it.)

My opinion is that the greatness of the art comes from itself. I do agree we should all be entitled to our own opinions. As least for me I find fun in the art and in the many opinions on the art.



Adam Rudling wrote:
What I really hate is the way the ARMA guys allways jump in on any edge damage / parry debate & shove their point of view forward without balancing the debate with references to later sword play s that explicitly state not to parry with the flat, as well as the references from earlier masters who state its something to avoid by good fencers - thus implying that its actually rather commonly done.
I have no problems with people debating stuff, as long as they are actually prepared to listen & learn !

I don't believe I was shoving my point any more than did Jesse, Jessica, Alex, or yourself. And ARMA members have always acknowledge that the later sword arts did use edge parrys.

All the best,

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW
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Alex Spreier




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PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2009 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Pleasant wrote:

A sword is a weapon, not a tool. A tool may be used as a weapon but rarely is a weapon used as a tool. A man cutting wood with an ax may be required to use the ax as a weaon but I'm guessing that men rarely used their swords as tools. Even today soldiers may call their M16 a weapon or a rifle but they are never allowed to call it a gun. A gun is a tool used from hunting and pleasure. A weapon is used only to defend one's life.

Ran Pleasant
ARMA DFW


I completely agree with you. A sharp sword is a weapon. My sharp A&A pollaxe is a weapon. My Purpleheart waster or my Revival rubber pollaxe are tools. A colleague of mine who is in law enforcement makes the same distinction between his duty pistol and his "Red Gun" trainer: One is a weapon and the other a training tool. That was what I was trying to convey. It's just personal opinion, but I draw a very distinct line between "real" gear and training gear.

The other point I try to make when I refer to them as tools is this: it is designed to be used. Weapon or tool, semantics aside, your training gear will show wear and tear. To expect otherwise just doesn't make sense to me. I work in the knife industry and deal with customers every day who complain because their knife got dull - Some people just have this weird expectation that you can use a weapon/tool without causing some form of damage to that implement. Take care of your gear, prevent major deformations and damage, and you will prolong it's life - but know that it will get beat up and it will not last forever.

Again, just my opinion.

Compagno, Northwest Fencing Academy

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Steven Reich




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PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2009 11:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Pleasant wrote:
True to some degree. However, one interpretation can cause major damage to one's edges and tie up their blade against another edge while the other interpretation limits the amount of damage and provides really good blade alignment for a counter attack. So the question is which sound more martially sound?

Actually, the question is, "Which method do the sources tell us to use?"

Of course some sources don't say anything, but others are quite explicit. For example, there are clear instructions for edge-on-edge parries in the Bolognese sources. Now that isn't the same as saying that all parries are edge-on-edge; this is most definitely not true, either. However, if you practice Bolognese (and also, certain other Italian sword arts from the 1500s and 1600s), they are clearly and unambiguously described as part of the system. Yes, it can damage the edges or even (as Viggiani clearly states) break the attacker's sword, but the text says what it says...

That said, I don't study German (or Italian) longsword (i.e. pre-1500s swordsmanship), so I'm not really qualified to offer an opinion on that.

Steve

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Steven H




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PostPosted: Tue 19 May, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

I think it is important in this particular debate to remember that their is a continuum between edge and flat. I can take a hit with edges perpendicular (as described in later manuals) or I can take it on the flat or any anlge in between.

Clearly the flat hit has the lowest chance of edge damage but how far from flat do I have to get where the likelihood of damage is "too high".

Take a basic Zornhau vs an oberhau. Done as described the parts of the sword that contact each other are the edges. Clearly. But not at right angles. The angle is quite acute instead, and both swords are traveling downwards. So while it is an 'edge' parry the likelihood of damage is low.

I think that, for Medieval swordplay, good technique, without thinking about edge vs. flat will achieve a good balance between risk to my edge and martially sound techique.

Cheers,
Steven

P.S. Or take Krumphau. It clearly can't be done to the flat against both an oberhau and an unterhau. But there is no instruction to vary it based on the attack type to keep the blade edge from getting damaged. So clearly our krump must endanger our edge but it does so to achieve the worthy goal of surviving the swordfight.

Kunstbruder - Boston area Historical Combat Study
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