Sword Fighting?

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  • CangoFettCangoFett Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    mastman wrote: »
    fencing is "the" way to train in sword fighting. It is what you are looking for. Specifically saber fencing if you are into slashes. You're not going to find much in the way of Lancelot style sword fighting. If you can fence, you can do that stuff.


    Ive talked to guys who fenced, and then went on to other combat sports, such as boxing, or other weapon combat styles, such as Kali/stick fighting.

    They have all said fencing is the worst thing you can do for footwork. The movement is generally 1 straight line, back and forth, never side to side. Unless you are in a sword fight on a narrow bridge, its a poor choice.

    Granted, I could be way off, as its not my repetoir, just echoing what I've heard.


    Also, yeah, the UFC/MMA comment is way off. The average UFC champion has spent 10+ years refining his grappling ability alone.

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  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    mastman wrote: »
    fencing is "the" way to train in sword fighting. It is what you are looking for. Specifically saber fencing if you are into slashes. You're not going to find much in the way of Lancelot style sword fighting. If you can fence, you can do that stuff.

    Yeah, no. Modern fencing is a sport, and while it is the most accessible way into swordsmanship, it is not going to help you much with historical swordsmanship, apart from some rapier techniques.

    What the OP wants to look into are probably the Italian and/or German schools of swordsmanship, Liechtenauer and Fiore dei Liberi, which teach longsword combat. Or if it is rapier that he is interested in, then Capo Ferro, and with sword and buckler i.33. These are genuine systems of swordsmanship meant for killing, and hence they do not suffer from having been turned into a sport which is what happened to modern fencing when guns became the weapon of choice.

    Really, comparing the modern fencing implements with proper swords, the differences in how they act and affect the form are quite significant. It's kind of like saying that the way to learn to shoot a longbow is to practice with a compound bow equipped with sights, balancers, mechanical releases and whatnot. Your accuracy with a longbow wouldn't really improve, as the weapons work in a different way. Hence learning to use an epee or a foil would teach you dick-all about using a longsword.

    Rhan9 on
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Rhan9 wrote: »
    Hence learning to use an epee or a foil would teach you dick-all about using a longsword.

    Considering the technique du jour in foil is to lunge with bent arm (thus fooling directors because you simultaneously have right-of-way and are able to parry.. yeah don't ask) and to duck your head down to protect your torso. I hated the flick with the burning passion of a thousand suns, but this is the effect.

    In epee, it is regularly encouraged to expose your target in order to score a touch one twentieth of a second faster than your opponent in order to lock out the one-light. When they counterattack and hit, which they will, their light won't go off. If it were real, yeah you'd both be dead. In sport, you got the point.

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  • a penguina penguin Registered User
    edited May 2010
    Tavataar wrote: »
    There is a very good fencing club in Timonium, for when you are in Baltimore: http://www.baltimorefencing.com/ the head coach is fantastic.

    They also have a satellite club in Columbia, MD.

    They have plenty of intro level courses for new people who have never fenced before. Let me know if you have any questions, as I grew up around Baltimore and fenced here for six years.

    This is the answer, if you decide to go with fencing.

    I also fenced in college. Although I don't know him all that well, I met one of the coaches who is here now a few times, and he was a real cool guy, knew is stuff. I *think* this is where one of my friends who still fences goes.

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  • PolloDiabloPolloDiablo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    There used to be a pretty good place to learn at Johns Hopkins. It looks like they've got a new head coach there now, I'm not sure if they still give lessons or not.

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  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    VeritasVR wrote: »

    Considering the technique du jour in foil is to lunge with bent arm (thus fooling directors because you simultaneously have right-of-way and are able to parry.. yeah don't ask) and to duck your head down to protect your torso. I hated the flick with the burning passion of a thousand suns, but this is the effect.

    That sounds like some terrible referring to me.
    Not to hijack, but anyone lunging with a bent arm is not attacking, and ducking your head in foil should be a covering target penalty.
    There used to be a pretty good place to learn at Johns Hopkins. It looks like they've got a new head coach there now, I'm not sure if they still give lessons or not.

    The Hopkins coach retired and formed his own club. IMHO he might be a decent coach, but can also be quite the silly goose sometimes.

    If you are interested in fencing, you should definitely head over to fencing.net/forums. There is plenty of good information and cool people over there.

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  • OrestusOrestus Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I'm not sure his name, but the old Hopkins coach (ex-military guy, coached there at least until '02 or so, possibly longer) was a freaking clown. Gave me a lecture 2 months into fencing that I needed to get out of sabre cause I'd never be any good at it. 6 years later when I beat his squad 15-0 at a collegiate tournament I felt really good lol. (Sorry for off topic)

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  • CognisseurCognisseur Registered User
    edited May 2010
    I'm kind of baffled by some of the posts in this thread. I suppose an argument could be made for how epee or foil is similar to real sword-fighting, although I'm not sure two dudes quietly making minute blade twirls for two minutes until one of them finally lunges is the sort of sword fighting the OP had in mind.

    But saber?! How can anyone possibly look at that and see anything resembling combat going on there? It was definitely my favorite since it was the only weapon that ever had anything exciting occur in it, but still. It's a battle of Right of Way, not a battle of swords. Avoiding being slashed at really isn't the priority; the priority is to avoid giving your opponent right of way, since the majority of times when someone has right of way in saber the match ends soon after.

    I'd look to some sort of martial arts, like Kendo perhaps? I don't know.

    Cognisseur on
  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Jubeh wrote: »
    Asked my friend who takes kendo about the sport.
    Um. Well in kendo you wear that outfit, like the kendogi and the hakama and everything and you wear the armour... and there's the bamboo sword which is probably most different from real sword fighting. And you only go for four points to hit the person: The head, throat, wrist and chest. That's sort of it, really.
    Though with the katas, you use bokkens which are more like real swords, only they're made out of wood. You go through different motions with a partner which is more like real moves sort of. It's kind of hard to describe. Like it sort of acts out real situations... I dunno. You could find a video on youtube probably. Also, a sister sport to kendo is iaido or however it's spelled. It's basically the art of drawing the sword from the sheath. Like, you'll be kneeling in seiza and then you'll have to draw the sword out and perfrom a few moves like cuts and stuff and then you put the sword back in the sheath. You have to treat the sword with a lot of respect with that one.... Uhhh Yeah I dunno.

    Kind of a lame description, but I did look up some videos and there are some neat ones where they go in slo-mo because the action happens so fast.

    I went on to ask him if kendo would be practical in a real sword fight and he said something along the lines of "it would probably help" and then told me if I was trying to becoming a vigilante I should reconsider it. Man my friends know me so well. But he really stressed that it is a sport and not a martial art used to defend yourself.

    Kendo does have one big advantage over fencing, though: it uses judges and armor. That means you're encouraged to do stuff that would actually kill your opponent. The is classical fencing and the American Fencing League, though.

    You could also look at foreign martial arts. Several nations have a national form of machete fighting, which is pretty close to a short sword or cutlass, and the swords of one area are pretty much analogous to the swords of another unless an area used unusual metallurgy (Africa is fairly iron poor, and Japan stopped its swordmaking much later than everyone else).

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  • shadydentistshadydentist Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Agreed. Fencing is fun as hell, but has shit-all to do with actual sword fighting.

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  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Tavataar wrote: »
    VeritasVR wrote: »

    Considering the technique du jour in foil is to lunge with bent arm (thus fooling directors because you simultaneously have right-of-way and are able to parry.. yeah don't ask) and to duck your head down to protect your torso. I hated the flick with the burning passion of a thousand suns, but this is the effect.

    That sounds like some terrible referring to me.
    Not to hijack, but anyone lunging with a bent arm is not attacking, and ducking your head in foil should be a covering target penalty.
    This is at very high-level fencing. Like, Olympic-calibur people doing this and winning. It infuriates me to no end. Welcome to the reason I don't fence foil anymore.
    Tavataar wrote: »
    There used to be a pretty good place to learn at Johns Hopkins. It looks like they've got a new head coach there now, I'm not sure if they still give lessons or not.

    The Hopkins coach retired and formed his own club. IMHO he might be a decent coach, but can also be quite the silly goose sometimes.

    If you are interested in fencing, you should definitely head over to fencing.net/forums. There is plenty of good information and cool people over there.

    Agreed with all the above. Unfortunately, JH used to have its club location under the swimming pool or something and the humidity there in the summer was raining indoors.

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  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    If you do end up doing fencing I would recommend not to do other poster's favourite styles (epee woo!) but to go to your club and see if it has any real strengths (and your local area in general). The reason why I suggest this is that for example if there is no one in the area doing epee (woo!) chances are you will not get a chance to really develop it because the people you will be fencing against will lack talent and stunt your growth as a fencer.

    For example no one here in Australia fences saber because it's devolved into a kind of flash and swing with not defensive technique whatsoever. As such it has become less popular. People who moved here is specialised in it when they were out of the country ended up shifting to mainly epee or foil so they can at least have some decent competition while fencing.

    Blake T on
  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Eh both the Baltimore and DC fencing clubs are quite large and have robust groups that fence all three weapons.

    Also almost any club is going to start you with Foil, regardless of what you think you want to do. It is almost always used to teach the basics.

    Tavataar on
    -Tavataar
  • VeritasVRVeritasVR Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Blaket wrote: »
    If you do end up doing fencing I would recommend not to do other poster's favourite styles (epee woo!) but to go to your club and see if it has any real strengths (and your local area in general). The reason why I suggest this is that for example if there is no one in the area doing epee (woo!) chances are you will not get a chance to really develop it because the people you will be fencing against will lack talent and stunt your growth as a fencer.

    For example no one here in Australia fences saber because it's devolved into a kind of flash and swing with not defensive technique whatsoever. As such it has become less popular. People who moved here is specialised in it when they were out of the country ended up shifting to mainly epee or foil so they can at least have some decent competition while fencing.

    Yes, as much as I love epee (woo x2!) your coach and competition will make you.

    But only consider this if you're remotely serious about sport fencing. If the OP is just in it for fun, then he could do whatever.
    Saber

    En garde. Ready, fe- *CRASHBOOM*

    "AAAAHHHH!"
    "WAAAAARGH!"

    Halt.

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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    thanks for the continuing advice. My current plan is to take Kendo classes over the summer and see if I enjoy it (If I do I will continue them when I move to Baltimore cash permitting) and I will also join the fencing club at the school I will be attending (UMBC). If anybody has information on their club that would be great if not I will just find out when I get down there.

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  • ScalfinScalfin __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    thanks for the continuing advice. My current plan is to take Kendo classes over the summer and see if I enjoy it (If I do I will continue them when I move to Baltimore cash permitting) and I will also join the fencing club at the school I will be attending (UMBC). If anybody has information on their club that would be great if not I will just find out when I get down there.

    If you're looking for western styles, I'm not sure Judo is the way to go. While I suppose there were some straight swords and axes that were used similarly, the katana was somewhat unusual in design and niche, probably owing to how advanced metallurgy was by the time its design was finalized.

    You'd probably be better off seeing if your area has people teaching Gatka, Silambam, Banshay, Silat, Eskrima, Krabi Krabong, Thang-Ta, norther kalari payat, Tahtib, or something. Most of those systems teach a variety of weapons, allowing you to figure out basic rules, and the others are forms of stick fighting that are likely to be closer than kendo.

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  • Rhan9Rhan9 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    The katana isn't really used in a similar way to a longsword, for example. It's shorter, and slightly quicker at cuts due to the length and curvature, but doesn't quite have the same reach or thrusting capability. It doesn't employ the hilt or the pommel in a similar fashion as the longsword either, and lacks the false edge. They are really very different weapons.

    That said, if you can't find anything that deals with the Historical European Swordsmanship, kendo is probably a better choice than modern fencing, as at least you use something that's vaguely similar as a weapon. Even if the technique differs.

    Honestly, I hope you find a place to try it out at some point, as it's very fun and enlightening(at dispelling hollywood impressions at least).

    Rhan9 on
  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Scalfin wrote: »
    I will also join the fencing club at the school I will be attending (UMBC). If anybody has information on their club that would be great if not I will just find out when I get down there.

    Their club is pretty good, and has a decent amount of members. I fenced in the same club circuit when I was in college. Nice kids; they lent me some tools when I needed to fix my equipment.

    My only warning is that unless they have an actual coach, and I do not remember if they do or not, you are likely to be taught by some kids who only half know what they are doing. If you end up going to the club, and liking fencing, I highly recommend checking out the BFC and taking some actual beginner lessons so that you learn everything properly. In the long run it will both make you a better fencer, and keep you from hurting yourself (or even someone else).

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  • Garret DoriganGarret Dorigan Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Whoa, no Kendo...

    Not if you're wanting to learn a historical wartime usage of the blade. (Before anybody says anything, I'm much more familiar with Eastern sword styles then European ones.) Kendo is pretty analogous to Fencing, in that the basics are rooted in a wartime usage, but then it is turned into sport.

    If you are wanting more historicaly accurate schooling look for Kenjutsu or Iaijutsu, or more likely, Gendai Budo.

    Basically, any Koryu school what you need to look for. If you want to be a 'renagade' of sorts, there is Niten Ichi Ryu, Miyamoto Musashi's two-sword art, but if you find a school for it, tell me where.

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  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    I would like to learn how to use a sword, leaning more towards a straight European style then anything Asian. Problem being I have No idea how to go about finding an instructor. I am currently in Cumberland Maryland a smaller town but in a few months I'll be in Baltimore for school so I am thinking maybe finding something down there.

    It's not realistic fighting by any means but Maryland is the home turf of Dagorhir (specifically Aratari chapter).

    Dagorhir is one of several boffer groups (aka the foam fighters) spread across the country, including Darkon, Belegarth, Dagorhir, IFGS, Amtgard, and several other smaller regional groups. They generally differ from SCA in that they all use a higher safety standard for constructing boffers so as to permit horde battles.

    Dagorhir's basic ruleset and Belegarth's boffer construction standards being common with most of the other groups. When the Belegarth realms split from Dagorhir in 2001 over license issues, most of the armorers who sold boffers commercially were in realms that sided with Belegarth.

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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    I would like to learn how to use a sword, leaning more towards a straight European style then anything Asian. Problem being I have No idea how to go about finding an instructor. I am currently in Cumberland Maryland a smaller town but in a few months I'll be in Baltimore for school so I am thinking maybe finding something down there.

    It's not realistic fighting by any means but Maryland is the home turf of Dagorhir (specifically Aratari chapter).

    Dagorhir is one of several boffer groups (aka the foam fighters) spread across the country, including Darkon, Belegarth, Dagorhir, IFGS, Amtgard, and several other smaller regional groups. They generally differ from SCA in that they all use a higher safety standard for constructing boffers so as to permit horde battles.

    Dagorhir's basic ruleset and Belegarth's boffer construction standards being common with most of the other groups. When the Belegarth realms split from Dagorhir in 2001 over license issues, most of the armorers who sold boffers commercially were in realms that sided with Belegarth.

    I have been invited to Dagorhir stuff almost every week for a year now, I have no interest in it whatsoever.

    It also looks like I will have to wait till I move to do anything as I didn't find any of the suggested styles in my searching around the area.

    Ziac45 on
  • A Dabble Of TheloniusA Dabble Of Thelonius It has been a doozy of a dayRegistered User regular
    edited May 2010
    I tried fencing, I was told I had the build for it. It was not a success. I cared too little for the myriad and thought too often about how if I sidestepped I could kick out the other guys knee.


    That said, it was a good workout.

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  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    I have been invited to Dagorhir stuff almost every week for a year now, I have no interest in it whatsoever.

    What about just, you know, going to see if you have fun and meet people?

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  • Ziac45Ziac45 Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    I have been invited to Dagorhir stuff almost every week for a year now, I have no interest in it whatsoever.

    What about just, you know, going to see if you have fun and meet people?

    They do it in the very middle of campus and with the school I am at currently that would pretty much kill my social life. I hate to sound uppity but I would never get laid again.

    Ziac45 on
  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    Ziac45 wrote: »
    I have been invited to Dagorhir stuff almost every week for a year now, I have no interest in it whatsoever.

    What about just, you know, going to see if you have fun and meet people?

    They do it in the very middle of campus and with the school I am at currently that would pretty much kill my social life. I hate to sound uppity but I would never get laid again.

    Wear a helmet with a mask and use a false name. :mrgreen:

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  • CangoFettCangoFett Registered User regular
    edited May 2010
    Theres also stick/machete fighting (the techniques are identical) via Kali/Escrima

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