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Author Topic: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?  (Read 9944 times)

Kentbob

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Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« on: May 19, 2006, 01:24:12 PM »

I was at my buddy's Kuntao club the other day, and I was playing with some of the instructors when the head instructor came up and started talking with us.  He made the comment that he could tell that what I was doing was stick based, because I was meeted all the sumbradas stick to stick, as opposed to stick to flesh, or something like that.  Then he demonstrated how in his art they either pass the blow, block stick to flesh, or turn the blade and block with the flat of the blade.  Now, say I have my barong in hand.  Is it really a good idea to try and block with the flat of the blade, as opposed to edge to edge?  I know that it will ding the edges pretty good if we go edge to edge.  I don't want to get into the habit of trying to pass every strike either, and sometimes you just can't hit the arm, it seems like.  So the best thing out of these seems to be block with the flat of the blade. 
Any comments?

Kent
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Hock

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2006, 01:58:51 PM »

That is probably one family's approach to doing sumbraba.

In the Phillipines, with dull bolos, the GMs at the various camps dill drills and fought. Also edge to edge.

One-they like the sparks!

Two- it takes a lot of skiill turning to the flat side every half-second of sumbrada impact. Takes a lot skll.

For the Samurai, only some, not a majority I don't think, a minority turn their katanas to the flat side for blocking. So not even most of the masters of the sword turn their blades to the flat side for blocking.

Katanas are often made proudly to withstand the edge to edge impact.

Machettes are real cheap. Get a new one.
A machete fight may only last a few seconds anyway.
I say ding on.

What's the big deal?
Hock
« Last Edit: May 19, 2006, 05:06:13 PM by HockHoch@aol.com »
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Professor

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2006, 02:31:54 PM »


I've never liked blocking with the side of the blade

1) we use our own blade/stick/knife hand to the side of an opponents blade to disarm.....Why would I put myself in a disarm situation?

2)  If you want to break your blade on a rock.....how would you hit it (flat side)...

3)  If you wanted to break a blade in a vice.....how would you bend it (flat side)....

4)  Chip the blade?  No problemo....serrated edge.

Finally, I'm going to be blocking to the arm/hand in most cases as I rush in/out.


Just don't like it.....bad medicine all around.
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2006, 12:59:40 AM »

I watched a live demo of 2 barongs hitting edge to edge & they stuck together. Had to be pulled apart pretty hard. I thick if you are the one who does not know that can & will happen then you just may give the other guy the advantage.

In that seminar I went to we were able to pick up the suttle movement it takes to deflect with the side of the blade & you were to diagonal cant to the blade at the same time to hepl it deflect the blow.

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2006, 06:58:48 AM »

I watched a live demo of 2 barongs hitting edge to edge & they stuck together. Had to be pulled apart pretty hard. I thick if you are the one who does not know that can & will happen then you just may give the other guy the advantage.

In that seminar I went to we were able to pick up the suttle movement it takes to deflect with the side of the blade & you were to diagonal cant to the blade at the same time to hepl it deflect the blow.


If I'm fighting against a blade.....that's a good outcome to me.   

Be careful watching live demos:  They are wanting to hit blade and keep the flow going.....not to kill each other.    Take a stick....do a demo -- and try to kill each other.....and it will become clear that there isn't much of a demo.
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2006, 09:11:40 AM »

I assume we are talking blade to blade for the sake of the art as opposed to any real life senarios?
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Hock

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 10:32:40 AM »

I am happy just to block the damn thing.

Too much artsy work for me to ALWAYS worry about canting or turning the blade to the flat side. Jeez...what expectations.

Ding away.

Kentbob, my advice is when you go back, just smile, be a courteuous guest and say "thanks, sir." That is just the way "that house" does it.


Be careful watching live demos:  They are wanting to hit blade and keep the flow going.....not to kill each other.    Take a stick....do a demo -- and try to kill each other.....and it will become clear that there isn't much of a demo


Yeah, remember my lecture on the safe-training range, and the reality deep training range.

Hock

Kentbob

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2006, 11:46:16 AM »

I assume we are talking blade to blade for the sake of the art as opposed to any real life senarios?

Yes, mostly.  BUT I don't want to do something for an art, that just isn't necessary.  If you understand what I mean. 

Thanks for the advice and input, Hock, Professor, and everyone else.

Kent
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Crazyguywithasword

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2006, 11:03:21 PM »

This is an extremely hotly debated topic in WMA circles....this thread would be 10 pages long on some forums....
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2006, 07:34:15 AM »

This is an extremely hotly debated topic in WMA circles....this thread would be 10 pages long on some forums....
 

 
 By WMA what do you mean Weapons martial arts? Western Martial arts?

Hock

Crazyguywithasword

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2006, 09:23:43 PM »

WMA means western martial arts, yes. Its used by people who do historical swordsmanship (its what I used to do, its how I got my moniker). - Nick
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2006, 09:27:35 PM »

Does this problem seem to happen more with-

Cheap swords?

Bigger than 14 inch blade swords?

Is heft-plus-poor-quality produce more of this problem?

Hock

Kentbob

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2006, 09:41:51 PM »

Does this problem seem to happen more with-

Cheap swords?

Bigger than 14 inch blade swords?

Is heft-plus-poor-quality produce more of this problem?

Hock

Well, the instructor referred to "family swords", that had been in the family for generations.  Now, I don't know much about that sort of thing, but as I think you said, Hock, bolos are cheap.  So, I don't really know. 



Kent
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Irishtacticts

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2006, 07:04:27 PM »

This is an awsome topic.

My Instructer carries a Machettie in his car. he said he uses it for weed wacken.

so it gos to show you if you mug some one while there doing yard work they might cut your head clean off.
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2006, 01:35:15 PM »

Katanas are often made proudly to withstand the edge to edge impact.



I must humbly disagree here, Hock.


Katana, like virtually all other Asian swords, are differentially heat-treated--i.e., the edge is super-hard, and the back is soft, to keep the thing from shattering.  Parrying with the edge of a katana will result in very bad chipping of the blade.

With most later European swords, the weapon is given a stiff "spring" temper throughout the blade, so the edge is tougher (but it also needs to be sharpened more frequently because of this).  Also, later European swords typically feature a blunt forte, and this is where parrying is performed anyway, so edge-to-edge parrying is not a big deal.  Edge parrying was certainly the norm in Western European cut-and-thrust systems (broadsword, backsword, cavalry saber, naval cutlass, spadroon, & duelling saber).
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2006, 03:02:49 PM »

Katana, like virtually all other Asian swords, are differentially heat-treated--i.e., the edge is super-hard, and the back is soft, to keep the thing from shattering.  Parrying with the edge of a katana will result in very bad chipping of the blade

I wonder why so few sword schools worried about it?

and could be too, that how many practitioners are really training blade-to-blade long enough to notice and record damage the problem?

Hock
« Last Edit: June 04, 2006, 03:14:05 PM by HockHoch@aol.com »
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fabbe

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2006, 03:13:14 PM »

Katanas are often made proudly to withstand the edge to edge impact.

I must humbly disagree here, Hock.


And I must humbly agree with Hock... :)

Anyone remember this video clip...?

http://hockscombatforum.com/index.php?topic=982.0

If a katana can take several hits from a .50 calibre machine gun - then maybe it can also handle a blade-to-blade block without breaking...

/F
« Last Edit: June 04, 2006, 03:22:35 PM by fabbe »
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2006, 03:18:37 PM »

Katana, like virtually all other Asian swords, are differentially heat-treated--i.e., the edge is super-hard, and the back is soft, to keep the thing from shattering.  Parrying with the edge of a katana will result in very bad chipping of the blade

I wonder why so few sword schools worried about it?

and could be too, that how many practitioners are really training blade-to-blade long enough to notice and record damage the problem?

Hock


I have always had the understanding that parrying with the edge is a big no-no in kenjutsu, and the design of the weapon itself supports that.

Japanese swordsmen preferred counteroffensive actions (such as what we refer to in Western fencing as a stop-cut), or otherwise parried with the soft, resilient back of the blade.

However, if you have evidence of classical kenjutsu ryu advocating edge parries as the norm, I'll be more than willing to modify my stance on this issue.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2006, 03:23:03 PM by Escrime Anglais »
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2006, 03:21:18 PM »

Katanas are often made proudly to withstand the edge to edge impact.

I must humbly disagree here, Hock.


And I must humbly agree with Hock... :)

Anyone remember this video clip...?

http://hockscombatforum.com/index.php?topic=982.0

If a katana can take SEVERAL hits from a .50 calibre machine gun - then maybe it can also handle a blade-to-blade block without breaking...

/F


With all due respect, that is not the same as two sword edges clashing together.

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fabbe

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2006, 04:25:18 PM »

With all due respect, that is not the same as two sword edges clashing together.

That might be so - but for bolos, machetes and other long blades, I've been taught that the edge-to-edge block should be avoided primarily due to the risk of the blades getting caught. If that happens, there is a significant chance that you (or your opponent - depending on who has the weakest grip) will lose the blade, i.e. get DISARMED.

Blocking with the flat of the blade - or deflecting against the flat of your opponent's blade - usually prevents that from happening, since the blades won't clash together edge-to-edge (and get stuck).

In any case, 99.99% of all blade fights you'll ever end up in - IF ANY - will be just too damned short and chaotic for you to worry about not denting your blade. In most cases, you should be more worried about not denting your skull...

/F
« Last Edit: June 04, 2006, 04:37:09 PM by fabbe »
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Hock

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2006, 04:25:41 PM »

Ok, looked at this film again. It is very cool and amazing.

I wonder what all that means?
Given the variables...type of bullet and type of sword...speed of bullet...
Does a metal bullet hit harder than a swinging sword?

If you are battling someone, do you care if your katana edge becomes serrated, because people can't swing as hard as a .50 caliber bullet? How long before before your average katana breaks in half like this when hit by another katana?

Experts in metals and physics need explain. Call the Mythbusters!

<<<>>

I would have do dig through a lot of books for pros and cons for Katana and sword schools emphasing the block, because frankly I just can't remember. What I do remember (and I no Katana expert, period!) not much ever being said about turning the blade for blocks.

I received instruction on blocking movements and none warned of blade turning, (unless I feel asleep for that part) from groups form Oklahoma (Yee-hah. There's a sword capital for ya!) Washington DC and New York City. But also know other guys who got their black belts in Tokyo and did sword work there too...

You know...calling Professor Allen! Calling the Mad Professor! Who was that world renown katana guy in Denton we knew, was at that Aikido school? Simple name...like Johnny ...something... I haven't seen him in 10 years.
I'd be curious to know what he would say?

Hock
« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 09:28:29 AM by HockHoch@aol.com »
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2006, 05:01:18 PM »


That might be so - but for bolos, machetes and other long blades, I've been taught that the edge-to-edge block should be avoided primarily due to the risk of the blades getting caught. If that happens, there is a significant chance that you (or your opponent - depending on who has the weakest grip) will lose the blade, i.e. get DISARMED.

Blocking with the flat of the blade - or deflecting against the flat of your opponent's blade - usually prevents that from happening, since the blades won't clash together edge-to-edge (and get stuck).


Edge & Flat parries both have their pros and cons.

The main problem I see with flat parries is that they are often mechanically weaker, because one must place one's wrist in an awkward position.

Anyway, counteroffensive actions are preferable with swords that lack a substantial handguard.



Quote
In any case, 99.99% of all blade fights you'll ever end up in - IF ANY - will be just too damned short and chaotic for you to worry about not denting your blade. In most cases, you should be more worried about not denting your skull...

/F


Obviously, parrying with the edge--even with a weapon not designed and/or optimized for such actions--is preferable to getting cut or clobbered.  That's common sense.

However, that wasn't the point--I was simply commenting on the correct use of edged weapons, based on design, fighting style, etc.
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Professor

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2006, 05:48:23 PM »


You know...calling Professor Allen! Calling the Mad Professor! Who was that world renoun katana guy in Denton we knew, was at that Aikido school? Simnple name...like Johnny ...something... I haven't seen him in 10 years.
I'd be curious to know what he would say?

Hock


John Ray

"He would simply say to keep your head on."

The training sessions (Muso Jikiden Eishinryu Iaido) that I attended with one of his teachers utilized blade-to-blade.   I've never seen one on their katas utilizing the flat of the blade to block.
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2006, 06:01:23 PM »


You know...calling Professor Allen! Calling the Mad Professor! Who was that world renoun katana guy in Denton we knew, was at that Aikido school? Simnple name...like Johnny ...something... I haven't seen him in 10 years.
I'd be curious to know what he would say?

Hock


John Ray

"He would simply say to keep your head on."

The training sessions (Muso Jikiden Eishinryu Iaido) that I attended with one of his teachers utilized blade-to-blade.

I assume you mean edge-to-edge?
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2006, 09:27:29 AM »

Hello Hock & Everyone Else,

Well, I did a little constructive Googling, and the issue regarding parrying specifics with Japanese swords is rather complicated.

I found a pertinent thread in E-Budo.com, which seemed like the best source for info on this subject.  The thread is here:

http://www.e-budo.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-4019.html


Of particular interest was the input of Professor William Bodiford:

Earl Hartman wrote:

*quote*

1. Is edge to edge contact in blocking and parrying consciously taught in classical sword traditions? When I say "classical traditions" I specifically mean documented Japanese ryuha, not modern interpretations on the part of people who claim to be doing "classical swordsmanship". In the specific kata of specific ryuha, is blocking and parrying consciously done edge to edge? If so, why, if not, why not?

*end quote*

Hi Earl.

The simple answer is "yes." In every demonstration of every ryuha that I have witnessed the kata are demonstrated with edge to edge contact, not just when using wooden swords (bokuto) or leather-covered bamboo swords (fukuro shinai) but also when using steel swords.


However, Bodiford also stressed the following, which backs up what I said about Asian sword construction:

In fact I saw one especially memorable demonstration by members of the Jikishinkageryu in which two swordsmen used real swords in a sustained period of extremely fast and powerful attack-parry-counter attack. (What I would characterize as two-person combination ukenagashi-kirikaeshi, although my terminology might not be understood outside of Kashima-Shinryu). Sparks flew into the air throughout the exchange. Afterwards I got to look at the swords they used. They had so many nicks in their blades that they practically looked like saw teeth. {emphasis added}


Even more interesting was Bodiford's commentary that such edge parrying is not universal, and that alternate forms of parrying are employed as well:

The complicated answer is "yes and no." In other words, it is impossible to know what is being taught just by observing kata from the outside. Good kata should work on the practitioners and should be all but invisible to outside observers...



Regardless of kata --- from the beginner ones to the most advanced ones --- I can easily perform any one of them with edge-to-edge contact, with back-of-blade-to-edge contact, or without any sword-to-sword contact at all. It is so simple to go from any one of these modes to any other one that it requires no thought, no preparation, no time, and no reflexes. In fact, we usually practice battojutsu by unsheathing the sword and striking the receiver in one seamless motion. The strike is performed with the back of the blade. But the same kata can be performed in front of a makiwara that will be cut in half. The motion, movement, timing, speed (etc.) are exactly the same regardless of what part of the blade is used.



Hope this helps.



Best,


EA

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2006, 12:42:07 PM »

The historical price for a hand made battle quality sword has been a years wage for a peasant.   That price has not changed even today.  Call up the "Angel Sword" armory and they want ~$10k-$15k for a damascus steel sword.  Get a hand-made katana and the master will want, ~$10k-$15k for a sword.  You can, of course, get a cold steel katana for ~$350 but I seriously doubt that it would stand up to a folded steel katana made in the traditional manner.

Put yourself in the position of a professional warrior in a culture in which the warrior provided his own equipment.  Certainly might have wanted to block in such a manner that his sword  didn't have to be replaced after every fight.

A step down from a battle quality sword is a dueling sword.  These are just to carry around town and used for occasional self defense for a nobleman.  Such blade would be cheap enough that you wouldn't mind replacing them.  Most fencing sword are in this category.  As long as the thing makes it through the fight, you are happy. 
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2006, 12:58:39 PM »


A step down from a battle quality sword is a dueling sword.  These are just to carry around town and used for occasional self defense for a nobleman.  Such blade would be cheap enough that you wouldn't mind replacing them.  Most fencing sword are in this category.  As long as the thing makes it through the fight, you are happy. 

That is a gross generalization, and it is not entirely accurate, either.

First off, define "fencing sword".

Secondly, if you're talking about European noblemen and duelling, then you're talking about the smallsword and the later epee de combat--both of these weapons are pure thrusting tools, and don't have any appreciable cutting edge, so edge parrying is not a problem at all.
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2006, 01:01:20 PM »

I must say, I didn't expect to generate this much discussion, but so far it has been very interesting.  This pleases me greatly.  Continue.

Kent
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2006, 08:24:56 PM »

Then there is the ever popular tanto style. japanese, chinese, came down from the mountain brussell sprout combat special.
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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2006, 01:24:52 PM »


A step down from a battle quality sword is a dueling sword.  These are just to carry around town and used for occasional self defense for a nobleman.  Such blade would be cheap enough that you wouldn't mind replacing them.  Most fencing sword are in this category.  As long as the thing makes it through the fight, you are happy. 

That is a gross generalization, and it is not entirely accurate, either.

First off, define "fencing sword".

SR>>A fencing sword would be like a European rapier, foil, epee or a chinese "scholars" sword.  Straight sword, sharpened at the end or towards the end, lightweight, often flexible, allows deep thrusts, but only shallow slashes, not generally sturdy enough to penetrate armor or stand up to really heavy abuse.

EA>>Secondly, if you're talking about European noblemen and duelling, then you're talking about the smallsword and the later epee de combat--both of these weapons are pure thrusting tools, and don't have any appreciable cutting edge, so edge parrying is not a problem at all.

SR>>Exactly.  I was making a generalization to include Chinese noblemen as well. There are several morphs of the Chinese straight sword (Jin or Gim), there is a "scholars" sword and a "gentleman's" sword.  The primary difference is the flexibility of the blade.  The gentlemans sword  is so flexible you can bend it back on itself.  Idea was to get it inside armor chinks and then thrust.  Neither sword was sturdy enough for military combat.  Both were primarily dueling weapons.  No comparison between these swords and, chinese saber or broadsword (not the Peking opera version which has an overly wide blade so it will show up on stage well) which looks like a Katana but with different metallurgy.

It really doesn't matter what culture you are in, people want sturdy weapons for military combat that can stand up to repeated blows and last for long periods of time when replacement is difficult.  In times of peace or while at home, noblemen wanted something lighter for everyday carry.  Exception to this was Japan, where military combat was a collection of duels, so the military sword and the dueling sword were the same.  The basic principle carries over to nearly every weapon.  Compare the weight of your average police service weapon with the weight of the average military firearm.  Police don't want to carry automatic rifles or carbines around all day.  Too heavy.  Too big.  We carry smaller pistols for every day civilian use.
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