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Author Topic: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?  (Read 10520 times)

Crazyguywithasword

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #30 on: June 06, 2006, 01:54:57 PM »

People fought with all sorts of different weapons in duels in Europe. Longswords, broadsword and buckler, rapier, smallsword, cudgel, pistols, it all depends. And more or less most of those weapons were also carried into battle. Soldiers tended to prefer weapons that were better for cutting because they tend A. be easier to use and B. better when fighting multiples. True, swords carried in battle also stood up to more than a delicate smallsword or even most rapiers would but thats because of the nature of the weapons design and later on even smaller delicate weapons were carried in great numbers by officers, so terms like "battle ready" are really just catchy phrases though up by modern swordmakers (usually bad ones) to denote a weapon that wont fall apart when you strike another person with it.
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #31 on: June 06, 2006, 02:16:21 PM »


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.


Perhaps, then, you'd care to explain how the rappir (i.e., "rapier") of the Germans was capable of completely severing a hand at the wrist.

Modern folks sometimes get too caught up in pigeonholing various weapon types.

In actuality, the word "rapier" meant different things at different times.  The rappir was actually a rather stout-bladed sword, suitable not only for civilian self-defense, but also for war.



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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.



If it's not suitable for "military combat", then why would one use it "to get it inside armor chinks"?



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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.


Different metallurgy?  Please elaborate.



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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.


You appear to be unaware that the situation in Europe was similar to that in Japan.  The complex-hilted, cut-and-thrust spada of Achille Marozzo (a precursor to the rapier) was used both for civilian self-defense and duelling, as well as for war.  Keep in mind that the "gentlemen adventurers" of the Renaissance transcended the line between "civilian" and "military"--ostensibly, they were "civilians", but they typically volunteered for military service during times of war.  The weapons they used were suitable for both purposes.

You're also ignoring the fact that weapons which are commonly thought of in purely "military" terms today were often used for civilian purposes.  For example, the great two-handed sword so often associated with the landsknecht mercenaries was also used not just by soldiers, but by city guards patrolling the streets, and by "civilian" duellists.
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"Perfect fight standeth upon both cut and thrust." --George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence, 1599

seanross

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #32 on: June 06, 2006, 06:10:03 PM »




EA>>Perhaps, then, you'd care to explain how the rappir (i.e., "rapier") of the Germans was capable of completely severing a hand at the wrist.

SR>>I certainly cannot argue etymology with you, and definitely not in German.  I am certain that various similar sounding words meant all kinds of things.  The rapier I was referring to is the thin, ~ 3 feet long blade of the late renaissance, often used with a dagger in the off hand.





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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.

EA>>If it's not suitable for "military combat", then why would one use it "to get it inside armor chinks"?

SR>>The flexible one was for swords masters as a backup weapon, not a soldiers primary weapon.  Kind of like the Hoplite warrior of ancient Greece carried a sword as a backup in case the spear failed.  The other point is that Asians didn't develop the chain mail or plate armor in the same way westerners did.  Lots of linked plates of bamboo or metal tied together with silk or moveable plates of bamboo.  Lots of chinks.  You might stand a chance against an armed assailant with a dueling sword.  Try that against a medeaval European knight or his Roman predecessor and you would just have your head handed you.


EA>>Different metallurgy?  Please elaborate.

SR>>As I have heard things, the Japanese specialized in the folded steel technique that was the Asian equivalent of Damascus steel.  I think the Chinese versions were hammer forged.  At least, that is the tradition I have heard from the Lung Chuan armory which claims a very ancient lineage.  In any event, you can purchase blades which the vendors claim are authentic, ancient chinese designs in which the blade looks like the curve of a katana but instead of the round guard it has an "S" shaped guard and no wound laquer handle.  Within the Chinese martial arts community, it is accepted that the blade design of the Japanese Katana is Chinese, but the metallurgy is Japanese.

EA>>You appear to be unaware that the situation in Europe was similar to that in Japan.  The complex-hilted, cut-and-thrust spada of Achille Marozzo (a precursor to the rapier) was used both for civilian self-defense and duelling, as well as for war.  Keep in mind that the "gentlemen adventurers" of the Renaissance transcended the line between "civilian" and "military"--ostensibly, they were "civilians", but they typically volunteered for military service during times of war.  The weapons they used were suitable for both purposes.

SR>>And as the medeaval era progressed through the renaissance, the swords people carried for daily use generally got lighter and thinner.  Who wanted to walk through town carrying a Gross Messer or a Claymore?  Maybe if one was out adventuring, but in the town of ones residence just doing general business and making social calls?  I'm sorry, but when you look at late renaissance portraits of noblemen, they aren't pictured with huge swords.  They had thin rapier/foil/Jin like dueling swords.  One can imagine that is what they went "out on the town" wearing.

Separate point is that the "gentlemen adventurers" were likely of the nobility.  In the late renaissance that meant they were generally officers, not soldiers. This is different from the case of feudal Japan in which the nobility were professional warriors and served as both officer and soldier.  Peasants weren't allowed to fight.  Same with the Hoplite warrior of ancient Greece and the Legionnaire of early Republican Rome.  It was the landowners who fought.  Peasants and slaves didn't fight unless their patron equipped them and brought them with him.  This changed with the conquest of the Macedonians as well as with the Imperial Roman army, which was equipped at the expense of the state and became increasingly more populated with the underclass, in some cases paid by the nobility to fight for them.
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Escrime Anglais

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #33 on: June 06, 2006, 10:46:22 PM »



SR>>I certainly cannot argue etymology with you, and definitely not in German.  I am certain that various similar sounding words meant all kinds of things.  The rapier I was referring to is the thin, ~ 3 feet long blade of the late renaissance, often used with a dagger in the off hand.


The rapier you describe, and the rappir of the Germans, existed side-by-side, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries A.D./C.E.  The German rappir, like the Italian spada that it was basically a copy of, could be used either alone, or with a large parrying dagger of the pugnale Bolognese variety.  In some Western European countries, the small hand buckler, as well as the larger target or targe, were alternate secondaries to the sword.





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SR>>The flexible one was for swords masters as a backup weapon, not a soldiers primary weapon.  Kind of like the Hoplite warrior of ancient Greece carried a sword as a backup in case the spear failed.  The other point is that Asians didn't develop the chain mail or plate armor in the same way westerners did.  Lots of linked plates of bamboo or metal tied together with silk or moveable plates of bamboo.  Lots of chinks.  You might stand a chance against an armed assailant with a dueling sword.  Try that against a medeaval European knight or his Roman predecessor and you would just have your head handed you.

The only "bamboo" armor I'm aware of is that used on the do (torso guard) of modern kendo armor.  The Japanese used lamellar armor of iron plates laced together either with silk cord or leather thongs.  Various types of lamellar armor & brigandines were used in Continental Asia as well.




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SR>>As I have heard things, the Japanese specialized in the folded steel technique that was the Asian equivalent of Damascus steel.  I think the Chinese versions were hammer forged.  At least, that is the tradition I have heard from the Lung Chuan armory which claims a very ancient lineage.  In any event, you can purchase blades which the vendors claim are authentic, ancient chinese designs in which the blade looks like the curve of a katana but instead of the round guard it has an "S" shaped guard and no wound laquer handle.  Within the Chinese martial arts community, it is accepted that the blade design of the Japanese Katana is Chinese, but the metallurgy is Japanese.


The Japanese specialized in folded steel, but both they and the Chinese (indeed, virtually all Asian smiths) made use of differential heat treatment.  The refractory clay method was actually pioneered by the Chinese during the early Tang Dynasty, and was then adopted by the Japanese.  This method generally fell out of favor in China by the Song Dynasty, but the Japanese continued to use it, due to the limited iron ore available to them.



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SR>>And as the medeaval era progressed through the renaissance, the swords people carried for daily use generally got lighter and thinner.  Who wanted to walk through town carrying a Gross Messer or a Claymore?


Soldiers and city guards did exactly that.

The period I was referring to is the same one you are referring to--the Renaissance.  Two-handed swords were used by city guards in the late 16th century, during the heyday of the rapier you spoke of earlier.


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Maybe if one was out adventuring, but in the town of ones residence just doing general business and making social calls?  I'm sorry, but when you look at late renaissance portraits of noblemen, they aren't pictured with huge swords.  They had thin rapier/foil/Jin like dueling swords.  One can imagine that is what they went "out on the town" wearing.


I guess you need to look at more Renaissance artwork, because the issue isn't that simple.  In fact, a close examination of 16th and 17th century pictorial sources reveals folks using a wide variety of edged weapons in both the civilian and military contexts--thin-bladed rapiers, stouter cut-and-thrust swords, basket-hilted broadswords & backswords, messers, sabels, stortas, bastard swords, two-handed swords, and so forth.

As I already stated, many folks wore (and used) stouter-bladed cut-and-thrust swords like the German rappir.  A similar weapon was the reitschwert.  These had complex swept hilts like the rapier you describe, but with blades that were equally lethal with both point and edge.  I was fortunate to handle an original German example during a recent trip to the Higgins Armory Museum.

English and Scottish swordsmen likewise preferred their basket-hilted broadswords and backswords (sometimes referred to as "short swords", despite often having blades upwards of 37"-40") to thin rapiers.



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Separate point is that the "gentlemen adventurers" were likely of the nobility.


Indeed they were--that's what made them "gentlemen".  ;)



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In the late renaissance that meant they were generally officers, not soldiers.



They were both officers and soldiers, actually.

At Lepanto in 1571 (again, during the heyday of the thin-bladed rapier), Don Juan's flagship had some 100 gentlemen adventurers aboard.  This was the climax of galley warfare, and these were all fighting men, equipped with half- or three-quarter plate armor, and fighting as assault infantry with swords, two-handed swords, half-pikes, and other polearms.

Alessandro Farnese, who was the Duke of Parma in the late 16th century, fought at Lepanto with a two-handed sword (spadone), and he also served in the Low Countries as an ordinary pikeman (it was not considered at all demeaning for a nobleman to serve as a pikeman, because the pike was, as the Spanish said, the senora y reyna de las armas--i.e., the "mistress and queen of weapons").  Farnese later rose to become the Commander of the Spanish Army of Flanders, but he still preferred to fight with a stout cut-and-thrust spada and a steel rotella (shield).

 

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This is different from the case of feudal Japan in which the nobility were professional warriors and served as both officer and soldier.


Yes--just like their European counterparts.

Keep in mind that those gentlemen adventurers were the Renaissance equivalent of Medieval knights.  Training in the martial arts (horsemanship, fencing, wrestling, etc) was a part of their education.



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Peasants weren't allowed to fight.



Actually, some Japanese peasants were allowed to fight--the ashigaru.  During this same period (the late 16th & early 17th centuries), these peasant samurai formed important units of archers, arquebusiers, and spearmen.

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"Perfect fight standeth upon both cut and thrust." --George Silver, Paradoxes of Defence, 1599

D. McLemore

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2006, 02:03:03 PM »

 Hey Hoch,  I agree with you, block or parry something, whatever you have time to or can hit. Preferably a piece of meat is best. This is what I learned over the past decade working with the Rennaissance & Medieval  research people.  Rapiers could cut, they also parried, or blocked if you will,  both the Spanish & Germans used the rapier to cut with also.  Yes it was primarly a thrusting weapon and used a lot by civilians. Cut & Thrust (modern name) swords are a bit of a different dog, while they were not exclusive to them, they were used heavily by the military. George Silver and Marrozo addressed these a lot. You could block and parry with these primary cutting weapons. The techniques for each are a bit different. The rapier, because of its flexibility, has portions of the blade that make it weak to block or parry with (Fabris talks about this) so there was a tendency to parry with the edge as opposed to the flat because the weapon would bend too much.  You'll hear a lot of bunk passed aroulnd about the value of flat edge parrying.  Personally, in the heat of a fight, I don't think it ever occured much, besides you can knock your own weapon out of your hand if you block too hard with the flat. Best to block or parry with the edge or heel of the blade and not too near the point. 
   Back to the point.  When you talk about knives, I don't see much steel to steel work even with the big knives. Yep, there are some parries and blocks that one should learn but you'll find you will just as easily hit his hand as to TRY to hit the steel.  Yes, you should try to train with some of this but just keep this stuff in perspective. Barongs and Machete fall into the category of almost short swords so there is some value for learning to block and parry there.   That is my 2 cents for all the Western Martial Arts experts to chew on.

Best
Dwight
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swanson10

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #35 on: July 17, 2006, 09:02:33 PM »

I'd rather survive with a dull blade than die with a sharp one. But that is probably just a testament to my lack of ability.
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grlaun

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Re: Blade to Blade, blocking with the flat?
« Reply #36 on: July 15, 2008, 01:51:22 PM »

Hell!  That was sure a good debate between weapons buffs!  COOL!
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