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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



You probably won't be making the Olympics any time soon, but really, that's the worst reason not to try something cool. I'd say aside from body shape, pretty much everything you need in fencing you can work on. Poor reflexes get faster, coordination improves and your sense for spacing becomes sharper just by practicing diligently. You'll probably lose some of those pounds too.

Just make sure the club's a respectable one that offers a free introductory session. I hear there are places that don't, and you probably shouldn't go to those.

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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I've been very lucky that all the various martial arts clubs I've been to have been super chill and nice, so I don't really know any "avoid at all costs" signs. If the first time's free, just go and give it a shot. I guess number one thing is, you should feel safe practicing. Some nervousness is natural, but the club should be some safety precautions and rules of conduct and stuff. Number two is that you should feel comfortable asking questions, especially from the head instructor. Third, I dunno, I personally don't think it's really fair to ask newcomers to invest in a lot of equipment, so I hope the club's got spare gear for you to use.

Besides those, just trust your gut. You're going there to have fun, after all.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



ScratchAndSniff posted:

The facility is in a strange place (community center, above a gym, or a seemingly abandoned warehouse)
The first lesson at the School of European Swordsmanship in Helsinki is finding the bloody place. The salle's above a shady-looking car repair shop in the rear end-end of Helsinki, and the entrance is hidden behind the building, marked only with a tiny, faded sticker.

It's seriously the coolest club I've gone to thus far.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I absolutely don't want to poo poo on you guys' teaching methods, but without contex it sounds like you're really close to teaching to fail.

But really, you're probably alright. I'm just using this as an opportunity to plug Windsor's blog, because he's probably the best teacher I've ever had the chance to learn from. His series about running a beginners' course should be useful if you do that sort of thing.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



With the longsword in the very beginning, they're both clearly leading with their feet: Both guys step in before moving the sword, which leaves their face wide open. With the rapier, they're both deathly stiff and look like they're not paying any attention to their measure. I mean, they start off way too close to begin with, and when one guy moves, the other doesn't follow. And then the thin guy keeps presenting his left flank for no reason I can figure, and...

I feel kind of bad pooping on these guys like this, because I'm a complete amateur at any given style (I've just tried a bunch) but... C'mon, guys. :(

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



You have to remember the sword is fundamentally a labor-saving device. It's basically a wedge on a long lever, right? It breaks people apart much easier than a fist or a foot, so you don't need the same amount of raw power you would in an unarmed art.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Alright so, uh. Would you accept that speed and power are connected, but the fastest hit might not be the strongest? A jab is faster than a cross, right?

That's the magical thing about swords: You don't need maximum power, but maximum speed is super handy for both offense and defense. And not just the velocity at the tip of the blade, but the time between going "oh poo poo" and the blade moving. A jab's worth of power is enough to cut a dude up, so taking a full back-foot-to-front step (which is what I mean when I say "leading with feet") while keeing your sword behing you is just kind of dangerous.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



The historical fencing angle is relevant because this discussion was sparked over both me and ImplicitAssembler challenging the footwork of the historical fencers in the Phoenix Society's video.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Maybe look up aussie rules football.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Speaking of illustrating Fiore...

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Jherek Swanger's and William E. Wilson's translation of Ridolfo Capoferro's rapier manual is free to use for noncommercial purposes, so Roger Kay edited it into an absolutely gorgeous book, also free. Contains high-resolution scans of the illustrations from different editions of the original book.

Siivola fucked around with this message at 17:43 on Mar 4, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Invincible Spleen posted:

I also highly recommend picking up a copy of Guy Windsor's The Duellist's Companion, which is a modern English training guide for Capo Ferro's system.
While I'm all for throwing Windsor money (he is the coolest of Guys :downsrim:) I think it's fair to warn y'all he's planning to write a new rapier guide sometime soonish. The Companion is probably not terrible by any means, but in a year or three there will be something even better around.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



You're not going to lop someone's arm off, but it's still a heavy, sharp piece of metal I'd rather not have someone whack in my face.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



It's sort of a bad plan, because the hand is the easiest to defend. When you parry with a rapier, you're trying to catch their point with the part of your blade closest to your hand. Or, in Capoferro's terms, control their debole with your forte. That way you get maximum leverage on their sword while keeping your own point free to stick them in the eye.

Man, I should go back to the rapier classes, Capoferro is pretty cool. (You should check out the illustrations in the pdf I linked earlier, yowch! :ohdear:) It's just that the rapier is so friggin' heavy and difficult and I'm a complete wuss about it.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Rodrigo Diaz posted:

wrong. Get swole. Work those flexors
Yeah, this is the right answer. It's not that I can't control the point, I can't keep the drat sword up to begin with.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Guy Windsor's new book Swordfighting is out, in case you want to learn about the nerdiest fencing.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



ImplicitAssembler posted:

Wasn't that the guy claiming you should move your hands first?
Yes.

Edit: Here's how it's supposed to look. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L527rJI5usU

Siivola fucked around with this message at 19:34 on Mar 16, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Honestly, you should maybe approach Windsor or Dimicator's Roland Warzecha (the guy in the video) about it. I've tried to explain how I understand it, but you don't seem entirely convinced and I'm not 100% certain I've got it entirely right anyway. Warzecha maintains Dimicator's Facebook page and is very active, so you could try there first. Guy's got a contact page on his website, but he's on a vacation right now so he might not answer very fast.

If you don't mind spending some money to find out, I'd be willing to bet money the answer's in Guy's book The Medieval Longsword. I should really buy that myself. :(

Edit: I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough to go further on this topic, but I'd just like to emphasize that Guy is absolutely passionate about body mechanics and how to ground power. Exhibit A from his blog. He doesn't teach the way he does just because an old book says so, I'm sure.

Siivola fucked around with this message at 22:28 on Mar 16, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Crazy Achmed posted:

About hips vs hands first, at least in sport fencing it's hands first all the way. Hands move faster than the body, power isn't really an issue, and regardless of the weapon when attacking you ideally want to have the sharp bit of your weapon close to the other guy, but your target as far away as possible.
It's been this way since at least the 18th century when Domenico Angelo wrote his School of Fencing. He wasn't the first to write about the smallsword, either, so the principle of "extend, then lunge" is probably far older. Couldn't find it by skimming Capoferro's rapier manual, though.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I'm not a doctor, but (:pseudo:) you most likely could fracture the temporal bone with a solid blow from even a rapier. Even if you don't manage to damage the skull, you might still cause a dangerous concussion. However, if you just cut them on the head, it would probably just bleed a bunch since there's not a whole lot outside the skull to damage. You might lop off an ear, I guess?

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Ridolfo Capoferro posted:

39) I divide only the debole into the true and false edges, and not the forte, because the consideration does not occur that is made in the forte, which serves no other purpose than to parry, and were it without edge, and dulled, it would not be at all amiss, in place of point in the forte and the hilt, not only for gripping the sword, but also for covering oneself and chiefly the head in striking.
Translation by Wilson and Swanger. Note that Capoferro uses "forte" to refer to the lower half of the sword, and also that I' quoting from the theory section of his treatise.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



In case any of you historical fencing goons happen to be dicking around in Northern Europe in July, Guy Windsor's organizing another Fiore Extravaganza. This year's themes are wrestling, dagger and polearms.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



About half of the timidity probably comes from the fact that the duel is done and everybody has to go home the moment one dude gets a tiny little cut on the arm. If you want to emulate that, just make it a rule that whoever loses a point has to do thirty pushups, and any bout devolves into that tippy-tappy poo poo.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Hey guys, you know snake style kung fu, right? Today I went back to the class for the first time this year, and found the t-rex style longsword!

Hunched back and tiny stiff arms. Rawr. :v: Gonna take a couple of weeks to get back in the saddle.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Today I stabbed a cabbage to death with a dagger. :black101: What cool stuff have you guys been up to lately?

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Verisimilidude posted:

I sparred my teacher and did pretty well (but honestly he could destroy me if he wanted)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUrUoD3j4-k (I'm in the black jacket)
You're both wearing black jackets. :v: Are you the one in the Leon Paul mask?

Siivola fucked around with this message at 21:43 on May 8, 2015

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Okay, that helps. You're both playing pretty passively, so if you're looking for binds, you could try just attacking more. Whether you end with swords bound or if they bounce off depends hugely on the initial strike and how the attacker supports his sword. You get deflected when your blade is smacked in a direction it's not supported in, so if you want to really stick, you need to shift your grip a bit for more lateral support.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Moridin920 posted:

Also how old is too old to start fencing? I'm not trying to be competitive or anything, I just want to duel with some swords and have fun getting exercise.
You're never too old, as long as you've got a working arm.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Rabhadh posted:

What are the most common HEMA injuries anyway, elbow hyper extension?
Probably that for longsword, and strained knee for rapier. The weird postures might also aggravate existing back and shoulder problems, such as the ones you get from posting a lot. Doing smallsword and rapier and not working out game me a nasty pain in my left shoulder last winter, and it didn't go away until I started doing shoulder mobility exercises and lifting.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



dupersaurus posted:

The real danger is lunging with your knee ahead of your ankle. From what I've been told, that's a great way to screw your knee up, and I don't know if it really even gets you all that much extra. So don't do that.
The way my fencing coach explained it last week, the important detail is the way your center of mass is moving. If you step too short, you basically end up stopping your forward momentum with the wrong muscles, which puts an immense strain on your knee. If, however, you take a long-rear end step well ahead of your center of mass, it turns into a squat-like strain which knees are built to handle, and you can pull off ridiculous poo poo like this no problem:


So keep your heels well ahead of your rear end at all times, and you should do fine.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



For signaling, and to separate the fencers without having to dive all the way in, I think. I'm pretty sure you can see it in old fencing competition illustrations, but I don't have any handy right now.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Just wear a harness of plate like a proper knight. What are you, some kind of peasant? :smaug:

I've been thinking about daggers a lot recently, but man, every time we drill I realize I have no dang idea how to grapple. All this poo poo would be so much easier if I had spent my youth wrestling with the neighbourhood kids instead of holing up inside to read D&D novels. I'm pretty certain if I actually knew how to wrestle, even making the covers would be easier.

Guess I know what I'll be focusing on for the next while.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Rodrigo Diaz posted:

I mean, if fights were such a death sentence how would we even develop the techniques to begin with? There is clearly more to the fechtbuchs than guys who have never fought before suddenly sitting down to write comprehensive systems of defence.
I agree entirely. One medieval author writing about dagger defenses you maybe could disregard as ~low percentage~ bullshido, but the same techniques pop up time and again across centuries and whole continents. There's probably a meaningful difference between Fiore's abrazare, Meyer's ringen and Japanese jujutsu schools, but man, poo poo looks identical. It just makes no sense we have all these dudes laying down all this stuff for surviving a dagger assault (in Fiore's case, over 100 dang illustrations) if they make no meaningful difference. Not to mention all the German fencing guilds that made their money by training people to fight in a context where getting stabbed at was still a respected profession.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Crazy Achmed posted:

I'd have thought that barefoot would be worse for HEMA, given that the blades look a lot stiffer? I know that target is all way above the feet, but all it takes is for someone to spaz out and lose control of a cut/thrust for half a second and suddenly it ends up in the wall, floor, etc.
This is not very high on my list of things to prepare for, to be honest. to put things into perspective, it's super common for people to practice without gloves, too, and people don't generally make a fuss over that.

Really, fencing barefoot on mats is hardly the most outlandish thing. I'm pretty sure all Japanese styles go barefoot, mats or no mats, and wearing shoes on mat sounds weird in general (I just don't get wrestlers).

I wouldn't pick just any shoe for HEMA stuff, either, but that's because I rolled an ankle two years ago wearing running shoes and still hate and fear all shoes with mushy padded heels. My shoes of choice are off-brand All-Stars, and I've been pretty happywith both the price, and how much balance the thin flat sole gives me.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Verisimilidude posted:

Not mine, but here's some neat sidesword + dagger sparring.
I think you forgot the video.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



thewireguy posted:

They said full gear, including a steel sword costs about $1,500, 500 for the sword. Is this accurate? Links?
That sounds pretty accurate. $500 is what Albion Swords charges for their line of training swords, for instance. Arms & Armor is only slightly more expensive. I'm fairly sure both are well-regarded brands, and they're both from the US so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding a sword.

For protective equipment, you should probably consult Verisimilidude since he does free fencing and should know how people do things on your side of the pond. You can get a feel for the prices by browsing, for instance, Purpleheart Armory, but note that their masks are only rated for 350 Newtons. If your club rules say you should have a proper FIE-certified 1600N mask, it's going to cost a bunch more.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



thewireguy posted:

I may have to give up eating out, but what first?
If your club is like ours and insists on masks while drilling, you should probably start with that. As long as you make sure it fits properly, having your own mask should be a massive quality of life improvement.

After that, heck, get the sword. You know you want to, and it's going to be your #1 most-used piece of equipment.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



I'm starting to think our club does things super weird when we just hand newcomers steel blunts, go "okay so rule #1 is everyone leaves healthier than they came in" and have them doing controlled pair drills by the end of their first class. Wearing masks when drilling is an absolute rule, but very few people wear gloves.

Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



thewireguy posted:

Holy poo poo, they want 100 to 2,300 bucks for the art of combat by Joachim Meyers.
A new edition was published in December, get that instead. It's like 20 on British Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1848327781

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Siivola
Dec 23, 2012



Okay which one of you is the guy going "this would never work in the cage" in the comments? :v:

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