Useful Notes European Swordsmanship Discussion

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LastChronicler
Topic
09:43:20 PM Aug 21st 2016
edited by LastChronicler
To put it plainly, I've seen a few incorrect and misleading statements and assertions made on this page; specifically to do with Italian and English longsword.

I recently edited the Italian longsword section to remove some baseless speculation on Fiore being a student of Liechtenauer, German and Italian longsword systems being 'very closely related' (How so? And in comparison to what?), and an assertion that German, Italian and English longsword arts aren't any different. All of the above points are quite controversial, to say the least:
  • There's no evidence whatsoever that I've ever seen that Fiore ever studied with or under Johannes Liechtenauer.
  • German and Italian longsword naturally have similarities, but significant differences too, and it's not very accurate to say/imply that they're interchangeable.
  • Following on from the above point, not only is it rather debatable to reduce 'German' and 'Italian' systems to being practically identical, it's rather generous to even say that we have an English system of longsword today, given how fragmented our few sources on the subject are.

If I'm being too critical, I apologise, but given the care and attention to detail that has been given to the rest of the topics discussed on the European Swordsmanship page, I don't think that it's particularly helpful to simplify some systems to the point where we're just equating them to another system and leaving it at that.

On that note, I added what little I could to the Italian longsword section, but my knowledge of it is limited and I can do little more than parrot comments made by instructors who teach it. It's ready for people who know more to add more.
TheBigBopper
08:52:00 PM Aug 22nd 2016
I approve of the change. I think that calling the previous version "horse****" when you made your edit was unecessarily rude, but the actual text is much improved. Any system worth writing about is worth doing well.

I'm going to proceed with Italian rapier a bit more, although I only took a few lessons before I had to quit. Shamelessly ripping off Devon Boorman's "Italian Rapier in two minutes" video. I thought it was just untenable to have so many references to the Italian rapier style in the George Silver and other sections without first putting forward what they're being contrasted with. Needless to say, it would be better if an expert came forward, but it turns out that this is a pretty lazy useful notes contributor group.
LastChronicler
11:00:23 PM Aug 27th 2016
After looking it over a little more, I'm kind of dissatisfied with the section on English Longsword. As I mentioned above in my previous post, it's very generous to claim that we even have an intact English system for that weapon-set.

Wiktenauer doesn't have scans of any of our only three surviving English sources, and the only book that's been commercially released on the subject (which I have to admit I haven't read), Lessons of the English Longsword appears to take the extremely questionable position that all Longsword swordsmanship is just 'Pan-European' (ie: without significant difference between systems) and uses that as the basis for supplementing the fragmented English sources with material from Italian/German systems.

Admittedly, as the section stands at the moment it acknowledges that there's a lack of knowledge on the subject, but I'd like to go a step further and cut the sub-section more or less entirely. A brief description of the scholarly situation (that we have a few surviving sources, but they give only very limited information on English longsword), can still be present or recycled elsewhere, but it seems misleading to me to set up a formal section for it as if it's a system in it's own right.

Thoughts?
TheBigBopper
Topic
03:01:42 PM Nov 4th 2014
edited by 96.225.53.18
I guess that most of us are kind of procrastinating about adding new content, but I'm glad that somebody with expert knowledge has created a "la verdadera destreza" section. Personally, I suggest that maybe that's the kind of content we should be aiming for since it describes how it differs from the other systems without comprehensively listing all of the techniques. Since useful notes are mostly for the purpose of writers trying to depict real-life subjects, and there are already dedicated fencing websites that describe things in greater detail, I think that we shouldn't spend too much energy trying to make each section exhaustive.

I've been thinking that the Blo▀fechten section could use some additional work, mainly in that it should put more emphasis on follow-up techniques from the bind. Winding in particular is something I think is work describing.

Lastly, that "crusader salute" example in the HEMA tropes section made me raise my eyebrows, since it sounds like a potential urban myth. I may be wrong, but could whoever added that example please name what primary source that is described in?
IraTheSquire
Topic
04:41:22 AM Apr 6th 2014
I'm not quite sure about directly translating the terms forte and foible since those are what people are more familiar with, and also in German system "strong" can mean forceful and "weak" can mean voiding the pressure (in the context of "meet strong with weak and meet weak with strong") which gets a bit confusing. That said, we can also list out the words for forte and foible in other manuals and thus list them out under "strong" and "weak". Comments?
TheBigBopper
05:11:04 PM Apr 11th 2014
edited by 173.70.22.128
I prefer Christian Tobler's terminology where you are either "hard" or "soft" in the bind, so you can't be confused with the strong or weak of the blade. I am referring to strong and weak as a noun rather than an adjective, which is what the parts of the sword glossary is since it does not contain the names of techniques. Maybe we could add the article "the" to the definitions so we know we are talking about "the Strong" of the blade rather than strong pressure in the bind? I think you can say that you bind "with strength" or "strongly" so that the sentence provides enough context to avoid confusion. Since this article concerns all the martial arts of Europe that predate classical fencing and its French-centric terminology, I personally feel that we should use English when not talking about a specific national system. Perhaps we could have the french terms in parenthesis after strong and weak for the benefit of those familiar with modern fencing? As I understand it the German terms used by Ringeck are Storck (strong) and Schwech (weak), and the Italian that Capoferro uses is Forte (strong) and Debole (weak).
TheBigBopper
Topic
11:33:30 PM Oct 3rd 2013
I would like to take a survey of how many people are contributing to this article, and possibly if the tropers who began it are still contributing. I was wondering if we could delegate the tasks of creating sections for the different national schools in different times, or otherwise break the article into categories. For example, I was wondering if we should include smallsword in the list of weapons since it falls outside the Renaissance, and if we should include fighting with polearms since the Kenjutsu article discusses naginata and yari as integral to kenjutsu.
Koveras
12:10:51 AM Oct 4th 2013
I am not contributing to the article, but I am following it, and I can fix spelling/formatting errors as they occur. :)
BurnNote
05:30:56 AM Oct 4th 2013
I was planning to create a section on sword and buckler. We definitly should include polearms, I think they were used differently. I don't actually know anything about those, though.
Ambaryerno
06:23:38 AM Oct 4th 2013
Polearms, at least in the German School, were built off the same techniques used for longsword, particularly when wielded half-sword. In fact longsword was used AS a training tool for polearm in the German school.
TheBigBopper
02:01:31 PM Oct 4th 2013
The spear is prominently featured in Ringeck's harnisfechten gloss, and it is definitely used in almost the same way as the half-sword. I don't have any book about pollaxe though, and it seems that it's one of the rarer weapons for HEMA groups to practice. I have only studied longsword and played around with some dagger, sword, and buckler. What are the chances one of us fights with polearms? And does anybody have what it takes to write about rapier, side sword, or two-handed sword?
Ambaryerno
03:39:07 PM Oct 4th 2013
Two-handed sword was fought the same as longsword. It was just bigger. And all polearms in the German tradition would have been fought in the same manner as spear. The only difference is that weapons such as the halberd would focus more on strikes with the axehead, whereas the spear would use more thrusting (though would still incorporate slashes from the edge of the point).
BurnNote
05:20:52 PM Oct 4th 2013
There's a few texts on the two-handed swords from the italian and spanish schools. It's a lot like the longsword, though there are some differences (like the fact that the Unterhau is made with the false edge, and a few other guards), but I haven't done enough work to really figure those out.
IraTheSquire
07:45:24 PM Oct 4th 2013
edited by 121.44.164.130
Silver also talks about two handed swords in Brief Instructions, but it's obvious that he's talking about the long sword since he gave dimensions in Paradox.

About the small sword: according the Hutton's Sword and the Century the small sword began to appear around mid-17th century, so that puts it in the very late Renaissance period. One of the manuals about the small sword, Hope's "New Method of Fencing" was written in 1707. And there is indication that the method was heavily influenced by te Scootish broadsword (Hope's new method is pretty much dealing with everything with a hanging guard), and I would think that the small sword would be a nice closure.

BTW, people, we also have a forum thread Troper Fencing Academy where fencers of all cultures (Western or Eastern) come to chil out and discuss things.
TheBigBopper
10:15:53 PM Oct 4th 2013
edited by 108.35.205.35
I'm aware that using two handed sword is similar to longsword, but it is definitely a distinct skill. Giacomo De Grassi wrote in 1570 that "Its weight and size are such that the only ones who are given it to wield are those who are big and strong in their body and limbs and of great courage—the sort of men who can take on many foes at once" and also writes that "One who wants to use the spadone in single combat first needs to know how to use other weapons with both hands, and must be agile and strong, which are requirements for using all weapons. He ought to also have the principles of the art fixed in his mind...and he also ought to have studied how the spadone is used nowadays—and how it ought to be used." I think this means that on one hand, the system is holistic and skills in one weapon transfer to a similar weapon. At the same time, you cannot call yourself proficient in a weapon unless you have practiced with it and studied it specifically, since each has its own handling characteristics and capabilities.

Swords and Swordsmen by Mike Loades states that the small sword had appeared in its recognizable form by 1660, which was earlier than I realized. I didn't really want to propose the exclusion of small sword in the first place; it was more that I wanted us to set manageable goals. If somebody wants to write a smallsword section I would be thrilled.

TheBigBopper
11:16:18 AM Oct 7th 2013
I propose that Burn Note should write the rough draft of Sword and Buckler and then post it so we'll have something to edit. It would be nice if somebody started the Italian Longsword or Two Handed sword entries; I might start the latter. We could really use a rapier section.
Condorito
01:07:42 PM Dec 6th 2013
This would be my first time editing anything on the wiki, but I know a little bit about Fiore (not even a scholar, much less a Free Scholar). If y'all would like, I could add in a bit about footwork, the 'systemic' aspects of Fiore, terms and definitions, and a few pictures.
IraTheSquire
08:09:58 PM Dec 6th 2013
Sure. go ahead.

Given that I did a term of Fiore at this point I might add some stuff myself as well.
ScholaratArms
05:27:19 PM Jan 6th 2015
Cavalry sabre and dueling sabre both deserve entries on the list of swordsmanship weapons. I don't really have any knowledge about them, but if anyone reading does, he should feel free to add descriptions of those weapons.
TheBigBopper
01:25:26 PM Sep 22nd 2015
I'd be hesitant to add dueling saber, epee du combat, or any other weapon that overlaps with classical fencing. Cavalry saber, absolutely. I've added that to the weapon list (with spadroon for good measure) and will eventually write a section based on what little I can glean from youtube.

We seem to be an awfully lazy lot, having added nothing major in about two years, eh?
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