Useful Notes Swords Discussion

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11:32:18 AM Jul 28th 2017
edited by HazelMcCallister
I've changed most of the measurements to imperial (metric) per The Big Bopper's suggestion. I'll try and find some more exact size ranges for Celtic swords.

Is the ninjato worthy of an entry, given that it's so popular in fiction?

I'm also thinking of adding a short overview near the top on copper, bronze, iron, steel and heat-treatment, but this page is getting pretty damn' wordy as it is.
01:00:26 PM Jul 28th 2017
Go ahead and write about the metals. If you put it in a folder than anyone who's in a hurry can just skip it. The folders mean we don't need to worry about being too long winded.

As for ninjato, I consider it a pseudo-historical weapon invented in modern times. If we talk about ninjato I feel like it's a slippery slope to talking about fictional weapons.
04:32:42 AM Jul 29th 2017
Good point, and I just noticed the ninjato has an entry under Stock Ninja Weaponry.
07:31:28 AM Jul 29th 2017
Done the materials section. Tried to keep it short, so I don't know if I went into too much detail or not enough. If anyone wants to trim it, I won't object.

I had briefly considered mentioning stainless steel and the soft alloys some decorator swords and iaito are made of, but since the article focuses on real swords, I figure that'd be straying off-topic.
11:14:24 AM Jul 21st 2017
More notes:

We really should settle on whether we're using imperial measurements, metric ones, or both. I'm trying to standardize how they're written, in any case. My preferred format is to use a hyphen rather than "to" and to abbreviate "x centimeters" to "xcm" rather than "x cm." Whatever we think is the best format, it really should use one and only one.

"There are four basic sword designs..."

I have a problem with this line: Not all swords, not even all common swords, fit into the categories as described. As an obvious example there are the straight-bladed dao and chokuto, and European backswords. I would instinctively put them in the "cruciform" category and rename it something like "straight-bladed cutting swords," but as it's written, it describes double-edged blades, which backswords, chokuto and straight dao are not (they also often have asymmetrical points). Then there's leaf blades, which can impart a chopping or slicing blow depending on the exact shape of the blade and where along the edge it strikes a target, and are also symmetrical like the "cruciform" ones... where do they fit in?

"you'll probably opt to simply hold your sword out on one side and drag it along the ground while you gallop"

If I understand what this sentence is describing, I know the movie Mongol shows horsemen doing something similar (with blades held horizontally), but I'm not sure it's a real combat technique.
12:57:36 PM Jul 23rd 2017
I'm inclined to make every measurement Imperial (Metric), but it's hardly an objective decision.

I'm honestly not a fan of the four categories either. They're too rigid and don't reflect the complexity of the swords.
07:09:25 PM Jul 19th 2017
"After the British based the design of their Pattern 1796 light cavalry sabre on the talwar, many other European countries followed in adopting similar blades as well."

I believe this to be a myth, though admittedly many talwars do have profiles similar to the P1796.

"... it originally had a guard consisting of a nail sticking out of the handle."

That's very interesting, and I'd like to see an example if possible. I know that the small side protrusion on fully-developed messer hilts is called a Nagel, which means "nail," but I've never seen one that looks like an actual nail.
05:32:46 AM Feb 10th 2014
Odachi and Nodachi

The Other Wiki cites three sources stating they are synonymous.
06:50:44 AM Feb 14th 2012
It seems downright absurd that the section on sabers and cutlasses in Europe mentions the influence of Arab scimitars and Indian talwars without a word about the Turkish ("Turkic" may technically be more appropriate) kilij, which was the origin of both those weapons, as well as European sabers. In fact, European sabers originated in those areas where Europeans had observed the effectiveness of the kilij when fighting the Ottomans.
06:15:59 AM Oct 28th 2011
edited by tg851
also most European bladed weapons are usually classified by size,standard size classification follows

Daggers:short blades form 15-30cm usually designed for stabbing but can be used as a slashing weapon depending on the design

Dirks:not quite a dagger but not quite a short sword, usually between 30-75cm in length. versatile and can be used for slashing and stabbing,the most commin knife currently labeled dirks are highlander dress dirks which are mostly not actually dirks but long daggers do to nerfing the blade to make it easier to wear as part of a dress uniform for special example is that most WWII long bayonets were dirks.

short sword:exactly what it says on the tin,blade size is from 75-150cm.the standard one handed sword.mostly used for slashing attacks.

long sword:again,exactly what it says on the tin.the blades range from 150- 250cm.grip can vary from one handed,one and a half handed(bastard sword)to two handed depending on the size.almost exclusively used for slashing attacks.the type of sword usually depicted in the movies

two handed sword(claymore):think lion heart,the blade is from 250cm to maximum usabil length.cant be used for anything but slashing for obvious reasons.two handed swords were only used by the most skilled of swordsmen due to not being able to defend yourself from attacks with another blade or a shield,as well as the great amount of strength required to wield it efficiently.

11:59:06 PM Sep 22nd 2012
A few comments:

The use of shortswords; yes, they're mostly used for slashing, but they're certainly used for thrusting as well. The ratio depends entirely on how you're fighting, but I would say that it's usually appreciable enough to mention. Typically in HEMA/WMA circles we call them 'cut-thrust' weapons (as opposed to thrust-cut weapons, like rapiers).

The use of longswords; again, yes, mostly slashing, but still lots of thrusting. Still cut-thrust weapons.

As for lengths; holy crap no. My shortsword has a blade about 87cm long. The tallest guy I know uses a sword about 97cm long. Anything much longer than that is ridiculous. For longswords, they are typically either as long as a shortsword (particularly English longswords) or maybe tops 10-15cm longer. The true 'two-handers' such as zweihanders topped out at about 180cm. Claymores actually had similar blade lengths to longswords, just with an even longer handle.
01:19:29 AM Jun 12th 2011
I'm considering adding a new type of sword to the European section — great-swords.

As far as my knowledge goes, a zweihander is much larger than even a Scottish claymore. A claymore, in fact, has a blade length similar to that of a longsword but has a larger handle and crossguard. So a claymore bears more relation to a longsword than it does a zweihander, even if it's slightly larger. It's not unique in its position, either. Nicknamed "war-swords", there was a class of longsword that was slightly longer, less tapered and heavier. These were essentially longswords that were specialised for decisive combat against powerful adversaries, as its increased weight could help push through a defense or resists an adversary's attack.

These mainland European great-swords have a lot in common with Scottish claymores, and neither of those have a whole lot in common with German zweihanders. Any thoughts?
06:29:43 PM Jan 17th 2011
Miyamoto Musashi disdained the use of two swords at once? No! He's famous for wielding two swords as once.
09:28:32 AM Dec 1st 2010
I feel this page could do with more images for each sword example. Or if not images, at least a link to another web page where an image exists.
12:11:39 AM Jun 25th 2010
Random request: I was hoping to see something about chinese swords. Particularly, I'm wondering how the jian fits into everything.
04:06:45 PM Mar 30th 2010
edited by
Fixed a couple of errors and misconceptions:

1) ARMA and other historical swordsmanship groups are recreating [i]European[/i] swordsmanship. The Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and the Chinese swordsmanship are still very much alive today and one can find masters with lineages to the past relatively easily.

2) Some of such groups actually perform "bouts" with steel, though blunt, swords (with modern safety gear) in order to test if their interpretation of the historical manuals are "correct"- or rather to see if there are obvious fatal flaws with their interpretation, therefore the statement "until someone actually gets into a swordfight" is obsolete.

3) Updated the edge to edge vs flat to edge debate: currently from the manuals it seems that some of the medieval masters don't recommend "parrying" at all- rather, they suggested that sword fights should strike their opponent because their attack lands (makes sense since you want to hurt your opponent in a fight), or dodge the coming blow and strike the opponent before they escape (which, again, makes sense), or deflect the blow to another direction before striking the opponent. The amended version is more or less word to word copy from an article in the Historical European Martial Arts magazine SPADA on this.

3) The pro-"edge to edge" parry camp did not use movies as "historical evidence" to proof that medieval people did edge to edge parry.

4) It's actually currently more pro-"what the historical manual says" vs "must use edge to edge parry regardless" debate.

4) You cannot, simply CANNOT, say that "such as such did not do this in history because they don't work" when there's ample evidence to show that they [i]did[/i], ie you cannot argue against historical sources and evidence. Saying that "medieval people do not parry edge to edge because it breaks their swords" when you have 1) medieval manuscripts showing that they do and 2) swords from medieval times showing signs of edge to edge parry is like saying that the medieval doctors do not make their patients whip their backs to drive out the evil spirits or the soldiers in World War I did not charge into machine gun fire because such actions are stupid and do not work, despite all the evidence showing that such events did happen. It is such bad history that this troper is reluctant to call this "history" at all- it is more "being completely blind to the evidence".

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