How good is this Cold Steel basic saber instructional?

Discussion in 'The European Art of Fencing' started by Chrisoro, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. Chrisoro

    Chrisoro Blue Belt

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    Just noticed that Cold Steel has a basic introduction in saber fencing out on Youtube. Lynn Thompson does the introduction, but it seems Anthony De Longis is doing most of the actual instruction. For those of you who do any kind of saber fencing or similar styles, how would you rate the quality/validity of this instruction for the use of a saber or cutlass in Self Defense?




     
  2. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Lynn Thompson is a bit of a blowhard, and his company makes mostly mediocre, if serviceable, products.

    That said, Anthony De Longis is a recognized expert in the field, who has instructed and done fencing choreography and stunt-work for films for more than two decades....was just thinking about him yesterday: saw him on an old Highlander[/i[ episode......
     
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  3. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Well, I'm super late on this, but here goes.

    The DeLongis instruction is pretty good but focuses on only one "style" of Military Saber or Broadsword. You can't divide western methods of Broadsword/Heavy Saber in "styles" the same way that you do lineages in Oriental arts. That said, you can often guess what area of Europe a particular swordsman comes from based on some basics of his footwork or technique. For example, the Scottish "Highland Broadsword" methods of Broadsword and Military Saber were known for slipping the lead foot on all parries. That sort of thing.

    I first saw these in some of the "Proof" DVD's. My recollection is that DeLongis is teaching a method which is sort of generic Eastern Continental Europe. It's a fine method.

    Two things. First, it's just three videos totaling something like 20 min. You can't get anything more than a bare flavor of a sword system in that time. So the basics are pretty solid for where it is, but it's just barely a single introductory class.

    Second, it's not "Self Defense" in a modern context. It's "Self Defense" in a 18th & 19th Century context. How to use the sword to defend against and attack with by a sword. "Fence"

    Lynn Thompson genuinely cares about martial arts study, has done quite a bit to promote it, including promoting arts of Western Civ., and he tries hard so I don't have much bad to say about him and certainly not on an open forum.

    Sorry for the lateness of the reply.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  4. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    I do.


    [​IMG]
     
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    What about it?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  6. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Here.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    And? What's the problem?

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  8. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    They call it an "Indian War Club."

    It's not
     
  9. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    OK, be specific on why it's not. I want to understand what your objection to this product is, if I agree or disagree with your objections, and why that means you have "much bad to say" about Thompson.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  10. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    It looks Aztec to me.
     
  11. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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  12. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Photo from referenced link:
    [​IMG]


    Or possibly this one:
    [​IMG]
    A friend of mine took the photo and wrote this:
    "At the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, NC. I thought it ex interesting that this way club had the little cylindrical bit on it like the Cold Steel version--I assumed that was a modern affectation."

    I still want to know what Eldar's objection is. I might agree with it.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  13. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    It looks like a good skull cracker. I'm assuming that the small piece would crack the skull followed by the round blunt part which just makes that initial crack worst.
     
  14. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    First off, it doesn't mater if you "agree or disagree" with my objections. As for the specifics:

    When I made my first gajewah-that's the Algonquin word for what is being called (improperly) an "Indian war club." I was taught that when I found the right bole root/branch, I was to speak with the tree, ask for its forgiveness, say the right prayers,something like Standing person (that's what the Algonquian word for "tree" is, "standing people.") we helped you out, once-remember? Now I need your help. Please allow me to borrow a piece of you-I promise that I'll try use your energy in ways that you find pleasing." then and only then would the limb be removed. Prayers are said while shaping the club, fire hardening it, smoothing it, reshaping it, rehardening it.

    These are the things that make an "Indian war club." Not the shape, not the ball, but the prayers and ritual that surround its fashioning.....

    And for many eastern woodlands tribes, it wasn't merely a "war club," but a symbol of manhood and authority, a tool for punishment and enforcement. It's also, often, much more than a "club," and more like a fire hardened wooden sword-it often has a sharp edge along the shaft, that can be directed against soft tissue or connecting tissues like tendons.The club fighting of Woodlands tribes and Cherokees (and others) were favorably compared to western fencing by European invaders....er, European "settlers" in North America during the 16th and 17th century...before such things were thought to have been-and were, for the larger part-eradicated.

    Lynn Thompson is an insufferable blowhard.

    Most of his company's products are ok. Servicable. Inexpensive replicas or reboots of older designs, and I largely have no complaints about a few of them... though some of them, like their sjambok, are largely..........stupid, like their "Indian war club," which isn't a war club, or Indian, and isn't even made of wood......hell, it's made of plastic....in China.

    And some of them are simply ripoffs of custom-makers designs, tooled for mass production and cheap sale.

    His marketing methods are, largely, flamboyantly ludicrous.

    As for Lynn Thompson himself-he's a good businessman. While his company has worked with several knife makers (I'm a knifemaker, remember?) he doesn't hesitate to say bad things about other makers and their products. I've seen him at more than a couple of Blade expos, and-while he's entitled to an opinion about their products, I've never thought much of people who need to run others down for their efforts in order to extol their own...as he has done...repeatedly....sure, I don't care for his marketing methods, either, but the man's an ***-a blowhard and a bully. I say that in spite of having friends, teachers and training partners who have been and are directly associated with him.

    So, to sum up, the "much bad to say":

    -His advertisement videos
    -His flagrant ripping off of designs that are characteristic of existing and still producing makers
    -His crazy antics and flame wars against Michael Janich, Spyderco and Strider knives
    -His marketing and expense of San Mai as a "quality" laminated steel
    -His bad reputation for service and warranty claims (not something I've experienced, but when I break cheap ****, I'm more likely to go out and get more cheap **** than try to get my money back)
    -

    (I haven't covered all of this in detail, out of deference to your "discuss in an open forum" comment, so anyone who wants to can Google them, and see what I mean....but it's stuff like this:


    Cold Steel? Mostly okay, but some products are merely ****, while others are insulting, like the "Indian War Club."

    Lynn Thompson? Blowhard, bully, narcissist, and borderline psycho. The Thomas Edison of cutlery-and I don't mean that in an "invented the lightbulb" way, I mean in in an electrocuted dogs and drove Tesla out of business and into poverty way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  15. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I'm trying to be non-confrontational, respectful, and to give your opinion a fair hearing. So far, I haven't even asked for reciprocation.

    So your primary complaints are based around emotional and religious objections. I guess that's OK for you, but you'll understand if the rest of the world who does not share your religion perhaps finds your objections inapplicable.

    Now, as far as being a symbol of authority and manhood, every culture has that. In most cultures which developed metal working for weapons, the sword became this symbol, despite the fact that other weapons were often more appropriate or applicable. Heck, many European heritage militaries still use as sword as part of the Dress Uniform.

    I saw this claim made in the earlier thread which you referenced. First, let me be clear about this, I have no doubt that the pre-Columbus Contact indigenous people (or however you prefer to refer) had highly skilled warriors with very developed system of fighting. It only makes sense and, what evidence there is, seems to support this thesis. That said, it is outside of the general character of most Europeans of the time to admit this. I find the claim of such an admission to be plausible but unlikely. I would very much like to read the passages being referenced here.

    That is my experience as well. I "like" most of the fixed blade knives well enough. I dislike most of the swords. I find them to be over-weight and missing the mark on a few small, but important, characteristics. I haven't handled their Cutlass offerings but I suspect they're OK. Cutlasses weren't finely tuned fencing weapons and there was less consideration given to handling characteristics. I suspect that I'd probably like the Cutlasses, to be honest. But most of the swords... meh...

    I agree that I don't much like plastic impact weapons which were originally designed and executed in wood. The weight, flex, spring, rebound, bind, and handling characteristics are just different. I truly hate the Cold Steel "Shillelagh" because it doesn't handle or feel like wood. But, that said, it is becoming increasingly common to use various high-impact plastics for products, including weapons, which were originally made of wood. There's a number of high-impact plastic Eskrima sticks being marketed. I think I saw some in Lexan also. So, while I hate the way they feel and move, that doesn't mean that they're a "bad" product. Just not a product that I like (or recommend). Our ancestors used wood, not because it's "better" than plastic, but because, frankly, plastic wasn't available and wood had the hardness and durability characteristics needed for the tool, was abundant, "inexpensive," and comparatively easily shaped.

    So, what I'm hearing is that you dislike Thompson's business practices and find them borderline unethical. Does that sum it up?

    P.S.,

    For the record, it wasn't Edison who drove Tesla out of business. He certainly tried during the Current Wars, but he failed. While Edison was a douche who screwed people over (including the real inventor of the Light Bulb - or his Widow anyway), he's not responsible for running Tesla out of business. That was J.P. Morgan. Morgan screwed Tesla indirectly when he ran Westinghouse out of business (took it over, really) during the Current Wars and then again when at the Wardenclyffe Tower project when Morgan pulled his financing out because Tesla didn't achieve the wireless radio transition goal which he'd promised Morgan and, instead, focused on wireless transition of energy (Tesla promised he'd make radio communication and instead worked on "beaming" motivating energy to light bulbs and machines).

    Edison was a douche and he tried to screw Tesla but it mostly backfired or had no effect.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
  16. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Oh, I'm fairly aware of all of that-I've actually been in a few of the power plants Tesla built in Colorado. He was not a very good businessman. I was merely using a familiar story as a demonstration of where Lynn Thompson fits onto that scale,

    Unethical? At times, perhaps, it depends upon where you draw that line. Almost certainly distasteful, though.....

    Well, then, what he's built-given that it's not going to be of the correct dimensions or feel for the user, in addition to all of the (agreed) complaints about plastics that you reference, what the Cold Steel "Indian Ball Head Club" isn't, is an Indian ball head club.....it's also not a functional weapon one can carry.....it's also not a reasonable training substitute if you're studying the use of that weapon....(or trying to-good luck finding someone who can and will teach you!)

    It's a big, plastic watermelon smasher. He should have called it the Gallagher Ball Headed Club.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
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  17. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    " While de Soto was passing through central Georgia, Patofa, one of the local chiefs, gave a demonstration of his skill at using the war club. His gracefulness and rhythm was compared to that of a European fencing master. Over one and one-half centuries later, John Lawson seems to have witnessed much the same thing in a dance performed in the South Carolina back country. Lawson describes dancers who performed with wooden falchions like those used by European stage fencers.”- 244, 246, Hudson, Charles. The Southeastern Indians. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976
     
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  18. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Interesting. Thanks.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  19. Chrisoro

    Chrisoro Blue Belt

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    I have actually owned the Cold Steen 1917 Naval Cutlass, and while it had very nice fit and finish, and also seemed very solidly buildt, it had a very weird and unveildly balance, an uncomfortable grip, and felt a lit heavier than it was on paper. I have handled various historical sabers and swords, and decided that I didn't like how the Cold Steel cutlass felt compared to them, and sold it. That being said, I have several other Cold Steel products that I am happy with, so I have a generally favourable impression of Cold Steel products.

    I know nothing of Mr. Thompson's way of conducting business other than what I have read here, so I cannot comment on that. Their marketing can be a bit over the top, though.

    That being said, do anyone here have any recomendations for instructional material for historical fencing?
     
  20. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Honestly, yeah, find an instructor. If there aren't any near you, then find one who teaches a style you think you might like and arrange to travel periodically. Maybe find out where he's teaching a seminar class or something.

    If you a friend or three you can practice with, you can get a lot of the basics down by going for instruction and then practicing at home. Go back as frequently as is reasonably possible for correction and further instruction.

    Norway is a bit out from where I know people in Europe. My friends over there seem to be clustered in England with a smattering in Scotland and Germany. If you know what you're after, I might be able to put out some feelers.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     

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