What weapon do you fence?

Discussion in 'The European Art of Fencing' started by kempodisciple, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Weapons evolved in their own environments. In some ways a Smallsword, or "Court Sword," had a similar reason for being and social evolution as the Wakizashi. Not identical, of course, but some of the same drivers lead to its use.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  2. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I've been saying this for years. I have a rant that expounds upon this concept. I think it's in the Knife section but it briefly discusses differences in cultural norms, armor, available materials, legal strictures, etc.

    500 years from now, people might look back upon the U.K. and laugh at how backwards their society was because their civilians didn't carry full-auto capable handguns, while completely ignoring the laws and cultural norms which developed the standard of civilians not owning, never mind carrying, full-auto handguns.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  3. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Rapiers were known for their ability to Drawcut. Pushcut techniques were also common. There is even a German Rapier system which attempts to blend Saber-like moulinets with the rapier (Meyer, ims). There were also tip-cuts, back cuts, and some other slashing attacks. Though less well suited to broad slashing techniques than, say, a Military Saber (aka "Broadsword", no, really), the Rapier had a range of cutting and slicing techniques available. It wasn't just a "pokey sword" as I like to tease my friends who do Rapier. :)

    That aside, the term "Rapier" covers a very, very broad range of Blade lengths and widths. An early transitional Rapier might as well have simply been a broad bladed Arming Sword which was rehilted with a Rapier-esque hilt. Might look more like a straight bladed Broadsword such as schiavona.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Except the smallsword predates the foil by quite a bit. That was my point.

    Small punctures such as those of a smallsword might kill, but not fast. That would be why archery hunting is done with broadheads. :)

    Foam rubber shinai (and various other 'boffer'-style weapons) often have a PVC core. Just as a broken foil can hurt someone, so can a broken PVC pipe. Kevlar vests for foil fencing are to prevent injury, sure, but realistically the odds of actually dying from a broken blade are pretty small.
    And of course, things like the right of way rules encourage tactics in foil fencing that would be considered suicidal with a real sword.
     
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Sure. Most Kenjitsu systems predate Kendo by a significant period too.

    Sure. But they might not. James Bowie famously took a sword-cane (effectively a "small sword") through the lung and not only killed his opponent with a far shorter blade but lived on a good number of years.

    Sure. Nevertheless, it's more likely to be seriously injured in this manner by a foil than a boffer. I have used (and broke) boffers and used various steel too for training. They each can potentially play a role in training but they aren't the same.

    I strenuously disagree on this point specifically when applied to Right of Way. Right of Way is specifically intended as a life-saving training concept and to simultaneously prevent double-death. Right of Way, most simply stated, dictates that a if an attack is launched at a fencer, he must deal with the attack in some way and may not himself launch an attack hoping to hit the attacker first. He may not disregard an attack simply because he thinks he can hit first. This is absolutely solid combat theory. While not called "Right of Way," the concept well predates Olympic fencing and Foil altogether. It's not unheard of to read an old Rapier or Cut-and-Thrust fencing treatise and see the author writing about how untrained schlubs will attack in such a way as to get both people killed because they're too ignorant of "The Fight" to know they should be parrying instead of thrusting or like concepts. IMS, one author calls these schlubs "The Vulgar Fencer."

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2013
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  6. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Couldn't have said it better myself!
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    They certainly don't do wrist severing or disembowelment, as one could do with a katana, but one of the plays in Capo Ferro's (I believe) system was to immediately after the killing thrust to perform a cut to the forearm to sever the tendons so that should your opponent still be capable of fighting (not all fatal blows were fatal immediately), he'd be unable to hold his sword.
     

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