What weapon do you fence?

Blaze Dragon

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Do you still fence at all?
no it's been over 10 years or more. I remember the basics, foot work, wrist work, lunge, parry, thrust stuff. I don't think I would be much use in a tournament...however would still jump in one, those where fun :D
 

Sukerkin

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For myself, altho I understand the derivation of these 'gentlemans' weapons and I would never be so gauche as to call them toys, if I am going to be using a blade outside then I prefer a good, sharp, English longsword. Probably inevitable as it is the European analogue, more or less, for the katana for which I have some training :D.
 

Dirty Dog

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I do have to say tho', that considering what the foil was a practise analogue for, I am not too sure how close it was in use given that the small sword was mostly known for being short and light:

http://ahfi.org/weapon-descriptions/small-sword-court-sword-town-sword/

The epee, especially the wider versions, is much closer to a smallsword than any foil will ever be. I think I may have a picture at home of a smallsword that even shares the triangular crossection of the epee. I'll look when I get home.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Aye, altho' it could conceivably be used as one. To my mind, I think it bears the same relationship to small-sword as the bokken does to the katana.
Kind of. It was sized and shaped like a small sword in the same way that a bokken is sized and shaped like a katana (both have cross section that differ from those of their practical siblings), but because it has more give, it can be used in full contact partnered practice, making it more like a shinai. In terms of function, it is closer to a shinai, though a shinai does not resemble a katana all that closely, either in shape or size.

I do have to say tho', that considering what the foil was a practise analogue for, I am not too sure how close it was in use given that the small sword was mostly known for being short and light:

http://ahfi.org/weapon-descriptions/small-sword-court-sword-town-sword/
What do you mean?

On average, the blade of a small sword ranged about 24" to a little over 35" and weighed between a pound and a pound and a half, which would be on par with the blade of a foil, which is no longer than 35". A classical foil weighs roughly a pound to a pound and a half, which is also on par with a small sword.

If you're talking about modern foils used in FIE/Olympic fencing, they're a completely different item from the foil used to train small sword in the 17th century, and these weigh just a little over 12 ounces.

The instructors of the day who actually used the small sword considered the foil a very fine analog for practice. Why would you be unsure?
 

Sukerkin

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Possibly because I am stupid? :lol:

To me, a small sword is the low end of the length range that you mention rather than the other end. A three foot blade is not a 'small' sword to me. I'm not going to contest you on this tho' as I have not looked into these things like I have real swords :p.
 

Sukerkin

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Daniel Sullivan

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Possibly because I am stupid? :lol:
Not in the least, my friend.

To me, a small sword is the low end of the length range that you mention rather than the other end. A three foot blade is not a 'small' sword to me.

Small in this case is relative. It was considerably smaller and lighter than an Italian or Spanish rapier. In Girard Thibault's text on the Spanish school, he states that the adequate length from tip to quillons is floor to naval, which would place the pommel at or above the bottom of the sternum. The blade in this instance is longer than the swordsman's legs, so a 24" - 33" average blade length, with longer examples being 35" is, by comparison small. :)

The blade tapers to a point and is hollow ground, essentially having three fullers in its triangular cross section, rendering it exceptionally light. The guard and grip are also much less substantial and/or elaborate than a rapier, with only small shells serving as a guard and small arms and a quillon that segues into the knuckle bow additional. Although it is longer, it has the same mass (possibly less) as a kodachi.

Here is a nice image: http://www.swordhq.com/images/catalog/88SMS_main.jpg


I'm not going to contest you on this tho' as I have not looked into these things like I have real swords :p.
I assume that you are being tongue and cheek, but just in case you are not, I would like to clarify that the small sword, or court sword, is every bit as much a real sword as a katana. They were civilian sword, but real swords used for self defense and in the duel and was in use from the seventeenth century into the early nineteenth century.
 

Sukerkin

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Jokes about 'knitting' aside (old verbal sparring with a friend of mind who was a fencing instructor) I have always been fascinated by the construction of the triangular sectioned blades. A thrusting weapon, that you can give a cutting edge too as well, that can be made into a wieldable length to give an advantage in the opening of a fight ... top marks for inventive thinking there.

Laying out my stall a bit, I have to say tho' that, understandably given my chosen art, I am much more a fan of the edge rather than the point.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Jokes about 'knitting' aside (old verbal sparring with a friend of mind who was a fencing instructio) I have always been fascinated by the construction of the triangular sectioned blades. A thrusting weapon, that you can give a cutting edge too as well, that can be made into a wieldable length to give an advantage in the opening of a fight ... top marks for inventive thinking there.

Laying out my stall a bit, I have to say tho' that, understandably given my chosen art, I am much more a fan of the edge rather than the point.
I appreciate both edge and point. The small sword's triangular cross section allowed for an "edge" that mainly discouraged an opponent from grabbing the blade. Certainly nothing akin to a katana.

Different weapons developed for different regions with differing cultural norms, military development, and philosophy on the use of the sword. Both equally elegant and lethal.
 

Sukerkin

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Oh my word, aye :nods in strong agreement:. It is one of the dichotomies of humanity that our predilection for smashing each others heads in has lead to some startlingly beautiful technological developments in weaponry and its use.

I have ever been a proponent of the WSA and Western swords, despite my JSA training; for there is a huge lost history of martial arts slowly being resurrected by those with enthusiasm for it.

As an anecdote by the way, my fencing instructor friend and I once tried a little 'What if?' experiment with rapier vs katana. Neither of us could lay a blade on the other without getting 'killed' in the process because the swords were just so different in application :lol:.
 

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I appreciate both edge and point. The small sword's triangular cross section allowed for an "edge" that mainly discouraged an opponent from grabbing the blade. Certainly nothing akin to a katana.

Different weapons developed for different regions with differing cultural norms, military development, and philosophy on the use of the sword. Both equally elegant and lethal.

Definately a slicing rather than cutting edge. Slashing with a rapier or small sword would be like trying to use a steak knife as a cleaver. Drawcuts, on the other hand, would be nasty, as would slashes limited to the tip - not going to be a deep cut, but depending on the target it doesn't need to be deep.
 

lklawson

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Sorry, but now I'm confused. Seems to me that the foil was invented in the mid-18th century. That's a long time after people like Agrippa taught fencing. So... classic fencing would be with the rapier (or something approximating it), not those modern toys called foils. :)
Foil wasn't intended to teach Rapier. Foundational for Smallsword, aka "Court Sword," IMS.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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I don't know, I think the foil has it's place. I think it was a gentleman's weapon. A foil thrust through the heart, or neck would end a life quick enough,
You'd think so, wouldn't you.
http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/bloody.php
http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles/kill2.php

And even then, when he actually does die, as the first article points out, as I teach all of my students when studying bowie and 'hawk, as every deer hunter already knows, "Dying ain't dead."

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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For myself, altho I understand the derivation of these 'gentlemans' weapons and I would never be so gauche as to call them toys, if I am going to be using a blade outside then I prefer a good, sharp, English longsword. Probably inevitable as it is the European analogue, more or less, for the katana for which I have some training :D.
You'd be happier with the Grosse Messer than a Longsword. Fits closer.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

lklawson

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It's closer to one of the foam rubber shinai than to a bokken...
Foam rubber? There's a reason that serious competitors often wear a kevlar reinforced jacket. On the not-unheard-of occasion that one of those buttons break off the tip or the blade itself breaks, it becomes a rather expensive kabob skewer. People have been killed.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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