What will be Sulu's sword style?

Joab

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I say what will be, as it will happen in the future. In the new Star Trek movie, Kirk asks Sulu what his style of advanced hand to hand combat is. He reply's "fencing". Than he pulls out a foldable sword that looks more like a Japanese samurai sword, nothing like the type you see in western style fencing to be sure. I know almost nothing about sword fighting, but I'm curious as to what style Sulu will eventually fight in. Also, do they really make foldable swords like that, or is it only for the movie? How good was Sulu's sword fighting or "fencing"? Would you say it was advanced? I was certainly impressed with his kick to the stomach in the fight scene.
 

Andrew Green

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I'd say its closer to a sabre then a katana. Following the original series, he did western style fencing. Although in the series it was a foil.

And a folding sword would not work, you need a solid blade.
 
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And a folding sword would not work, you need a solid blade.[/quote]

Now, it won't work, but in the future...who knows...
 

Omar B

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Well in TOS and the novels based on it he studied Western Fencing but considering he is Japanese and grew up there I don't see why his interest in swords would not cross over to some Japanese style too.
 

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{strained voice}Must .. not .. give ... glib ... answer ... about ... Sulu's sword style ... {/strained}

Nope, can't stop it ... Woodcutter or Lumberjack is the style utilised in the latest retread of the Star Trek franchise :lol:. Chopping and hacking in a fashion more suitable to an Orc than a swordsman.

Speaking 'in character', however, then I think I saw Sulu using something very like a sabre or a dao in TOS. However, it is true that he is most famous for his shirt-off-with-a-foil scene.
 
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{strained voice}Must .. not .. give ... glib ... answer ... about ... Sulu's sword style ... {/strained}

Nope, can't stop it ... Woodcutter or Lumberjack is the style utilised in the latest retread of the Star Trek franchise :lol:. Chopping and hacking in a fashion more suitable to an Orc than a swordsman.

Speaking 'in character', however, then I think I saw Sulu using something very like a sabre or a dao in TOS. However, it is true that he is most famous for his shirt-off-with-a-foil scene.

So, Suerkin, you think Sulu's sword style in the latest Star Trek movie was woodcutter or lumberjack eh? Well, I know virtually nothing about sword fighting, so I will concede to your vastly better knowledge. What is "TOS"? Well, it looked good even if it was lumberjack or woodcutter, I was entertained by it. I thought I got my $7.50 out of it, that's what counts.
 

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So, Suerkin, you think Sulu's sword style in the latest Star Trek movie was woodcutter or lumberjack eh? Well, I know virtually nothing about sword fighting, so I will concede to your vastly better knowledge. What is "TOS"? Well, it looked good even if it was lumberjack or woodcutter, I was entertained by it. I thought I got my $7.50 out of it, that's what counts.

TOS is standard Trek abbreviation speak for The Original Series, just as STNG is NextGen, DS9 is Deep Space 9 etc.

As with anything else that a person knows something about in the real world, nearly all of the time when you see that thing in the movies then it is going to be either disappointing or aggrivating. So I don't mean to insult the actor or the fight director in the new movie, just expressing my jaundiced opinion :lol:.
 
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Your opinion on this matter is someting to be taken seriously, as your an advanced swordsman. The only time I ever fought with a sword in my life was a foil in a Rennaissance Fair when I was 13. I won, primarily through superior aggression, although if it had been a real sword my non sword wielding hand would have been hacked badly because I kept forgetting to keep it behind me. I enjoyed the scene, it's entertainment.
 

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TOS is standard Trek abbreviation speak for The Original Series, just as STNG is NextGen, DS9 is Deep Space 9 etc.

As with anything else that a person knows something about in the real world, nearly all of the time when you see that thing in the movies then it is going to be either disappointing or aggrivating. So I don't mean to insult the actor or the fight director in the new movie, just expressing my jaundiced opinion :lol:.

I think if we are knowledgable about something it's annoying to see it being botched up in films etc. I can't sit and watch war films or anything fictional about the armed forces with my other half as he just sits and criticises! He can't suspend belief lol. the Christmas Dr Who special got a lot of stick because of the UNIT commanders beret, though must admit it annoys me too, actors cannot wear military berets and look real!
Ah if only they'd asked us! :)
 

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It's important to remember that stage combat is just that, stage combat. Things work because the fight director says they do, not because they have any counterpart in real swordsmanship.

The reason for this is simple. The goal in stage combat is to NOT hit your opponent, which is obviously diametrically opposed to the goal of real swordsmanship. This is so actors, who are obviously not swordsmen, stay safe.

The goal of real swordsmanship is to kill your opponent in the fastest, safest, most efficient way possible. This usually means putting the point in the opponent's face whenever possible to draw a flinch response if your thrust misses. The point in the face is the tactics that much of the German school of swordsmanship focuses on (the windings, etc), and in the Book of Five Rings, Musashi also advocates keeping the point threatening the opponent's face. In a real fight, that's a good thing. In stage combat, this activity will (not surprisingly) get someone stabbed in the face. Of course, enough of this results in Hollywood running out of actors, or at the very least, having lots of actors wearing eyepatches. ;)

So, Real Swordmanship = killing. Stage Combat = telling a story while keeping the actors safe.

While some stage combat directors will, when it's convenient apply some real technique to a scene, most of them don't care about real technique at all. Most stage combat stuff is suicidal from a combat standpoint.

You've never seen stuff like this in the movies:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmoSedeqrHo&feature=channel_page

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38sVdx7nzhQ&feature=channel_page

Here's an example of the "point in the face" stuff, done slowly so you can see it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ainzFa7mHc&feature=channel_page

Note how fast the encounter ends. A sword fight takes a few seconds and someone's dead.

That's what swordsmanship ACTUALLY looks like. :)

Best regards,

-Mark
 
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Sukerkin

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Some nice stuff on those video clips, Langen.

I love watching the rebirth of European swordsmanship, especially as my own experience grows in the JSA and I am more able to see the similarities in technique as well as the differences that the different weapon brings.

Very good point to raise about the difference between the 'real' and the 'staged' too. It's something we sometimes have to work out of people when they get competent enough to do some partner forms i.e. they aim to miss, in all probability because of the swashbuckling they've seen in the movies.
 

Langenschwert

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Some nice stuff on those video clips, Langen.

Glad you like them.

I love watching the rebirth of European swordsmanship, especially as my own experience grows in the JSA and I am more able to see the similarities in technique as well as the differences that the different weapon brings.

It's a very rewarding field to be in, that's for sure. I just love it, though I study other sword arts whenever I can. As the earliest manuscript in the Liechtenauer lineage states: "There is but one art of the sword". :) And that's really the truth. Even if two arts LOOK different, but are combat effective, then they're probably more similar at their core than people realize at first glance. Even if the weapons change, the principles remain the same. One can see this in the fechtbuch of Joachim Meyer (1570). He was one of the last proponents of the Liechtenauer school, but also studied rapier (an Italian weapon). According to his manual, he learned rapier fencing in Italy, but altered it to fit more in line with the German system... but it goes to show that the system, not the weapon is of primary concern. For example, one of my students competed in a large MA tournament a few months ago. He competed in "sword and dagger", a combination he had never used before. However, he knew that the Liechtenauer system he'd been taught could be applied to any weapon (since there's only one art of the sword). So he proceeded to adapt it "on the fly" to the new combination. And he won first place, too.

Very good point to raise about the difference between the 'real' and the 'staged' too.

Yeah, that's the thing that escapes most laymen about movie fighting. It's NOT REAL. There's nothing real about it, since no one is really trying to bury four feet of steel in someone's skull. Swordsmanship is about utterly destroying another human being without giving them any chance of defending. It's not about looking pretty or cool. It's brutality married to skill.

It's something we sometimes have to work out of people when they get competent enough to do some partner forms i.e. they aim to miss, in all probability because of the swashbuckling they've seen in the movies.

Absolutely. You must learn to defend against an attack that would kill you, otherwise you're learning bad technique. The problem is that it's very dangerous for the beginner and takes time to get to learn safely. Coupled with modern people's aversion to fighting and injuring people, it makes for a challenge from an instructor's perspective.

Swordsmanship at its heart is simplicity defined. You go up to the guy and hit him in the head really hard and really fast. The more advanced techniques come in when that doesn't quite work. ;)

Best regards,

-Mark
 

Sukerkin

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ROFL - that last line of yours has just caused my missus to ask me what on earth I was roaring with laughter at :D.
 

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Speaking 'in character', however, then I think I saw Sulu using something very like a sabre or a dao in TOS. However, it is true that he is most famous for his shirt-off-with-a-foil scene.
In TOS, he was pretty much a fully blown weapon aficionado. He landed on a wish granting planet, and the first thing he did was magic up a pistol. (Also had an extensive hand gun collection.)
 

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... Woodcutter or Lumberjack is the style utilised in the latest retread of the Star Trek franchise :lol:.
I was thinking Rugbeater myself; but hey, what do I know?
As many of us have said or implied, it's only a movie. What the heck.
 

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ROFL - that last line of yours has just caused my missus to ask me what on earth I was roaring with laughter at :D.

It was good wasn't it! I went on an Ian Abernethy seminar a couple of months ago, he's the expert on applied karate and Bunkai. He says people are always surprised when they ask him how he defends himself and he answers 'I hit them hard and fast with my fists aiming for a KO, no messing, no fancy techniques'! he says too that all techniques are for after if you haven't KOd them.
 

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I get to interface with a lot of Stage Combat professionals at ISMAC. You are right that stage combat is about telling a story. It is beset with myriad of "problems" from a "real" fighting point of view. More than just the issues involved with keeping your partner safe, you also have to understand (so I'm told) what the audience will and will not see. Can the audience see, and understand, that important feint that opens up the line for a finishing thrust? Probably not. Will they see the linear attacks or it is easier for them to see the arcing attacks? Further, there's more than a little bit of misdirection. "Look at the fist! Look at the FIST!!!" while doing something else with a body shift or the other hand.

Additionally, Stage Combat is ruled by what the audience EXPECTS to see. "Realistic" looking stage combat includes what the audience THINKS they know about fighting (which is often wrong). It also has to be "sold" convincingly. A stage fighter who doesn't know how to fight won't attack convincingly, won't flinch convincingly, won't FIGHT convincingly. He'll look like an actor who's been taught a few moves and the audience won't "buy" it.

Now, as a "martial artist," I'm pretty happy with a large majority of my potential opponents having an innacurate view of what fighting is. Means I'm more likely to win, or at least live, if something wonky happens. However, more and more Stage Combat experts and choreographers are learning about "real" fighting, or come from a background of real fighting. Additionally, more and more of their potential audience is familiar with real fighting (us). It presents a problem. They still have to put together a fight scene that "sells" to the lowest common denominator but they want to please themselves and us as well. So more and more "real-ish" technique is making its way in. This also means that the lowest common denominator is getting a bit more education and is having his expectations altered (I'm not sure I like that part as much).

I wouldn't want to do it for a living, that's for sure.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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It was good wasn't it! I went on an Ian Abernethy seminar a couple of months ago, he's the expert on applied karate and Bunkai. He says people are always surprised when they ask him how he defends himself and he answers 'I hit them hard and fast with my fists aiming for a KO, no messing, no fancy techniques'! he says too that all techniques are for after if you haven't KOd them.
Mr. Abernathy is also a fan of old style Pugilism.

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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