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Thread: Broadsword vs Broadsword & Targe

  1. #1

    Broadsword vs Broadsword & Targe

    In our practice lessons mostly we train the same combination versus eachother, f.e. Broadsword vs Broadsword, Broadsword & Targe vs Broadsword & Targe etc. We often do Cross-over fights, mostly we other styles, but sometimes also in our practice with Tomahawk vs Broadsword, Bayonet vs Broadsword & Targe etc.

    One combination we did not try out very often is Broadsword vs Broadsword & Targe. This combination would happen in former centuryies, I guess, so that one fencer with a Broadsword faces a fighter with sowrd and targe.

    I don´t know if there are some instructionals, which handle that case, I know none, if you know one, even if it is more 16th CVentury cut-and-thrus sword with buckler, let me know please.

    So for the moment, we tried out a bit in our practice, what happens when a Broadsword-Fencer has to face one with a Targe. So basing on what we learn at the moment, this was like a clash of Thomas Mathewson vs Thomas Page. We did some free-drills and bouting to test out, what maybe works. Here our first two trys:

    As you can see, I came really under pressure there and "died" many times. I recognized some major problems:
    - the Targe-man is so well covered, that I cannot land any attack with my frist move
    - with the standard guards (outside, inside, hanging), I covered, but to far away from my opponent to start a good combination to get arround his defense. also these guards are to weak, to resist a Broadsword and Targe attack really well
    - because he is so well covered and like double-armed, the Targe-man has everytime the advantage, in defense and in offense too. If I try to attack, he has every chance to cover and to bind me. Also if I use my free hand to grab his shield, he can cut with the sword or hit with the targe anyway. If he attacks, I can only defend a little time well, because he encloses, I am in his distance quick, so i have nearly no chance
    - thrusts did not worked so well, because these were an invitation for him to bind and control me
    - final conlcusion: Broadsword and Targe are one item to much to fence with the single Broadsword in an orthodox way and the Targe-man has all advantages and much more force to control

    After this experience, I thought about unorthodox ways to handle the Targe-man. I thought, two things are important for me: 1. better distance 2. more force. I had the idea, that maybe two tactics could give me that two things: 1. unorthodox guards 2. halfswording.
    So I tried to use more guards, that I would use like if I have also a targe, like I was unarmed, and my opponent, I have the disadvantage, I have to try to close in and wrestle him for control. Similar with the single sword vs a Targe-man: I try to come more in his distance, using Targe-like guards.
    Now the second problem, the force (not that of the jedi ). Here I was inspired by medieval halfsword-techniques, because I knew, that when fighting with the Longsword vs a pole-arm or to parry something like a "mortschlag", halfsword is used to parry the forceful attack, to be well covered against longer weapons, to better control pole-arms and to come into closer distance to dominate. Also "halfsword" with the Broadsword is normally another thing than with a Longsword, I recognized that a sword is a sword and what works with a Longsword could work with the Broadsword too. Also I know such similar double-handed-techniques form my stickfighting-practice with the Walking-cane f.e. With such double-handed halfswording-stuff I can build up much more force to pressure, so the advantage of sword and targe are equalized through this.
    So we tried out this mixture of targe-like guards and medieval halfswording and this is, what was the outcome of the theory in free-drills:

    Finally after this practice, we tried out the stuff in another bout:

    So also I was "killed" again sometimes, it worked much, much better than in the first trys, I think. Also the technique-ideas are not clearly historical Broadsword-work, they are inspired by other historical sources and evolved out of trial and error.

    I would like to ehar your opinions and advices concerning our experiments and of course like to hear, if someone else made such epxeriments of Broadsword vs Broadsword & Targe.
    Last edited by Heiko G.; 05-07-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    McBane has this to say:
    "If you meet with a Man with Sword and Target, and you with your small sword, take off your Coat and Roll it around your Left Hand, and take a wet Napkin and put it under your Hat, and that will prevent his Cuts, in case he Hits you either on the Arm or Head. Save the Blade of your Sword as much as possible, by slipping his Blows, and your Sword Hand making always high Feints to his Face, the he will raise his Targe and blind his sight, that you may have an easy Opportunity to take him in the Belly"
    Of course, this assumes that the opponent will blind himself when he defends his head. From personal experience, this works the first few times someone picks up a targe, but they quickly learn to block properly. Another thing that I think is effective is to try to move to and attack from his outside, to make it harder from him to use the targe. Again, that is easier said than done. Finally, as you said yourself, trying to move in very close works quite well. Once you move into grappling distance, he will find it hard to use his targe, plus guys with targes don't normally expect you to close the distance.
    Alex Bourdas

    Academy of Historical Arts

  3. #3
    Thanks Alex for this material.

    Also McBane wrotes about a Smallsword, his tactical advice sounds good. Maybe thrusts with the Smallsword come quicker than with the Broadsword, I guess, but anyway he is correct, I also recognized in our practice, that stabbing to the face gives much more effect on the Targe-man reactions, than at the body.

    The tactic to move to his outside was in my mind also as important point, I used this idea from my boxing-class, when it is teached how to fight as a Southpaw vs Orthodox stance, trying to get to the opponents outside with circeling. Anyway, this worked not so well in my trys, because the Targe-man just turns a bit and fast arround his own angle, so it turns to a run arround him, but he follows everytime easy.

    For Wrestling without the Targe you clearly have an advantage, but you have to be aware of Targe-punches, which can come very fast (we train them regular, that in every to close situation, if the sword is trapped anyway, we free ourselfes with Targe-punches).

    Great, I hope the discussion will work on, I like that exchange very much.

  4. #4
    I've tried it a bit and my strategy so far has been to shift back and make timing attacks to the arm or head. This has a weakness though, because if you are moving back and playing it defensive it's pretty easy for the broadsword and targe guy to gain the initiative and get "ahead" in the bout by continuing to chase you aggressively or to simply charge and overwhelm. I like what you wrote in your post and I'll be sure to try out some of those strategies in bouting.

  5. We've had some success with a sniping, harassing "disrupt" strategy, but no video yet.
    "Am fear a thug buaidh air fhein, thug e buaidh air namhaid."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Glasgow, Scotland / Palm Beach, Florida
    In the academy I am the one who loves broadsword and targe and I can reveal that one thing I know Keith has used to give me a real run for my money is footwork. I am extremely well covered and so an opponent may get lucky but the odds are good I will have cut them to strings before they do, and rarely will they land an attack on an area that I can't just respond by cutting their head or their stomach. Keith tends to strike so I block with my targe and when I go to parry to his right side he steps round my attack and hits my right side...looking back I often block his initial attack but he follows straight through with a driving thrust and this is what gets me. He has also landed blows on my arms with this move. I am not saying these are guarantees as I think out of 5 rounds the targe always comes out on top but I have noticed this changes the numbers from around 2-5 to around 4-5. I also know from fighting younger students when they have a targe that the legs are a target worth going for if you are quick enough or if you are able to slap their sword it is worth dropping low and thrusting up under the targe (just be ready for the downward strike to the head, slap it aside with your palm)

    I hope this helps a little, the academy are in the process of fixing up a video camera so once we do we will get some of our lessons from this discipline on youtube and I will make a point of sorting out a video on this subject which will hopefully help illustrate a little better what I am saying.

    ~ Ben Kerr ~

    Triquetra Services (Scotland)
    Registered Charity (SC042086)
    Academy of Historical Arts

    "Heroes fade eventually, but Legends never die."


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