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Thread: Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword, Reviews and/or Opnions?

  1. #1
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    Question Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword, Reviews and/or Opnions?

    Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword
    by David Lindholm & Peter Svšrd

    Hardcover
    Publisher: Paladin Press; (July 2003)
    ISBN: 1581604106

    Has anyone had a chance to examine this book yet? I have heard virtually nothing about it, though I am curious to know how its contents compare to Christian Tolberís Secrets of German Medieval Swordsmanship.

  2. #2
    I have to admit that I did pick the book up and look at it briefly but in truth did not make it past the portrait of what Ringeck might have looked like. That caption seemed to set me in a mood to not want to delve further into the book. I also noticed a well known researcher smacking himself in the hand repeatedly while reading through the first chapter I believe.

    Don't get me wrong though. The book may be great ...just giving a peek at my brief exposure.

    SlŠn
    Ken

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    Originally posted by Ken Pfrenger
    That caption seemed to set me in a mood to not want to delve further into the book. I also noticed a well known researcher smacking himself in the hand repeatedly while reading through the first chapter I believe.
    Iím puzzled. What caption? And what do you mean by ďa well known researcher smacking himself in the handĒ?

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    Ken - for every book published in our field I can name at least one person who reacts like that to each one . It's natural...

    Matt

  5. #5
    Originally posted by Dan Hinson


    Iím puzzled. What caption? And what do you mean by ďa well known researcher smacking himself in the handĒ?
    First off I must remember to preview my posts before I hit submit. The researcher was smacking himself in the head, not the hand



    The caption I am talking about is under the portrait of Ringeck.


    And Matt...I agree. There is alot of this in this field sometimes warrented, sometimes not.

    slŠn
    Ken

  6. #6

    How Ironic

    Man,

    Sometimes coincidences can be funny. I just ordered this book today, as a supplementary reference to Chrisitan's book. What is funny is that I was going to post and ask for peoples opinions/feedback. Oh well. it doesn't really matter, I want to have as much information as possible on the art.( although I do hope it is good ) I will post a review on it once I recieve it and have time to study it's conclusions.


    James Byrnes
    "Farewell sweet friend, I was a thousand times more evil than thou. "
    -------------Stormbringer--------------
    Rocky Mountain Historical Combat Guild

  7. #7
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    I find that in many ways it's superior to Christian's book (and no, it's not "just because an ARMA member did it"). The layout is easier to use, the translation is not only more accurate in many places (so my German speaking friends tell me), but it includes the original German text for comparisons. I have found many places where reading "stoss" instead of "heib" or "haw" has made a big difference. The drawings and footwork diagrams of every technique also make it very easy to actually try the techniques in ways that even the best photographs fail in.

    I have Christian's book and I think it's a fine thing. I refer to it frequently, but I find that the two books together add a lot of light to Ringeck, and I find that sometimes one has a better and more functional interpretation than the other.

    I would strongly suggest that people look past petty anoyances in things like the portrait of Ringeck or who's "slapping themselves in the head" and instead actually try to put the book to real use. I think that Lindholm's and Tobler's editions are both neccessary to anyone that wishes to study Master Ringeck.

    Jake

  8. #8
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    I'm about 3/4's of the way through it, and will share.

    PRESENTATION:
    Nice. The line drawings are just as good as (though not particularly better than) photos, the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the little footwork scheme running under the figures is such an excellent idea I'm bound to steal it for use in a future book. Some have bitched about the "long book" format not fitting on their shelves, but it doesn't bother me.

    My only ciriticism here is sometimes it's hard to tell when it's Ringeck talking or the authors, something which CT's book makes nice and clear. But this is a minor gripe - overall it's nicely presented and easy to read and follow

    TRANSLATION:
    Different to CT's, and this is a good thing. My biggest fear was this was going to be a clone of CT's book, and we'd see lawsuits flying, but it's not. Having an alternative translation can hardly hurt, and brings different nuances to light.

    JOHN CLEMENTS INTRO
    Yes, JC does the intro, and it contains the expected cautions against stage combat, re-enactment, role players, kendo and sports fencing, and of course edge-on-edge parrying - though he now admits it *was* done in the 18th century, and says "This is not to be confused with his use of the edge of the blade to bind or to close, and greet and stifle the opponent's blow before it is fully committed" - so Yay, progress there.

    (BTW, the authors are strictly of the flat-parry school, but also say "the blades might get small nicks, but if the fighting is in earnest this is of no consequence", and then show a picture of an antique longsword blade with nicks all over it, and say "we do not know how they got there"! Gotta laugh....)

    The bit that confuses me however is this paragraph:

    "While the German school of fencing in the Middle Ages taught that all attacks occur in one of three "times" - that is, before, during, or after the opponent's action, Ringeck stated that it is the "middle" time (indes) that is most important. He said "Indes is the key with which the art of fencing is unlocked". This can be understood in the way actions such as beating or binding on the opponent's blade, closing in, initiating disarms or wrestling, and resorting to half-sword techniques, are all not executed "before" or "after" the opponent's actions, but "simultaneously" with them. Whereas striking before preempts the adversary's action and striking after exploits his action, "middle-time" strikes are times to interrupt and intercept his actions."

    So is he saying Indes is Mezzo-tempo?!? The rest of the book uses vor/ nach/ indes in the conventional understanding, and the translation supports this, so I don't quite know where JC got this from.

    APPROACH
    The book is much like CT's, in that is goes through Ringeck basically in order, and interprets the techniques one by one. There's no introdution to basics, or theoretical outline, just "do it like this or that", which is fine.

    My biggest personal concern is more to do with attitude in respect to the historical material, in that the authors seem quite ready to declare the historical sources "wrong" if they can't make it work like it should.

    For example, they declare "many of the illustrations in later manuals do not, indeed cannot, depict the intended body posture when fighting at speed". Why? Because that's not where *they* end up - they don't even consider the possibility that their interpretation is wrong, so it must be the manuals.

    Another example, they also say "at times you willingly place the opponent's blade close to you in order to score a hit; either you have armour, or the swords do not have very sharp edges, which is contradicted by the fact many cuts are shown". Instead of concluding that maybe they're ending in the wrong position, they instead conclude "We must therefore ignore Ringeck's seeming to make a distinction between fighting with or without armour."

    Now I know exactly what they're talking about, and have wrestled with the same issues - but my conclusion has been that my interpretation is flawed, not that the historical material is itself misleading. I have to say I think its a worrying attitude.

    INTERPRETATION - GOOD STUFF

    The interpretation is definitely different to CT's in many respects. These chaps have obviously done a lot of bouting, and figured out what "works" through trial and error, and for technical reasons not worth going into here, I actually think there's some very good ideas in here. They understand the "undercut", which us Silverites know all about but sometimes find it hard to explain to longsworders, so yay, and there are aspects to each of their meisterhau interpretations that *I* think are very good (because they gel with some of my ideas!) - such as keeping the hilt high in the zwech, for example. So, a lot of the blade-work is very good, and the authors are to be commended.

    Also, the wrestling-with-sword section is, I must say, better than CTs. I'm looking forward to the pure wrestling in the next book.

    INTERPRETATION - BAD STUFF

    Without going into details technique-by-technique, the place where the book falls down is in a lack of understanding of some very basic concepts, such as True Times and the Three Distances, and *particularly* an almost total absence of footwork.

    If these chaps had done a remedial Silver course first, their interpretation could have been so much better - as it is, there's False Times at every turn, attempts to defeat the Time of the Hand with the Time of the Foot, and a strange lack of understanding of distance - eg breaking Alber from Vom Tag, they say "Either step forward to strike, or if he is within reach, simply strike" - ? Huh? Why would you be standing in ward at Close Distance in the first place, let alone in Alber? There is a *lot* of this kind of thing, including defences without movement, and feinting while standing in Close Distance, which would seem to be simple suicide.

    These flaws all come back to the footwork, or lack of it. I said before the little footprints were a really good idea, and so they are - but they are hardly ever used. Pages go by without a single foot movement - in fact, I counted, and of the 430-odd stances, the feet only move in 20% of them. What movement there is, is decidedly linear, seeming to ignore instructions like "leap out to the right" - this is interpreted as a simple pass forward, barely off the centre line.

    The authors admit they don't get the footwork, saying specifically not to follow their footwork scheme slavishly, but to "experiment", and that:

    "Ringeck is rather quiet on the subject of footwork, the reason being either he expects his reader to be familiar with it already, or that he does not use it in the way we expect. There is a caveat on footwork - we are accustomed to the footwork of Asian martial arts, which are often unarmed, and of modern fencing..."

    (this really shows, too)

    "...While cautioning against too much movement, it is important never to be still in fencing: footwork is essential"

    Well, yes it is, and some remedial Di Grassi may have helped a lot here too. This issue really lets the book down - CT's interpretation has a comprehensive theory of movement and positioning which, which whether you think is right or not, underlies and gives a certain coherrance to the techniques. This book doesn't have an underliying movement or positioning theory, and suffers as a result.

    CONCLUSION

    So, is it better than, or an advance on, CT's book? No, it's not, but it is different. Is it worth getting? Absolutely, on the basis that it is so very different to CT's that there's lots of room for comparison and contrast, and every insight helps. I'm positive this book has important insights, despite the things it's missed, and am actually really looking forward to comparing this and CT's line by line (call me geek if you will

    Paul
    Last edited by Paul Wagner; 08-12-2003 at 09:33 PM.

  9. #9

    Paul Thanks

    Paul,

    Thanks for the review. Sounds like it will make a very nice resource, together with CHT's book, in furthering my understanding of the art.

    As an aside, I enjoyed the article you and Stephen wrote on the Large shield. I will be ordering a heater very soon and look forward to playing with those concepts.


    James
    "Farewell sweet friend, I was a thousand times more evil than thou. "
    -------------Stormbringer--------------
    Rocky Mountain Historical Combat Guild

  10. #10
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    Is it normally too cold in Denver to work with shield principles then James?.... :groan: sorry.. couldn't resist..

    Matt

  11. #11

    Groan is Right

    It's ok Matt. I am sure it's the heat wave, you English blokes can't handle a good Midwest summer )P

    James
    "Farewell sweet friend, I was a thousand times more evil than thou. "
    -------------Stormbringer--------------
    Rocky Mountain Historical Combat Guild

  12. #12
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    How's the wrestling section of the book?
    "Pray forget not to have your Broad-Sword, made according to my Pattern; for the Parliment has, and it will with your Postures in my wrestling-Book, cut the Small-Sword out of fashion" --Sir Thomas Parkyns, to Lord Thomas Manners, 1720


    "We begin with the Small-Sword, which we must allow to be the nearest Inlet to the relative Arts, and when we are upon the Back-Sword, their near Affinity will appear more clearly." --Captain John Godfrey, Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defence, 1747

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by David Black Mastro
    How's the wrestling section of the book?
    The book only covers longsword. The other parts of Ringeck are due out later.

    Jake

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    There is wrestling with the sword, which I read today, and this bit was excellent, which I'll now go and add to my review (!)

    Paul

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    Question

    I recently received my copy of Knightly Art of the Longsword from Amazon, and while my initial impression of this book is quite positive, it would appear that I received a defective copy.

    Several pages, some of which are successive, are totally blank. These pages are 151, 154, 155, 156, 159, 160, 162, 163, 166, and 168. While some pages in the book are without text presumably because they are at the end of a section, it seems odd that so many pages in my book are totally blank. In fact, the table of contents show that the section on Das Schnitt begins on page 151, yet that page is quite blank.

    Has anyone else encountered this oddity with their copy? Should I contact the publisher, or try to return the book to Amazon?

  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Dan Hinson
    Has anyone else encountered this oddity with their copy? Should I contact the publisher, or try to return the book to Amazon?
    Amazon has a Returns Center for defective merchandise, as long as it's not older than 30 days.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/su...164690-5355960
    Jamie Fellrath
    ARMA - Columbus, OH

  17. #17
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    Just got this book today. I am quite impressed. This is an excellent book to have side by side Christian's translation. For one reason, as has been stated in the thread, it's always excellent to have multiple translations and interpretations to compare and contrast. I also very much like the illustrations, as they are very clear and easy to understand. One of the nice things here is that the background is white, making the pictures much easier to see and interpret. The drawings of the arrows and the footwork also makes this book easily understood. I've been pouring over it all day, only taking a break to write this. I'm very happy with the book so far, and all students of the Liechtanaur system will very much benefit from owning this translation.
    Virginia Academy of Fencing Historical Swordsmanship
    --German Longsword & Italian Rapier in the DC Area--


    "A despondent heart will always be defeated regardless of all skill."

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