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Thread: Testing SCA strikes on Tatami Mats

  1. #1

    Testing SCA strikes on Tatami Mats

    While visiting Texas we tested SCA strikes on Tatami Mats. I thought the following video might be of interest to this group. After the initial results were obvious we decided to test lower quality swords and compare them to higher quality ones.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRcSr...m...hread=6240


    While there we also tested SCA fighting against Western Martial Arts. The scenario was blofsfechten (unarmored combat). There were no rules in this fight except don't actually kill the other person. Strikes to the hand, lower leg, grappling and punching were all allowed. The WMA combatant used a longsword using only techniques shown in historic fighting manuals and was a very knowledgeable, skilled and agile fighter.

    We found that my lower leg was too hard for him to hit with out getting his head or hip chopped. My hand was too hard to target and it was difficult for him to close in for grappling without getting hit first.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_5dP...m...amp;page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg_qf...m...amp;page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkSV8...m...amp;page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF85x...m...amp;page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj7xz...m...amp;page=1

    On my part I found that I was overly concerned with keeping my leg safe since I have not sparred too much with shields and the full body as a target. Legs are still at risk but not as much as I anticipated because his head or hip would come into my range before my leg came into his. Adam did get one good shot to my ankle so it is something to watch for.The next time I fight in this setup I would be more aggressive with this new experience knowing my leg is not at much as risk.

    There were no hits to my hand. We agreed that the swordhand moves too quickly in and out from the shield. Adam did get one nice shot to my right upper arm when he stepped to the side. I did get two good hits on Adams fingers which in a real fight would have made him drop his sword if not for gauntlets. In both those cases I was aiming for his body and when Adam moved his hands to block his fingers got hit. The majority to good shots that Adam landed on me were to my head just like in SCA fighting.

    Note: on the grappling video take a close look .45 seconds into the fight.

    I should also add that I have a basic level understanding of longsword within the German system so I was familiar with my opponents longsword techniques. My opponent did not have much experience against SCA fighters. I have always been a proponent of learning as many different styles as possible for just such situations.

    I believe that SCA fighting is inherently based on WMA. Many SCA fighters, including myself, study WMA. However, many in the WMA community consider SCA fighting as some sort of perversion of European Martial Arts and not functional in a setting without rules. This was the basis of the argument that lead to me being challenged to the duel. My opponent is from California and I am from NY. A third person offered to host the event in another corner of the of the country in Texas.

    We started out the week by testing the various SCA strikes on tatami to establish their effectiveness. This lead to acknowledgment that they work and that they closely resemble some of the cuts used in the German tradition such as the Zwerchhue. In a contest without rules I then swapped out my rattan sword for a steel blunt and let my training stand on its own. The result was a meeting of the minds and the acknowledgment of those present that SCA fighting is a fully functional system in a setting without rules.

    We parted as friends knowing that our fighting systems had more in common then not.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  2. #2
    neat! Anecdotal, but interesting to see someone try it and record it.

    So - just to be clear - I view SCA heavy combat as a modern combative sport. I don't judge it in the same way that I judge HES material. But a large shield w/ single handed sword vs a person with a longsword and no armour is a bad fight to be in (if you have the longsword). That is basically like being unarmoured vs an armoured opponent. a buckler may be a different story. I am honestly not sure what the best way to approach it would be (if you didn't have any friends or another weapon around)... it is possible there really isn't one, sort of like a knife fight.


    That said - the leg is a tough target with the longsword, arguably a bad one in most circumstances. The reason for this is the relative measure of the agent striking for the leg and the patient who goes for a head shot. Basically, one has a longer distance to cover going down for the leg shot, while the head shot can go straight to the agent's head (less ground to cover so to speak).
    Last edited by David E. Farrell; 08-23-2008 at 10:14 PM.
    AKA: 'Sparky' (this way I won't need to explain )

    For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
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    Quote Originally Posted by David E. Farrell View Post
    That is basically like being unarmoured vs an armoured opponent.
    Good point, David, but still fun to watch! The SCA fighter had some good misdirects and did a nice job of using his shield to mask his attacks. I think should they meet again, the WMA fighter might want to spend less time on the head and try more absetzens, particularly to the lower openings, but I really enjoyed his zwerch combo to opposite openings; really opened up that shield.
    Shay Roberts
    Academy of Arms

    One may not be called perfect in this art, as it is likewise in others, if he does not know how to teach somebody else.
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  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Shay Roberts View Post
    Good point, David, but still fun to watch! The SCA fighter had some good misdirects and did a nice job of using his shield to mask his attacks. I think should they meet again, the WMA fighter might want to spend less time on the head and try more absetzens, particularly to the lower openings, but I really enjoyed his zwerch combo to opposite openings; really opened up that shield.
    Indeed - the SCA fighter did a great job of essentially cutting down the available openings to his back, lower legs and sometimes sword-side. That isn't much, particularly not for someone used to fighting with the usual unarmoured longsword targets.

    I thought about how I would approach this last night a bit. Now, in the heat of the moment, who is to say if I would actually do this... but here were my thoughts based on my understanding of Fiore's system (which to some has a slightly different 'philosophy' than the German system... but I am not totally convinced):

    The SCA fighter is essentially armoured - but not in such a way that half-swording would be effective. Especially since the HES fighter would just be getting wailed on while closing to that measure and finding an opening, since the 'armour' can move. The SCA fighter may have more distance to play with because he is using the sword single handed, even if there were no shield involved.

    I see 2 ways to go about the fight:
    1) HES guy takes a more defensive approach, trying to provoke an attack from the SCA guy that would create an opening or an opportunity for a mezzo-tempo counterattack or hanging parry w/flanking action, etc.. Some of the SCA fighters strikes did have enough of a 'tell' that there could have been the opportunity for such an attack if the HES guy hadn't fully committed to an attack to a closed line that provided no cover against the opponent (the reason I think the HES guy got creamed so often).

    2) Treat the sword like a dagger. Get in, shut it down with one hand, and don't attack the body until it is under control. This would be *very* dangerous, IMO. The shield would likely still close off most targets, and one may not be able to 'peel' it off very well with the pommel or get around it with a thrust. So a low-line kick or cut to the knee or cut to the arm may be the only real options. Getting struck by the shield would probably suck a great deal, but it is better than being cut in half.
    Last edited by David E. Farrell; 08-24-2008 at 07:03 AM.
    AKA: 'Sparky' (this way I won't need to explain )

    For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
    -- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by David E. Farrell View Post
    That said - the leg is a tough target with the longsword, arguably a bad one in most circumstances. The reason for this is the relative measure of the agent striking for the leg and the patient who goes for a head shot. Basically, one has a longer distance to cover going down for the leg shot, while the head shot can go straight to the agent's head (less ground to cover so to speak).
    Generally, in Bolognese, the opponent's leg is only a first target if you have some sort of shield (i.e. brocchiero, targa, rotella, or imbracciatura), or you are using the Spada da due mani--i.e. a situation where you can still defend your upper targets while attacking low. Otherwise, an attack to the leg is nearly always the result of a combination--that is, a redoubled attack or an attack after a feint (something I didn't see the Longsword do much at all).

    As to SCA being WMA or not. SCA is a framework of rules to allow to combatants to freeplay relatively safely. Either or both of the swordsmen can be accomplished or abyssmal swordsmen, or anywhere between, but there is nothing inherently "WMA" about SCA itself. That said, many practitioners study WMA to some degree and some very accomplished fighters have gotten that way by studying the "real thing" (but many others have perfected tricks that fit the sporting rules). The only problem with the SCA comes when people try to use it exclusively to judge the effectiveness of techniques outside of the context of sport. Note that calling it a sport isn't demeaning (after all, there was always a sport aspect of WMA, complete with arbitrary rules for safety and various other reasons).

    Since the "wrap shot" has come up, I thought I'd say a few words about it. I know it has taken a lot of criticism, but look at the wrap shot and consider what it is: a cut with the false edge. The Bolognese use this cut. Generally, it is utilized as a feint to make the opponent parry very wide (necessitated because of it's ability to wrap around parries, of course), so that a second cut (almost always true-edge) or a thrust can be directed at an open target. The problem only comes in with the "Wading Warp Shot" or the "Trading Wrap Shot". In the first case, a swordsman "wades in" to narrow measure and flails away--no stepping necessary. In the second case, both swordsmen come into narrow measure and trade Wrap Shots until one of them is hit. Note that I'm talking generally here and not referring to anything in the videos.

    While I'm sure this was an excellent learning experience for all involved, don't make any broad conclusions from it. I only saw a small fraction of the available tactical options open to either fighter and very few compound attacks. Now considering that the longswordsman had to get around a shield, I would have expected to see almost no single attacks (because he certainly couldn't expect to hit with a single cut or thrust)--instead, attack routines with two or three (or even more!) attacks along with the appropriate steps should have been the norm.

    Steve
    Last edited by Steven Reich; 08-24-2008 at 07:43 AM.
    Founder of NoVA-Assalto, an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance

  6. I had the chance to briefly train with Bill Tsafa at this year's Chivalric Weekend. He's a nice guy and it's clear that he's open to expanding his horizons within his own context of SCA bouting.

    These videos were fun to watch. I especially loved the 1st sparring clip where Bill rushes in for a strike. Adam deflects the high line and then drops a Schielhau in response. This would have devastated Bill's shoulder and stopped the fight before he answered back with a Mittelhau if it wasn't for the fact that the smallest edge of Bill's shield caught the Schiellhau before it could connect.

    As interesting as the mixed sparring clips are, I am still not convinced that the majority of the conventional SCA strikes are effective. Given time and experimentation, it is clear that the SCA community has uncovered some of the documented attacks that were taught during Lichtenhaur's lineage (Zwerchau and Sturzhau mostly), although they have different names for them. This isn't a surprise because there are only so many ways to deliver an effective cut. But I still think the idea of wrap cutting is ineffective. Like I said, I have briefly trained with Bill Tsafa, and he looks even bigger in person! If such a body building titan of a man still has to put so much effort into a wrap shot (even with the Albion sword at the end) then what chance would a mere mortal have of causing any damage with a wrap cut?

    That's just my two cents of course. It's very possible if Tsafa tagged me with one of his wrap cuts I would need to re-consider my position .

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    This is a general statement and there are always exceptions. Nor am I advocating SCA sport combat as superior to anything. I think a mix of tools, training and techniques is optimum for pursuing the pantheon of HES/EMA
    Something I have noticed in free play between SCA combat and people using steel or aluminum blunts is that people with ‘sticks’ in their hand hit harder and faster. I think this has to do with the psychology of not wanting to hurt an opponent in a match. I think this would change radically in a fight or combat but this is about Freeplay and not a fight. That buffer of safety allows for more freedom.
    I think it would be interesting to rematch the two with SCA style weapons of the same type and see if there is a difference in speed of strikes and strength behind the blows. I think that the idea would be in the back of both peoples head that, “I can’t really hurt my friend” and would allow both to attack with more vigor.
    This psychology of not wanting to hurt an opponent (insert friend or training partner) in practice or a match seems to be something that covers all sport combat, European martial arts, and Eastern martial arts during practice. In a match people turn up their intensity somewhat but with a ‘weapon’ in one’s hand a person is going to be reluctant to go full out.



    Icepick: Hit'm again he's still moving

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    Quote Originally Posted by David E. Farrell View Post
    HES guy takes a more defensive approach, trying to provoke an attack from the SCA guy that would create an opening or an opportunity for a mezzo-tempo counterattack or hanging parry w/flanking action, etc.. Some of the SCA fighters strikes did have enough of a 'tell' that there could have been the opportunity for such an attack if the HES guy hadn't fully committed to an attack to a closed line that provided no cover against the opponent (the reason I think the HES guy got creamed so often).
    David, I think you are spot on. In all fairness to the HES fighter, I'm not sure I could have done much better if it was my first time facing a shield with a longsword; it's a tough situation. Thanks go out to those two for posting videos and providing us with some hindsight!
    Shay Roberts
    Academy of Arms

    One may not be called perfect in this art, as it is likewise in others, if he does not know how to teach somebody else.
    Antonio Manciolino, 1531

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shay Roberts View Post
    David, I think you are spot on. In all fairness to the HES fighter, I'm not sure I could have done much better if it was my first time facing a shield with a longsword; it's a tough situation. Thanks go out to those two for posting videos and providing us with some hindsight!
    I agree, I probably wouldn't have faired much better... but I still stand by my words - when faced with a new opponent/style, one should try and learn as much as possible prior to committing to an attack. But that is much harder to actually *do* in the heat of the moment unless you have trained yourself to do that... I know I don't do it as often as I should (learnin though )
    AKA: 'Sparky' (this way I won't need to explain )

    For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
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    Thanks Bill for posting the vids, very interesting...

    ...But... I'm not sure what is really being proved here.

    In regards to the cuts, as the Indian officer said, "A sharp sword will cut in anyone's hand". The "problem" with SCA cuts is not that they won't do damage, but they are all done without footwork, simply torquing the body. This means you already need to be in close distance before you can deliver them, and in 95% of cases, you're not going to be able to get there without being stop-hit on the way in.

    The exception is when you can suppress the opponent's weapon with your shield - and you do get shield-knocks in I33, and similar techniques in Page's targe, which allow that kind of thing - though even then you're best off striking your opponent as you retreat from close distance in case you miss. The development of these sorts of blows in the SCA is an artefact of fighting with great big indestructable shields and assuming that you must hit with a certain amount of power to cut through armour - and you end up with chaps standing toe-to-toe trying to belt each other as hard as possible on the back of the head - something you certainly don't see in any historical treatise.

    In regards to the bout, again nothing has been demonstrated except that big shields are hard to get around. The longsword guy was also using techniques designed to fight other longsword guys, not big shields - given that he'd never done it before, I thought he did pretty well, though personally I would taken a low Fool's guard, and traversed constantly left, aiming to take off the sword arm and negate the shield... but regardless of the tactics, even then you run into assumptions about what's theoretically happening. eg

    James wrote:

    "I especially loved the 1st sparring clip where Bill rushes in for a strike. Adam deflects the high line and then drops a Schielhau in response. This would have devastated Bill's shoulder and stopped the fight before he answered back with a Mittelhau if it wasn't for the fact that the smallest edge of Bill's shield caught the Schiellhau before it could connect."

    Exactly - it was very nice. So why did the shield edge catch the Schielhau? Well, because the sword was blunt! Could the sword have cut through the edge of the shield and into the shoulder had it been sharp? Very probably. Can we ever know for certain? Nup. What's been proved, then? Nothing.

    This is the problem with assuming success in an artificial bouting situation (and they're all artificial!) = success in the real world. SCA fighting might be successful under the SCA rules and SCA assumptions, and if you're in the SCA that's fine. But it doesn't mean anything in regards to the effectiveness or historical plausibility of the techniques in a "real fight"... I mean, if you really had been totally unarmoured, the swords had been sharp, and one blow could have ended your life, would you really charge in like that, hoping you won't collect one on the way in? I certainly wouldn't!

    If you take off most of the padding, throw away the shield, and bout similar weapons, then you might get a little closer to demonstrating something about how SCA combat fares against other things. I suspect you'll find that timing, distance, experience and a systematic approach will produce effective enough fighters regardless of their background - just like a sports boxer learns to fight with a certain set of artificial rules, but can still be perfectly devastating in a bar fight. But that's a long way from claiming therefore medieval knights fought like the SCA.

    Paul

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    Hi Bill,

    Nice to see you here.

    A few quick points.

    1.) SCA fighting is not "inherently based" on HES, because it was created in a vacuum of knowledge of said material. The most successful SCA style, the so-called Belletrix school, created by Paul Porter, was based on adapting judo body mechanics to stick-fighting, something that Paul has never hidden. Other SCA people have grafted things from other martial arts, and a lot of trial and error, until you get to where the sport is now.

    This doesn't make it a perfectly good stick-fighting, combat sport. But it's roots are not historical swordsmanship, by definition. Having said that, many SCA people are interested in adding more historical technique to what they do.

    2.) Because of point 1, SCA fighting itself is off-topic for this forum, as is any other no-HES discipline. This thread is close enough that we'll leave it be, but to be clear, SCA combat in general is off-topic.

    3.) I don't think this is a very good comparison fight, as you are asking a man with a longsword to fight against a man with a shield. The longswordsman *should* lose this fight. His weapon does not have the reach to threaten your leg and still cover his head, he can't grapple safely without getting punched with a shield, and the sword hand can be covered by the shield (you actually went one step further and added a late period basket-hilt). For it to be a realistic comparison, you should both be using comparable weapons - longswords or sword & buckler for both.

    Cheers,

    Greg
    Greg Mele
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  12. #12
    David Ferrel- Great job on picking up on my tells. That is something the experienced fighters often eploit on me.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    David Ferrel- Great job on picking up on my tells. That is something the experienced fighters often eploit on me.
    eh, seeing things in video is easy... in bouts, not so much
    AKA: 'Sparky' (this way I won't need to explain )

    For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother
    -- King Henry, Henry V, William Shakespeare

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    In regards to the cuts, as the Indian officer said, "A sharp sword will cut in anyone's hand". The "problem" with SCA cuts is not that they won't do damage, but they are all done without footwork, simply torquing the body. This means you already need to be in close distance before you can deliver them, and in 95% of cases, you're not going to be able to get there without being stop-hit on the way in.

    ...snip...

    The development of these sorts of blows in the SCA is an artefact of fighting with great big indestructable shields ...
    Not to mention the banning of grappling and pommel-striking type actions (which admittedly makes the field more accessible to the general populace). Historical arts don't need risky shots like the toe-to-toe wrap because we already have plenty of highly-effective techniques to use in that range. (Of which, many are made more effective by the torquing type wind-up. If the opponent ever does get inside, be ready for a Big Ride)
    Swordplay classes in Harrisburg, PA
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Cartwright View Post
    Historical arts don't need risky shots like the toe-to-toe wrap because we already have plenty of highly-effective techniques to use in that range. (Of which, many are made more effective by the torquing type wind-up. If the opponent ever does get inside, be ready for a Big Ride)
    There are many Longsword techniques for dealing with an opponent who closes in but do any historic texts offer any advise to a shieldman on how to deal with an opponent who closes in? The shieldman has one arm strapped to his shield and uses a sword guard that is in a further back position rather then in front of the body. The longsword and sword/buckler both depend on the sword for defense. With a full size shield, the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 08-25-2008 at 02:57 PM.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    Yes there are many Longsword techniques for dealing with an opponent who closes in but do offer any advise to a shieldman how to deal with and opponent who closes in? The shieldman has one arm strapped to his shield and uses a sword guard that is in a further back position rather then in front of the body as with longsword or buckler that depend on the sword for defense. With a full size shield the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense.
    Furniture strikes for one thing. Pommels, quillions, and baskets make great weapons and don't take your weapon off the line like a wrap does. In addition you can affect a throw with any of these, or with the shield if you have trained the motions. It's less about the equipment you might have and more about the range. The artificialities also arise when a Sword-n-Board guy gets away with something (like presenting the elbow in the basic SCA Ready Stance or corkscrewing his body) because the Longswordsman doesn't take advantage of it.
    Swordplay classes in Harrisburg, PA
    -Josh

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Cartwright View Post
    Furniture strikes for one thing. Pommels, quillions, and baskets make great weapons and don't take your weapon off the line like a wrap does. In addition you can affect a throw with any of these, or with the shield if you have trained the motions. It's less about the equipment you might have and more about the range. The artificialities also arise when a Sword-n-Board guy gets away with something (like presenting the elbow in the basic SCA Ready Stance or corkscrewing his body) because the Longswordsman doesn't take advantage of it.
    Striking with the hilt means I have to get my hand a lot closer to my opponent then I would prefer to. It also does not allow me a fluid follow up option. Not to say that pommols are not an effective striking surfaces but prefer to punch out the forte of the sword and put the edge in his face. The issue here is options. When my opponent closes I don't want him to think he might get just a pommol in the face... I want him to worry that he might get a pommol... or the forte of my sword... or a wrap... or a check with the shield. If my only option is a pommol strike he will come in guarding against that. Don't forget that the context of my duel there was no rules. This is not about SCA fighting but about effective techniques with sword and shield regardless of their source of origination.


    The elbow is a perfectly legal target in the SCA. Take it out if you can get it. Now if the shieldman positions himself so you can see it but not hit it... well all is fair...

    Shields are not invincible to a longsword by a longshot... you just have to fight enough of them to figure out how to open them up. Learning to fight with a shield is a good way to learn its vulnerabilities.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    This is not about SCA fighting but about effective techniques with sword and shield regardless of their source of origination.
    The thread is not, but I was replying to something specific in Paul's Post which was. With that in mind please return to your regularly scheduled programming. Thank you.
    Swordplay classes in Harrisburg, PA
    -Josh

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    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    There are many Longsword techniques for dealing with an opponent who closes in but do any historic texts offer any advise to a shieldman on how to deal with an opponent who closes in? The shieldman has one arm strapped to his shield and uses a sword guard that is in a further back position rather then in front of the body. The longsword and sword/buckler both depend on the sword for defense. With a full size shield, the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense.
    As you know, there's precious little on medieval big-shields, but plenty on bucklers, and the extrapolation gives an obvious alternative - use the shield! Held edge on, a heater shield has a vicious corner that can be punched out with a devastating jab or hook to their head.

    The assumption that "With a full size shield, the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense" is just that - an assumption made in the absence of evidence. I'm not familiar with the Italian rotella stuff (Greg?) but certainly with Page's broadsword-and-targe (a medium-ish strap shield) the sword is doing most of the defending, and the shield is used "offensively" to bind the other chaps' sword and/or shield so it's safe to hit him.

    Paul

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    As you know, there's precious little on medieval big-shields, but plenty on bucklers, and the extrapolation gives an obvious alternative - use the shield! Held edge on, a heater shield has a vicious corner that can be punched out with a devastating jab or hook to their head.

    The assumption that "With a full size shield, the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense" is just that - an assumption made in the absence of evidence. I'm not familiar with the Italian rotella stuff (Greg?) but certainly with Page's broadsword-and-targe (a medium-ish strap shield) the sword is doing most of the defending, and the shield is used "offensively" to bind the other chaps' sword and/or shield so it's safe to hit him.

    Paul
    If you use the shield as you sugest, charging in with the corner, you leave yourself very open to a number of cuts as you attack. This is the most natural thing of beginers to do and they get hit every time for it. Usually in the armpit with a deep off-side to teach them a lesson.

    The fact is that no matter how quick you are, you will never jab that shield forward any faster then 40 mph. It is not hard to see and block with the flat of another shield. A longsword will sidestep it and cut. If I had done that in my sword duel I would have lost against that guy. A sword cut on the other hand has the tip moving at about 160 mph. It is harder to track with the eye and can be in one place one second and another in the next second. Shield hooks and bashes can be effective if you catch the person by suprise but that is not something that you can depend on and your your whole fighting style should not be based on that.
    No athlete/youth can fight tenaciously who has never received any blows: he must see his blood flow and hear his teeth crack... then he will be ready for battle.
    Roger of Hoveden, 1174-1201

  21. #21
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    Hi Bill,

    There has to be an opening to come in with the shield, but it most certainly was done, so your analysis of relative speeds is, I'm afraid, over-simplifying things.

    Strikes with the buckler are standard practice in pretty much every treatise that deals with sword and buckler, so this must be possible.

    The key is to hit the guy with the shield in the middle of a tempo. If he's striking and misses or is deflected by you, you can shield strike him as he recovers that movement with the sword. How fast he is becomes largely irrelevant, for no one can be moving in two directions at once.

    All the best,

    Christian
    Christian Henry Tobler
    Selohaar Fechtschule

    The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Author, Captain of the Guild, DVD: The Poleaxe, In Saint George's Name

    "Though I love the stout blow and the cunningly placed thrust, my greatest joy when crossing swords lies in those rare moments when Chivalry herself leans over and takes one into Her confidence."

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    The assumption that "With a full size shield, the shield is the primary defense and the sword is the primary offense" is just that - an assumption made in the absence of evidence. I'm not familiar with the Italian rotella stuff (Greg?) but certainly with Page's broadsword-and-targe (a medium-ish strap shield) the sword is doing most of the defending, and the shield is used "offensively" to bind the other chaps' sword and/or shield so it's safe to hit him.
    In the Bolognese stuff, the rotella is essentially like the buckler: a moderately non-dynamic defense which you attack around and use to keep a line closed. Now there isn't much in the way of binding given with the Bolognese Rotella, but I think that you could do a certain amount in the same way you can with the Targa or Brocchiero Largo, as the material is similar.

    Steve
    Founder of NoVA-Assalto, an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    The fact is that no matter how quick you are, you will never jab that shield forward any faster then 40 mph. It is not hard to see and block with the flat of another shield. A longsword will sidestep it and cut. If I had done that in my sword duel I would have lost against that guy. A sword cut on the other hand has the tip moving at about 160 mph. It is harder to track with the eye and can be in one place one second and another in the next second. Shield hooks and bashes can be effective if you catch the person by surprise but that is not something that you can depend on and your your whole fighting style should not be based on that.
    See, this is (with all due respect) where your inexperience shows. The buckler is not used in the manner you describe: a someone lunging forward with a buckler first and leaving the sword behind. It is used in addition to everything else. For example, if I cut a riverso at your head and you go to parry with your sword (because I'm cutting at the right side of your head), I can bind your sword-hand with my buckler while delivering a cut to your head or lower leg (depending on what you do with your buckler or shield). This is a relatively easy thing to do and is very difficult to defend against except with footwork (and if I get my buckler to your sword-hand, you're too late with your footwork). In the case that you parry the riverso with your shield instead of your buckler, you haven't changed the scenario: I can still move in and engage your sword-hand with the buckler (or parry your sword with my buckler if you counter-attack) while *still* attacking your leg with my sword. However, without the proper footwork, this technique is meaningless.

    Let's be brutally honest about this, since you've brought up the speed of a cut and a thrust more than once. If I attack in the correct tempo, 40 mph will be more than adequate; if I attack in the wrong tempo, 160 mph will be too slow. Additionally, if you have a harder time tracking a cut than a thrust, you are looking in the wrong place; in either case, the hand will tell you where the sword is going and how it is oriented. You need to understand more than just the absolute speed of a thrust or cut, as both are meaningless outside of the context of understanding your opponent. Finally, if you initiate an attack and expect to hit more often than not with the first offensive motion, then your experience has been with mostly inexperienced swordsmen.

    Steve
    Founder of NoVA-Assalto, an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Anchorage, AK
    Posts
    1,592
    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    If you use the shield as you sugest, charging in with the corner, you leave yourself very open to a number of cuts as you attack. This is the most natural thing of beginers to do and they get hit every time for it. Usually in the armpit with a deep off-side to teach them a lesson.
    Hello Bill,

    I don't think Paul is suggesting to charge in blindly with his heater corner first, but he's pointing out that a historical weight and size "heater" shield can be wielded as a second weapon quickly.

    My 1388 era living history heater is quite a bit smaller than your and it is quite light and mobile....

    now I do have plans to build a latchman's pavise that will border the size of the one you have strapped to your arm, but I'm planing on standing behind it for crossbow demos.

    Cheers,
    David Teague
    Scholar of the Highland Broadsword
    Free Scholar/Instructor -Selohaar Fechtschule
    The Historic Recrudescence Guild

    ""Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Suburban Chicago area
    Posts
    3,595
    To add to Steve's comments, the shield is a *weapon* in the historical sources - it is used to strike as well.

    The range that the sword and shield techniques occur at are similar to that of sword and buckler - a much wider distance than we see in the SCA. That's because of the difference in targeting - the inclusion of hands and lower legs, and the danger of getting punched with a 10 -12 lb shield if you get to close. (Remember, unlike the longsword, the shield can block the highline as you cut the leg.)

    In absence of those considerations, SCA combat occurs much closer, and in absence of shield strikes or grapples, a blow like a wrap becomes necessary and makes sense, for the same reason it doesn't make sense in an HES context.

    Again, if we want to discuss longsword vs. sword and shield, that's fine, but SCA combat itself is off-topic for this forum.
    Greg Mele
    Chicago Swordplay Guild

    Freelance Academy Press: Books on Western Martial Arts and Historical Swordsmanship

    Chivalric Fighting Arts Association

    "If the tongue could cut
    as the sword can do,
    the dead would be infinite."

    Filippo Vadi, "Arte Dimicandi Gladiatoria" (c.1482 - 87)

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