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Thread: Testing SCA strikes on Tatami Mats

  1. #51
    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).
    Is there any textual backing for this statement? Remember that Silver gave the longsword odds. Giving great advantage to the sword and shield directly contradicts a historical master. If the sword and shield consistently wins in sparring, perhaps the sparring should be reexamined.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by James Head View Post
    Maybe I'm just adding fuel to the fire, but I'd like to mention another video where Bill and Adam are both sparring with Lance Chan's RSW Longsword trainers...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziWa4eU8TJ4

    So now we have a matched set of weapons. There are good hits on either side, and some double kills, but I find it interesting that Bill seems to do a great job by simply staying in Vom Tag and throwing Mittelhaus for the majority of the bout. Is this because Bill has developed a decent sense of timing and distance from all his battles in the SCA? I'm just playing devil's advocate here...
    I assume Bill is in the pink here (I know, "It's not pink, it's light red!"). The reason the mittlehau is so successful is basically because Adam is attacking with deep linear passes, and not closing the line against Bill's counterattack. This lack of lateral movement is why in both bouts Bill can get away with his SCA linear left-foot-forward-only shuffle and swing-from-the-hips, rather than proper passing footwork. If Adam passed offline forward and right as he attacks, and brought his sword across to the left side of his body (ie stepped around his sword) he'd close the line against the counter and likely cut Bill's hands off if Bill just extends. It would mean Bill couldn't just stand there and swing fast, he'd have to also move somewhere to create a new line for the countercut, closing the line properly against Adam's attack - if they're being German, that'd probably mean a pass forward and right in defence and you'd end up with a zornhau-ish bind (English and Italians might move elsewhere!).

    I had some difficulty during the fight in getting into a bind with Adam and fighting him from there as is recommending in that system.
    Hi Bill,

    IMHO you don't ever *seek* binds *so* you can wind. You try and hit the other guy while keeping safe yourself, retreat if your attack has failed, and *sometimes* binds happen, and then, if you've trained in winding and other German whatnots, you know what to do.

    I don't actually do GLS, but there is binding & winding-like stuff (called "broken foigns) in what I do do, and it happens very very occasionally. In this video-demo-thing,

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3WI_yiDs1c

    there's a bind at 1.15, which I cede out of and return a cut (I'm sure there's a German term for that), about 3.05 because the other chap presses in and as I parry I wind around and let him run onto the point, and about 3.20 when I try and fly out and my opponent presses in with his point online and skewers me. The binds happen because someone is trying to attack, or trying to defend, or trying to fly out, and are not quite successful - they aren't positions you seek in their own right.

    Paul

  3. #53
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    What Paul said.

    Liechtenauer's style is not about winding. It's about hitting.
    If one can hit the opponent without binding and winding, this is what one should do.

    Winden is only used if the opponent put's up a barrier (i.e. he parries an attack or binds the sword), so that one gets past that barrier and can continue to hit him.

    But enough OT from me.
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  4. Just for the record, because I have seen the wording used dogmatically a few times here. I was taught to step with my strikes and to always strive to step offline if possible.

    That was in the SCA, circa 1984, and I taught that to many others since.

  5. #55
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Craven View Post
    Just for the record, because I have seen the wording used dogmatically a few times here. I was taught to step with my strikes and to always strive to step offline if possible.

    That was in the SCA, circa 1984, and I taught that to many others since.
    Against another shield I try to remember to attack to the sides too. Against a longsword if the opening is there when I close, I just take it without side-stepping. The longsword is always open somewhere. When two longswords are facing off against each other there is the issue of attacking defensively with the weapon that limits some options. With a shield as the primary defense the sword can attack almost anywhere safely as long as my shield is between me and the other blade.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 08-29-2008 at 10:03 AM.
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  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ulfric Douglas View Post
    ...I got a nice pm from SCA guy Rob Koulakjian with some more info, ...
    Apologies!
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Koulakjian View Post
    I'm not an SCA guy, let me get that out of the way real quick.
    Very sorry Rob, my misunderstanding.

    We Really need Bill to put up a SCA-guy with 2HandedSword vs some other bloke non-SCA with 2HandedSword ...

    Or perhaps more appropriately, SCA-guy with buckler vs non-SCA I33-student with buckler.

  7. #57
    As requested for like weapons comparison. We are fighting longsword vs longsword. We are using RWS padded sword because Adam had not fully recovered from his bruises. This fight is two day after the shield vs longsword fight. Adam beat me with an estimated 80% of the kills in his favor vs 20% in mine. We both considered double kills as both loosing.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziWa4...ad=6239&page=1


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYj10...ad=6239&page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7E6S...ad=6239&page=1

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuoV-...ad=6239&page=1

    There is also a sidesword vs sidesword video that will be coming up that is not available yet. Sorry no buckler was done. I would have also liked to test my two-sword form too which I have only played around a few times with. We pretty much ran out of time.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-01-2008 at 02:24 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.
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  8. #58

    Thought I'd chime in...

    A friend told me about this thread, and I found it appropriate to reply, since I'm the WMA guy in the video...

    A couple of things: I'd would really really appreciate it if anyone were to PM me things they saw in the video: Things I didn't do well, Things I did do well, Things I could improve on or whatever - constructive criticism. I hope I don't get slammed for being a poor fighter.

    I am almost *completely* self taught in WMA. I went to a Stefan Dieke Seminar once about a year and a half ago. And I've *met* and got to do a few partner drills with Stephen of DEMAS.

    I've done some limited fighting against buckler and targe before - this kind of shield is completely different. I know that George Silver considered the 2-handed-sword to have the advantage against sword and shield, but I don't know if he meant this kind of shield.

    I remember initially being absolutely overwhelmed by that shield - I couldn't attack any opening with any chance of success I didn't think, so I was really trying to get Bill to commit to an attack so that I could counter it. After his initial attack to my side (you should see the bruise XD) It completely took me mentally out of the fight and from then on I was almost fighting on pure 'Oh ****' mentality. As time went on I was able to relax and move a bit better ( that I think is displayed in the later videos).

    In any case, I was completely unprepared for a shield that size - though I thought it might not be too bad based on my previous experiences fighting (smaller) shields. It really took me back and I didn't have anything to go off of for how to fight it - though I think I did pretty well considering.

    I look back on it and can see a lot of things that if I were to do it again, i'd change. I'm constantly barraging myself with criticism about how I should have done this or that, and in any case it was a learning experience - I've got a list of new tactics I'd like to try the next time I go up against a shield that size.

    I know I'm not the best, but I'm pretty sure I'm pretty good considering. I hope I didn't embarrass any other WMA guys out there.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin H. Abbott View Post
    Is there any textual backing for this statement? Remember that Silver gave the longsword odds. Giving great advantage to the sword and shield directly contradicts a historical master.
    No, it doesn't. Unless I am mistaken Silver gives odds to the longsword man against sword-and-buckler. 26-27 years ago I fought SCA heavy with a bastard-sword (actually a longsword by modern understanding) and though we did not yet have the benefit of studying Silver or I.33 I tended to eat the sword and buckler guys alive. But longsword vs. sword and bloody-big 'heater' shield is a different animal with very different rules and a heck-of-a-lot more difficult.

    On the subject of SCA vs. WMA- One comment that occurs time and time again when we do demos of Fiore's wrestling is how much it looks like any of an assortment of Asian martial arts. We respond that it does so because it has to; physics and human bodies only work so many ways. If we ever do discover a fechtbuch for medieval armored combat with sword and large shield I think that many on this forum will be dismayed by how much it looks like good SCA heavy fighting for much the same reason. But until or unless such a document is discovered SCA heavy fighting has no claim to being HES- how can it be proven in the absence of historical evidence? SCA heavy fighting is a 'kissing cousin' of HES at best, but that doesn't mean that it is wholly contemptible and useless.

    It has every claim however to being in the WMA/martial sports tradition; it was developed in The USA and last time that I checked this was considered to be in the 'west.'
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  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin H. Abbott
    Is there any textual backing for this statement? Remember that Silver gave the longsword odds. Giving great advantage to the sword and shield directly contradicts a historical master.
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tinker Pearce View Post
    No, it doesn't. Unless I am mistaken Silver gives odds to the longsword man against sword-and-buckler. 26-27 years ago I fought SCA heavy with a bastard-sword (actually a longsword by modern understanding) and though we did not yet have the benefit of studying Silver or I.33 I tended to eat the sword and buckler guys alive. But longsword vs. sword and bloody-big 'heater' shield is a different animal with very different rules and a heck-of-a-lot more difficult.
    I agree with Tinker here. Silver wasn't (to my limited knowledge) talking about an 'indestructible' shield that could easily cover over 3/4 of the body without moving, thus his comments on bucklers and targets (even targets I would guess aren't this big or used in this manner) are largely irrelevant in this instance. I haven't studied the material that exists about large shields from the Italian traditions, so I can't comment based on that. And I know next to nothing of the German traditions.

    The statement I made was based on my observation of the bout and intuitive feel for openings available, defensive possibilities, etc. I still hold that the advantage is with the shield bearer in this case, much in the same way that an armoured opponent would have an advantage vs someone unarmoured... though obviously a fully armoured opponent would have an even larger advantage over the unarmoured opponent than the shield bearer does here, as their armour wouldn't move around creating openings (OK, there is more to it but I hope my reasoning is clear).

    Benjamin, I am curious if you have some reasoning as to why it should be the reverse (again, in this instance with a very large and virtually indestructible shield).
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  11. #61

    Longsword vs. Sword & Shield

    Is there any historically plausible circumstance where an unarmored longswordsman would fight a sword & shield man in earnest? I could be wrong, be the only situation I can think of where these weapons would meet would be the battlefield, in which case the longswordsman would be in harness.

    When that happens, it's closer to sword & shield vs. sword & shield, it's just that one guy's sword is longer and his shield wraps around his whole body.

    So, a fight like the bouts here, but between two longswords, would require one participant to be in harness, and one to be unarmored.

    I would love to know if I'm forgetting some obvious reason for this kind of match up, though.


    Regarding the bouts themselves: there were two things I would have expected from Adam that I did not really see. He seemed to usually be in one guard, moving in straight lines forward and back. I would expect to see him switching through guards more as he moves, and including much more lateral movement. (I don't really know what to expect from Bill, because I know even less about SCA than I do about Liechtenauer.)

    In all fairness, either one of these gentlemen could kick my butt, and it's much easier for me to criticize the videos than it is to do this stuff. I'm impressed, and I respect Bill and Adam's courage in posting these and opening themselves up to comments.

    I thoroughly enjoyed all of these videos, and found them fairly inspiring, too - makes me really want to work on my own skills. Thanks for posting these, guys. Very cool of both of you to share this with us.

    Peace,

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  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyson Wright View Post
    Is there any historically plausible circumstance where an unarmored longswordsman would fight a sword & shield man in earnest? I could be wrong, be the only situation I can think of where these weapons would meet would be the battlefield, in which case the longswordsman would be in harness.
    I don't think that any two men with swords would meet on a medieval battle field unarmored. In 1300 they would be wearing leather, a few layers of linen or mail over a gambson. Looking at Oakshotts typology I see a few sword types that are dated between 1300 and 1400 that could pass for longswords, bastard swords or even greatswords this period. Many historical swords do not fit Oakshott's typology perfectly. Today we have developed a very ridged notion of what is a longsword, what is a bastard sword and what is a great sword. I don't think that this would have been so clean cut in 1350. What you called your two-handed sword may have just a matter of where you live. Wikipedia dates longswords as early as 1250. This dating is significant because plate harnesses were not fully developed yet and mail was more common.

    While the earliest longsword text may date to the late 1300's, longsword-like weapons seem to have been around at least 100 years before that. I think that is most likely that many of the techniques in the Liechtenauer tradition were already in use by the time he wrote his manual. I don't think a man with a longsword would seek out combat with a shieldman on a battle field in 1300, but there are circumstances that could lead to that such as being unhorsed or a castle breach. A good place for a longsword/bastardsword might be behind a shieldwall cleaning up anyone that manages to charge through.

    I am glad you enjoyed the videos Tyson.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-05-2008 at 01:11 AM.
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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    Wikipedia dates longswords as early as 1250.
    There's a weapon in the German Historical Museum in Berlin which clearly passes for what we'd call a longsword today which is datable to "not later than 1241" because of the coat of arms enameled on the pommel.
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  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by David E. Farrell View Post
    I agree with Tinker here. Silver wasn't (to my limited knowledge) talking about an 'indestructible' shield that could easily cover over 3/4 of the body without moving, ...
    The statement I made was based on my observation of the bout and intuitive feel for openings available, defensive possibilities, etc. I still hold that the advantage is with the shield bearer in this case
    We actually had a go at this last weekend, big 16th century targe/rotella vs longsword. I taped it, but then the vid camera died - the footage may be recoverable, and if not we'll just do it again.

    Anyway, hard to say if there's an intrinsic advantage to either side, possibly a bit to the longsword once you get the tactics right. Playing to the shield side, which I think Randy was advocating, is not a good plan - you can't get opposition, give the shied-guy a free single-time counter. Traversing left and targeting the sword arm, however, effectively shuts the shield out and uses the longswords reach and power to it's best advantage.

    As far as the shield guy goes, it's obviously an almost impenetrable defence - but playing offensive is a lot harder. If the longsword-er can keep moving circularly, attempting to charge in with the shield becomes quite suicidal. If you can get the longsword to retreat linearly then you're in with a chance - i think we got this once.

    Paul

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    We actually had a go at this last weekend, big 16th century targe/rotella vs longsword. I taped it, but then the vid camera died - the footage may be recoverable, and if not we'll just do it again.
    That would be neat to see... out of curiosity, how big is a targe usually?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    Anyway, hard to say if there's an intrinsic advantage to either side, possibly a bit to the longsword once you get the tactics right. Playing to the shield side, which I think Randy was advocating, is not a good plan - you can't get opposition, give the shied-guy a free single-time counter. Traversing left and targeting the sword arm, however, effectively shuts the shield out and uses the longswords reach and power to it's best advantage.
    Right, and I don't mean to be pedantic, but there seem to be few places where 'once you get the tactics right' that one can easily define who has the advantage.

    I guess there could be a strong argument that a shield bearer (for shields of moderate to large sizes) who relies on the shield for the entirety of their defense would be at a disadvantage against the reach and mobility of a longsword... essentially because if you use the shield to cover your sword arm while attacking, something else has to open up. This seems to be the essence of Silver's argument that the longsword (2 hander, whatever) has advantage over the single hander and buckler.
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  16. #66
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    When I wass using a longsword against a large heater in SCA fighting lateral movement towards the sword-hand was the key, and I imagine that this would be the most successful approaching using HES techniques as well. Occasionally I would manage a strike around the shield when my opponent tried to charge to bind my sword with the shield if I could move fast enough and far enough to his shield-side and get behind it. I can see how this could work with HES methods as well.

    I think that if I hed been trained in HES longsword techniques I might have had a better time of it, but it still would have been a B**** to get around that shield!

    That being said there are just too many variables-not the least the skill of the individuals involved- for me to state an absolute advantage to one form or another. Add armor and things just get even more complicated.

    Another thing that no one has mentioned- SCA heavies spar constantly, usually once or twice a week. Most HES students that I know of spar much less than that; this could be a case where disparity in experience outweighs a disparity in techniques.
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    Large shields are also an encubrance for the weilder. We saw how hard it was for Bill Tsafa to get in fight-ending blows. If he had a smaller shield it would doubtless be easier.
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  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas S View Post
    Large shields are also an encubrance for the weilder. We saw how hard it was for Bill Tsafa to get in fight-ending blows. If he had a smaller shield it would doubtless be easier.
    Not really, because the increased vulnerability would make up for that.
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  19. #69
    I classify shields in the following order:

    1-Heater- shield 100% defense and sword 100% offense.

    2-kite- No top corners so sword has to do some head blocking.

    3-round- no bottom corner so sword has to do more defending then kite

    4-targ- smaller then round so sword has to do even more defending.

    5-buckler- sword has to do even more defending then with targ. At this point the sword is almost on 100% defense. You have to be very conscience of closing off incoming angles of attack with your sword as you attack.

    6-two handed weapon- The sword or polearm is your only shield and must close off incoming angles of attack in every instance it attacks.

    The pattern you see in the manor I have have listed these is that as you move from large shield to smaller one, the sword must be dedicated more and more to defense. With larger shields you have to actively work your offense around your shield (not move the shield out of the way of the sword). This takes a lot of training to do. Without doubt a large shield will restrict you offense in favor of defense.

    It is interesting to observe that while the smaller shields give more range of motion, and thus easier offensive capability, they are also self-restricting in that they become more and more dedicated to defense.

    The two wild cards here are a scutum (square) and two-weapon forms. I classify a scutum in the same category as a kite. The reason is because the scutum gives good leg protection (like kite) but is too bottom heavy to efficiently bring the top corner up to block your head (like heater), so you have to do some sword blocking for your head. So a scutum defense is more kite-like.

    I regard two-weapon forms (two swords, two axes, mixed) in the same category as buckler. After all the buckler makes a good iron-fist for punching too. It is a similar situation where both hands are almost 100% dedicated to defense. So it appears to me that two-weapon forms are more buckler-like in their defense.

    The way I am currently fighting with my heater is... the heater is 100% defense and sword is 100% offense. This is the standard I gave above. My training is about to move in a direction where the sword will now be on 95% defense except for that moment that it is actually attacking (shield still 100% defense). This is done by fighting from a guard with the sword blade blocking the opening on the right side of my shield. The sword attacks from there and returns to there. The effectively gives 195% turtle defense. This is the standard of the knights who are training me and why they are able to beat me 95% of the time.

    note: there are some very good reasons to also fight from a "sword back" position and a shield. You can use the shield to hide the position of the sword. You can also generate more power. This might be useful with a heavier sword, mace or axe.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-05-2008 at 03:04 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David E. Farrell View Post
    how big is a targe usually?
    These ones are about 60 cm/24 inches across (bigger than a 1745 Page-era targe)

    Paul

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Wagner View Post
    These ones are about 60 cm/24 inches across (bigger than a 1745 Page-era targe)

    Paul
    That's pretty big. My heater is 24 inches across (24x36). I would consider a targe 24 inches across a round shield and fight it accordingly. My idea of a targe is about 18 inches in diameter. I know that targe sizes are not set in stone anywhere.
    Last edited by bill tsafa; 09-06-2008 at 12:24 AM.
    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.
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill tsafa View Post
    That's pretty big. My heater is 24 inches across (24x36). I would consider a targe 24 inches across a round shield and fight it accordingly. My idea of a targe is about 18 inches in diameter. I know that targe sizes are not set in stone anywhere.
    Depends on the era. 18th century Highland targes were 18-21, but 16th century rotellas were much bigger, and even the Highland targes are described as "large enough to cover the upper part of the body".

    Paul

  23. #73
    That is very useful info Paul. I will have to stop using the term "targe" as a general reference for round shields in the 18" diameter range.
    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.
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  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Tinker Pearce View Post
    ... If we ever do discover a fechtbuch for medieval armored combat with sword and large shield I think that many on this forum will be dismayed by how much it looks like good SCA heavy fighting for much the same reason...
    Michael, you assume very much. I remember in my SCA days (1980's), the preferred technique for longsword was to keep to middle guard, since it provided better defense.

    Little did we know that the masters advised against it in most cases, and counseled a "chambered" position, ready to strike, leaving an apparent and very tempting opening. This appears in so many of the medieval combat styles that it's very difficult for me to imagine sword and board operating any other way.
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  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douglas S View Post
    Michael, you assume very much. I remember in my SCA days (1980's), the preferred technique for longsword was to keep to middle guard, since it provided better defense.

    Little did we know that the masters advised against it in most cases, and counseled a "chambered" position, ready to strike, leaving an apparent and very tempting opening. This appears in so many of the medieval combat styles that it's very difficult for me to imagine sword and board operating any other way.
    Not assuming- just not expressing myself well! I should have specified that I was referring to sword-and-shield when I made the original statement- IOW I should have said, "when or if we discover an early medieval manual for Sword and Large shield" I would expect it to have recognizable similarities to SCA heavy fighting.

    I expect that early medieval use of Great Swords (Type XIIIs and the like) will look recognizably like later longsword methods- but with a greater emphasis on the use of the cutting edge as these broad, flat blades weren't terribly well adapted for thrusting, especially against an opponent covered in mail.
    Tinkerswords.com Fine knives, swords and daggers in the style of the European Middle Ages and Viking Era

    "Then, one night as my car was going backwards through a cornfield an ninety miles per hour, I had an epiphany..."

    Luke 22:36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

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