How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Open to public view.

How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby MEversbergII » 26 Jul 2015 04:56

At the end of the day, how is WMA/HEMA swordsmanship (especially smallswordsmanship and classical fencing) really different from the Olympic method?

Matt Easton had a video on Olympic fencing not teaching swordsmanship, and that HEMA does. However, they both have the same competitive goal: Score points. What do we expect to get out of HEMA that Olympic fencing does not grant?

Mind, I know only a little of Olympic methods, but here's the guidance I operated on, and slowly saw slip off over the years:

Double hits: In context of double hits and "suicide fencing", the window for doubles is so small in Olympic fencing that it is seemingly still better to avoid it than to count on the timing window. HEMA tournaments still have doubles, and lots of Olympic matches do not. HEMA's only real edge is that, near as I can tell, doubles don't help anyone at all no matter how quick you get them in, while you can still get a point if it's a real quick one in Olympic fencing.

Electric tag: One of the first strikes against Olympic fencing I learned was it being a game of electric tag. To score a point, you need little pressure, and if it was a sharp you would not kill me. However, watching Olympic foil/epee fencing I still see a lot of "deep bends" in thrusts that would be a nasty deep wound were they fencing with sharps. Matt's recent spear video on not going full force because they "know they can if they needed to" also raises the question of tag hits vs wounding hits being a big deal - if it needed to be deep thrusts, they would do deep thrusts, just like Matt's group would do hard thrusts. I've seen my fair bit of limp-wrist sparring as well; sacrificing power for quicker blows which may be suspect in terms of fight ending power were they sharps.

Sabre has issues with edge alignment not really mattering, as they're effectively lightsabres, cutting omnidirectionally. Theoretically, edge alignment matters in HEMA sparring/competitions, but I've seen (and performed, and experienced) my fair share of sloppy edge control.

Target zones: Here, HEMA has the point, for the most part. Foil has target for torso only, largely because of the lack of fencing masks when it was essentially codified. Epee came into itself later, so the whole body's valid, pointing to it's past as a first blood dueling method. Sabre falls short due to the lack of leg targets, but is mostly sound, because upper body and head are the best cutting targets. But what dothese target restrictions matter? According to the old masters, the legs are a crummy target for sword cuts due to the principal of Overrunning (tournaments and live sparring experience not withstanding). Thrusts are a bit more suspect, as they probably wont stop me from ending you anyways.

(I'd been thinking about this lately with smallsword study, as there's really only two places on your body I can do any real, immediate harm to you with that thing - your chest and your head. Stabbing you almost anywhere else, other than perhaps the sword hand itself, doesn't do anything in the near enough term to make you go away. At least, that's my expectation.)

Right of way: I cede this, as it is a silly rule, and doesn't even make sense in the context of modern fencing. It's not in Epee, however.

Spatial confinement: Much of HEMA makes more use of footwork that moves you off line and around your opponent. Later stuff doesn't advocate this much - sabre, broadsword, smallsword - but it does show up. The piste is very narrow, so there's not a lot of moving room, but if you take that away it doesn't take a huge amount of training to take advantage of new territory.

Matt mentions that Olympic methods are very athletic, and athleticism is important in any kind of fighting/point scorring. Olympic fencing is still very much about quickly getting in and striking your opponent, or quickly defending against them. Knowledge of time and distance - the other two important aspects right up there with athleticism - still apply in Olympic methods.

Even the seeming simplicity of technique applies here, as they've boiled it down to what works under pressure. Note how technique plays out in HEMA tournaments.

When I first came on board, a lot of groups I spoke to were mostly about recreation of old methods, so there was a lot of sticking to the texts. However, if competition is to be the ultimate expression of the art, then we should expect to see much of it thrown to the wind, as only the highest percentage approaches come to the fore, eventually creating some kind of new method.

Slightly inflammatory title, and obviously if I've been around the block at least once I know they're not the same. However, though I keep the two very separate and obviously favor HEMA, I find it a bit troubling that I can't actually support my view that HEMA teaches you better things than Olympic fencing with any meaningful reality. I've never had the best grasp of English, so it would be nice to have the words to support my stance. Basically the question is "How is HEMA swordsmanship actually different from Olympic fencing?

I suppose this also extends to other things like kendo, though what I know of kendo's needing to call out target locations is its own weirdness.

Maybe I'm completely wrong about everything.

En garde!

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

Best Advice on the Whole Site
User avatar
MEversbergII
Major
 
Posts: 876
Joined: 26 Oct 2012 06:00
Location: Lexington Park, Maryland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Jul 2015 14:19

Very interesting question!

I suppose the very simple answer is that the purpose of Olympic fencing is to compete at the highest possible level of skill, looking to win against high level opponents, which means scoring more points than the other person within the parameters of the rules of the game. Comparatively, the purpose of HEMA is to study and recreate a historical martial art as effectively as we can, given the resources available to us.

That being said, this assumes that the purpose of HEMA is to reconstruct a martial art, and that competitions are not the end goal. This is certainly how I view HEMA, and I detest competitions (although I do compete in them to help develop my skills). I like to think that my students have picked up this same point of view from me, to view competitions as just one of the ways of developing their skills.

Some people might regard competitive success as the end goal of any kind of training - after all, if you cannot perform well under pressure, then just how good are you really? I can see the rationale behind this point of view, and I do think that some of the people who claim that tournaments do little but pollute the art are themselves unable to perform very well under pressure. Of course, some people who are against tournaments CAN perform well under pressure, but I suspect that many cannot.

One of the best thoughts on the issue I have heard is that a good goal is to be able to look good when fencing in competitions using correct historical techniques. In terms of validating the correctness and effectiveness of historical techniques, testing them under pressure is an important step to showing and proving that they do work properly.

So, perhaps the most beneficial way to think about competitions and tournaments is that they are one of the best tools for validating skills and showing that we can indeed use historical technique to defeat buffalos and "common fencers", and in this role they are one of the tools we use to achieve our goal of recreating a historical martial art.

[And, for anyone who thinks I'm speaking solely about longsword, I believe these statements apply to many different systems: longsword, sword and buckler, sabre, rapier, broadsword, singlestick, smallsword, classical foil, messer ... I hold these same values for all of the various disciplines of HEMA that I have studied.]

So one of the main differences between Olympic fencing and HEMA in my mind is that in Olympic fencing, the competition is the raison d'être for the sport to exist, whereas in HEMA, competition is one of the tools we use to achieve our goals of reconstruction and validation.
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook
Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook
KeithFarrell.net: website
User avatar
KeithFarrell
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: 18 May 2010 18:38
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Jul 2015 14:32

MEversbergII wrote:Double hits: In context of double hits and "suicide fencing", the window for doubles is so small in Olympic fencing that it is seemingly still better to avoid it than to count on the timing window. HEMA tournaments still have doubles, and lots of Olympic matches do not. HEMA's only real edge is that, near as I can tell, doubles don't help anyone at all no matter how quick you get them in, while you can still get a point if it's a real quick one in Olympic fencing.

Electric tag: One of the first strikes against Olympic fencing I learned was it being a game of electric tag. To score a point, you need little pressure, and if it was a sharp you would not kill me. However, watching Olympic foil/epee fencing I still see a lot of "deep bends" in thrusts that would be a nasty deep wound were they fencing with sharps. Matt's recent spear video on not going full force because they "know they can if they needed to" also raises the question of tag hits vs wounding hits being a big deal - if it needed to be deep thrusts, they would do deep thrusts, just like Matt's group would do hard thrusts. I've seen my fair bit of limp-wrist sparring as well; sacrificing power for quicker blows which may be suspect in terms of fight ending power were they sharps.

...

I find it a bit troubling that I can't actually support my view that HEMA teaches you better things than Olympic fencing with any meaningful reality. I've never had the best grasp of English, so it would be nice to have the words to support my stance. Basically the question is "How is HEMA swordsmanship actually different from Olympic fencing?


Another very specific example is that we tend to look for three clear things in many HEMA competitions, before we award a point:

1) the attacker must enter cleanly and safely, without being hit;
2) the attacker must land a hit cleanly and safely, without being hit;
3) the attacker must escape cleanly and safely, without being hit.

So he cannot take a hit on his way in, doubles and afterblows cancel his point, and he must escape cleanly and live to tell the tale before he will be awarded a point. Even if the attack given wasn't particularly debilitating, at least the individual shows the skill to get in cleanly, hit cleanly, and get out cleanly without receiving a hit in return.

In Olympic epee,about a 14th of a second is all it requires to separate a point-scoring hit from a double hit. As long as you land first, it's your point. This is one of the problems that leads many HEMAists to ridicule modern fencing, since it can promote an "un-martial mindset" of simply who can hit first, without due thought to staying safe afterwards.

In foil and sabre, the rule of priority or right of way means that if you have just parried an attack against you, then you have the priority to make your own attack, and if your opponent does something to hit you during this attack instead of defending himself, you don't lose a point for being hit. There are pros and cons to this rule (and of course it is more complex than how I just described it), but the idea is that people should think of their own defence first rather than just attacking mindlessly. In a way this is similar to what we try to achieve with rules regarding double hits and afterblows, trying to emphasise personal safety rather than mindless attacking.

So, in summary, I would say the mindset of what we are trying to achieve within the competition is somewhat different between Olympic fencing and HEMA. I like to think that in HEMA there is much more focus placed upon personal safety and survival, rather than just hitting the other guy first (although that is described in several historical treatises as the best way to survive yourself!).
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook
Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook
KeithFarrell.net: website
User avatar
KeithFarrell
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: 18 May 2010 18:38
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby KeithFarrell » 26 Jul 2015 14:38

MEversbergII wrote:Slightly inflammatory title, and obviously if I've been around the block at least once I know they're not the same. However, though I keep the two very separate and obviously favor HEMA, I find it a bit troubling that I can't actually support my view that HEMA teaches you better things than Olympic fencing with any meaningful reality. I've never had the best grasp of English, so it would be nice to have the words to support my stance. Basically the question is "How is HEMA swordsmanship actually different from Olympic fencing?

I suppose this also extends to other things like kendo, though what I know of kendo's needing to call out target locations is its own weirdness.


One final thought for this afternoon ;)

In kendo, they place emphasis on making a good hit. They won't give a point if the hit wasn't good enough. It must hit forcefully enough to count, supported by good enough body structure to count. it must be supported by an appropriate kiai, which is also used to call the target that they are hitting, to show that they are hitting exactly where they mean to hit and are not just wobbling their sword somewhere onto the body. Finally, the hit must be supported by good "zanshin", which is somewhat similar to the German "Abzug" or withdrawal (i.e. withdrawing out of danger either by going forward into grappling, by working with slices and pressing to the hands and arms, or by retreating out of the fight).

While in HEMA we often place the emphasis on personal safety (enter cleanly, hit cleanly, escape cleanly), in kendo they place the emphasis on giving a *good* hit by discounting anything that's not quite good enough, and in Olympic fencing they place emphasis on hitting first (epee) or at the right time (foil and sabre, because of right of way).

All three disciplines emphasis an important aspect of swordsmanship, but each focus on something different.
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook
Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook
KeithFarrell.net: website
User avatar
KeithFarrell
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: 18 May 2010 18:38
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby Glyn » 26 Jul 2015 17:22

The problem with fencing for points is that as soon as the chance of scoring a point and not giving one away is greater than 50% then game theory says you should attack. So long as you only lose 49% of the time you will win the bout if you are allowed enough attacks. Rules for double hits modify this behaviour but do not eliminate it - it simply becomes one of the measures for determining if you will give a point away or not and still favours attacking on only a slight advantage with an eye on the overall win.

From that perspective competitive HEMA and Olympic fencing aren't fundamentally any different, it's a game played for points and some people just haven't worked that out yet.

The important difference with HEMA is that it also exists in a non-competitive form. So long as we appreciate that the competitive goals aren't a realistic representation of a fight, there's no reason why we shouldn't do and enjoy both.

It's a bit like the difference between playing poker for matchsticks or for money. The commitment you have to your stake changes the game dramatically.

Glyn.
Glyn
Corporal
 
Posts: 42
Joined: 31 Jul 2012 08:18

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby Arno P » 28 Jul 2015 13:37

Nice summary Keith! Agree with it being a tool

I was going to reply simply that the premise

they both have the same competitive goal: Score points


is false (or at least that it should be false)
Arno P
Private
 
Posts: 20
Joined: 14 Oct 2014 13:41
Location: Edinburgh (Scotland)

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby KeithFarrell » 28 Jul 2015 14:00

Arno P wrote:Nice summary Keith! Agree with it being a tool

I was going to reply simply that the premise

they both have the same competitive goal: Score points


is false (or at least that it should be false)


Thanks Arno :)

I suppose, though, that most competitive sports, games, or what-have-you will eventually boil down to scoring points of some description or another. What differentiates many games (other than the rulesets and equipment, of course!) is what constitutes a point.

We see that with kendo, they are looking for something very specific in terms of quality of hit before they award the point; in HEMA competitions that involve rules for double hits and afterblows, we are looking to award points only for something very specific in terms of being able to hit cleanly without being touched in return, at any stage of the exchange, even after your hit has landed.

In football and hockey, the way to score a point is to send the ball or puck within a small, well-marked area (the goalposts). In rugby and American football, the way to score points is to get the ball over the line at the other end of the field. They don't seem to distinguish between qualities of goals or touchdowns, they accept that getting the ball or puck or whatever into the right area of the field constitutes a point. From this point of view, since effectively they are all looking for roughly the same criteria for point scoring ("get the point-scoring object into the point-scoring part of the field in a legal fashion according to the rules of the game"), the difference between these sports is down to rules and equipment, rather than the quality of the goal or the sense that a team must win by scoring more points than their opponents - but we would not confuse these sports as being virtually the same thing!
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website | Facebook
Fallen Rook Publishing: website | Facebook
KeithFarrell.net: website
User avatar
KeithFarrell
Lieutenant Colonel
 
Posts: 1162
Joined: 18 May 2010 18:38
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby Max C. » 28 Jul 2015 15:48

There are a couple of ways of seeing this situation. On one point as Keith says, tournament can be a tool to learn an historical martial art, but it can also become an end in itself, and we are already starting to see this with competitors who don't follow any sources and who actually win tournaments. It is the nature of a sport, and I think that there are three things right now that are stopping the HEMA tournament scene from going in that direction:

1-Lack of a standard rule set: It is very hard to game the rules when they change all the time. Although some concepts are becoming rather universal, so that might not be a totally foolproof way of approaching tournaments. We can also see some bureaucratic organisations forming up . Will these organisations at one point push for a unified rule set?
2- A community focus/identification with sources: Sources are one of the things that separate HEMA from other recreational fighting, and the community vehemently controls this by pushing aside those who don't follow them. It works right now as there is a certain demand for authenticity in our society (people sometimes link HEMA with Hipsterism in that sense). The question is how long will this last? The HEMA scene is very concerned now with projecting a modern, professional image, separate from the "nerdier" SCA, ACL and Larp, but by doing this is there a risk that historicity might be slowly pushed aside as well?
3- Money: HEMA right now is small fish, so it doesn't yet attract any big money. But if the practice keeps gaining popularity, and that big sponsors begin to have an interest in the practice, they will also begin pushing for certain changes, and it will be hard to argue with them if we don't agree on which values are important to us right now.

I feel that there is a lot of confidence at the moment in HEMA, that everything is great and that things will always be the same. But we have to take lessons from other martial arts who chose to go towards the sports route. Karate lost a lot of technical richness over the different generations by sportivizing its practice, others like kendo halted that process by applying stylistic codes and decorum, which even went so far as to stop their entry into the Olympics, but this also led to a certain fossilization of the style. And what to say of the Olympics themselves? Started as a semi historical reconstruction, we are now miles away from this initial concept.

Or even fencing? A little more than a century ago, people were still arguing about how to get more realism in their rule sets, but in time this all flew out of the window. Most top end practitioners today have very little regard for the historical origins of those sports, they are looking for ways to win, and history is only but a distraction.

So I think that while things are good right now, we should also be thinking about the future, and how to make sure that the nature of HEMA is passed on.
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata- Traditional Irish stick fighting
http://www.irishstick.com
I don't do longsword - A blog for all HEMA misfits
http://www.hemamisfits.wordpress.com
User avatar
Max C.
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 399
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 03:57

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby IvanD » 16 Aug 2015 00:47

I give HEMA another ten years at most. Then it will be subsumed into MMA. Mark me.

That's the way it seems to be going. If SCA/LARP was for nerds/hipsters, HEMA is very much a heavy metal/hipster environment. Hence the dominance of longsword. The TV shows (do you have to watch 'Game of Thrones' to be considered normal these days?) only make it worse.

There is very little to differentiate sports fencing and competitive HEMA aside from the equipment and some of the rules. But in seeking to differentiate itself, HEMA has fallen straight into the MMA trap.

The future isn't bright.
IvanD
Recruit in training
 
Posts: 5
Joined: 24 May 2013 00:32

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby MEversbergII » 16 Aug 2015 02:49

IvanD wrote:I give HEMA another ten years at most. Then it will be subsumed into MMA. Mark me.

That's the way it seems to be going. If SCA/LARP was for nerds/hipsters, HEMA is very much a heavy metal/hipster environment. Hence the dominance of longsword. The TV shows (do you have to watch 'Game of Thrones' to be considered normal these days?) only make it worse.

There is very little to differentiate sports fencing and competitive HEMA aside from the equipment and some of the rules. But in seeking to differentiate itself, HEMA has fallen straight into the MMA trap.

The future isn't bright.


What makes you think about the MMA subsumation? I'm not saying you're wrong, I just am not 100% what you mean by that. Do you mean like mixed German/Italian/Homebrew styles?

Don't get your hipster angle; non-violence is a pretty important trait to the underlying hipsterdom. But I do get what you are saying. When I first discovered HEMA, it was quite the "nerd sport" for lack of a better term. It was higly intellectual focused - interpretations, drills, talk of underlying mechanics and principals. That's largely played out, though. Without the fear of injury or death, sheer speed and athletic ability can go a long way.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

Best Advice on the Whole Site
User avatar
MEversbergII
Major
 
Posts: 876
Joined: 26 Oct 2012 06:00
Location: Lexington Park, Maryland

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby IvanD » 17 Aug 2015 00:18

Its practitioners already have problems calling it "fencing". They use an acronym instead. Just like MMA. Now, to me, that sounds wrong. "HEMA" doesn't tell you anything about the technique. Whereas "fencing" does. And it covers the H in HEMA too. Art of fence = martial art.

Yes, I know all about the general public thinking fencing = sports fencing, that unarmed techniques are not fencing because they don't involve swords. But that's their problem. Just because the Americans take "football" to mean "American football" doesn't mean we should start calling it "soccer" in the UK.

It's just bloody fencing, not some acronym. Just like MMA is boxing and wrestling combined. (And don't get me started on that Ronda Rousey interview. I mean really.)


On nerddom and being on the fringe, that can't be helped. Historical fencing tends to attract eccentric types. People come to the sport from all directions: from the violence (let's not delude ourselves), to the dressing up, to the pretending to be in a movie, to the anorakery. It really took off when the internet did, and that tells you a lot.

Is it really something you can talk about to the non-initiated (without boring them to death/coming across as a weirdo)? I'm not sure. Do sports fencers have this problem? Not really.

So I'm quite happy to define myself as "a sports fencer, with historical weapons". HEMA and Olympic fencing aren't that different. Being on the fringe isn't enjoyable at all. Some kinds of fringe sports look downright silly. Think of the difference between rugby and calcio Fiorentino. There's another example of the MMAification of everything.
IvanD
Recruit in training
 
Posts: 5
Joined: 24 May 2013 00:32

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby tea » 17 Aug 2015 19:12

You're making the classic error of assuming HEMA == swords.

Try telling that to the Ringen practitioners, or the Glíma wrestlers, or the pugilists. But they're all still doing HEMA.
Scholar, Cambridge HEMA
tea
Corporal
 
Posts: 40
Joined: 18 Mar 2014 12:16

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby OdinoSenzaOcchi » 18 Aug 2015 10:34

IvanD wrote:Some kinds of fringe sports look downright silly. Think of the difference between rugby and calcio Fiorentino. There's another example of the MMAification of everything.

Well, actually Calcio Fiorentino is the "father" of modern rugby. And I think that even in that field it's true what was said earlier, about: "Without the fear of injury or death, sheer speed and athletic ability can go a long way."
And it's very common: for example, there is Traditional Karate and Sport Karate (that for me means every type of karate used in competitions). And I think it will always be like this; there are practices and bouts for the sake of martial art's gusto and for the sake of agonism and points.
Personally, I just think that every historical fencer has to decide what to practice for; it can be both, of course, but I don't think the training can be the same.
Igne Natura Renovatur Integra
User avatar
OdinoSenzaOcchi
Corporal
 
Posts: 79
Joined: 24 Nov 2010 19:08
Location: Conegliano, Veneto, Italy

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby knirirr » 18 Aug 2015 16:08

I have found this article to be a useful reference when discussing this particular question:

http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/four_focuses.html
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
User avatar
knirirr
Gentleman
 
Posts: 1642
Joined: 15 Jun 2006 09:30
Location: Oxford

Re: How is HEMA actually different from Olympic fencing?

Postby Cosmoline » 24 Aug 2015 23:24

That's the way it seems to be going. If SCA/LARP was for nerds/hipsters, HEMA is very much a heavy metal/hipster environment. Hence the dominance of longsword. The TV shows (do you have to watch 'Game of Thrones' to be considered normal these days?) only make it worse.


I don't think it's that bleak. Not every group is trying to win tournaments or learn to score points. A lot of us do this for years without ever being in any points-scoring situation. For all the various sparring and freeplay I've done with longsword and S&B I don't remember anyone keeping track of who "won," let alone a points tally. Sometimes I'll go into freeplay with the intent of executing one nice move, and I'll keep getting hit until I get that one move accomplished. For me it's an exploration, not a competition. And there are at least enough of us to keep groups going with that mindset. So I guess the difference between this and fencing is that this isn't necessarily a "sport" or isn't limited to being a sport. The tournament side is great, but by its nature limited to modern equipment with safety rules and a lot of anachronisms. Not to mention a pretty narrow range of people who can participate. HEMA or maybe I should say WMA seems to be much bigger than the tournaments, though. And it remains remarkably open and accessible.

Plus, there's so much left to explore! You could spend your whole life looking into any one treatise and still find more. Tournaments serve a role in helping to try out techniques in a full-speed environment, but they're not the sole proving ground.

The HEMA scene is very concerned now with projecting a modern, professional image, separate from the "nerdier" SCA, ACL and Larp, but by doing this is there a risk that historicity might be slowly pushed aside as well?


I'm doing my best to ensure the image remains extremely geeky. If anyone demands that I adopt a more professional, sleeker image I'll put on my lycra hot pants. I'm not bluffing!

I'd been thinking about this lately with smallsword study, as there's really only two places on your body I can do any real, immediate harm to you with that thing - your chest and your head. Stabbing you almost anywhere else, other than perhaps the sword hand itself, doesn't do anything in the near enough term to make you go away. At least, that's my expectation


As an aside, I'm not so sure about that. I would expect a successful smallsword thrust to the hand , leg, hip, etc. would be really uncomfortable. Akin to getting a giant needle through you. And the weapon's penetrative capacity is downright terrifying, even though it doesn't look like much. I've never been run through, but I've had a small chisel in my little finger. Even that was enough to be extremely memorable. Way worse than much more dramatic slashes I've gotten on my hands over the years. There's something about steel shooting into bone that really brings out some core panic reaction. Imagine a smallsword going into your hip socket! Most people would just go down like a cut-string puppet. The knee would be horrible too and do I need to mention the groin?
Cosmoline
Corporal
 
Posts: 63
Joined: 19 Aug 2015 21:40


Return to General Historical Martial Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 4 guests

cron