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Where does one learn to use a sword?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by goon, Dec 28, 2005.

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  1. goon

    goon Member

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    I have been watching the Lord of the Rings movies lately and I would like to learn to use a sword. Where do I start?
     
  2. nomadboi

    nomadboi Member

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    There's plenty of good books out there now, but like any martial art, you can only learn so much from a book... where do you live? What kind of swordplay are you interested in?

    I'd say go visit www.swordforum.com and ask the same question, after giving the above a little more thought. You'll get plenty of good suggestions, and probably a couple mediocre ones too, but that's just the internet for ya.
     
  3. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    Martial arts classes - my buddy and his wife are taking them and she's learning how to use a sword.
     
  4. ecos

    ecos Member

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    one thing that is fun is to take pvc piping, cut it to length, put pipe insulation over it and wrap it in duct tape. very basic but if you and a buddy make a couple of those and beat on eachother it will help...it wont teach u the technical side of it but it will really help with reflexes.

    me and my dad/friends did that for about 15ish years while i grew up. even though i have next to no training i can beat people with much more technical training (not trying to brag...just showing how it helps) never had any serious injuries from it, no broken fingers etc...unlike wooden practice swords.

    try it.. great fun for $15 :D
     
  5. rustymaggot

    rustymaggot Member

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    my local state university has a fencing club or team or somthing, ive been invited to come check it out a few times by various people ive met. check with your local schools and see if theres a team.
     
  6. VirgilCaine

    VirgilCaine Member

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  7. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    If you're looking for sword training like that shown in LOTR then the SCA is probably your best bet just because they are widely scattered across the country and will have members seriously devoted to learning this style of fighting and can make recommendations.

    Trainig in sport fencing is an entirely different style from broadsword or shortsword as seen in LOTR. If you are looking for very serious european 15th – 17th centuries style you can look for an ARMA group. They consider themselves a western martial arts group and focus entirely on combat. http://www.thehaca.com/. Also try Swordplay Alliance, http://swordplayalliance.com/

    As a fall back, look for a martial arts school teaching FMA, Kali, Arnis with classes in the Barong. Much of what will be taught will serve for short sword training and you woll pick up some pratctical skills as well.
     
  8. Don Gwinn

    Don Gwinn Moderator Emeritus

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  9. nomadboi

    nomadboi Member

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    Careful with the padded pvc stuff... I've got a scar on my forehead from when we were using those in a martial arts class, practicing evasions... I zigged when I should have zagged, and caught the corner tip of one, where it wasn't as padded. Didn't hurt, but the skin just opened up...
     
  10. ecos

    ecos Member

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    i should have specified to sand all edges smooth/round them...and i put a layer of material at the "point" to pad thrusts.

    the worst injury ive gotten from them is when i let loose with a battle cry and stepped in for an attack and the guy thrust at my face...went right in my mouth and poked the back of my throat. was more embarrassing than painfull. crotch shots dont feel the best either.
     
  11. carebear

    carebear Member

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  12. tellner

    tellner member

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    What kind of sword do you want to learn to use? There are many different ones. Each has its peculiarities, and each has traditions which teach its best use.
     
  13. carolinaman

    carolinaman Member

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    Well, that was pretty neat!!!

    Hi all,

    I went on the SCA website and found a group near my location!

    Now all I have to do is contact them and start shopping for some basic equipment.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2005
  14. nomadboi

    nomadboi Member

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    Just so's you know, these all do different things for you:

    SCA- fun, but play. The 'heavies', with the armor and broadswords and such, get to do fun things like have mass battles and whatnot, but it's not too much more sophisticated than just grabbing some boffers and whacking your brother or friend- hit a leg, they go down on one knee, bop them a couple times, they play dead...

    Historical armored fighting was much more about finding the spots between the armor and poking a blade in there (against the rules in SCA I think), or bashing in the armor so it wouldn't work, or grappling (banned in most SCA baronies).

    Sport fencing- teaches good footwork, but very linear, and also bound by 'right of way' and other artificial rules.

    thehaca- really depends on who's in the local chapter. Many instructors of Western martial arts have had problems with the guy who runs it (and I have myself), but there are definitely some good groups out there, and they have a great website.

    Also check out http://www.aemma.org for some good stuff, or the Chicago Swordplay Guild, or Christian Tobler's group... there are many good groups out there.

    As with all martial arts, every group has to find that balance between safety, speed, and realistic technique - you can't really practice with all three at full, you know. Also in this case between sticking to pure source material (written texts from medieval or rennaisance times, good but often incomplete), interpretations, combining various systems versus keeping them as pure as possible, etc.
     
  15. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Member

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    CHINA, ha ah ha ha ha ha
     
  16. tellner

    tellner member

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    Even if you go on to do more historical sword work Olympic style fencing is just about the best base you can have. It has some very artificial rules, but it teaches fundamentals very, very well. You learn distance, time, precision, point control, efficiency and a number of other important things. Frankly, most of the so-called reenactors I've met haven't had any of those. If they did it usually came from classical fencing training or something like it.

    It's a lot like shooting. If you spend the time internalizing grip, sighting, trigger control, follow through and the rest you will be an infinitely better shooter when you do the less constrained tactical training. If you haven't really learned to shoot the other stuff may actually make you worse.

    Back to swords...

    The martial arts of the Phillipines have some very good sword work depending on what teacher you end up with. Kendo and the sword work in the older comprehensive systems is excallent for the Japanese sword.
     
  17. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 Member

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    I'd have to agree that taking fencing is probably your best way to learn the basics of swordplay. There are many different forms of fencing, but all have several things in common. You need to learn footwork, balance and strategies before you can become good at it. I've been taking fencing classes for about two years now and I have yet to find a better workout then that.

    Yes, there are rules and procedures you need to follow. But if you get into the right class, they mix things up so that you get a variety of different challenges. I particularly like it when we dual with sabres. This is a lot like old fashioned swordplay, but it's fast and you have to have a strategy in your head before you begin or your dead.

    If you just looking to beat someone with something hard, fencing isn't for you. But if you want to start from the basics and learn, then I would strongly recommend it.
     
  18. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    After 20 years of playing in the SCA I can safely say that SCA fighting has very little to do with sword fighting. It's fighting with clubs that resemble a sword. SCA armour can be expensive to buy and you must take the training and pass a test before you can fight. 18 years old or older only.
    Fencing, Olympic or otherwise is a highly organized sport that resembles 16th Century rapier fighting, but not with a broad sword. The SCA does university style fencing too. Lots of rules about what you can wear and what sword you can use when fencing in the SCA.
    A lot of the AEMMA guys are SCA fighters too. They wanted to use real swords(aka; live steel) instead of rattan clubs. There are other 'live steel' groups out there though. These groups are closer to the LOTR movies than the SCA. Just remember that movie swords are props that are usually Al or painted wood.
     
  19. AStone

    AStone Member

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    Northwest Academy of Arms

    In part, that depends on where you are now, and where you're willing to visit.

    This school would be my option.

    The instructor's name is Sean Hayes.

    He's a master of medieval European sword.

    Of course, if you're not in his town, then...
     
  20. CatsDieNow

    CatsDieNow Member

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    Did a lot of traditional western style fencing in my younger days.

    The sword that you use or style that you train in really isn't that important. This is true for any martial art. What is important is that you have an instructor who teaches you how make a plan and execute it and also how to quickly react to patterns and situations. The coordination, reflexes, and anaylsis skills don't hurt either.

    For swords, I would still choose the sport fencing (or possibly kendo) because the quaility of instructors is much better. Training with European masters (a master's degree in sports training, specializing in fencing) is a big step up from the Purdue intramural fencing club or hobbyists. You can guess how I know this.

    The artificialness of the right-of-way rules (epee, of course has no ROW if that concerns you) usually stems from people not completely understanding them and why they are there. I will agree that it is somewhat linear, though.

    Rockrivr is right, sport fencing is a great workout - except that it overdevelops one side of your body. Back when I was seriously competing, my right thigh was 1-1/2" bigger around than my left.
     
  21. ocelot777

    ocelot777 member

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    cat agrees with dog

    I agree with the preceding poster (despite name) in almost every respect.

    Point by point:

    My perspective is kendo-based aND THIS IS ONLY MY UNVARNISHED OPINION (SORRY ABOUT CAPS).

    I agree with this point but would add that ferocity/determination/zanshin is extremely important (and difficult or impossible to teach).

    Definitely agree with this: quality of training is very important and you're more likely to get this in a style with some true and direct martial antecedents and one that actually involves some real, unpredictable violence with actual physical consequences. I suspect that the SCA care more about the look of the thing and that the HACA basically make it up as they go along (and I have met some of these guys, in Oxford, UK -- the best of them were those that were currently or previously 'sport fencers'. I thought, though, that they were sincere in what they were trying to do and some undoubtedly had facility with blades).

    Regarding 'artificiality', from what I know, the epee is the most realistic discipline in modern fencing insofar as any part of the whole body is a target (and no ROW apparently). The rules in shiai (fencing in armour with shinai (bamboo swords) -- full contact) are unrealistic in that the targets are the most heavily armoured bits -- the opposite of actual practice with katana. But many things can be learnt by this kind of 'no-risk' practice -- timing, reading your opponent. handling a weapon (sort of thing), etc. plus, it hurts like fwark when you get hit (armour in kendo isn't very efficient and you often get twatted on bare flesh -- ouch!). From my limited experience of modern fencing, it also can be quite painful and, to be fair, some HACA guys (and similar) seem to appreciate the didactic value of pain and risk.

    I must say though that I suspect that only very few people in any of these disciplines set out to improve their real-world fighting skills and that still fewer have the attitude to succeed in a real fighting situation with or without weapons -- the word 'romanticism' springs to mind . . .


    Lastly, kendo is also a great workout, but it's your left calf (and your arms if you have poor technique) and your 'hara' that get bigger!
     
  22. ocelot777

    ocelot777 member

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    also

    what's your problem with cats?
     
  23. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

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    SCA is to swordfighting as professional paintball is to CQC training.

    http://www.thearma.org/

    If you are interested in what you saw in The Lord of the Rings, Medieval swordcraft is probably what you're looking for.

    There are books to whet your appetite: http://www.thearma.org/medsword.htm

    And they'll probably be able to put you in touch with someone to coach you.

    LawDog
     
  24. CatsDieNow

    CatsDieNow Member

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    That zanshin part of kendo was that only thing that stopped me from trying that as well (okay, and the hour drive to Plano).

    I hated fencing screamers and bouncers when I was competing. They would make a bunch of noise and jump around before and after the point - attempting to influence the referee's decision. I'd usually fence quietly until the last point and then obnoxiously imitate them when I won. I admit that was mean and probably not the graicious thing to do, but most of the people who did it once, never did it again around me. :evil:

    But mainly, I don't believe in telegraphing my intentions to my opponent.

    All sports are artificial to some degree. That's to minimize injury and death.

    The story behind my screen name is here.
     
  25. ocelot777

    ocelot777 member

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    zanshin

    :) fair enough (about the cats)

    Zanshin, though, approximately translates as 'awareness' or 'concentration'.

    All the yelling and screaming in kendo is 'kiai' and is meant (officially) to demonstrate spirit (the 'ki' in 'ki-ken-tai no ichi' -- spirit, sword and body as one), but is used to intimidate and/or distract one's opponent.
     
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