Thanks for all the messages. I was going to respond to y’all individually but now I’m just going to respond generally to everything discussed.
The knives described are: a 7” blade peace-maker trainer, a 10” blade bowie trainer, and a roughly 10” rondell dagger trainer. The knives aren’t actually THAT different in size, but the few inches of difference translate into miles of distance. What’s worse is that the 7” dagger doesn’t seem to have any weight behind it to really stop the blow of a bowie. It’s like using a parrying dagger meant for rappiers to stop a Zornhau from a longsword; it just doesn’t work. I’m definitely going to work on crashing the distance, attacking the knife-hand, and working on my overall speed when using the 7” dagger.
I too have noticed that the reverse\ice-pick grip with the rondell is actually a strong defence against the bowie. The rondell used with a sabre or foil grip, on the other hand, does not work as well especially if the rondell lacks a cross-guard (which is the case with mine); taking it on the forte of the rondell without a guard leads to a cut hand. This ice-pick grip is used to block longsword blows and thrusts, so it only makes sense that it works with a bowie. In particular, the reverse stab with a volta step work quite well (since you void the strike by stepping to his weak outside). I’ve also gotten away with a volta and a reverso with a sabre grip, which operates on the same principle.
I also like the idea of drawing the knife-hand out, like Kirk said. I’ve done this with other weapons but I haven’t tried it against the bowie, so I will try it. I’ll admit that I am aggressive due to my longsword experiences so I’ll take the advise of being more deceptive, as well as looking at the Messer material for inspiration. I’m also going to work on my passata sotto, which I think is going to be essential for both using big knives and fighting against them without one.
I spar this upcoming Sunday so I'll let everyone know what goes down.
The rondell with the ice-pick grip has a great defensive value though, to a degree that the only unarmored grip that is stronger is the double middle iron door. Do you think that range is more valuable than a solid defensive grip? That's what the problem boils down to.
Originally Posted by Muerteds
I think a hammer grip is a perfectly solid grip that allows for just about maximum range.
Originally Posted by Mordschlag
I'll start by saying that I have no experience with Bowie and have only touched upon modern knife fighting.
However I am quite comfortable with the Liechtenauer tradition, I would say look to the five discerning principals.
If he's out ranging you, let him take the vor but ensure you punish him for it, when in the nach you must be deceptive about your intentions draw him and counter thrust with a slip or side step or deflect and grapple.
If he withdraws from you go strongly in there, force the grapple or secure the arm and thrust.
I don't know Bowie footwork but I assume he it will be linear so he will be going strong down one line.
Use this to your advantage ensure your weak where he is strong and strong where he is weak.
Remember he has the advantage on you of being able to cut, thrust and slice where a rondel is designed specifically for the thrust, your attack lines must be determined by your footwork due to this, circle to your advantage and use angles against his linear foot work.
Other than that I agree with what has already being stated elsewhere regarding your grip in uberhut/unterhut.
Depending on who it is, the footwork and other principles usually tie in to 19th Century Saber, 19th Century Dueling Saber, or 19th Century Cut-and-Thrust swords such as the Spadona.
Originally Posted by Vorschlag
Peace favor your sword,
Vorschlag - Thanks for the ideas. I'm liking the consensus on drawing him into my range and punishing him when in range. I think the rondel could be ideal for this, since it has a strong defensive capability and is the only non-bowie I have with the reach of the bowie.
Kirk - I'm not familiar with much sabre outside of Hutton. What is the difference between 19th century sabre and 19th century dueling sabre?