trying to help someone
Hey folks, been a while
An aquaintance of mine has inquired about military saber. She has experience with a local sport fencing club. Her favorite of the 3 weapons is, obviously, the saber. I messed about with some of the stuff I found online regarding the saber but it's not really my forte. I'm into Fiore's sword-in-two hands so I really have no clue as to which direction I should send her in. Any help would be appreciated.
Does she want to find a school, a period manual, online instruction ... ?
Any or all of three I gues She just asked me for whatever help I can give her in getting started. Honestly I doubt a HEMA school of any kind exists in this state. So I guess a period manual and/or online instruction would probably be the best things right now.
Originally Posted by DdlR
Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria's starting a Victorian sword class in England. Unhelpful to you, obviously, except he's given a rough outline of what he'll be using for sources on their forums.
OK. There are plenty of period manuals available free online via GoogleBooks, etc. but I'd actually recommend a DVD unless your friend is used to following 19th century written instructions (it's a bit of an acquired skill).
This DVD from Cold Steel - Amazon.com: Train Dvd: Fight W/Cutlass& Sabre - Cold Steel: Sports & Outdoors - has gotten decent reviews on Sword Forum International, and from what I can tell via the YouTube excerpts, I'd recommend it as a user-friendly intro. to military saber.
YouTube- Cold Steel: (1 of 3) Basic Self Defense With Saber and Cutlass
YouTube- Cold Steel: (2 of 3) Basic Self Defense With Saber and Cutla
YouTube- Cold Steel: (3 of 3) Basic Self Defense With Saber and Cutla
According to the reviews, it covers all the basics thoroughly and also goes into the juicy infighting/brawling applications (use of the pommel and handguard as brass knucks, using the saber as a bayonet, etc.)
Hope this helps.
Originally Posted by Tyrsmann
Other than Matt, I do not know of anyone doing military sabre. So 19th century English it seems that it will have to be.
On the plus side you will become very familiar with the proper use of thus, though, henceforth, forsooth and subordinate propositions.
You are not that unequipped to do sabre with Fiore. From numerous contacts with Colin and Matt, I understand It covers/can be used one handed weapon, just as the “lichtanauer school” works with messer (ie proto saber).
So if you couple that with the resources Ddlr mentioned you are in a relatively good place to start up.
There are several schools/instructors in the US teaching military saber fencing, but as far as I know none of them have put out training manuals, so you'd need to be in their area to study with them. Mostly West Coast and Pacific Northwest, as I recall.
You can find some clips of Swedish Military Sabre here: http://www.youtube.com/user/3ng4n The channel is run by my club's sabre instructor. I would assume that it is relatively close to how the sabre was used in most Western traditions.
Another member has his clips here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Njurvar
Also, I store some sabre manuals here: www.hroarr.com
There are few American clubs that I know of that practice sabre but at least this might offer some help. Also, it might be a good idea to ask around on some of the other Hema-related foras that are available:
Btw, a traditional rapier might also interest your friend, since they are quite different from the weapons used in modern sports fencing. There are quite a few more people working with the rapier, compared to the sabre.
Last edited by Grimnir69; 11/16/2009 6:00am at .
Sport sabre is a really good place to start from but there are a lot of adjustments that need to be made.
Military saber is a lot heavier than Dueling Sabre to say nothing of sport sabre.
Some traditional schools teach moulinet from the wrist for various reasons such as using the bow/bell to protect the sabreur, others teach moulinet from the elbow because of the weight of the weapon. My personal experience is that it's hard to moulinet from the wrist with a military sabre but not impossible.
DdlR is right about period manuals. They can be helpful but it's a lot better to have someone experienced to work with.
Everything I've heard about the content of the Cold Steel video is good though the standard complaint is that it's expensive.
Before his death, my friend Mark published a very short, basic, manual on his take of the Military Sabre (at that time). I've published it free for download on my lulu store. It covers the basics of parries, cuts, and thrusts, but not details such as strategy or specific drills.
One aspect that seems standard for Military Sabre is that it is largely intended for meatball gruesome work with a lot less of the fine "art" of dueling sabre. The existing historic manuals which focus on Military Sabre (though typically written by Maestros) tend be a lot more KISS in presentation and development. If one uses these manuals to train from, be prepared to chew up training equipment faster than with other sword disciplines. For example, Cut 7 (straight down at the head) is typically "parried" with a St. George. Note I put quotes around the word "parried." This is because the manuals describe it as far more static "block" than what I typically think of as an active parry. Further, it's usually shown as edge-to-edge. Same with "parries" 1-4. Edge-to-edge. Even with high quality steel wasters, this will wear them over time, nevermind the cheap ones you buy expecting to chew up and replace.
Traditionally, a lot of Military Sabre training was done with Singlesticks (including training "Assaults"). So you (she) might want to invest in several of these as well. If you choose to make your own traditional wicker baskets, bear in mind that they will wear out pretty quick. You can purchase leather baskets but bring you wallet cuz even the inexpensive ones ain't cheap (though they're well made and worth the money). There are also some cheapskate ways to get durable baskets if you have access to the right tupperware or pool buoys and some craft skills but the end result won't look traditional in the least. (I'll do an article as some point in the future.)
I'd recommend having a decent source for rattan or well crafted light Ash singlesticks too because they don't last forever either. Don't use the Hickory ones to fence/Assault with. You'll break bones and bust heads. Trust me, the rattan ones hit hard enough to lay you out or ruin a decent 3-Weapon mask if you aren't watching your power.
If there aren't any instructors/schools near by, a viable option for your friend is to take up the study solo (beat/threaten a friend into being your fencing partner). Study the good material and historic manuals, then make it to WMA seminars once or twice a year or make special trips to qualified instructors for direction and correction.
Because your friend has a sound basis in Sport Fencing, I believe she can follow this method and have reasonable success.
Peace favor your sword,
Last edited by lklawson; 11/16/2009 9:43am at .
Reason: sp correction
Thank you all for your help.
I have copy and pasted the resources and ideas all of you have provided and emailed them to her. I'll let you know if she needs any clarification on something.
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