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  1. DdlR is offline
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    Posted On:
    1/23/2010 3:16pm

    supporting member
     Style: Bartitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    The first (and only other) time I've ever been referred to Hugh Knight was when a colleague, a respected WMA instructor himself, showed me some print-outs of pages from Knight's website and asked, his voice dripping with contempt, whether Knight "looked like a martial artist".

    Knight has a significant weight problem and I doubt that he is all that light on his pins. That said, from what little I've seen of him in action (on the video linked by Tyrsmann), his form, timing, co-ordination, balance etc. look fine to me.

    I've known heavyweights who had extraordinary endurance and agility for their size. In fact, the single best MA instructor I know is morbidly obese. I was once told that yet another well-known instructor had said of this man (I'll call him Tom), "he's not a martial artist", simply because of his weight. I would beg to differ; Tom is astoundingly strong, but he's so damn good at what he does that he de-emphasizes his own strength. He's a profoundly expert teacher of combative movement who would be hell on wheels in a street fight, and he's "not a martial artist" because he's fat?

    Gimme a break.
  2. GenericUnique is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/23/2010 3:43pm


     Style: WMA Lichtenauer Longsword

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by SBG-ape View Post
    Some people think Hugh Knight is great. Some think he has some things wrong, but can still offer something of value. Other people think heís completely disgraceful. Letís hear from all of them. What are the standards to which we hold historical European martial artists & in particular those who claim to teach the historical European martial arts?
    I'm in the some things wrong, still has stuff worth listening to camp. At least his bloggery has a much higher signal to noise ratio than, for example, those english longsword guys. You don't have to have competitive fitness levels to have valuable knowledge to impart. There is a visible, distinct and important difference between Ernst and Schule-fechten obvious in the manuals, and from that alone it's obvious that the techniques which work best in a sparring ruleset may not be optimal to another situation, like "the street" or unarmoured blossfechten with lethal consequences for the first to bleed.

    On the other hand, I think there is a place for freer play. That's freer, not free - I, at least, and never going to consent to fight with arm breaks, eye gouges and a sharp sword being shoved through my throat, and that's what we'd have to do to truly test our techniques. "Sparring" is just another point on the line between compliant demonstration and fighting to the death. It's one of a number of points we (should) use.

    In fact, **** that metaphor. It's going to have to be a graph with two axes at least - Compliance/Resistance and Limited/Free options. Sparring is somewhere near the R/F corner, but not all the way there by some distance, and that first demo of the technique is C/L corner. Once you're doing it with aliveness and a choice of counter, you're getting to the middle.

    My point? That sparring isn't the only, or even the best way, to weigh up your interpretation. It's one way to judge it, but one biased by who's doing what. Knight may well refrain from sparring because he's fat. I know I've sparred with unfamiliar weapons and done far better than I had any right against more experienced opponents because I was younger, taller, in better shape and possibly had more coffee that morning... and had the reverse done to me by people with superior conditioning but training for a different weapon. How else do I judge a system? By it's theoretical elegance and efficiency, and by whether an interpretation of a technique works in limited drill better than the alternative interpretation. Otherwise, you'll just shield weaknesses of the system with strengths. Which happens even with good intentions, if you don't watch yourself. I've mostly noticed it when you're forced to grab either the opponent or his weapon because you can't think of an elegant solution with your sword.

    I'd also second the weight disqualifying you from martial arts expertise - I've been thoroughly impressed by more than one instructor who's exceeding whatever the BMI recommendation is.
  3. willaume is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/24/2010 4:54pm


     Style: aikido, medieval fencing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I don’t know the man personally, so it is difficult to comment.
    From the video I think it is all right. I think the views on the techniques are restrictive and are presented in vaccuum but it does what the manual says.

    Now I think that if you do not spare, you will miss a very essential part that pertains to how, when and whys the techniques are linked together and what situation they address.

    From a pedagogic stand point, I much prefer, from sparing than free sparing. But I firmly believe that if you want to interpret a manual or a system you do need test what you do in free sparing and against different style.
    If you are recreating a fechshulle or a “in earnest” system you need to use the same set of rule they used. For me it is capital because techniques regardless of the art do not exist in vacuum.

    To put things in context (and absolutely not as an advice one what other should do or what is right and what is wrong), that’s where I come from.

    I think a weighted shinai and a fencing helmet (and gonad and throat protection if you have something to prove) are safe and good enough for blossfechetnen. For me shinai are the least worse of the simulators and you can hit each other in relative happiness so that no other protections are needed and you can pretty much allow anything
    I.e. for me armour has a worse effect than the intrinsic quality of the simulator
    so my views are slanted by that

    Of course you are not going to get it right from the bat. But with time and the willingness to re-evaluate what you discarded, you will build a context in which the technique should be employed.

    It is true that as well sparing can be detrimental when you start to weight or discount zones or just by the simulator you use.

    Phil
  4. TheMightyMcClaw is offline
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    MADE OF STEEL!

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    Posted On:
    1/24/2010 7:41pm

    supporting member
     Style: MMA

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I enjoyed this particular comment on Hugh's entry about why sparring is t3h suck:
    ""[Fencing] with the sword is in essence a practice in which two opponents strive against each other with the sword with the intent that one will outmaneuver and overcome the other with intelligence and nimbleness, artfully, finely, and manfully, with cuts and other handwork; so that if it were necessary in earnest cases, through such practice one may be more quick and skillful, and more judicious for the protection of his body."

    -Joachim Meyer, 1570

    Hugh's reply mostly boiled down to a lengthier version of "yeah, but Jaochim Meyer was a total fag, so **** him."

    The author of that comment has their own HEMA blog, which I find far more enjoyable:
    http://lessonsontheenglishlongsword.blogspot.com/
  5. kwan_dao is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/25/2010 3:03am


     Style: sambo, stuff

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Am I the only one who finds it highly amusing, that a somewhat obese and "rosy" person like Hugh Knight calls his school "Schlachtschule"?

    Considering that the "Schlachter" is a butcher and "schlachten" normally refers to butchering animals (like pigs...).

    Well, I guess one could not expect a self declared expert who does translations of german fencing manuals to know the negative co-notations of the term "Schlacht", can we? After all, Google translate does not recognize them as well.

    Personally I think he is a completely incompetent moron. Sorry DldR, but that fat landwhale can hardly support his own weight. He holds and moves his weapon with the according grace and accuracy. How anyone can see anything but a complete idiot in his videos goes beyond me.
  6. Akimo is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/25/2010 6:01am

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: Ninjutsu ex-KMaga+Boxing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    This guy Ashida Kim in a different time period?
  7. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/25/2010 10:58am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Topic Hugh Knight: I don't know him. I disagree with some of his positions and I feel they're important ones. On the other hand, I don't see that he's doing a specific DISSERVICE to the martial arts or WMA community. He has a different take and I doubt we'll ever find out how effective his "method" or interpretation is. I don't have a personal problem with him but I doubt I would recommend his method if I were asked.

    Topic Sparring: Sparring is very important. It's not the end-all-be-all that some seem to think but it's a very necessary tool among the many tools available. There are going to be some artificial artifacts in any modern sparring which will add varying degrees of "unrealism" to the event, such as using wasters, or mutually agreeing to NOT ACTUALLY TRY TO KILL EACH OTHER. But, if you want to actually prove that your stuff really works, it's a nearly indispensable tool.

    Topic Fat Martial Artists: WTF? Have you guys never seen a freaking Sumoka? Never looked at a cott'n pick'n Linebacker? Geez, I remember when "The Refrigerator" was all popular and stuff and he was a freaking eating machine with enough extra insulation to make up a small child. No one doubted he could lay the beat-down. My personal experience is that "fat people" tend to be much stronger than they are given credit for (they have to be in order to carry around that extra weight) and can move far quicker than many people expect, particularly if they only have to move one direction (as in charge that stinking stick-boy making fun of me and crush him beneath my great bulk). I had a "fat" good-ol-farmboy friend in college. 6'4" and 300+ lbs. I watched him tuck a lineman from the college team under each arm and trundle down the hall with them, remarking that it was not that different from bailing hay. Where "fat people" tend to fail by comparison is that they often don't have the endurance that "in shape people do" and will "gas" after less than a minute. Fortunately for them, most "real fights" seem to last less than 45 seconds or so. And being "in shape" counts for EVEN LESS when you put a blasted WEAPON in the mix. How "in shape" do you have to be to stab someone? C'mon now.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk

    EDIT: "Fat People" also tend to be able to soak up more damage too. Seems that "extra padding" actually, well, pads. :P
  8. kwan_dao is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/25/2010 12:27pm


     Style: sambo, stuff

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by lklawson View Post
    Topic Fat Martial Artists: WTF? Have you guys never seen a freaking Sumoka? Never looked at a cott'n pick'n Linebacker? Geez, I remember when "The Refrigerator" was all popular and stuff and he was a freaking eating machine with enough extra insulation to make up a small child. No one doubted he could lay the beat-down. My personal experience is that "fat people" tend to be much stronger than they are given credit for (they have to be in order to carry around that extra weight) and can move far quicker than many people expect, particularly if they only have to move one direction (as in charge that stinking stick-boy making fun of me and crush him beneath my great bulk). I had a "fat" good-ol-farmboy friend in college. 6'4" and 300+ lbs. I watched him tuck a lineman from the college team under each arm and trundle down the hall with them, remarking that it was not that different from bailing hay. Where "fat people" tend to fail by comparison is that they often don't have the endurance that "in shape people do" and will "gas" after less than a minute. Fortunately for them, most "real fights" seem to last less than 45 seconds or so. And being "in shape" counts for EVEN LESS when you put a blasted WEAPON in the mix. How "in shape" do you have to be to stab someone? C'mon now.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk

    EDIT: "Fat People" also tend to be able to soak up more damage too. Seems that "extra padding" actually, well, pads. :P
    Sumo-wrestlers need a special diet to stay fat despite their regular and quite demanding training. They have a lot of muscles underneath all that globber. Hugh Knight is just fat without the muscles. You can clearly see that when he moves.

    Same goes for absorbing damage. Big fat opponent with a lot of conditioning under his belt - dangerous. Big fat lazy whale - starts to cry after the first punch.

    Training with a live-weight sword burns a huge lot of calories. I would say it is impossible (except with a special diet) to stay as fat as Hugh Knight if you train with a sword or other medieval weapon for about one hour per day.

    IMHO you need more then one hour per day to become a master in any medieval weapon (much more if you train in more then one). Hugh Knight is teaching weapons he clearly never mastered. Simply a logical conclusion based on his bodymass index.
  9. willaume is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/25/2010 6:25pm


     Style: aikido, medieval fencing

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Akimo View Post
    This guy Ashida Kim in a different time period?
    Nope not really
    Ashida kim is clearly, utterly full of crap and is wanting of any redemming qualitiy.


    As I said before I do not necessarily agree on tactical and technical point of view, as well as one research and training methodology but I can not deny that he as done his research and knows his subject, at least from a scholarly point of view.

    I have seen thinner people do far shittier things than what he does, HEMA has been and does produce a significant amount of armchair fencer.

    And to be honest, I have started with very literal interpretation, just like him.
    It is the intellectual equivalent of sparing with steel because you can not replace the “felling of the steel” ‘(which I did as well).

    Bassicallu I agree that there are reasons to do a captain Farrell on the man but carpet bombing is a tad excessive

    phil
  10. lklawson is offline

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    Posted On:
    1/26/2010 9:04am


     Style: Bowie

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by kwan_dao View Post
    Sumo-wrestlers need a special diet to stay fat despite their regular and quite demanding training. They have a lot of muscles underneath all that globber. Hugh Knight is just fat without the muscles. You can clearly see that when he moves.
    So you've visited him in person, or is this just the conclusion based on viewing youtube clips?

    Same goes for absorbing damage. Big fat opponent with a lot of conditioning under his belt - dangerous. Big fat lazy whale - starts to cry after the first punch.
    Hogwash. I've seen too many times where a "fat" person with a serious mad on steamrolls through crap that would put down a thinner person and comes out the other end with bruises but no serious damage. Blunt force to the body gets partially absorbed by fat. Head shots are still good though.

    Training with a live-weight sword burns a huge lot of calories. I would say it is impossible (except with a special diet) to stay as fat as Hugh Knight if you train with a sword or other medieval weapon for about one hour per day.
    I've also seen a fair number of "fat" guys that did a lot of farm work. Despite burning a crap-load of calories, they took in more than they burned.

    What it boils down to is this:
    You think that not sparring is stupid? I agree 100%. Without sparring you get "dance" skills that you may or may not (more likely NOT) be able to actually apply.

    You think he has no skills? Fine, whatever. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. I agree that not sparring will definitely detract. But you can't really tell that based on some random videos. Someone has to actually cross blades with him to know for sure; and that isn't likely to happen.

    But "in shape" simply is not strongly correlated to having "real skills" nor is being "fat" evidence, to say nothing of causal, of having no skills. When you boil it down, yammering on about how is a "whale" isn't a valid critique of his skill and just makes you look petty. If we were talking about whether or not he should be a JC Penny's underwear model or something, then sure. You might even be able to make a case that if he were producing instructional videos the weight will distract viewers and cause people to be dismissive of the material and even WMA in general. But we're not talking about any of that.

    Simply a logical conclusion based on his bodymass index.
    Sorry, it just does not follow. Your thesis is that only "in shape" people can have "real skill" with weapons. It's just not so. Frankly, this goes way beyond Hugh Knight. I know he's not well liked by many in the community. I understand why. But "fat" doesn't, by definition, equal unskilled slob.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
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