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TheMightyMcClaw
4/23/2008 12:58am,
Today, I had my first - and likely only - lesson in German Longsword. There's a club in Ann Arbor that practices this (http://www.annarborsword.com/) which I've been wanting to check out for a while, but they meet on the same night as BJJ. As last Tuesday was our last session, however, I was able to go and check it out.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't get into swordfights very often. I'm not really concerned with getting the most efficient, hardcore, swordfighting training. If I was, I'm pretty sure that would make me Phil Elmore.
Rather, I just think German Longsword is really fucking cool.
I learned the five basic cuts, all of which had German names I couldn't remember, and the four basic stances, which were likewise trapped in some kind of crazy moon language. They instead got new, temporary names like "sword high", "sword low", and "Star Wars."
Some of the cuts were pretty wonky, like the "Kramphau," or "stepping to the side and raising the tip of the sword up into your opponent's nutsack."
After rehearsing these basic cuts for a while, I was paired up with a kid to do some freeplay. We were using great big wasters and and not wearing any safety equipment, so the freeplay was pretty slo-motion and may or may not be considered truly "live" training. However, it did cause me to the think on my feet, and was a lot of fun, which are the two primary goals of freefighting for me.
During this time, I asked my partner to show me some halfswording techniques, which I thought were pretty badass. He also showed me some "flipping the sword around and using it like a goddamn sledgehammer" techniques, which likewise impressed me. I was told that halfswording developed for armored longsword not only because the swordsman had gauntlets and could grab his sword without worrying about cutting his hands, but the increased point control made it easier to work the sword between chinks in armor.
All in all, it was pretty sweet. Just from watching Langschwert videos on youtube, it seems like the coolest form of swinging a chunk of metal I've ever encountered, and I'm glad I was able to familiarize myself with it a bit.

Aristobulus
4/25/2008 2:24am,
For Alive Training/At speed training/Hard core sword training visit http://www.thearma.org

You won't have to play the "slow motion", "no intensity" crap.

ARMA is first and formost a Martial Arts Club. Historically valid and Martially sound. If it isn't Martially sound, you are doing something wrong.

Wounded Ronin
4/25/2008 1:22pm,
Plus, ARMA endorsed the Riddle of Steel role playing game!

bad credit
4/25/2008 7:51pm,
Which I've got, and am still trying to figure out the rules. Man, it's written in a weird style and the setting's lame.

krazy kaju
4/25/2008 8:16pm,
I don't think there are any ARMA groups here in Michigan. Regardless, I'm pretty sure that one could organize a sparring session if you're a member of one of these groups, as the people interested in this stuff are usually up for sparring and whatnot.

In any case, how heavy was the sword?

kg6cig
4/27/2008 1:26pm,
ARMA is by no means the only option. There are a lot of resources for WMA; you may have to do some independent research. Also, there is also the Italian school, which is actually more common. Many schools teach a comprehensive system- if German, known generally as Kunst des Fechtens, or art of fighting, based on the teachings of Johannes Lichtienauer and his students and descendants (Ringeck, von Danzig, Doebringer, Talhoffer, etc).

The Italian school is based on the teachings of Fiore dei Liberi, who wrote a single book on his art. I don't know if there's a "name" for it, come to think of it.

In our school, we don't do freeplay out of armor, much like in kendo. In armor, sure- but the techniques are very different, more of the halfswording techniques that you were talking about.

As far as grabbing a blade goes- it's fine to even grab a blade with a bare hand. The knives I cook with are way sharp- much sharper than a weapon blade needs to be- and I wrap my fingers around my paring knife all the time. As long as the blade doesn't slide across your skin, you'll be fine.

For those who are interested- the four guards of the German system are:
Vom Tag (from the roof)
Pflug (plow)
Ochs (Ox)
Alber (Fool)

The five Meisterhau (Master cuts) are:
Zornhau- the stroke of wrath
Zwerchau- cross stroke
Krumphau- crooked stroke
Schielhau- squinting stroke
Scheitelhau- Scalp stroke


If anyone cares. For that matter, even if no-one cares.

Regards,

Joseph

Aristobulus
4/27/2008 7:54pm,
ARMA studies Fechtbucher(fight manuals) in German, Italian, Dutch, French, English, and Spainish(maybe more, those are the ones I remember right off). We don't study just one group of manuals. As long as they are European and between the years 1295 to roughly 1650 they are in our period and place of study. ARMA has the largest collection of manuals.

If there are not any study groups in Michigan start one.

Later

kg6cig
4/27/2008 9:26pm,
ARMA studies Fechtbucher(fight manuals) in German, Italian, Dutch, French, English, and Spainish(maybe more, those are the ones I remember right off). We don't study just one group of manuals. As long as they are European and between the years 1295 to roughly 1650 they are in our period and place of study. ARMA has the largest collection of manuals.
Later

That was, in fact, my point- ARMA, although in theory the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts, collects from many sources outside the Renaissance. In addition, there are many manuals from many different systems. And having the "largest collection of manuals" doesn't mean that their scholarship is good.

The Italian school in the high middle ages is fundamentally different from KdF. While there's certainly some similarities, just as there are between kenjutsu/kendo and KdF, there are also substantial differences. When you add in the Renaissance styles, you have an incredibly broad range of techniques. While Meyer was certainly teaching some KdF stuff in the late 1500s, it was something of an anachronism, perhaps not unlike the Single Action Shooting Society of today(admittedly, I may be reaching a bit there).

Indeed, Meyer clearly misunderstands some of the fundamental precepts of Liechtienauer when he discusses the guard Alber, or the Fool, saying one is a fool to use it. However, Ringeck and Doebringer clearly state that the one who is a fool is the one who believes its user to be vulnerable, and that it is a guard of provocation- the sword equivalent of going "nah nah nah nah nah, you can't catch me."

I would also recommend www.aemma.org (http://www.aemma.org/) for their library- I think it's at least as comprehensive as ARMAs. If you really want to give it a go, however, check out "Fighting with the German Longsword", by Christian Henry Tobler. One of the best instruction books I've ever seen in terms of its ability to convey what the author intends you to do. My Fechtmeister has some difference of opinion about some of the techniques, but hey, we wouldn't be MA if we didn't disagree.

Seeing as how the original post was on German longsword, and only German longsword, I thought posting relevant information about studying the German system would be helpful rather than simply placing an ad for ARMA.

I did not choose ARMA for several reasons, and I don't recommend it for the person who specifically wants to study KdF or even German longsword alone, as opposed to a combination of whatever techniques we like.

Enough. Let the flaming commence. <grin>

Regards,

Joseph

Aristobulus
4/28/2008 2:35am,
"Let the flaming commence. <grin>"

Did you intend on this to be a flaming session?

"That was, in fact, my point- ARMA, although in theory the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts, collects from many sources outside the Renaissance. In addition, there are many manuals from many different systems. And having the "largest collection of manuals" doesn't mean that their scholarship is good."

Renaissance is rebirth. Rebirth of European Martial Arts. It is not just the period that we study. You seem to imply that having alot of manuals from different periods and places is bad. I don't think so. There are many more simularities in the different "styles" than there are differences. That is true of all European Martial Arts before 1650. AEMMA has a hand full of manuals from the medieval and Renaissance period and others from after 1650. ARMA has over 50 from the medieval and Renaissance periods alone.

"When you add in the Renaissance styles, you have an incredibly broad range of techniques."

This is bad Why? I study medieval and Renaissance techniques. The concepts and principles didn't change.

"Fighting with the German Longsword" by Tobler is a horrible book. What is good Scholarship if the interpretations are not Martially Sound? I don't want an interpretation on how to fight by someone who cannot fight.

"My Fechtmeister has some difference of opinion about some of the techniques"

Mine too. Ringeck, Lichtenauer, Fiore, Meyer, to name a few. Which one of the Fechtmeister were you talking about?

"Seeing as how the original post was on German longsword, and only German longsword, I thought posting relevant information about studying the German system would be helpful rather than simply placing an ad for ARMA."

You mentioned the Italian school for our information and added some misinformation about ARMA which I merely corrected. I mentioned ARMA in my first post because if you want to learn how to fight like the medieval or Renaissance Europeans, whether they are German or not, ARMA is a good place to learn. It would be very helpful to mention ARMA.

Why the greif with ARMA?

kg6cig
4/28/2008 10:34pm,
Did you intend on this to be a flaming session?

Nope. But I suspected that it might end that way.

This is bad Why? I study medieval and Renaissance techniques. The concepts and principles didn't change.

I disagree, and have specifically posted reasons why- Meyer's interpretation of Alber, for example, is representative of the descendence of the preeminence of the longsword in favor of the rapier; changes in hand position as ringen became more wrestling oriented, etc.

"Fighting with the German Longsword" by Tobler is a horrible book. What is good Scholarship if the interpretations are not Martially Sound? I don't want an interpretation on how to fight by someone who cannot fight.

I disagree with you. I think it's an excellent book for beginners. That being said, there's no substitute for a competent trainer.

Mine too. Ringeck, Lichtenauer, Fiore, Meyer, to name a few. Which one of the Fechtmeister were you talking about?

Um... those aren't _my_ Fechtmeister. Or yours. Seeing as how they're dead and all. My Fechtmeister is my instructor. I know you don't use the term in ARMA; we do. No, I'm not one.

You mentioned the Italian school for our information and added some misinformation about ARMA which I merely corrected. I mentioned ARMA in my first post because if you want to learn how to fight like the medieval or Renaissance Europeans, whether they are German or not, ARMA is a good place to learn. It would be very helpful to mention ARMA.

Again I disagree. If one wishes to learn the katana purely in the traditional manner, then there are relatively few places in any area in the US you can do that (I think there's only two kendo schools in our area). Similarly, if you wish to learn the German way of fighting, either with longsword or as a whole system, there are few places that teach it exclusively. ARMA isn't one of them, as you yourself pointed out.

If you really want to study judo- and only judo- then the local MMA gym isn't the place to go. You'll learn good stuff from an MMA teacher- but probably not traditional judo. Same thing with any "purist" style, whether it be kendo, karate, wing chun, whatever.

Why the greif with ARMA?

It's not about ARMA in particular. If you were from AEMMA I'd say the same thing- it is not the best place to learn the German method. I also wouldn't say that AEMMA is the best place to learn Italian Rapier- it's not what they teach. There are schools out there that teach more-or-less exclusively in the German method (Ochs, Zornhau, Die Schlachschule, Veritas, and MEMAG, for example). ARMA teaches many things not found in the Liechtenauer tradition- rapier, for example, which hadn't been invented during his lifetime.

In the final analysis, I can agree to disagree. You are loyal to your school, which is laudable. I think perhaps we have gone well beyond that which the original poster intended, though. I will keep training in my school, and you in yours. Perhaps we can meet in Valhalla and settle it someday. <grin>

Regards,

Joseph

Aristobulus
4/29/2008 10:39pm,
Since there is no Valhalla, we can always meet and spar if you are ever near Montgomery, Alabama. That is the good thing about Martial Arts, all dissagrements can be settled by doing what we love, fighting. LOL

Later

Ray

P.S. You never did mention who you study with. I just hope it isn't with Sellohar, Hugh Knight(AKA Fatmeister) or the Martinez bunch. They are Bullshido. If that is who you train with, I truly do feel sorry for you. LOL

kg6cig
4/30/2008 10:21pm,
Since there is no Valhalla, we can always meet and spar if you are ever near Montgomery, Alabama. That is the good thing about Martial Arts, all dissagrements can be settled by doing what we love, fighting. LOL

Later

Ray

P.S. You never did mention who you study with. I just hope it isn't with Sellohar, Hugh Knight(AKA Fatmeister) or the Martinez bunch. They are Bullshido. If that is who you train with, I truly do feel sorry for you. LOL

I do in fact train with Hugh. Time alone will tell if he's Bullshido or not, for me. After nearly 30 years in other martial arts, I suspect that in time I'll be able to test that theory myself. At least as far as the basics go, he's been able to back up his theories.

Selohaar... I know nothing about how well they fight. I do know they're into a mystical aspect that doesn't interest me. I have no idea if that plays into their other fechtschules or not. But, they're a long way off, so it's a moot point.

Martinez has nothing to do with my interests. I'm not sure why you mention them... are they doing KdF now?

Regards,

Joseph

Aristobulus
5/01/2008 3:20am,
"I suspect that in time I'll be able to test that theory myself. At least as far as the basics go, he's been able to back up his theories. "

A good sparring session with speed and intent should say alot. Have you not sparred with him yet? Do you train with him directly?

When I say sparring with speed and intent, I mean almost full speed with blunts(not slo-mo), almost full speed with wasters, and full speed with pads and Nylon. If you dont know what Nylon wasters are you need to find out. They react like steel but are safer than wood. They have all the right weight and balance of a sword as well. Very nice tool and just as inexpensive as wood and last longer.
Alot of videos of sparring I have seen by some groups(not all) are so slow and with out any real intent that it is pathetic. Or they train with a Shinai which has no discernable edge and is waayy to light.
Oh and of course train with no restictive rules e.g.= no grappling, seizing, or no striking certain parts of the body,etc. etc... Implementing rules is bad for any Martial Art.

Yes I am doing Kunst des fechtens. I personally have copies of Doebringer, Ringecks longsword section, Talhoffer, Auerswald, and Codex Wallerstein. What text are you studying?

kg6cig
5/02/2008 10:49pm,
A good sparring session with speed and intent should say alot. Have you not sparred with him yet? Do you train with him directly?

No, and yes. Bear in mind that while I've been studying- as in scholarly research- WMA for several years, my actual training is fairly recent- within the past 9 months. Prior to that my exposure was SCA combat which, while fun, isn't period fencing. So I have not sparred with him yet, because frankly, I don't know enough about this system from a practical application standpoint to make it worthwhile. Plus, I don't have armor (SCA, yes- not for this), and we only do freeplay in amor.

I do train with Hugh directly. It's the only way to train. And that is why I respect his opinion- because he's demonstrated techniques effectively in those areas that I know something about. Yes, I'm something aof a novice at longsword, pollaxe, and spear. I am, however, not a novice at wrestling and grappling, nor at knife fighting. So while Hugh (or anyone else) might be able to baffle me with bullshido in longsword... good luck with that on knife fighting and wrestling. Have you trained with him? Or did someone just tell you he doesn't know what he's doing? Because I have to tell you- as Hugh himself has said in class- "Hey, that fat sumbitch knows somethin'." Note he usually says this after he's sorta casually dumped me on my a$$.

When I say sparring with speed and intent, I mean almost full speed with blunts(not slo-mo), almost full speed with wasters, and full speed with pads and Nylon. If you dont know what Nylon wasters are you need to find out. They react like steel but are safer than wood. They have all the right weight and balance of a sword as well. Very nice tool and just as inexpensive as wood and last longer.

The only ones I've seen are about a pound lighter than their actual steel counterparts. We thought about ways to add some weight but haven't gotten around to experimenting. I have a waster, and my Fechterspiel is on order. Should be here in a couple of weeks.

Oh and of course train with no restictive rules e.g.= no grappling, seizing, or no striking certain parts of the body,etc. etc... Implementing rules is bad for any Martial Art.

So, eye gouges and throat strikes would be okay, then? Full kidney blows? Biting? Knee and elbow strikes at full strength? It seems to me that we should just dispense with the nylon wasters and use live steel, then.

Rules are there to protect your practice partner and you. If I were to fight at a WMA event with the full arsenal of every dirty trick I know, I guarantee someone would get mad at me. And they'd be right- it's not safe. Even MMA fights have rules. Yes, they're a lot less than they were in the past of ISKA-style kickboxing. But they're still _there_.

Yes, I know that some systems put rules in place to hide their failings. But rules are not inherently bad. I was recently watching the "TOP Army Fighter" competition- basically Army MMA- and they had rules in place because these guys had to go to work the next day. In Iraq. The Army could not risk these guys getting hurt and being unable to deploy. I'm not going to Iraq- but I still have to go to work tomorrow. And my work occasionally requires me to rassle with highly psychotic people, so I kinda need to be not injured. If you hurt me to the point I can't work, I'm not going to train with you anymore. I'm guessing you and your training partners have to go to work too- and so I'm sure there are safety rules in place.

The only way to fight for real is to fight for real. No rules. You want to see if you're real- go play with the Dog Brothers or someone like them. Otherwise, you're kidding yourself about "no restrictions." But, "no restrictions" means you're going to get hurt, potentially badly. I've been in enough fights to know I don't want to do that anymore. It hurts more and hurts longer every year. So I accept the limitations of my training, and if I ever get into a real swordfight, I'll find out if my Fechtmeister was right.

I personally have copies of Doebringer, Ringecks longsword section, Talhoffer, Auerswald, and Codex Wallerstein. What text are you studying?

The same, except for Auerswald, plus von Danzig (the translations, anyway), and Paulus Kal. I have both Lindholm's and Tobler's translations of Ringeck's longsword, and Lindholm's of the rest of Ringeck- I'm trying to get Tobler's but it's on back order. I'd like to get more of the originals- but since I don't read modern German, much less medieval, there's not a lot of point. Well, some of the illustrations are kinda helpful.

Regards,

Joseph

Aristobulus
5/04/2008 2:33am,
"we only do freeplay in armor."

No Blosfechten. Why not? Most Fechtbucher cover Blosfechtens.

"Have you trained with him? Or did someone just tell you he doesn't know what he's doing?"

No. I have seen his interpretations of Codex Wallerstein on his website. they were not even the techniques in the book. It didn't fit the illustration or the translation. I have also read several of his post on forums where he said that Zornhau was useless. I have heard this same thing from other SCA guys. I then procede to show in sparring at speed why it is so effective. It is the fastest and strongest strike possible. Hugh also affirmed that if you do use it, it should only be used to gain a bind. This idea is rather common though. LOL
I would love to fight with him. I'm sure he would refuse as he has repeatedly refused to spar a fellow ARMA member. To be honest, I asked if you had sparred with him to see if he even spars with his students.

"The only ones I've seen are about a pound lighter than their actual steel counterparts."

Try New Stirling Arms for wooden wasters. Their wasters are weighted and balanced. http://www.newstirlingarms.com
For nylon with proper weight and balance try With Intent Wasters. http://freewebs.com/wiwasters/
I have wasters from them personally. Both very, very good. For steel blunts and live steel go with Albion. http://www.albionarmorers.com Check out there Meyer and Lichtenaeur blunts.

"So, eye gouges and throat strikes would be okay, then? Full kidney blows? Biting? Knee and elbow strikes at full strength? It seems to me that we should just dispense with the nylon wasters and use live steel, then."

Yes,yes,yes,yes, and ok. This is Martial Arts isn't. "If you scare easily do not learn any art of fighting" Doebringer, 1389 A.D.

"Rules are there to protect your practice partner and you."

No. Control is there to protect your partner and other safety gear.

"If you hurt me to the point I can't work, I'm not going to train with you anymore. I'm guessing you and your training partners have to go to work too- and so I'm sure there are safety rules in place."

Hurting your training partner should be your goal, injuring him should not. There is safety equipment not rules. I don't see why this idea is so hard to comprehend. Alot of people cannot see that this his how they trained in the old days. Why not today. We even have protective gear to keep cuts down, keep are teeth and eyes. Some people get it(Dog Brothers, ARMA, etc....)

"The only way to fight for real is to fight for real. No rules. You want to see if you're real- go play with the Dog Brothers or someone like them. Otherwise, you're kidding yourself about "no restrictions." But, "no restrictions" means you're going to get hurt, potentially badly. I've been in enough fights to know I don't want to do that anymore. It hurts more and hurts longer every year. So I accept the limitations of my training, and if I ever get into a real swordfight, I'll find out if my Fechtmeister was right."

"Training should reflect actual combat. If it doesn't, the training is at fault" Matt Larson,NCOIC of Army Combatives School.
What is wrong with Dog Brothers? Why train with them when I have ARMA? Major injuries are always potential. Even playing Soccer(Worse in Soccer). Dog Brothers has a very low percentage of Major injuries. ARMA has no Major injuries that I know of. Look up statistics of injury rates. You might be surprised to find out that the harder training groups have a lower frequency of Major injuries, but they have a higher frequency of Minor ones.
We are talking about Martial Arts right. This is very real. "If you scare easily do not learn any art of fighting" Doebringer, 1389 A.D.

"I have both Lindholm's and Tobler's translations of Ringeck's longsword, and Lindholm's of the rest of Ringeck- I'm trying to get Tobler's but it's on back order. I'd like to get more of the originals- but since I don't read modern German, much less medieval, there's not a lot of point. Well, some of the illustrations are kinda helpful."

Just try and find good translations. Read the translation and try to work it out first. If you can't figure it out, then read the interpretaion and the modern illustrations. Then work through those with speed and intent and question them until you can continually perform the technique with speed and intent in sparring. Weed out the techniques until you find the one that works.

Later,

Ray

kg6cig
5/06/2008 1:34am,
No Blosfechten. Why not? Most Fechtbucher cover Blosfechtens.

I didn't say we didn't do Blossfechten. Only that we don't do freeplay Blossfechten.

I have also read several of his post on forums where he said that Zornhau was useless. I have heard this same thing from other SCA guys. I then procede to show in sparring at speed why it is so effective. It is the fastest and strongest strike possible. Hugh also affirmed that if you do use it, it should only be used to gain a bind.

Interestingly, that's not at all what he says in class. Our first two longsword classes were about almost nothing _but_ Zornhau. And what happens when you bind in a Zornhau. Additionally, he has said nothing about only using it to gain a bind, only that you should be prepared to do so, as it is a common strike. So, I strike a Zornhau, you do nothing, you die. You strike a Zornhau at the same time- if you are soft in the bind, I Zornort, you die. Hard in the bind, pushing my blade high, I Zucken, you die. Hard in the bind, pushing my blade low, Durchwechseln, again you die. Hard in the bind, on line, Winden and thrust- again you die. It's a decision tree- one you need to know if you're going to use Zornhau. Obviously, I'm oversimplifying, because you can do stuff to my stuff, but that's what I've heard Hugh say on the subject. His book says the same, so it's not like he came out with the idea yesterday.

Try New Stirling Arms for wooden wasters...<snip>

Their site says the longswords are two pounds. The With Intent wasters, essentially the same. Too light. I use purpleheart- they have a nice weight, and the balance isn't bad. I agree, albion makes good stuff- we use Arms and Armor's Fechterspiel sword; it's an authentic recreation of the training blades actually used.

Hurting your training partner should be your goal, injuring him should not. There is safety equipment not rules. I don't see why this idea is so hard to comprehend. Alot of people cannot see that this his how they trained in the old days. Why not today. We even have protective gear to keep cuts down, keep are teeth and eyes. Some people get it(Dog Brothers, ARMA, etc....)

It's not hard to comprehend. It's just not true. Schools in Thailaind, the Phillipines, wherever, yes, they train hard, but there are still safety rules. About 15 years ago I was training in Muay Thai. We went at it pretty hard- but we were careful on the knee and elbow strikes because you could injure your training partner easily. That's a safety rule. As far as the debate between "hurt" and "injury"- I made the distinction pretty clear in saying "to the point I can't go to work."

What is wrong with Dog Brothers? Why train with them when I have ARMA? Major injuries are always potential. Even playing Soccer(Worse in Soccer). Dog Brothers has a very low percentage of Major injuries. ARMA has no Major injuries that I know of. Look up statistics of injury rates. You might be surprised to find out that the harder training groups have a lower frequency of Major injuries, but they have a higher frequency of Minor ones.
We are talking about Martial Arts right. This is very real. "If you scare easily do not learn any art of fighting" Doebringer, 1389 A.D.

Nothing is wrong with the Dog Brothers- I have the utmost respect for those guys. Yes, injuries are possible. For what it's worth, this ain't exactly my first dance. I'm pretty familiar with a variety of training methods, from one end of the spectrum to the other. I frankly think that there's not a lot of point in continuing the conversation, because you're in one place as a martial artist, I'm in another. And we're not going to agree. Not to mention having lost the whole point of the thread. So, as Sam Clements once said, "never try teaching a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." I'm not sure who's the pig and who the teacher, but the end result is the same.

Thanks for your input- even if I don't agree with you on a lot of it. You are loyal to your school, and that's commendable. Good luck in your training.

Regards,

Joseph