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    TheMightyMcClaw's Avatar
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    Fightin' with Hook Swords

    A while back, I got a set of synthetic tiger head hooks. Last night, I finally took some footage sparring:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so2bNAqKoNs&t=3s


    My main take away is that hook swords are really f-bombing hard to use. I learned a bit of them when I was doing CMA, and there's all these cool moves where you parrying and bind and trap then close in to attack with the short end. Like so much of CMA, it's way easier said than done. Especially when the other guy also has two swords.
    At the same time, that difficulty of use makes them really satisfying in a way that using sword-shaped swords is not. It's like playing a fighting game using a shitty character (The "Jigglypuff Effect," if you will).
    The fool thinks himself immortal,
    If he hold back from battle;
    But old age will grant him no truce,
    Even if spears spare him.

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    Permalost's Avatar
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    I like that all sorts of exotic sparring blades are becoming available. It kinda highlights how weapon sparring is largely a fun hobby more than a serious self defense affair, which I agree with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    I like that all sorts of exotic sparring blades are becoming available. It kinda highlights how weapon sparring is largely a fun hobby more than a serious self defense affair, which I agree with.
    They were not military weapons. By comparison the humble dao is super simple to use and just as deadly.

    Sparring with real ones can be hazardous. They are more like an acrobatic weapon like the sectional staff. The Shaolin troupes can do some amazing stunts, but only with years of practice.

    I guess if you put the time in and didn't lose fingers along the way, it might be cool to master.
    Last edited by W. Rabbit; 12/07/2017 11:09am at .

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    Questions incoming

    How does one carry those swords? Dont look like its going to fit in a scabbard or something.

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    TheMightyMcClaw's Avatar
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    I got a new set of hooks, which are substantially lighter and more wieldly. New hook sparring video to go with them:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7AgJ224PVw

    Now that I've been hookin' for a while, I wanted to post up my general thoughts on hook swords as a weapon. By virtue of an incredibly small set of interested parties, it is quite possible that I have at this point done more live sparring with hook swords than literally anyone else on the planet earth. If anyone wants to contest my "world's greatest hooker" status, I will gladly challenge you to a hook sword fight.
    My overall feelings on hook swords is that they are, surprise surprise, just not a very good weapon. Turns out, there was a reason why spears and swords were favored over double hooks as a weapon set by everyone ever. That said, it's their impracticalities and limitations that make them fun and engaging. Sort of like playing as Jigglypuff in Smash Brothers; by intentionally taking something harder to use, you make what victories you do gain more satisfying.
    So first, the upsides: hook swords are dope once you get into a tight bind. There are so many blades close to your fist at so many angles, that once you're within arms reach it is very easy to get at least one if not several of them into play. The hooks have a deceptively short reach, as well, and you can catch people in the back once the long end is past their body.
    Hook swords are decently well suited to getting into the bind as well. In the above video, you'll notice a fair amount of times when I engaged one of his sickles with the crescent blade and the other with the hook on the same sword.
    Now, the downsides: the hooks themselves don't offer nearly as much control as one might hope for. Obviously, these are synthetics and tend to slide a lot, but even when drilling with steel hooks, catch an opponent's sword grants you half a beat at most before they wind it free. The big problem with the hook is that it's at the end of the blade, and thus the other guy tends to have more leverage than you when you engage.
    The biggest drawback is the most obvious one - you can't thrust with the damn things. And as it turns out, "stabbing" offers a lot of utility. What more, because the the edge of the hook is several inches below the end of the weapon, the reach on your long-end cuts is reduced. So, when paired against a similarly sized regular sword, you end up having a reach disadvantage.

    So what you end up with is a mostly a short-ranged weapon that looks like a long weapon. Thus, the main strategies with the hook swords are "bind, move in, try to not to get hit along the way." This tends to work better against slower cutting-oriented weapons (such as sabers), and less well against more winding-and-thrusting weapons. I've done hook vs rapier once or twice, and I got absolutely taken to clown town.
    This is also what makes hook swords so damn fun. It's a lot like sparring where one person is throwing punches and the other is trying to clinch. It forces you to run towards danger, which is a lot tougher and more exhilarating than playing an outside game.
    Last edited by TheMightyMcClaw; 4/26/2018 11:17am at .
    The fool thinks himself immortal,
    If he hold back from battle;
    But old age will grant him no truce,
    Even if spears spare him.

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    Chili Pepper's Avatar
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    I expect there's a large swath of CMA weapons that were specifically made to show how badass a school might be. "Look at this goddamn thing! We can't even figure out where the hell to grip it, let along fight with it!"

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    TheMightyMcClaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili Pepper View Post
    I expect there's a large swath of CMA weapons that were specifically made to show how badass a school might be. "Look at this goddamn thing! We can't even figure out where the hell to grip it, let along fight with it!"
    That is my theory as well. I think a lot of the more exotic CMA weapons (tiger hooks, chicken sickles, etc.) were created by either professional martial arts instructors so they'd have more material to teach or bladesmiths as gimmicky products.
    The fool thinks himself immortal,
    If he hold back from battle;
    But old age will grant him no truce,
    Even if spears spare him.

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    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Those tights and the soundtrack were absolutely horrifying.


    Good job!!!
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

  9. #9
    Permalost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMightyMcClaw View Post
    That is my theory as well. I think a lot of the more exotic CMA weapons (tiger hooks, chicken sickles, etc.) were created by either professional martial arts instructors so they'd have more material to teach or bladesmiths as gimmicky products.
    I'd really like a sparring pair of deer antler knives.

  10. #10
    BackFistMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Permalost View Post
    I'd really like a sparring pair of deer antler knives.
    Deer Boxing is a thing.
    See also: W_ng Ch_n
    I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.
    BILL HICKS,
    1961-1994

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