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Fencing
Topic Started: Oct 17 2014, 09:54 AM (638 Views)
Edwin Deady
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Preferring BA artifacts that are used I tend to favour tools to swords but have been discussing the possibility of using bronze swords and shields in much the same way we do with medieval bucklers and rebated steel weapons or modern foils. epees and sabres.

Initially I think we will use safe swords of foam and copper alloy shields or steel bucklers working up to wooden wasters and rebated bronze but there is a problem with trying to reach authenticity of usage because it is likely that it was rare for a fight to last more than a few seconds. They didn't score points when weapons were in real use but aimed to kill their opponent.

This makes me wonder if along with sparring for fun it would be best to try to create a form of kata or exercises where proper bronze weapons and shields would be used but without an opponent.

The experiential examination of prehistoric weaponry is fascinating, for example, a martial arts friend of mine regards the small copper and bronze knives as evidence that in extremis when up close and personal to an enemy their wielders showed amazing courage. Of course, alternatively they may be evidence that most fighting was at a distance archery or spear throwing accompanied by lots of shouting as seen in some of the accounts of New Guinea inter-village conflicts.

John Keegan suggests this as a development of warfare in his History of Warfare.
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Todd Feinman
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Edwin Deady,Oct 17 2014
09:54 AM
Preferring BA artifacts that are used I tend to favour tools to swords but have been discussing the possibility of using bronze swords and shields in much the same way we do with medieval bucklers and rebated steel weapons or modern foils. epees and sabres.

Initially I think we will use safe swords of foam and copper alloy shields or steel bucklers working up to wooden wasters and rebated bronze but there is a problem with trying to reach authenticity of usage because it is likely that it was rare for a fight to last more than a few seconds. They didn't score points when weapons were in real use but aimed to kill their opponent.

This makes me wonder if along with sparring for fun it would be best to try to create a form of kata or exercises where proper bronze weapons and shields would be used but without an opponent.

The experiential examination of prehistoric weaponry is fascinating, for example, a martial arts friend of mine regards the small copper and bronze knives as evidence that in extremis when up close and personal to an enemy their wielders showed amazing courage. Of course, alternatively they may be evidence that most fighting was at a distance archery or spear throwing accompanied by lots of shouting as seen in some of the accounts of New Guinea inter-village conflicts.

John Keegan suggests this as a development of warfare in his History of Warfare.

Sounds like fun! Especially since no one will be killed. I suppose techniques would depend upon the type of bronze weapon used and what your opponent is using and what type of armour if any he is wearing. The bronze rapiers I assume would be used to attack vulnerable spots like the face, neck, or underarm if the opponent was armoured, or even the chest if he was unarmoured. Seems like the technique would involve quick accurate stabbing jabs as you attempted to move his shield out of the way or deflected it with your own. With a khopesh, I think you'd want slashing blows with follow through, simetim4es attempting to cut under or over the shield, or even attack the sword arm. With something like a Naue II, you could get away with shorter slashing blows and faster recovery, and also inflict stabbing wounds with a jab --probably why it became dominant. Anyway, just guessing about this stuff.
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Sean Manning
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Edwin Deady,Oct 17 2014
09:54 AM
Preferring BA artifacts that are used I tend to favour tools to swords but have been discussing the possibility of using bronze swords and shields in much the same way we do with medieval bucklers and rebated steel weapons or modern foils. epees and sabres.

Initially I think we will use safe swords of foam and copper alloy shields or steel bucklers working up to wooden wasters and rebated bronze but there is a problem with trying to reach authenticity of usage because it is likely that it was rare for a fight to last more than a few seconds. They didn't score points when weapons were in real use but aimed to kill their opponent.

This makes me wonder if along with sparring for fun it would be best to try to create a form of kata or exercises where proper bronze weapons and shields would be used but without an opponent.

The experiential examination of prehistoric weaponry is fascinating, for example, a martial arts friend of mine regards the small copper and bronze knives as evidence that in extremis when up close and personal to an enemy their wielders showed amazing courage. Of course, alternatively they may be evidence that most fighting was at a distance archery or spear throwing accompanied by lots of shouting as seen in some of the accounts of New Guinea inter-village conflicts.

John Keegan suggests this as a development of warfare in his History of Warfare.

One good resource might be D.A. Kinsley's book Swordsmen of the British Empire. It has the most descriptions of fights with edged weapons which I have ever seen in one place. On the other hand, its drawn entirely from sources in English in the 18th and 19th centuries, so the comments on French or Indian or Malaysian fencing need to be taken with a grain of salt, and it puts "old soldiers' tales" next to letters written a few days after the event.

It seems to me that unarmoured fights with sword and buckler can easily last for minutes, especially if both fighters are cautious and spend time circling and changing guards and looking for an advantage. Old Italian duelling laws had a provision in case nobody had won by the end of the day.

Doesn't Neil Burridge make some wooden swords?
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Phil Melhop
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Edwin if you are looking for "less than lethal" training tools the have a look at the Knightshop synthetic training swords. http://www.theknightshop.co.uk/catalog/hem...5d91bafd22439a0
More robust and safer than either metal or wooden trainers.

The blades can be shortened and modified with hand tools and sheild can be made from the plastic lids usually fitted to large drums. Plywood will also make a decent shield, edged with split rubber hose in the SCA style to reduce wear and tear on the blades.

Cold Steel http://www.coldsteel-uk.com/store/Training-Swords.html
do a decent buckler but their swords are far too heavy and stiff. Just spotted the gladius trainer, have never seen or used one but would expect it to be very stiff too.
Have fun.
Phil
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Sean Manning
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Christian Cameron in Ontario has been pondering these problems for classical Greece and Macedonia, and he has a clue. Some of his websites are here and here.
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