And I agree with the methodology you describe: "take what you can from the manuals and see what works and what doesn't when you apply it against a resisting opponent, and work from there." I think that's a good way to approach HEMA. What BD is arguing--that closer to the manuals means better, period, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense--is what I so strongly disagree with.
I said the first part, not the second. Counter-intuitive doesn't mean it doesn't make sense, we only use what actually works. It's just that we keep finding out that what works best comes from the manuals - including a lot of things which initially seemed counter-intuitive.What BD is arguing--that closer to the manuals means better, period, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense--is what I so strongly disagree with.
I think the only issues would arise when you come across something that doesn't work.And I agree with the methodology you describe: "take what you can from the manuals and see what works and what doesn't when you apply it against a resisting opponent, and work from there." I think that's a good way to approach HEMA. What BD is arguing--that closer to the manuals means better, period, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't make sense--is what I so strongly disagree with.
Is it because it is a flawed technique? Is it because the interpretation is wrong, is it because there is a subtle issue with the mechanics that you just aren't getting? Again my opinion is simple. As long as we are honest about what we have come up with and why then it is fine. It is when we start trying to use what we do to justify what we do in the same way a lot of eastern martial arts do that we might as well go be ninjas instead. Keep training, keep looking for improvements and keep testing. That to me is HEMA.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle
Just to clarify the issue of the kicks in the recent HEMA tournament in Houston: I was one of the judges in the ring where the kicks occurred. In neither case did the contestant lose consciousness. One fencer was winded by a kick that landed near his solar plexus. He took about 5-7 minutes to recover, then resumed the fight. In the other case, there was a low kick that hit the cup, and put the fencer down for about 4-5 minutes. The kicker received a warning for a foul in that case. (Under the rule-set, kicks are only allowed on the torso, above the groin and below the neck/throat.) The second fencer also resumed the fight and continued in the tournament.
For the record, kicks did not score a point under the rules in question, but were allowed as a set-up for a blow. The fencer who delivered the kick had refined this technique to the point where he used it in many bouts, following it up with a cut or thrust to his (surprised) opponent. He ultimately took first place in the tournament. By the end of the tournament, fighters were coming up with spontaneous counters to this. I expect he will not find it so effective next time around... The nice thing about this is that it is a historically documented technique, and that it proved effective in a competitive environment. I could cite many other examples from this tournament of historical technique in use.
Then again, maybe I'm totally wrong. In that case, you should do epee for a year, lean to the side every time you lunge, and I'm sure you'll go straight to the Olympics. I could be totally wrong and your point control and movement wouldn't be compromised but your opponent would be utterly unable to hit you.
With regard to Meyer's lunge, since it's been mentioned: The lean is due to a particular teaching of Meyer's. He states that whatever target you cut or thrust at, you should adjust the height of your lunge so that your shoulder is at the height of your target. This results in your arm being extended along a straight line at the target, which is obviously the shortest, most direct route. A side effect of this is the lean. Unorthodox by modern standards, but it indisputably creates the greatest reach towards any particular target. It also lowers the head and removes it from the straight line, making it less of a target.
Some of you should know the technique called Passata Sotto, used in foil. It's not unlike that concept. It works just fine in competition; I used it frequently when I was on my university foil team back in the day.
I encourage sport fencers to read Meyer, he's an awesome source, and one of the great-grandfathers of modern technique. While some of what he does may look radical or unusual, it's the product of a dramatically different weapon.
What you're describing is a lean toward your opponent. What the plate that was posted in this thread depicts is a lean to the side (that's why you can see the top of his head instead of the side of his head when you're looking at him from the side).
As for the suggestion that I read the entire manual...no. I don't like the trend that's developing in this thread.
"Hi, I realize this is an FIE fencing forum and we do medieval swordplay, but I'm curious what you thought of it."
"Okay, as long as you asked..."
"So here's some five-hundred-year-old illustrations. What do you think?"
"I think they look like rubbish."
"Well you can't understand them unless you read a 500-year-old text in medieval German in its entirety! Go and read the book and then come back and talk. How can you presume to have an opinion based on a just a handful of plates that doesn't really show much at all?"
Well you posted them and you asked what we thought...
"What you're describing is a lean toward your opponent. What the plate that was posted in this thread depicts is a lean to the side (that's why you can see the top of his head instead of the side of his head when you're looking at him from the side)."
No, I'm not describing a lean towards the opponent. What I'm describing is lowering the shoulder and body when making a lunge, so that it's at the same level as the target. That carries the head to the left, and somewhat forward. Do a Passata Sotto with a foil, and the same thing happens.
"As for the suggestion that I read the entire manual...no. I don't like the trend that's developing in this thread."
Fair enough. The manual has been translated into English, if you are interested. I didn't start this thread, just dropped by to clarify a point about a recent tournament, and thought I would clarify the misunderstanding of Meyer's technique while I was at it.
- Matt Galas
Take this anecdote from Mendoza, elsewhere in the thread, about Swordfish (an international open tournament in Sweden):
A quick internet search reveals that the girl with "fantastic technique" was competing in her first HEMA competition.A guy with little HEMA experience but lots of standard MA entered the sword and buckler tournament. He got through to the final on the back of strength, aggression and bullishness, but was then knocked out by a slender young girl with fantastic technique.
Now, let's imagine that an international open epee event was somehow won by a woman with no prior competitive experience, competing in the men's division, with the final being against a man with little fencing experience at all. The relevant question would not be "what techniques helped her to win?" but rather "what the heck happened to every trained epee fencer in the entire world?"
Why isn't anyone discussing the fact that a samurai could waste any of these fools who have been invading our board? Isn't that the massive elephant (do we need to look at medieval drawings of elephants) in the room? And the samurai left more detailed accounts of their techniques and training systems. The samurai were clean and literate. The same wasn't true of Europe's broadsword bullies... no matter how you want to romanticize them and sport up their activities.
Even if you figure out how the broadsword guys did it, you're still in the ugly situation of aspiring to be the best practitioner of a second rate system. In this regard, it's like being a veterinarian and trying to convince people that you're equal to a real doctor.
Take your time. Read carefully.
I've enjoyed the debate with you, I like to discuss what we do with people who have an open mind. However as you are in a significant minority I think I'm probably going to stop posting now. Jason, Mr Epee, telkanuru et al I'm sorry I disturbed your self congratulatory mutual love-fest.
Last edited by Mr Epee; 03-23-2012 at 08:17 PM.
Take your time. Read carefully.
Yes, but would Beatrice kiddo beat Mushashi?
I mean, you know, if she were like, real and stuff.
I say yes.