Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by Pierre, Mar 5, 2019.
Query - does anyone fence using small or short sword?
I don't know that you'll find much of answer here. There are some who might participate in such a thing, but certainly not in Olympic style fencing (as they are not Olympic fencing weapons). In an historical context, I think small sword/short sword combat would generally be considered an Historical European Martial Art (understanding that there are short swords in other cultures, but I don't feel like that's what was being asked).
Is there a particular thing you're looking for that you can describe more fully?
I am part of a club in Montreal, we have been doing what we term 'historical' fencing. Namely, what was taught in 17th century France
as pertains mainly to the small or court sword. Emphasizing fencing not as sport (i.e. point scoring) but as defensive.
Foil technique serves as closest cross-over. We are taught the use of both hands, free hand to block for instance. We depart from
HEMA in focusing on proper technique/blade control over combativeness.
The HEMA world is dominated by longsword aficionados. There are various historical fencing groups that are trying to dissociate themselves from the hard core HEMA world, just as Pierre has indicated (and the Montreal club is good example). I would point you in two directions; both emphasizing late 18th and 19th century swordplay; smallsword and sabre. Many groups have the same sort of organised approach of modern fencing. There are two Facebook groups that are useful to make those connections https://www.facebook.com/groups/151398574575/?ref=bookmarks and https://www.facebook.com/groups/1454534811515787/
Thank you for the info.
To explain further we are not attempting to recreate what was in the 17th/18th or 19th, but taking what is known (Marrozzo's work
as one example) and applying it to the present - we are fortunate in having 2 very competent teachers available who are able
to take from both Olympic and historic techniques and meld together.
Having begun with Olympic foil I now prefer small sword, not only because of the speed/lightness of the weapon but, as in the
past, this is non-linear (not relying on a piste, can be outside), a focus is situational awareness, psychology of the use of the
weapon takes on real meaning and the weapon as a defensive means predominates.
We are hoping to expand this approach in the future.
Find a SCA group near you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCA_Rapier_Combat.
They also play with dagger, short-sword, cloak-and-dagger, etc. While the group I was with studied the 15-18th techniques, they were happy to learn and experiment bringing in modern techniques and tactics. Long lunges and fletches were a novelty to them.
Perhaps I am confusing the group you refer to with the historical fencing at the Escrime Mont-Royal where Kevin and David instruct eighteenth century smallsword (which is done in addition to modern sport fencing)? = http://www.escrimemontroyal.com/
No, you are right. David and I both began doing foil with John, and return to him (and Kevin when available). But a large part of my
understanding comes from John who will address fencing smallsword thanks to his vast experience. John points out that many
of the techniques in epee can be applied to smallsword or vice-versa.
i know of several classical fencing clubs that practice small sword in addition to various other weapons. not anywhere near Montreal, though. But I would try to find some of them in your area and see if they do it as well.
Thanks for your reply. We are coming to the conclusion that this may well be a situation where, in time, we branch out on our own.
Really just gathering info now on how it has been done in other places so we don't re-invent the wheel.
Not to mention how to set ourselves apart so that we are not confused with HEMA.
What you're doing is HEMA. You're a branch of HEMA. I'm sure there are other HEMA people doing very similar things.
Modern fencing is a sport, you're doing historical fighting research. Not a sport, not even a sport as it was played a long time ago. You're not fencing, you're doing HEMA. Get in touch with a HEMA branch and make connections, you'll find someone doing something very similar, and they'll be interested in what you're doing.
The best of both worlds in the same place....
I take some exception to the statement that 'you're not fencing, you're doing HEMA,' why? because of the choice of weapon?
Most of what I learnt a few years ago, from a teacher with 40 years experience, in foil/epee I very much apply now to
smallsword. No, the rules of precedence/scoring do not apply as in Olympic, but fencing is muscle memory and 'hindbrain'
function. Fencing or the proper use of a given weapon goes beyond scoring points (or winning.)
Since when does it have to be that if its not one thing its got to be another. Personally, I look to an evolution built
on what has gone before. End of speech.
You explicitly say that what you're doing is Historical, it's European, and it's a Martial Art, not a sport. I'm sure your history of foil and epee fencing has helped you, but what you're doing now is not foil or epee. You said yourself:
So not fencing in the modern sense, but martial art.
This is not modern fencing, it's a branch of HEMA. You can love it or hate it or call yourself something else, but what you're doing is a Historical European Martial Art.
I wouldn't get to upset by K O'N statements. Modern fencing or MEMA is just the devolved sportified version of historical fencing. The fencing in the pre-FIE Olympics is also historical fencing and sport.
Unlike the FIE and the modern sport of fencing, there's no single organization in the worlds of Classical fencing and Historical European Martial Arts to authoritatively declare what does and does not fall under each rubric, so you can get a certain amount of People's Front of Judea versus Judean People's Front type squabbles, or squabbles between multiple groups over who is the true Judean People's Front. Hence, an argument about just what is and what is not "HEMA" is not one that can be brought to a satisfying resolution.
There's a branch of historical fencing that's oriented toward competition (and therefore deviates from historical techniques) and a branch that researches and re-creates historical techniques (and therefore deviates from competitive sport.) Both can legitimately claim to be HEMA.
Separate names with a comma.