THE SWORDSMANS COMPANION PDF
Swordsman's Companion - Ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online. A modern training manual for medieval longsword. As a technical manual it has been largely superceded by The Medieval Longsword, which came out in , but it is unsurpassed as a general guide to how. As a technical manual it has been largely superceded by The. Medieval Longsword, which came out in , The Swordsman's Companion - Guy Windsor.
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At the same time, what with mans ludic nature, allied to a thirst for bloody spectacle, with a whole load of cupidity thrown in, the martial arts have also been co-opted as sports and entertainment, ranging from the public butchery of Christians in Rome, to the frantic flailing of modern sports fencing.
Each has much to recommend it. However, at any pole, something is lost. A system designed purely for killing is worth practising only if you are actually expecting to use it: in that case, best join the army.
If the focus of the practice is entirely spiritual, then you might as well go to church. And if you just want to look good and put on a show, be an actor or a rock star. A true martial art must retain something of all of these: it must be practical, it must lead to spiritual development, it must clearly differentiate between skill-levels, and it must be aesthetically rewarding.
Many modern martial artists, quite rightly disgusted with the utter lack of style shown in the sporting arena, and the utter lack of practicality shown on the stage, have dismissed these two poles as unworthy. However, I would say that any fencing match between masters that I have seen has been better spectacle than the best stage combat, and at the highest level of fencing that I have partaken in, anyway , it has always been clear who would have won if the fencers were interested in competition.
And of course, every technique used was thoroughly practical if occasionally made more complex than necessary to better examine the fundamental truths behind the simpler, more street-effective techniques , and each fencer trained to better themselves. The fifth pole, health, is generally ignored by practitioners of Western and many Eastern martial arts. In my grandfathers house he was a medical doctor, who fenced into his eighties, and lived to be 92 hung a framed piece of calligraphy, which is now on my wall at home.
It paraphrases George Silvers Paradoxes of Defence. And moreouer, the exercising of weapons putteth away aches, griefes, and diseases, it increaseth strength, and sharpneth the wits. It giueth a perfect iudgement, it expelleth melancholy, cholericke and euill conceits, it keepeth a man in breath, perfect health, and long life. It is unto him that hath the perfection thereof, a most friendly and comfortable companion when he is alone, having but only his weapon about him.
This encapsulates for me most of the benefits of training. In my opinion, it is also necessary for a martial artist practising ways of hurting people in however an enlightened and non-violent a fashion to counterbalance their skill in inflicting injury with skill in healing. This is not only useful for dealing with the stresses and strains of normal training, and the routine bumps and bruises of friendly combat, but also provides a psychological counter-measure to the otherwise constant emphasis on hitting people.
My students eventually progress through the five poles: first the practical martial skills, then the medical skills which at my School includes remedial massage, breathing exercises, basic nutrition, and some use of medicinal herbs ; then developing the aesthetic appreciation of swordsmanship; then competitive as opposed to purely academic freeplay; and finally the meditative, spiritual aspects of the Art.
Naturally, this book is largely confined to practical fencing techniques, but keep in mind that a true martial art partakes of all poles and is limited to none. Western M artial A rts Martial arts exploded into western public awareness in the sixties, a result both of the New Agers search for spiritual guidance almost exclusively from Eastern sources , and the extraordinary popularity of kung-fu movies spearheaded by Bruce Lee. With the increase in interest in European weapons coming a decade or so later, it was inevitable that some of the have-a-go heroes would begin to attempt to recreate the historical methods of using their weapons.
This has, unsurprisingly, been met with limited success. We are now in the middle of a renaissance in western i. European martial arts. For a few decades now, perfectly normal people have been strapping on armour and bashing their mates on a Saturday afternoon. Who carries a sword in the Inner Cities? So we have not had to worry much about thugs looking for cool new ways to hurt people. Other aspects of the Art seemed to have been covered by other systems. The new-Age types looking for spiritual awareness were all doing Yoga, Tai Chi Chan actually thoroughly lethal and street effective if taught that way or Aikido also not bad on the street if you really know what its about the sportsmen and fitness types were doing judo, sportfencing or aerobics, and the actors were on stage.
So who would start up such a bizarre and apparently redundant activity? Actually, quite a number of people and for various reasons. There are cultural and military historians looking for insight into how things were done in the past, looking for a truly historical martial art.
There are also martial artists who find the European perspective a refreshing change after training in the Asian ways. And we get the sword lovers: people who have always just been drawn to the long, shiny, poem in steel that is a good sword.
As always, most students who progress beyond the beginners course have a blend of these interests, and the resurgence of western martial arts is drawing in the thugs, hippies, competitors and thespians previously mentioned.
The point is that, properly taught, Western swordsmanship has much to offer all the above. There is no generally recognised regulatory body for Western martial arts.
The Swordsman's Companion : A Modern Training Manual for the Medieval Longsword
Such a body would be a practical impossibility, as it would have to arbitrate on too many conflicting fields: the martial aspect, the historical accuracy or otherwise , etc. And there is no way to infallibly establish who would win in a real duel. A thug with a blunt sword is a dangerous animal: if you fence according to safe, reasonable, standards, you will get hammered. This is obviously impractical.
So it is, by and large, left up to the student to be able to identify those groups with a valid approach, and those without. There are many different, more or less valid, emphases.
A very few schools offer training in a living tradition of Western swordsmanship, which has the authority of lineage behind it, but not everyone can travel across the world to train.
Besides, the living tradition does not include any weapon earlier than the epee. Many instructors offer as their authority the treatises written by historical masters. This has its own problems, as they are notoriously difficult to interpret, and generally written by and for advanced swordsmen.
There was also little regulation in the past, so some of the treatises offer a style that may be best suited for the fencing salle or the street; some also do not clearly distinguish between training methods or weapons and those suited for combat.
Epee 2. For advanced epeeists and coaches only. Some material is controversial and not all masters agree with the described training regimen. Harmenberg, however, was arguably the first truly elite epeeist to succeed with it at the Olympic and World Championship levels. Additionally, some of his criticisms of the modern classical technique are not entirely valid.
The technique of extend and only then lunge was, at least until the late 18th to early 19th centuries, a training technique for beginners. And it still is among many teachers. His technique is inappropriate to most fencers, even advanced and elite fencers.
Tellingly, whenever I ask European fencers and masters about the book, they shrug their shoulders. This was often quite funny to watch, most especially in the case of exceptionally tall epeeists who threw away their height advantage.
A very useful text for the modern competitor. Positive criticisms: thorough and well-illustrated. Not a manual of technique per se, but suggestions on how to use it. A very useful book, with only little to find disagreement with, and mostly in terms of style or tradition and not practicality. Highly recommended, especially for beginning to intermediate epeeists. An excellent companion volume to the Epee Combat Manual by Kingston above.
The Epee de Combat or Dueling Sword: Epee for Actual Combat, In Other Words All of these works are of use to the modern epeeist, and all demonstrate that there is, overall, little new in modern epee fencing. Even the pistol grip was growing in popularity in France by , although its use in dueling was prohibited and it would be the Italians who found in it the perfect replacement for their rapier grip. Strictly speaking, the flick is only new to epee: it was used by a fair number of foilists in the 19th century.
Flicks and foot touches are too dangerous to attempt with an epee de combat: they would cause little damage while leaving the user vulnerable to more damaging, even fatal, thrusts. On the other hand, double touches have long been the bane of the salle or sport fencer, even long before the advent of electrical scoring and its too short timing—there have always been fencers trying only to get the first hit, however they may, as if playing tag.
Lessons of the fencing master who essentially created modern epee in the s. The technique emphasized longer distance and hits to the arm—and thereby also reduced convictions for manslaughter and murder. The same would doubtless be true today. There is, I believe, an English translation now available.
From La Marche. Note the en garde with unarmed hand pressed against the hip, unusual even when the book was published, but La Marche had his reasons. Very thorough, and in its translation the only early French epee and epee dueling manual available in English. Real swordplay, in other words, and useful even to epeeists today. To a degree the book is a somewhat foil-based response to the purely epee-based technique of M.
Jacob see above. La Marche differs from M. Jacob on some points, particularly on the value of attacks to the body, of which M.
La Marche is in favor, as were smallswords-men and smallswords-women. The modern trend in epee, at least at the elite levels, and among instructors who train less skilled fencers as if they were elite fencers, emphasizes attacks to the body.
The epee fencing argument over arm versus body derives from late nineteenth century dueling practice—arms hits could easily settle honor in the modern age in which killing a man in a duel would surely send the perpetrator to prison, and the longer distance that facilitated them was simply safer. For reasons that would take up too much space here in discussion, the body was also the primary target in the smallsword era—but the dangers of this distance were mitigated by the use of the unarmed hand to parry and oppose as necessary, and by the extensive use of opposition and prises de fer.
Similar varying perspectives are seen in sport epee today. A highly recommended book, and useful even to modern competitive epee fencers.
Italian grips and how to hold them, Rossi The book demonstrates a technique quite useful to epee, and in fact the influence of the Italian school would become a significant part of modern epee. Advice on dueling. Suggests tactics and techniques for the epee duel, including how to deal with the inexperienced adversary, the average one and, of course, the expert swordsman. Of interest to the student of fencing history and the duelist, and one of the few books to deal with the subject of tactics against fencers of various levels of competence.
Withdrawing the arm, still used—overused by some, to the point of being considered an en garde position by some masters and their studtents—today. Useful for preventing hits to the arm and forcing the adversary to attack the body instead, assuming of course the adversary is so impatient as to give in to the tactic.
From Spinnewyn. Excellent work on the epee de combat, with much practical advice on epee fencing, training, and teaching applicable even today. Among the many worthwhile admonitions is that the recovery from the lunge is just as important as the lunge itself—both must be as fast as possible, especially if the epees are pointed. Practical advice on hitting and not getting hit from the midth century.
Much of the advice sounds quite modern. Likewise highly recommended.
Seconde parry against a direct thrust. The seconde parry, as with all low line parries in epee, may be effectively used in the high lines. From Edom. A remarkably prescient and practical work, and one that demonstrates plainly that there is little new in epee fencing today. In particular, M. Edom, a Frenchman, recommends the more physical Italian style over the French, prefers the Greco offset guard and the pistol grip, and bemoans the rise of sport technique such as wide angulations to the wrist—thrusts that with dueling epees with sharp points, that is would not stop a fully developed attack to the body, leaving the attacked with a wound to the wrist, and the attacker with a possibly fatal wound to the chest, neck, or head.
Unfortunately, this heavy wrapping prevented hits at the shallow angles a real point was capable of, thus a new emphasis on unrealistic wide angulations. As with Bazancourt, not strictly an epee manual, but still useful for understanding swordplay in the sense of the need to hit and not get hit, as opposed to hitting according to conventions which deny touches not in accordance with said conventions, but which in a duel would be quite real, and in many cases fatal.
Thus the practical and, if in a duel, fatal flaw in foil fencing. Burton had used the sword many times in combat, and was known as an extraordinarily fierce fighter.
Excellent advice on training, competition, and dueling, including a technical argument and diagram describing when to use sixte and its counter, and when to use quarte. This latter matter is more important than it seems, for most fencing instructors teach the usual parries and imply that any of the two classical French parries can be used in their appropriate quadrants in any circumstances true in theory but not in practice and should be varied in order to keep the adversary guessing true in both theory and practice, but often difficult given that most fencers under stress have a preferred parry.
There are instances in which only one parry—even in epee and smallsword, in which low line parries may be used in the high line as well, often providing several possibilities in each quadrant—may work. Octave and seconde cannot be taken effectively, for they too are likely to be forced.
Only quarte, or possibly a quinte really just a low quarte taken high, with a riposte to the head or possibly the neck or shoulder, is viable. The book includes a discussion of the Italian school. Although M. Renaud grudgingly admits that Italian foilists are equal to their French counterparts, he disparages Italian epee and by implication its rapier origins, stating categorically that the French invented epee fencing and the Italians were no match for French epeeists.
In fact, the Italian epee school would soon rise to equal prominence with the French, with Edoardo Mangiarotti becoming one of the three great epeeists of the 20th century. Naturally, M. Renaud avoids any discussion of what might happen were French epeeists to trade their epees for Italian dueling spadas.
Compare his comments on the Italian school to those of Achille Edom above. Side bar: he notes that most French epee schools of the era had outside gardens for practice, in addition to the indoor salle. Excellent work preparing would-be duellists for the duel, including those who have never held a weapon before.
The Art of Fencing by R. Lidstone, The second significantly revised book is more thorough, with a very useful, clearly written epee section with plenty of exercises for master and pupil. Discusses tactics, unusual epee en gardes, and, in the foil section, unusual displacements, most of them Italian. The second edition is an excellent practical work drawing from both the French and Italian, highly recommended. For fencing historians, a comparison of the first edition to the second edition shows how much, and how quickly, modern fencing changed during the first half of the twentieth century.
Fencing by Joseph Vince, , , revised edition Illustrated by US saber champion and swashbuckling actor Cornel Wilde. Vince was a US national coach and national saber champion who kept a salle in Beverly Hills for decades, and, until when he sold it to Torao Mori, owned Joseph Vince Company, a fencing equipment supplier that provided, among its complete line, classically dashing fencing jackets of a fit and style unfortunately no longer seen.
The left, that is, unarmed, sleeve was lighter and cuffed. An elegant style truly to be found no more. Fencing for All by Victor E. Lawson, The front cover gives the title as How to Fence.
It also has a good summary of fencing rules at the time. Other titles in the series include Police Jiu Jutsu, Scientific Boxing, and How to Be a Detective—everything to to prepare the reader to be the dark sword of a film noir.
Strong epee section. Includes exercises, lesson plans, and excellent practical advice. The epee section is worth serious study. The teaching advice and lesson plans for advanced epeeists called upon to teach at times is also a useful review for experienced epee coaches.
The Swordsman's Companion : A Modern Training Manual for the Medieval Longsword
Full of set drills and clear descriptions, this book has been the standard work on the subject since it first came out in Buy it now. If you buy the paperback or hardback from Amazon, you can get the Kindle edition free! As with his book on longsword, I recommend this book to anyone who is just starting or anyone that has been practicing for a while or even instructing.
Whether learning on your own or already a member of a club or learning community, this book contains invaluable information that goes a long way to improving your understanding and mastery of the longsword material.
Top notch book. Good review of history, terminilogy and basic techniques.This book covers everything from choosing a sword, to warming up, to fencing. A thorough modern description of classical Italian foil, epee, and saber technique. What Are Martial Arts? For the stage-combatant, this book can provide the core of a training method that will at least get them to move like a martial artist, and give them an idea of the available techniques that they can string together to make a safe, exciting fight.
It is much easier to direct a fight between two martial artists than between two untrained actors. Even a blunt longsword is a deadly weapon, and in any hands is extremely dangerous.
The rest is simply too tiresome to debate. I hope that this book will be used as the basis of your practice.