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  • #16
    Originally posted by Greger
    Damn! they has the most awful kamae, would be real easy to tsuki them, and what about the way they attack? it seems totally random
    Aha - done a bit of research and I now understand 'kamae' and 'tsuki'

    In the medieval sword traditions there are a number of kamae/guards - in our system there are 12 basic longsword guards. It's interesting to note that traditional Japanese arts such as kenjitsu and bujinkan have very similar guards, some ryu having more, some less, just like the medieval European traditions we have sources for.
    Have a look at the sword guards in our system in original images from the treatise (dated 1410) here:
    http://www.thehaca.com/pdf/Dl5.jpg
    http://www.thehaca.com/pdf/Dl6.jpg
    http://www.thehaca.com/pdf/Dl7.jpg

    Some guards are better or worse against thrusting at the face/neck, but from my perspective the standard middle guard I see kendoka using leaves the hands and forearms very vulnerable to front and back edge cuts. We have a similar position, called Posta Breve in Fiore's treatise, and in bouts it is usual to target the hands and arms of a person standing in this position, or to cross weapons with the person, applying pressure and to grab their weapon or hands/arms. I suspect that the nature of kendo rules means that this middle guard makes more sense as a standard guard (kamae), but in a bout with swords, where the loss of fingers could result in incapacitation and death, it is not so useful. In my humble opinion.

    I hope this helps understanding - I am in no way trying to denegrate kendo. But you have to understand that kendo is very different to what we do, for a whole bunch of reasons.

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    • #17
      p.p.s Schola Gladiatoria means something more like 'Swordsmanship School'.

      Comment


      • #18
        This guard exist in many if not all of the kenjutsu styles. Yes it is dangerous for the hands, but it keeps your opponent at a distance and is good for keeping the center line. And with training you learn to protect your hands and arms and more importantly what to do if your opponents attacks and miss them. And then again wich guard protects you from every possible attack? If you find one tell me.

        Again I will say the same thing I do when I see this kind of debate, go check some other styles. It might prevent the: "medieval swords were 30 tons crowbars" (by the way many katana weight more than a european longsword) or "kendo is totally innefective".

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        • #19
          Schola Invasion!

          Hmmm. First Gordon, now Matt.

          Schola has invaded the Kendo-World forum. There goes the neighbourhood.



          I don't know enough about Fiore to comment. I once read through the Knights of the White (Wild?) Rose translation but the pictures looked very similar to Kendo crossed with Aikido done in Medieval dress, having said that, my background is in these two arts so I was bound to interpret what I saw through the filter of what I did.

          Having said that it looks to be a hell of a lot of fun (the fight videos on the site) and reminds me in a way of the great work done by the people who revived Lute playing in England in the 20th Century.

          Cheers,

          Matt.

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          • #20
            That's a very interesting video. Just a few comments:

            The guard that was often used with the sword by the side of the head has an analog in kendo/kenjutsu called "hasso", although we use a more square-on body position. In kendo it is vulnerable to tsuki (thrust to the throat for our visiting WMA friends) but even more vulnerable to losing the left wrist (kote). However we have it in our kata and it is a historically valid kamae. If you play around with it you will find that you can make a very strong fast men cut.

            The low guard displayed is called gedan in kendo terms. Again, historically valid but much more useful with real swords as kendoka are going to hit you before you can get up from there to defend.

            In general, what I saw there is typical of other videos I've seen of WMA people - because they are learning from old manuscripts, don't have the luxury of generations of instructors behind them and are doing this recreationally, they look awkward and unathletic to the kendo eye. However this doesn't mean that the positions and techniques they are attempting to recreate are invalid. Seeing what they are doing would give you a good idea of what kendoka who tried to learn purely from books would look like.

            I think what they are doing is kind of neat, and it's cool to see the technical parallels that developed independantly in Europe and Japan.

            Another organization doing similar stuff is ARMA, they have a website with videos you can easily google.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
              That's a very interesting video...
              Oh we have many more...

              On google video I posted just a small selection.

              http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...gsword&pl=true
              http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...gsword&pl=true
              http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...gsword&pl=true

              However, we have a great many now posted on our site at http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/schola...eaturedfights/

              As an added feature I've tried to indicate some progression in our researches by posting them by order of date - old ones at the bottom, new ones at the top.

              Thus you can hopefully see some sort of development in our interpretation, skills and equipment.
              Last edited by ScholaDays; 21st April 2006, 01:21 AM.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
                In general, what I saw there is typical of other videos I've seen of WMA people - because they are learning from old manuscripts, don't have the luxury of generations of instructors behind them and are doing this recreationally, they look awkward and unathletic to the kendo eye. However this doesn't mean that the positions and techniques they are attempting to recreate are invalid. Seeing what they are doing would give you a good idea of what kendoka who tried to learn purely from books would look like.
                Hi Neil,
                the thing is that to a WMArtist's eyes kendo looks equally awkward and not really like what we see as swordsmanship, mostly because of some of the strange ways of hitting rather than cutting, and because of the strange situation that not being able to grapple/grab/disarm creates when two kendoka get close.
                As I said before, a lot of the 'randomness' is a result of the fact that 'anything goes', and as I expect most people here have seen from cage fighting, street-fights or even escrima, that when you inject lots of combat parameters the brain has more to deal with and everything just does look more random and messy I'm afraid. The rule set of kendo mean that the parameters are massively narrowed down - just as with Olympic style sport fencing (which many of us have backgrounds in, as well as Asian martial arts).
                So I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's a question of perspective - to us kendo looks awkward and illogical, to you WMA looks awkward and unathletic.. it probably just depends what your backrgound perspective is.

                Regards,
                Matt Easton

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                • #23
                  Haven't had a chance to go through the rest of your videos, but in the half-dozen WMA videos I've seen there have been no close quarter techniques involved at all. Like the first video, they go through an exchange, seperate and then try again.

                  Also in the "hitting" vs "cutting" area, I just see "hitting with small movement" vs "hitting with big movement" as I don't see a lot of real cutting action on the WMA part. Unfortunately as soon as you bring shinai or wasters into the picture, it tends to degenerate into hitting.

                  We used to have the close-quarter stuff before WWII but they cleaned up kendo quite a bit. Frankly it's not that interesting to me - I'm more concerned with winning the fight cleanly by breaking the other guy's defence and cutting him.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Matt Easton
                    p.s. We add a weight to our shinai
                    How do you go about increasing the weight?

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Hi,
                      We have cast lead rings which slide up the handle and sit above the wooden crossguard which slides up behind them (a bit like the weight some kendoka use for strength training). The lead ring weighs about 600g, making the total weight of the weapon (plus the crossguard) about 1.2kg or 2..5-3lbs (which is a bit less than the average weight of a longsword). I think a bare shinai weighs about 500g.

                      Hi Neil - you're right, we don't grapple as much as we should! There are quite a few videos there with grapples in though, and some more going online soon. But in reference to what I was saying above, I think it's the knowledge that you might be grappled that changes the form - whether you are actually grappled or not. I have noticed in kendo that sometimes people spend a lot of time in grappling range while fighting it out with the shinai - this should not (even if it does sometimes) happen in what we do - we should either fly out to proper cutting distance or perform some form of grappling or halfswording. If we stay at that range without doing one of these things then we'd expect to get grappled quick or be disarmed - things like that really change the feel of the bout. I suspect if we fought to kendo rules you'd see us looking much more like kendoka.

                      Hope this helps, best regards,
                      Matt
                      Last edited by Matt Easton; 21st April 2006, 04:16 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Matt Easton
                        I have noticed in kendo that sometimes people spend a lot of time in grappling range while fighting it out with the shinai - this should not (even if it does sometimes) happen in what we do - we should either fly out to proper cutting distance or perform some form of grappling or halfswording.
                        This is an unfortunate side effect of the rules. Most older sensei aren't interested in what happens in that position - once it gets there, they tend to just seperate by mutual agreement and reset to the starting position. Also, beginners are a lot more inclined to keep getting tangled up in the middle while more experienced players get in and out more cleanly.

                        Personally, I also have a background in judo, so if it gets in close I don't have any difficulty sweeping or otherwise taking the other guy down. We do this occasionally in a practice called tachi giri keiko where the normal rules are disregarded. You'll also see it occasionally when some older sensei decides to deal with a younger hotshot.

                        Also, I hope I didn't give the impression that I thought what you guys do should look like what we do, quite the contrary. I find it interesting to note where they intersect though.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Stimpson J. Cat
                          In the latter part of the middle ages, the armor knights wore got so good that they quit using shields for two reasons, first being that the shield wasn't much additional protection anymore, second was that the other guy's armor was really good as well, so to do serious damage through his armor you needed a long, heavy weapon, which required two hands. This is when things like poleaxes, halberds, bills, and greatswords started coming into more common usage.
                          hehehe...and then along came the Mongol Hordes with horn bows that fired arrows that could punch through plate armour...

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                          • #28
                            When I watch the videos, I dont notice the odd guards or off-target attacks. What makes the participants look like beginners isnt what movements they make. Its the quality of the movements. In the video and a half I watched of Schola Gladiatoria and all the other videos of WMA Ive seenlike Neil sensei, I frequent Sword Forumthere is a decided lack of what in kendo we call ki ken tai itchi. That is, roughly, everything in cooperation, particularly coordination between the weapon and lower body. While often differing in some way from the kendo formulation of ki ken tai itchi, every Japanese weapon art Ive seen, live or otherwise, or experienced seems to incorporate some variation of this notion.

                            I dont know what, if anything, the period European writings say about this. While a fundamental mechanical point for kendo, I dont think its given much space in kendo writings either, for the reason that the concept is simple in theory, though difficult in execution.

                            One of the things that keeps me away from WMA, besides time constraints and access , is seeing how different what people who learn kendo from books, videos, or the like (which are in their own language and meant to be learned from) do is from actual kendo. While all the trappings are usually there, the core is usually flawed. But I do wish the WMA people well in their pursuits. Different strokes for different folks.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Matt Molloy
                              Hmmm. First Gordon, now Matt.

                              Schola has invaded the Kendo-World forum. There goes the neighbourhood.


                              Hi Matt - blame Gordon; he pointed me to the thread!

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by KhawMengLee
                                hehehe...and then along came the Mongol Hordes with horn bows that fired arrows that could punch through plate armour...
                                I don't want to drag things off-topic, but when Genghis Khan invaded Europe plate armour was only worn on the torso, not the limbs - the limbs were covered by mail. The evidence of plate armour being pierced by arrows is annoyingly lacking, and modern experiments have so far failed to answer the question adequately. Late medieval breastplates were tested by shooting a crossbow bolt at them, and renaissance breastplates were tested with a pistol, leaving a dent in them - this is where we get the expression 'bullet-proof', as that dent was the proof stamp.

                                Regards,
                                Matt

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