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Author Topic: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms  (Read 16003 times)

Ian

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Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« on: 2014-06-04, 17:22:53 »
I've been thinking... in most of the harnessfechten I've seen elsewhere, the common weapon of choice is steel blunts, not wooden wasters.  When you think about it you guys are swinging sword-shaped baseball bats at each other.  Why the wood and not steel?  With a thrusting tip you could certainly mitigate the already low risk of eye slot penetration.  But the flex of a steel blade is a safety feature.  Imagine if the blossfechten guys went full speed with wooden wasters instead of steel... they'd really be hurting...

Oh and Sir James, that harness looks really good on you.  It looks like it fits/functions better than some of your later style harnesses.
« Last Edit: 2014-06-05, 03:29:09 by Sir Edward »
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #1 on: 2014-06-04, 18:32:44 »

That's exactly it-- the eye slots. We've checked our thrusting tips against the helmets, and in almost every case, the slots were too wide for the steel trainers.

An alternative of course, would be to use the synthetic trainers from Purple Heart. But they also vary in tip size, depending on which model/generation.

With my new Windrose fencing helm, it's not an issue since it uses a perforated visor, instead of slots.
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #2 on: 2014-06-04, 18:35:28 »
**doh, ninja'd by Sir Edward!**  :)

We considered going to aluminum wasters with through bolted safety tips but since we unanimously love to use mordschlags, we all deemed that the steel cross guards could still easily penetrate a helm's ocular slots, not to mention the increased damage to the armor as we are getting some hefty dents with just the wooden wasters. We have revamped our rule set a little in that a combatant can only score one point with a mordschlag and all subsequent ones do not count for him. Also when one of the combatants reaches two points it becomes daggers only which the audience seemed to really enjoy.
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Sir James A

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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #3 on: 2014-06-04, 19:02:22 »
Thanks Sir Ian. Most or all of this harness was made to my measurements, whereas the late period harness from DoK and such wasn't and I bought it used from someone else and just tweaked what I could over time.

As was mentioned, eye slots was the main concern. Steel edges of blades also get chewed up by the armor, and would require more maintenance as well as higher cost of maintenance too. The synthetics flexed way too much and were pointless in the half-swording and bindwork. Wood wasters was a good compromise and perform well when they aren't striking bone directly. :)
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #4 on: 2014-06-04, 19:07:56 »
**doh, ninja'd by Sir Edward!**  :)

We considered going to aluminum wasters with through bolted safety tips but since we unanimously love to use mordschlags, we all deemed that the steel cross guards could still easily penetrate a helm's ocular slots, not to mention the increased damage to the armor as we are getting some hefty dents with just the wooden wasters. We have revamped our rule set a little in that a combatant can only score one point with a mordschlag and all subsequent ones do not count for him. Also when one of the combatants reaches two points it becomes daggers only which the audience seemed to really enjoy.

Not to mention Sir James  ;)
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Sir Edward

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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #5 on: 2014-06-04, 19:12:16 »
The Purple Heart synthetics are OK for half-swording, and Blossfechten. They're really the only ones I like. The Rawlings synthetics are way too flimsy, and have very thin tips. The Cold Steel synthetics would be OK for half-swording too, but suck for everything else.
« Last Edit: 2014-06-04, 19:12:31 by Sir Edward »
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #6 on: 2014-06-04, 19:48:26 »
Reminds me ahd promised to post this - for the curious, the black synthetic waster I have is the "zugadore" from R&A - http://revival.us/spadadazoghosparringsword-2.aspx

My welded chain mail is indeed from RingMesh - http://www.ringmesh.com/default.asp - not historical but good.

and we got our tent from Bison Stany ("tents" in Czech) - http://www.bizon-stany.cz/historicke-stany.php
 - the site is in Czech but you can get a feel for what they offer.

Separately when looking at Ed's helm, noticed these sparring gauntlets, wonder how they'd hold up?  http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_29&products_id=56
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Ian

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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #7 on: 2014-06-04, 21:23:30 »
How do all the other groups using steel stay safe?  I just see steel as the standard for armored combat.  I think maintenance on the sword is easily mitigated if you keep up with it.  I'm not talking BoTN style, but look at the tournament that Christian Cameron and Greg Mele just did.  It's all steel, and there's even guys fighting with no visors in the men-at-arms divisions.  I also think a mortschlag with a rigid wooden sword delivers more force than a steel sword that can flex.  I bet you'd make less dents with steel weapons.

What about making the face an illegal thrusting target?
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Sir James A

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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #8 on: 2014-06-04, 21:31:41 »
My thought is concentration of force on a thinner steel crossguard will transfer more direct shock than a wider wooden pommel; same as trying to hit with the ball side of a ball pien hammer instead of with the flat when trying to take out a dent. The steel generally flexes side to side, and minimal or no flex if you're striking with the point of the crossguard (not just the pommel). Only thing I've seen with the live steel things is either perf plate in the eye slots, or thrusting is completely illegal (such as BotN) - and thrusting is a huge part of proper historical armored combat.

Maintenance being the chewed up edges of the swords; if you look at the wooden wasters, after 3 years of combat they're still almost fresh. The steel blades get the edges chewed up and also put damage into the armor you can't repair (like the damage to my center-ridge 16th century cuirass). I enjoy doing this for charity, but I don't want to be a couple thousand dollars out of pocket every couple years to replace mangled equipment just because we're using steel swords. :(
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #9 on: 2014-06-04, 21:49:45 »
Just my two cents ...
If you want to do training with steel (not aluminum) wasters that have some durability and weight equivalence, I use zinc coated, blunted-steel reproductions for sparring. They work great for half-swording and other fighting forms/styles. Very little scratching to the blades. Just avoiding thrusting with their use.   
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Ian

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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #10 on: 2014-06-04, 22:05:31 »
These guys (that's Greg Mele on the left) are thrusting with steel and no perf plates at the Torneo del Cigno Bianco that they all just came back from in Verona, Italy.  These are not BotN type fighters, these are more the WMA and living history type folks.  This is very similar to the Laurin Tournament that used to exist.  My point is, this isn't the brute squad of BotN, but these guys are safely using steel and thrusting.  You'll see in the other photo the men-at-arms division don't even fight with visors. In the bottom photo you will see Christian Cameron and Sean Hayes off to the side spectating.  If you're friends with them on facebook you'll also see videos of them half-swording but I can't link them here (they're uploaded directly to facebook).



The men-at-arms division don't even fight with visors:


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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #11 on: 2014-06-04, 22:47:17 »
Just my 2 cents, but accidents will happen with either steel trainers or wooden wasters. Remember when John Clements concussed his cap-a-pie opponent with a pommel strike during that segment on "Medieval Fight Book"?  And of course Sir James knows all about the dangers of wooden weapons ;). What gauge helms are you guys using?  Icefalcon told me anything less than 10 gauge wouldn't keep you alive for BOTN combat. What I don't get is how these guys can use steel without any eye protection. Our own Lord Rodney had a sliver of metal go through is ocular and slice up his nose during a bout, if I recall from an old MyArmoury post.
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Re: Steel fighting
« Reply #12 on: 2014-06-05, 00:10:48 »
No thrusting makes it possible for BOTN...

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Ian

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Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #13 on: 2014-06-05, 01:35:11 »
I've decided to start a new discussion because I don't want to kill the VARF stuff.  The Order's demo was way too cool to be overshadowed.

OK... so let's talk about steel vs other forms of weapons when it comes to tournament.

I want to steer the discussions away from the BOTN / ACL type combat.  While I respect the hell out of the men and women who do it, it's as previously discussed a brawl with overbuilt armor to compensate for the 'every weapon is just a mace in drag' aspect of the sport. The goal is to beat people senseless.  It's awesome to watch, and badass as a sport, but it's not about historical technique or equipment, end of story.

What I find to be the pinnacle of the HEMA / WMA art form is what I will call the Living History HEMA tournament style.  It's a style of tournament dedicated to the two things I'm most drawn to in the modern medieval world, the historical fighting arts of our ancestors combined with the historically correct gear and costume.  It's about recreating the Medieval Deed of Arms as it was.  This is what I love about Medievalism.  I want to recreate and know what it was like, I don't want to turn the Middle Ages in what I wish they could have been, I want to discover the truth and feel the real thing.

When I refer to this style of tourney, I'm talking about things like the Torneo del Cigno Bianco, and of the Laurin Tournament.  I don't think Laurin happens anymore but it's just plain awesome.  Look at the photos of either of these events and you will feel like you've jumped in to the pages of a 14th century illuminated manuscript.

One thing you'll always see in these tournaments is that they are using steel weapons.  They're using historical gear, and steel weapons.  They use half-swording, they thrust... and they don't get serious injuries.  Obviously there are unavoidable risks that are inherent in a combat sport, but anyone who participates would be a fool to not realize that going in.  They're using steel, and they're doing it safely.  Some of the guys don't even fight with visors on their helmets.  What are they doing that other groups aren't to prevent injury?  One important thing to note is these guys are not all Gregor Clegane (The Mountain that Rides) wannabes like some of the BotN guys, they are a lot less crazy.

(And yes, that last image is a steel poleaxe thrust to the jewels)

Laurin Tournament:






« Last Edit: 2014-06-05, 01:42:02 by Ian »
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Sir Patrick

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #14 on: 2014-06-05, 01:59:59 »
According to the website, the knights have to use a visor as the whole body counts as a target. Men-at-arms may not be struck in the face, so they don't have to use a visor. I wonder if the low injury factor us the result of the fighting style. They fight for points rather than submission, so with the emphasis on technique maybe there is more control.
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