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Author Topic: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms  (Read 16043 times)

Sir Edward

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #15 on: 2014-06-05, 03:45:32 »
(BTW, I went ahead and split/merged topics)

Based on what I've seen (and to some degree participated in, such as at WMAW), it really comes down to the participants fighting safely. That is, controlled, without too much power, and not intentionally thrusting into the eye slots. Some people use perf-plate or mesh inside the eye slots, but that seems to be in the minority. When they go for throws or general wrestling, they ease the other person to the ground, since the fall can really hurt. Safety matters more than winning.

So far with our demos, we have a lot of participants who haven't been doing Harnessfechten very much outside of the demos themselves, and admittedly we can ramp up the power at times. Also, when you can barely see your opponent, the armored fights can feel very chaotic. So at this point, we've favored "definitely won't go through the eye slot" over other considerations. That doesn't mean it has to stay that way, or that it's a perfect solution by any means.

At VAF, we did it with steel as well, but it was relatively slow and controlled, didn't have mordschlags for the most part, and focused more on point control. We were able to do it with visors open if we needed to.

Historically speaking, the visors weren't always used in foot combat. The manuscripts do show them used in duels, but there's also reasonable evidence that they were favored more for horseback, and dropping down to on-foot often meant raising the visor, or discarding the helmet, so you could actually see your opponent.

This of course is a problem we face in all aspects of WMA/HEMA-- There is no way to have a 100% perfect simulation, because we aren't killing each other with sharps. Any training weapon, any rule set, and any safety consideration will always introduce artifacts. It becomes an exercise in choosing which compromises are acceptable and which are not.


« Last Edit: 2014-06-05, 03:47:36 by Sir Edward »
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Sir Edward

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #16 on: 2014-06-05, 03:53:23 »
As an aside, on Sunday we tried a new rule-set that limited each fighter to only one point-earning mordschlag per bout. My wife and I came up with that idea, because I felt we were becoming too reliant on using the sword like a hammer, when in a real armored duel, the mordschlag is really more of a distraction than a fight-ender. It can really ring your bell, and if done really well, could smash the crap out of a helmet, but that's no guarantee. If you really want to "kill him to death", you still need to work on point control, wrestling to the ground, and so on. So while the mordschlags were super effective in our previous rules, I started to see our heavy use of it as taking away from the art.

As an analogy, it started to look like "saber" in sport fencing. That is, two guys walk in, and it's just a matter of who can hit the other guy on the head first.

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Sir Martyn

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #17 on: 2014-06-05, 04:00:39 »
I'm up for giving this a try for sure, but agree it would also be better/safer if could practice and test out, etc in controlled conditions before doing it in front of a crowd.
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Ian

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #18 on: 2014-06-05, 15:51:08 »
I think people just gets caught up in the fallacy that steel is dangerous because it's made out of metal and therefore must be more dangerous than wood...

There is of course the component to this that historical eyeslots are VERY NARROW.  Modern reproductions tend to favor ridiculously wide eyeslots because of the SCA's rattan rules.  The odds of a sword tip going in to a historically shaped eyeslot complete with forward projections like historical helmets have, is exceedingly low. 

Now if you take eyes out of the equation you're left with a weapon that behaves like a real sword so proper techniques and binds work a lot better, and you're left with a tool that flexes when thrusted and struck with.  I think those things make steel safer than wood.

It doesn't seem like it would be difficult to place a rule that says no thrusting to the face.  No one wants a thrust to the face with a wooden waster because it doesn't give AT ALL when it impacts, so it's already a risk of injury.  It's far more likely that you'd be injured by a wooden waster thrust to the face than have the sword point perfectly align with the opening of an eyeslot at the perfect angle when the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars so that it will penetrate and go in.  That's why the whole eye thing to me isn't a good enough reason.  It would seem the benefits of steel outweigh the risks when compared to wooden wasters.

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Sir William

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #19 on: 2014-06-05, 16:12:30 »
Whatever happened to the Laurin tournament.  Was hoping to go and witness it one day when I discovered it was actually a real thing back in 2011.
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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #20 on: 2014-06-05, 16:14:00 »
Eye slots were definitely narrower. Laurin website says they cannot be any wider than 1 cm!

Btw, I believe Lord Rodney's mishap was not caused by a blade going into his ocular, but rather a sliver of metal that broke off of one during the bout. Talk about a close call. I'm an optometrist, so these things are always near to me heart ;)
« Last Edit: 2014-06-05, 16:16:47 by Sir Patrick »
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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #21 on: 2014-06-05, 17:08:02 »
The Laurin Tournaments are awesome and I love their rendition of a tournament setting far more than any of the BOTN events. Yet I haven’t seen any actual videos to determine if they are as skilled and thereby controlled with their techniques as what is evident in the WMAW deed of arms videos because by just the photos they appear to be using Blossfechten techniques while armored, which there is nothing wrong with that but it isn’t historically accurate.

We’ve contemplated several possible workarounds for using steel or at the very least aluminum wasters which I believe I brought up during the first weekend at VARF. Yet the general consensus was that the wooden wasters were the best compromise between safety, potential damages to our harnesses and cost effectiveness. Even though steel would be the optimum in accuracy there is also the cost consideration because the two steel blades I own are not rigid enough and ill suited for harnischfechten whereas Sir Edward does have an Arms & Armor Fechterspiel that is perfectly suited for it, we would still have to procure another one and I personally would rather spend my equipment funds on any other blade as I do not care for the Fechterspiel enough for the price.

Still, wooden wasters were period and used in training to save the steel and IIRCC Sir Edward mentioned that once or twice in some of our harnischfechten demos.

Wooden wasters offer the best all around solution for safety, cost effectiveness, durability and aesthetics without compromising historical accuracy. During our final shows of each day when we also did our cutting and thrusting demonstrations we displayed the difference between blades designed primarily for cutting as opposed to thrusting during harnischfechten duels.
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Ian

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #22 on: 2014-06-05, 17:53:03 »
Hmmm... I see plenty of photos of trying to thrust to targets like the armpit and such, which are more than appropriate for armored combat.  Cuts to places only covered by maille...  I've also stated that there is video on the recent Torneo del Cigno Bianco showing them half-swording with steel swords, but I can't link it because it's a direct facebook upload, not a YouTube video.  They're using appropriate technique.

I still don't get how wood is magically safer than steel.  You guys seem to be of the opinion that it is, but have offered no reason as to why.  Explain why a non-flexible piece of wood that doesn't give at all in a thrust is safer than a piece of steel that absorbs the force of thrust by converting the energy of the thrust into the spring energy of flexing the blade.

I get the cost concerns, that's valid.  But the safety thing I'm not buying off on.  Because all I'm hearing is that wood is safer than steel because it is... that's not a reason.

It's kind of like the elite jousters now using steel coronels because they're safer than a lot of the other alternatives.
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Sir Martyn

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #23 on: 2014-06-05, 17:55:20 »

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.

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. 


I totally get where you're coming from, Ian.  I must confess that I also share this ambition and would love to see the Order find a way to do it where everyone agrees that it is being done as safely as possible.

What about combatants wearing some kind of close-fitting eye protection (i.e., goggles) underneath the helm?
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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #24 on: 2014-06-05, 18:08:32 »
Sigh... I love the Laurin Tournament.

I see safety tips on the spears, but not the swords. I'm short on time to research, but can you thrust with swords as well as polearms? I just can't begin to fathom it being safe to fight using a weapon that can fit through eye slots and will literally kill you in one mistake.
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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #25 on: 2014-06-05, 18:21:34 »
In regards to the safety factor of the wooden wasters over anything else, in my opinion that is ONLY because they cannot penetrate the oculars of most helms. For concussive force I do not ‘feel’ much difference between wood, aluminum or rigid steel blades like the Fechterspiel. My overall preference for wooden wasters would be the cost although I could have aluminum wasters made at almost the same cost as the wooden wasters but then that would be akin to trading our ‘Louisville Sluggers’ in for aluminum bats.  ;)
 
What about combatants wearing some kind of close-fitting eye protection (i.e., goggles) underneath the helm?

I’ve contemplated the same and even tried wearing some safety glasses in my helm but they didn’t fit. Although I didn’t try swimming goggles so they could possibly work.  :-\
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Ian

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #26 on: 2014-06-05, 18:26:08 »
You don't think it would have to be the world's luckiest BB in order to align a blade perfectly to a moving target with protruding eyeslots that are 1cm wide and only allow a blade to pass through if it's in the same plane as the eyeslot as well?

I'm waiting for an answer from the guys who do this sort of combat, because the statistical answer has got to be that the chances of stabbing a flat steel blade through a flat steel eyeslot in the heat of battle when they have to be almost perfectly aligned is probably an insignificant chance.

And all that on top of telling the combatants 'no thrusts to the face.'

Go get a steel helmet and a steel blade and try to do it on a perfectly still helmet on purpose.  I think you'll find yourself quite frustrated if the helmet has historical features.
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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #27 on: 2014-06-05, 19:04:45 »
You don't think it would have to be the world's luckiest BB in order to align a blade perfectly to a moving target with protruding eyeslots that are 1cm wide and only allow a blade to pass through if it's in the same plane as the eyeslot as well?

I'm waiting for an answer from the guys who do this sort of combat, because the statistical answer has got to be that the chances of stabbing a flat steel blade through a flat steel eyeslot in the heat of battle when they have to be almost perfectly aligned is probably an insignificant chance.

And all that on top of telling the combatants 'no thrusts to the face.'

Go get a steel helmet and a steel blade and try to do it on a perfectly still helmet on purpose.  I think you'll find yourself quite frustrated if the helmet has historical features.

I find it a tad frustrating with just my Bucket alone when its on its perch. Looking at your Helmet Ian I would find Id have to use my fingers to guide the end of the blade into the Eye slots.
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Sir James A

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #28 on: 2014-06-05, 19:26:41 »
Both Sir Nathan and I have taken face thrusts from wooden wasters (mostly or all due to neck or armpit thrusts that hit the face instead). Wood is safer around the face than steel because it doesn't fit through the eye slots, unless concessions are made with bending or safety-balling the tips of the steel swords, regulations on eye slot sizing, etc.

We know helmets were designed to prevent thrusts getting through the visor slits. Their lives were literally on the line doing that. We are no less vulnerable to death by swords through the eye than they were. Telling people "no thrusts to the face" is a poor option. I'm pretty sure there was an implied "no dagger thrusts to the face through openings in the helmet" but that didn't stop me from getting my nose fractured by a dagger thrust to the face when the visor came off. Accidents can and will happen, and thank goodness mine was minor. :)

If the odds of taking a steel sword through the eye slot are 1 in 999,999,999,999 I am still not going to do it; it's not the odds, it's the stakes. If I can get killed in that marginal chance that, just once, a sword blade comes through the visor, through my eyes and into my brain, because we're using steel instead of the more practical and still historically suitable alternative of a wooden waster, flat out, I'm not going to participate in combat. I'll armor up, look pretty, and talk about armor if desired, but armored combat with steels is a level I am not doing.

We aren't talking about some million dollar prize top tier martial arts tournament. This is supposed to be fun, educational, and for charity. A guy in England was killed by a synthetic when it went through his helmets eye slot because, well, visor slot opening bigger than a sword is playing with fire.
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Ian

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Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
« Reply #29 on: 2014-06-05, 19:40:19 »
I'm much more likely to do in an aviation accident than taking a sword through the eye, and I don't stop flying because of that.

You're more likely to die on the way to the tournament in your car than taking a sword through the eye, and the stakes are equally as high (death, disfigurement) and the statistics prove that you should be deathly afraid of driving, but we're not...

It's hardly playing with fire.

  Telling people "no thrusts to the face" is a poor option. I'm pretty sure there was an implied "no dagger thrusts to the face through openings in the helmet" but that didn't stop me from getting my nose fractured by a dagger thrust to the face when the visor came off. Accidents can and will happen, and thank goodness mine was minor. :)

Totally apples and oranges.  If the face weren't a valid target at all, that accident would be much less likely to occur.  You had an equipment malfunction on a LEGAL target.  It's hard to pull a blow that's already on it's way as an experienced fighter even if you recognize the equipment failure in that split second.  There's no analogy or comparison there.  If you agreed that you can't thrust to the face, even if your visor fell off, your nose wouldn't be broken.  It was the equipment failure that caused the injury, not an accident of hitting an unlikely target as would be the case of putting a thin piece of steel through a 1 cm moving gap in 3d space that's surrounded by glancing surfaces.

The proof is in the pudding.  The premiere historical tournaments are using steel and not walking away dead, blind or maimed.  Is it just luck?  I think there's more to it than that.

Do we have any real data on the guy who took the synthetic in the eye?  What type of helmet was he wearing, how wide were the oculars, what were the circumstances, and what were the rules?  Not knowing that context makes it hard to determine its application here.
« Last Edit: 2014-06-05, 20:02:48 by Ian »
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