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Main => The Courtyard => Topic started by: Ian on 2014-06-04, 17:22:53

Title: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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.
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Edward 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.
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Brian 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.
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir James A 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. :)
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Martyn 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  ;)
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Edward 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.
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Martyn 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 (http://revival.us/spadadazoghosparringsword-2.aspx)

My welded chain mail is indeed from RingMesh - http://www.ringmesh.com/default.asp (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 (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 (http://www.windrosearmoury.com/zc/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1_29&products_id=56)
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Ian 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?
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir James A 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. :(
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Lord Dane 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.   
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Ian 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).

(https://scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xaf1/t1.0-9/1904003_10152554482323352_7073632959051526921_n.jpg)

The men-at-arms division don't even fight with visors:
(https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t1.0-9/10365734_793584303987731_2641440248210524216_n.jpg)

(https://scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpf1/t1.0-9/10363659_793586237320871_1066218057652336697_n.jpg)
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Sir Patrick 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.
Title: Re: Steel fighting
Post by: Don Jorge on 2014-06-05, 00:10:48
No thrusting makes it possible for BOTN...

Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk

Title: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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:
(http://www.laurin-tournament.com/laurin2011/images/larurin000082.jpg)

(http://www.laurin-tournament.com/laurin2010/images/larurin000063.jpg)

(http://www.laurin-tournament.com/laurin2011/images/larurin000040.jpg)

(http://freelanceacademypress.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/larurin000071.jpg)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Patrick 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward 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.


Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward 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.

Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Martyn 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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.

Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir William 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Patrick 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 ;)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Martyn 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?
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian 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.  :-\
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Naythan 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian 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.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 20:15:33
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.

You're completely misunderstanding me on this point then. I 100% agree that steel swords are safer in almost every way. The only way in which they're not, is the eye-slot issue. A secondary concern is if the particular sword you're using is too flimsy for effective half-swording. Most of the trainers out there are designed to flex well for Blossfechten, and aren't always designed more like the later period, rigid diamond-section sword.

I dislike wasters, and aluminum trainers, precisely because they have no flex to them. But for the time being, we have used them because of the eye-slots, and the slightly too flexible nature of the cheaper steel trainers (and some desire not to abuse the Albion trainers).
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-05, 20:22:18
Well then we need to be finding out how the guys who do this all the time with steel are not gouging each other's eyes out instead of guessing at what may or may not  happen, because that's all we're really doing.

And it sounds like there's a confusion over the types of steel swords suitable for training.  Yes, a diamond cross-section rigid steel sword is great for fighting in armor if you really want to kill the other person.  They don't sound suitable for training.  That's why I'm a bit thrown off when you guys are pointing to steel swords that are flexible for blossfechten not being suitable for armor.  They seem like they would be preferable because they won't kill you.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 20:23:09
Ninja'd... posting anyway:

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...

Those are some very good arguments, of course. I will counter that with anecdotal evidence, that as a programmer / systems engineer, if you design an error case that should never, ever happen in your program, someone will hit it, probably within the first week. :)

I'm all for using steel for this. But as Sir Brian pointed out, there may be cost issues in getting several good trainers in the group for people to use. Plus I would want us to disallow face-thrusts. But it would also depend on the size/shape of the eye-slots, and the comfort zone of the fighters doing it, of course.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-05, 20:26:25
I get the cost part.  That's certainly a concern.  I'm not even saying The Order of the Marshal should adopt steel.  I just want to know the realities of steel and not just guess at it.  I want to know how the guys who use steel are doing it safely, and why the groups that use wood are using wood.

Guessing and using thought experiments and anecdotal evidence and false comparisons doesn't teach us anything.  I want to know the facts before coming to a conclusion on which is better based on real evidence.  My only personal preference for steel is that it's 'cooler.' lol :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 20:27:38
Ninja'd again.. lol :)

And it sounds like there's a confusion over the types of steel swords suitable for training.  Yes, a diamond cross-section rigid steel sword is great for fighting in armor if you really want to kill the other person.  They don't sound suitable for training.  That's why I'm a bit thrown off when you guys are pointing to steel swords that are flexible for blossfechten not being suitable for armor.  They seem like they would be preferable because they won't kill you.

It's not that they're unsuitable, just some are more suitable than others.

As a comparison, the Albion Meyer will work for both. But most of the flex is in the last half of the blade, so they tend to bend around parries a little more than would be preferable. The A&A Fechterspiel works great for Harnessfechten. It's slightly more hard-hitting in Blossfechten though, because it is slightly more rigid.

Basically, I feel there's a "sweet spot" that's slightly more rigid in Harnessfechten than in Blossfechten.

The same comparisons can be made in the Synthetics too. The Rawlings are so flimsy, that they suck for half-swording, winding, or any bind-work in general. The Purple Heart synthetics have a flex that's more realistic (plus have thicker tips too).
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-05, 20:30:37

It's not that they're unsuitable, just some are more suitable than others.

As a comparison, the Albion Meyer will work for both. But most of the flex is in the last half of the blade, so they tend to bend around parries a little more than would be preferable. The A&A Fechterspiel works great for Harnessfechten. It's slightly more hard-hitting in Blossfechten though, because it is slightly more rigid.

Basically, I feel there's a "sweet spot" that's slightly more rigid in Harnessfechten than in Blossfechten.

The same comparisons can be made in the Synthetics too. The Rawlings are so flimsy, that they suck for half-swording, winding, or any bind-work in general. The Purple Heart synthetics have a flex that's more realistic (plus have thicker tips too).

Thank you!  That makes sense.  I just don't like it when people make an assertion without an explanation.  That's why I didn't except that originally :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 20:31:43
Guessing and using thought experiments and anecdotal evidence and false comparisons doesn't teach us anything.  I want to know the facts before coming to a conclusion on which is better based on real evidence.  My only personal preference for steel is that it's 'cooler.' lol :)

I get that too. :) It is cooler, it's more realistic, and can absolutely be done safely.

Actually this brings up another interesting point. One of the reasons steel can be safer, is that people know it's capable of hitting hard, so they're psychologically primed to respect it, and be safe with it. With plastics and wooden wasters, your brain clicks over and says "it's just wood/plastic, it's safe!" and you can find yourself ramping up the power. With wooden wasters in particular, that's a bad thing.

As an aside, they use steel at the WMAW deeds of arms, including steel trainer heads on spears. I think only the poleaxes were non-steel. I would have no problem going in there and fighting any of them, using steel. Because I know they're safety conscious and won't get crazy with it.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-05, 21:06:42
Alright, so I talked to Greg about this.

WMAW and a lot of the North American guys require perf plate welded in to the helmet or segmented ocularia to allow for thrusting.  The Italians restrict technique to more cuts but have no regulations on helmet ocular style.

The half-swording video I saw was North American guys, the Italians don't do it as much.  The tournament in Italy seems to have been more focused on the LH aspect than the WMA aspect of things so the technique is different.  WMAW on the other hand is more martially oriented and does have more safety regulations in place.

So at least in those two cases (WMAW vs Torneo del Cigno Bianco), the more serious martial artists using steel are using perf plate or segmented eyes, the more LH oriented guys are using modified technique.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 21:09:53

That's good to know. I didn't take a close look at anyone's helms at WMAW to notice what they did in the occularia, except that of course several people use the Windrose fencing helms (and I have one of those now, with WMAW in mind).
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-05, 21:27:17
I figured that much on the perf plate, as I've seen some helmets sold with it as an option. :)

I don't think there is such thing as a universal "better" on wooden waster vs steel trainers. To me, what is better depends on the intent of the group or demonstrations.

Is steel better for historical appearance? Yes (Pro)
Is steel considerably harder on equipment, increasing time and cost of maintenance? Yes (Con)

Are wasters a "sword" to the common folk? Not so much (Con)
Are they considerably easier and cheaper to maintain and less destructive to equipment? Yes (Pro)

As Sir Edward said, the trade-off in safety is all about the head/face. For me, if something goes wrong, I would rather break my arm from a wooden waster than be stabbed in the eye from a steel trainer. I also don't want to be putting out as much money in maintenance and gear replacement (from using steel) as we raise in an entire season if there is another suitable option (wooden wasters).
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-06-05, 21:40:16
I am/was considering cutting up one of my regular fencing masks and having a section welded over my visor's oculars but I backed off a bit on the idea because I'm not ready to buy a replacement mask yet and the guy at Short Point in February had his helmet's oculars done and during our impromptu harnischfechten study group it had failed. Of course it may have just been a really shoddy welding job (looked that way from the quick look I had) and I know there are some top notch welders at my job...Perhaps it is time to shop for a new mask. If I get this done and it holds up to testing I'll be asking for all your visors! ;)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 21:54:38

Technically any perf-steel that can be securely attached could work. Does anyone know where to get relatively see-through perf-steel, rather than hacking up fencing masks? There has to be a cheaper option.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-06-05, 21:58:32

Technically any perf-steel that can be securely attached could work. Does anyone know where to get relatively see-through perf-steel, rather than hacking up fencing masks? There has to be a cheaper option.

I was considering contacting Terry T. and finding out what specifications he used on his masks, alas I never got around to it. Although cutting up a mask isn't so bad an alternative. My dueling weapon mask is getting a bit nasty!  :-\
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Lord Dane on 2014-06-05, 22:01:58
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.

For those who think wood is safer ... they need to feel rattan bamboo hitting them in the melon or other soft spots. For equestrians, it comes at the end of a solid 2 inch pine lance. They know the difference without question once it breaks on their bodies.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-05, 22:02:31
I was considering contacting Terry T. and finding out what specifications he used on his masks, alas I never got around to it. Although cutting up a mask isn't so bad an alternative. My dueling weapon mask is getting a bit nasty!  :-\

Well, if it's a well-used one, that's starting to outlive its usefulness, then why not? :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-05, 22:25:37
Sir James brings up something.  Are steel blunts really hard on armor?  It shouldn't be denting spring steel or thick milds.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Lord Dane on 2014-06-05, 22:30:14
Sir James brings up something.  Are steel blunts really hard on armor?  It shouldn't be denting spring steel or thick milds.

I'll answer that with pics of my 14 gauge Pembridge. Yes they hit hard and most of my dings are from aluminum ones. Spring steel should barely be dinged.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Naythan on 2014-06-05, 23:13:39
Sir James brings up something.  Are steel blunts really hard on armor?  It shouldn't be denting spring steel or thick milds.

I'll answer that with pics of my 14 gauge Pembridge. Yes they hit hard and most of my dings are from aluminum ones. Spring steel should barely be dinged.
Spring steel is bit of an easier fix.
Before some cares to argue this, I have a bad argument of why they might be, My foil in fencing can bend easy, and then it will stay bent, but it is easy to unbend, I know a helm or breastplate is a lot different, but.... It is still spring steel. (I think I may be 83% wrong on this matter)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Patrick on 2014-06-06, 01:17:31
One fencing mask would probably cover everyone's oculars with some to spare.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-06, 01:36:13
Sir James brings up something.  Are steel blunts really hard on armor?  It shouldn't be denting spring steel or thick milds.

It depends. The typical 3-weapon fencing mask isn't meant for larger swords, but they stand up just fine for typical friendly fighting. But it's definitely possible to cave one in, even with a shinai, using enough power.

The same thing is true with plate armor of course. Damage will be minimal most of the time, but it's certainly possible to beat it up. My steel gaunts that I use for Blossfechten aren't particularly well made, but they're beaten all to hell from use as well.

And then, circling back to fencing masks, I've had the same one since the mid-'90s, and it's still in great working condition. My Terry Tindell mask is made of stainless, and that one is in great shape after some pretty hard hits too.

So I think my answer would be, "it depends" :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Wolf on 2014-06-06, 01:53:07
steel dents. swords break lol. I've been fighting unscripted steel for years. its fun if your safe and do the correct movements and correct counter blocks. I've seen a few accidents, like a sword cutting threw a guys lower lip (inbetween the lip and chin. but for hard hitting steel or fast paced, you better believe it's gonna get ruff on someone. that kinda fighting you need perf plate over eye holes etc
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-06, 13:55:37

Yeah, that's been my safety concern all along with the eyes-- It might be a million to one, but someone, sometime, is going to find a way to make it happen. :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-06, 18:36:01
Sir James brings up something.  Are steel blunts really hard on armor?  It shouldn't be denting spring steel or thick milds.

Steel on steel is more abrasive than wood, so you'll get nicks and dings that the wooden wasters don't leave. Primarily will be edges, in particular any flutes, rolled edges (like at the elbows / armpits) where it's getting thrust at. The rough edges of steel trainers will start to chew at the edges of armor, and vice versa, and both of them will start to chew at fabric over time. The center crease on my breastplate has lots of nicks from nothing more than taps to the chest at our first year of demos saying "hey, armor works against steel swords". Enough that Allan couldn't even fix it and it bugs me every time I put it on.

Granted, it's 16 gauge mild, but if I'm coughing up $7500+ on a heat treated spring steel harness, I don't want it getting torn up. I like armor and it pains me to see it injured. I'm often frustrated just taking dents out of my helmets. :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-06, 18:38:36
Granted, it's 16 gauge mild...

And if you're going to cough up $7500+ for a spring steel harness, you're paying that much because it shouldn't get torn up.  At least that should be one of the benefits of spring.  The steel it self is a lot less resilient to wear and tear.  Anyone try this with spring to know or sure?

The most I do is stab my helmet all the time in demos to show the glancing properties of a bascinet (I use steel weapons for this) and I get tiny little scratches that buff out.  This is not the same as bashing it, but I think with a controlled blow it certainly won't dent...
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-06, 18:49:11
Granted, it's 16 gauge mild...

And if you're going to cough up $7500+ for a spring steel harness, you're paying that much because it shouldn't get torn up.

No no, if I'm paying that much, it's because I need another advantage over Sir Nathan and I'm paying a premium for a lighter kit. ;)

At least that should be one of the benefits of spring.  The steel it self is a lot less resilient to wear and tear.  Anyone try this with spring to know or sure?

The most I do is stab my helmet all the time in demos to show the glancing properties of a bascinet (I use steel weapons for this) and I get tiny little scratches that buff out.  This is not the same as bashing it, but I think with a controlled blow it certainly won't dent...

I think you mean more resilient to wear and tear, not less? I'd be curious to know the answer to that. I'm still going to decline solely on the eye slots basis, but I do find the conversation interesting and useful to know about.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-06, 18:54:31
Yes, I meant more resilient.

I don't think anyone's asking you to do this.  I'm just trying to find out how it's done safely, because it is being done safely.  Once again, I'm not trying to convince anyone to try it, I just want to know the facts and evidence before making up my own mind, and not just accept thought experiments and bad thought statistics as proof of anything.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-06-06, 18:58:24
I'm still going to decline solely on the eye slots basis, but I do find the conversation interesting and useful to know about.

Well if the welding of perforated steel mesh inside the visor oculars work and you all send me your visors so I could do the same for you all, then I could be *encouraged* to “accidentally” substitute a solid plate of steel over Sir Nathan’s visor oculars so he’d be like Luke Skywalker learning to use a light-saber the first time. ~ We could call it his handicap for his youthful vigor!  ;D
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-06, 19:03:32
Once again I remind folks the purpose of this discussion is not to convince the Order to use steel weapons.  It is to question a faulty way of thinking.

The premise that 'steel is dangerous' is what I'm questioning here and want to know based on what actual evidence is that so, if it is so at all.

So far we've acknowledged cost, wear and damage to gear, and eyes.

Cost is definitely higher for a quality steel weapon over a waster.

Wear and tear is a factor for mild steel, and maybe spring steels (but we have no testing on the spring steel aspect)

Eyes is based solely on 'aahhhh scary, 1 in a million is still a chance!"  That's not evidence or statistics, it's literally superstition and hearsay.  How do we find out how dangerous it really is?  And we do know this could be mitigated with perf plate or slotted oculars.

So, right now for the added cost of steel weapons, and potentially upgraded armor with appropriate safety features (like perf plates or slotted oculars), it sounds like the physical evidence points to steel being safer than wood if you have the right stuff and are willing to spend the money.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-06, 19:09:33
So, right now for the added cost of steel weapons, and potentially upgraded armor with appropriate safety features (like perf plates or slotted oculars), it sounds like the physical evidence points to steel being safer than wood if you have the right stuff and are willing to spend the money.

Yep, that right there.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-06, 20:06:02
So, right now for the added cost of steel weapons, and potentially upgraded armor with appropriate safety features (like perf plates or slotted oculars), it sounds like the physical evidence points to steel being safer than wood if you have the right stuff and are willing to spend the money.

Yep, that right there.


While I've been one of the dissenting opinions, I'm agreed 100% on this too, possibly with the caveat of modified rule set.

I'll agree that I'm probably heavy on the superstition and hearsay of eye slot injuries since I just got my nose whopped. ;)

Actually, if we want to test durability of carbon steel armor vs steel swords, I know a guy with a carbon steel harness, if we can get him to come up and swing swords with us sometime. ;)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Patrick on 2014-06-06, 20:42:36
Out of curiousity, do your oculars slant down and out, or just run straight across?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that period helms had oculars that were slanted in order to direct a blade away from the eyes.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-06, 20:43:59
Out of curiousity, do your oculars slant down and out, or just run straight across?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that period helms had oculars that were slanted in order to direct a blade away from the eyes.

A lot of historical slots are actually slanted up, because it's even more unlikely that a blade will pass through them.  My bascinet's eye slots 'look' up.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Patrick on 2014-06-06, 20:58:57
Out of curiousity, do your oculars slant down and out, or just run straight across?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that period helms had oculars that were slanted in order to direct a blade away from the eyes.

A lot of historical slots are actually slanted up, because it's even more unlikely that a blade will pass through them.  My bascinet's eye slots 'look' up.

Have you ever thrusted at them, to see what would happen (not while you were wearing it).
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-06, 21:02:00
Out of curiousity, do your oculars slant down and out, or just run straight across?  I seem to remember reading somewhere that period helms had oculars that were slanted in order to direct a blade away from the eyes.

A lot of historical slots are actually slanted up, because it's even more unlikely that a blade will pass through them.  My bascinet's eye slots 'look' up.

Have you ever thrusted at them, to see what would happen (not while you were wearing it).

Yes, in every LH demo I've done for each group of people that come by I try to stab them with my rondel dagger.  It's very frustrating.  I've gotten it in a couple times, but I'm standing above the helmet when I do it, and it's not moving.  If I were level or below the eyes, and  it was moving, it would literally be pure luck.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Thorsteinn on 2014-06-07, 03:56:31

Technically any perf-steel that can be securely attached could work. Does anyone know where to get relatively see-through perf-steel, rather than hacking up fencing masks? There has to be a cheaper option.

OnlineMetals.com (http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?id=1004&showunits=inches&step=2&sortby=od&top_cat=849)

BTW the eye issue is why the IMCF allows folks to have a-historical eye protection as long as it's hidden.

We have a member of Team USA in Reno and he's said that all armour used in full contact fighting with steel weapons should be considered a consumable item.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-06-07, 08:47:33
We have a member of Team USA in Reno and he's said that all armour used in full contact fighting with steel weapons should be considered a consumable item.

Hence the very lucrative business of armoring back in the day! ;)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-09, 14:35:18
I had a thought on steel weapons over the weekend, but specifically for our demos.

If we do mixed weapons (long sword and poleaxe, spear, dagger, etc) then steel weapons are a huge imbalance. Start off with steel swords, someone gets disarmed and draws a wooden dagger... I'm thinking steel daggers are a horrible idea, and a steel sword vs wooden dagger (or polearm haft) would damage the wood quickly, as well as making any kind of bind work awkward at the very least.

If we stuck with only sword vs sword, it's irrelevant, but just throwing it out there before I forget.

How do other groups handle the mixed weapons?
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-09, 15:38:02

I think they just deal with the wear and tear on the wooden weapons. But for the most part, I think the only wood that gets used is the hafts. For instance, at WMAW, I've mostly seen steel heads on the spears, and steel daggers as well. I have one of those daggers; they're nice and flexible.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Thorsteinn on 2014-06-09, 18:06:44
Team USA uses well chosen, well hidden rattan, to deal with the steel weapons.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-10, 14:04:01
Eyes is based solely on 'aahhhh scary, 1 in a million is still a chance!"  That's not evidence or statistics, it's literally superstition and hearsay.  How do we find out how dangerous it really is?  And we do know this could be mitigated with perf plate or slotted oculars.

I just wanted to briefly circle back to this before it's forgotten, lost to the annals of time on the forum. :) I was just reading an article that reminded me of this discussion.

The above is really not a valid argument from a scientific/engineering standpoint. Generally speaking, seemingly improbably events are often more probable than assumed, particularly with repetition.

For instance, people buy lottery tickets all the time. Your chances of winning are extremely low, and yet people win all the time, due to the rate at which they are purchased. Your chances of dying in a helicopter are very low on any given day, but helicopters can and do crash. Your chances of having it happen to you over the course of your lifetime increase dramatically, the longer you live. This is even more true with driving cars, where the accident rate is quite high.

Some of the most tragic events in human history were extremely unlikely. A great example is the Titanic, in which over a dozen things went wrong, any one of which you might say was only a 1 in 10,000 chance of occurring. Multiply those out, and the chances of that ship going down were astronomically small. And yet, that's exactly how significant tragedies occur-- It can take a veritable orgy of improbable events happening all at once, or in succession. Sometimes the reality behaves as though the probabilities add, rather than multiply.

The biggest mistake in statistics and probability is to assume that patterns won't emerge. They can and do, even from random noise.

In a case like this, the potential damage from an eye-slot thrust is enormous (fatality is highly possible since the bone behind the eye sockets is not very strong), whereas the means to prevent it is relatively easy. Perf-plate is one solution. Swords that are too thick is another. It just comes down to which is more cost-effective or available at the time. But saying that the probability is low would not make me want to fight with a combination of sword and visor that won't 100% stop a thrust. I might never get struck through that visor, but if we accept it as standard practice, then someone will be injured eventually.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-10, 14:08:21
Well then by that logic, no one should want to fly helicopters, drive cars, or sail on ships.  But we do because we accept that the risk of death is so astronomically small that it's insignificant.

The point is we don't know the numbers, so what's invalid is just guessing that it will or won't happen.

And no, someone won't eventually get injured.  It's only certain that someone would get injured if you extend the probability to it's limit over an infinite amount of time, which we obviously don't have.  So you can very much go through your life without ever being stabbed through the eye no matter how hard you try to do it.  But if you were immortal, yes you would eventually succeed.

Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-10, 14:14:22

We have to live with risks every day, that's for sure. But when the potential damage is huge, and the solution simple, why take that risk?

In any sort of engineering, you see this sort of argument all the time. Low probability events turn into high probability events all the time, when the conditions change just a little, in an unexpected way.

Let me ask you this-- if we took your advice, and said "screw the perf plate / wooden swords, it's good enough", and then someone died, how would you feel about that?

Yes, we don't know what the probability is. The only way to get that would be through experimental observation, which would require people taking the risk over extended periods of time.

The lack of that knowledge tells me to use caution, not to assume the probability is low and therefore safe. The probability could actually be quite high.


Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-10, 14:15:52

We have to live with risks every day, that's for sure. But when the potential damage is huge, and the solution simple, why take that risk?

In any sort of engineering, you see this sort of argument all the time. Low probability events turn into high probability events all the time, when the conditions change just a little, in an unexpected way.

Let me ask you this-- if we took your advice, and said "screw the perf plate / wooden swords, it's good enough", and then someone died, how would you feel about that?

Yes, we don't know what the probability is. The only way to get that would be through experimental observation, which would require people taking the risk over extended periods of time.

The lack of that knowledge tells me to use caution, not to assume the probability is low and therefore safe. The probability could actually be quite high.

I would feel the same way I feel every time I know someone who dies in a fiery helicopter crash.  Terrible.  But that doesn't stop me from flying.

I'm not saying don't use safety precautions, I'm saying it's equally as invalid to assume it will happen in a limited amount of time.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-10, 14:25:06
I would feel the same way I feel every time I know someone who dies in a fiery helicopter crash.  Terrible.  But that doesn't stop me from flying.

I'm not saying don't use safety precautions, I'm saying it's equally as invalid to assume it will happen in a limited amount of time.

Right, that's the point. We don't know what the risks are, not with any certainty. All we know is that it is non-zero (the sword fits in the slot, for one thing, and secondly someone has already died from this). But without watching the fatality rate over years of people doing this, we can't get to what the risk level is. So why take the chance?

It shouldn't stop you from flying. But it should stop you from getting into an aircraft that has something missing or appears unsafe.

Perf-plates and thick-tipped swords are more the equivalent of seat belts, air-bags, fire extinguishers, parachutes, etc. Most of the time it's not needed, but in that rare, "one in a million" event, it might save your life.

Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-10, 14:28:18
Ed, that's the entire point of this discussion.  We don't know the numbers, so we can't make a real determination.  No one is saying that we should just go ahead and do it and throw safety to the wind.  The entire reason I brought this up is we can make an actual determination based on evidence instead of just saying "Oh it won't happen!" or conversely "Oh, it will definitely happen!"  Because we don't know either way.  Both are equally invalid arguments.  I don't like relying on invalid bogus logic, hence the discussion...
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-10, 14:42:00
Ed, that's the entire point of this discussion.  We don't know the numbers, so we can't make a real determination.  No one is saying that we should just go ahead and do it and throw safety to the wind.  The entire reason I brought this up is we can make an actual determination based on evidence instead of just saying "Oh it won't happen!" or conversely "Oh, it will definitely happen!"  Because we don't know either way.  Both are equally invalid arguments.  I don't like relying on invalid bogus logic, hence the discussion...

OK, because it sounded a lot like you were saying we should throw caution to the wind, because the numbers are unknown and/or small. :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-10, 14:44:57
Ed, that's the entire point of this discussion.  We don't know the numbers, so we can't make a real determination.  No one is saying that we should just go ahead and do it and throw safety to the wind.  The entire reason I brought this up is we can make an actual determination based on evidence instead of just saying "Oh it won't happen!" or conversely "Oh, it will definitely happen!"  Because we don't know either way.  Both are equally invalid arguments.  I don't like relying on invalid bogus logic, hence the discussion...

OK, because it sounded a lot like you were saying we should throw caution to the wind, because the numbers are unknown and/or small. :)

I thought:

Quote
How do we find out how dangerous it really is?  And we do know this could be mitigated with perf plate or slotted oculars.

So, right now for the added cost of steel weapons, and potentially upgraded armor with appropriate safety features (like perf plates or slotted oculars), it sounds like the physical evidence points to steel being safer than wood if you have the right stuff and are willing to spend the money.

covered the fact that I was not suggesting we throw caution to the wind and I was after real evidence and numbers.  You quoted it yourself...
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-10, 14:49:31
covered the fact that I was not suggesting we throw caution to the wind and I was after real evidence and numbers.  You quoted it yourself...

lol, yes, I did see that. But it seemed in contrast to the rest. :)  As long as we're clear.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-06-10, 16:27:24
That makes perfect sense on the hafts. I was thinking bind work with a steel vs wood would give a serious advantage to the wood, and hadn't paused to think "wait, that's actually correct for period combat". I do want to throw in some spear / poleaxe / etc for next year when I can order one.

For me it's that wood seems safer - which I admit may well be only perception, since statistics on this kind of thing are pretty slim (can't imagine why :D). I'm comfortable fighting with wood swords, but not with steel. I enjoy it greatly, but not enough to feel like putting my life on the line every time I step on the field. As much as I enjoy doing the demos, if it became a gamble every time on "possibly die from a sword through the eye" or "live and go home to clean/repair gear"... I'm going to quit fighting. Then I'll delve deeper into living history or just "playtron" at various faires. My primary joy is simply being in harness; the combat is a happy bonus.

Yes, driving and other things can kill me, and statistically are more likely to, no question. Those are risks I knowingly take as compared to the alternative of quit my job and move to DC and take the metro everywhere (or become an unshaven hermit). Driving is one of those necessary things for me, whereas combat with steel swords is not so high on the list. :)

To the people doing live steel combat? Keep having fun, I love seeing the pictures!
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-06-14, 20:45:09
From Christian Cameron's YouTube Channel, video of one of the events from Torneo del Cigno Bianco.

Castel Vecchio Bridge fight I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGknZZB7c_M#ws)

Castel Vecchio Bridge Fight II (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGGu6a1xfPE#ws)

Castel Vecchio Bridge Fight III (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IbsZCDq924#ws)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-06-15, 01:18:41

Awesome, it's good to see some video of it. The pictures are great, but they don't tell the story the way video does.

They had a really good group out there. A lot of WMAW regulars went. These fights show very much what the WMAW deeds of arms look like as well.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Aiden of Oreland on 2014-07-02, 20:47:10
I think I may understand why there is such a fear.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-JJuQJQZY&list=PLJEMp2wyIJe8wBDzDd97196E_08Dm646t
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Edward on 2014-07-03, 12:43:56
I think I may understand why there is such a fear.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-JJuQJQZY&list=PLJEMp2wyIJe8wBDzDd97196E_08Dm646t

Yeah, that's the high bar that we all aspire to.... :)

Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Aiden of Oreland on 2014-07-03, 14:23:38
I think I may understand why there is such a fear.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=k5-JJuQJQZY&list=PLJEMp2wyIJe8wBDzDd97196E_08Dm646t

Yeah, that's the high bar that we all aspire to.... :)

But look! That sword went straight through that visor!
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Thorsteinn on 2014-07-03, 16:17:23
Did I see a death defying bicyclist in one of those vids?
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-10-30, 21:12:24
I am/was considering cutting up one of my regular fencing masks and having a section welded over my visor's oculars but I backed off a bit on the idea because I'm not ready to buy a replacement mask yet and the guy at Short Point in February had his helmet's oculars done and during our impromptu harnischfechten study group it had failed. Of course it may have just been a really shoddy welding job (looked that way from the quick look I had) and I know there are some top notch welders at my job...Perhaps it is time to shop for a new mask. If I get this done and it holds up to testing I'll be asking for all your visors! ;)

Well I happened to score some scrap perforated steel and had a piece welded over my oculars on my visor. It turned out great! Visibility is hardly compromised and I truly feel completely safe. I still have plenty of perforated steel and can easily modify your visors gentlemen if you are interested. Just PM if you want me to and I'll give you my shipping address! :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Ian on 2014-10-30, 21:18:36
Have you done any thrust testing on it?  Would be interested to hear if it deforms at all or suffers any damage from use.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2014-10-31, 07:44:27
Not as yet. I need to locate a fencing school that has a tester on the premises and ask them to test it for me. Although I suppose I should just go ahead and
purchase this: http://shop.fencing.net/Mask_Punch_Test_p/fwf93101.htm (http://shop.fencing.net/Mask_Punch_Test_p/fwf93101.htm), so I can test everyone's modified visor after I get the perforated steel welded onto them. :-\
I did slightly peen the perforated steel into the oculars afterwards though that should add little more resistance to a thrust from the opposing direction.
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir James A on 2014-10-31, 17:36:12
Have you done any thrust testing on it?  Would be interested to hear if it deforms at all or suffers any damage from use.

That's my concern too. :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Thorsteinn on 2014-10-31, 23:41:43
BTW have y'all seen the interchangeable polearm heads being worked on for the HEMA Alliance?
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Martyn on 2014-11-03, 00:55:53
Looks great Sir Brian - would be great if you could put these on the great helm I bought from Jeff Wasson - though don't know if you'd have enough room to work inside...
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Sir Brian on 2015-02-03, 22:06:01
Have you done any thrust testing on it?  Would be interested to hear if it deforms at all or suffers any damage from use.

That's my concern too. :)

Everyone can put these concerns to rest! I purchased the punch tester and thoroughly tested the perforated steel sections through my visor oculars and they with stood the punch tests easily, proving the gauge of the stainless perforated steel is more than sufficient for our safety needs!

So gents bring your helm visors to the feast of Medieval Madness and I'll have them modified! :)
Title: Re: Historical HEMA Tournaments and Deeds of Arms
Post by: Joshua Santana on 2016-05-06, 02:37:49
After reading a very long thread, here are my thoughts.

I go for the idea of adding perforated steel behind the eye slots for protection.

I understand using wooden wasters for harness fencing, I am an advocate for using both wood and stel in armored combat.

When using steel blunts in harness fencing I also would say that technique must be emphasized more than power usage, translation: if you are going to hid hard, be careful so as to not cause an accident.