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#378904 - 01/16/08 06:53 PM Sparing
martialartspeon Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/02/08
Posts: 23
I have always been curious about swords and sword practice. What sort of equipment is usually used for the swords? What protection is used?
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#378905 - 01/17/08 09:02 AM Re: Sparing [Re: martialartspeon]
Halley Offline
Member

Registered: 06/13/05
Posts: 126
Since your title refers to sparring, I assume you're interested in sword arts that involve person-to-person practice. Kendo is such a sword art, as is European fencing. In both, the practitioners wear a lot of padded armor, including face shields. In kendo, a bamboo sword called a shinai is most common, but for many solo exercises people also use a curved wooden sword called a bokken.

Aside from sparring, other mostly-solitary arts such as iaido use unsharpened metal replicas of the sword, and advanced students may go for a "true blade" or shinken. Unlike the sparring arts, solitary forms are often studied with no armor at all, except perhaps knee pads to protect the knees through many kneeling exercises on hard floors.

(I'll pass on describing other Eastern sword arts, though there is a wide range of styles of practice and types of equipment.)

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#378906 - 01/17/08 12:42 PM Re: Sparing [Re: martialartspeon]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
martial

As Halley said there are all kinds of various methods---you looking at Eastern/Japanese Sword Arts/Chinese/Korean???>

Or Western?--Saber/foil/epee---Olympic Stuff?

Or are you looking at Broadsword/other historical weapons etc???
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#378907 - 01/17/08 02:01 PM Re: Sparing [Re: cxt]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Outside of Kendo, "sparring", by which I mean a two man exercise where each is allowed to do more or less anything at any time with exceptions where needed for safety, is fairly uncommon in traditional Japanese Sword Arts.

The JSAs make heavy use of solo form practice, and two man pre-arranged practice exercises. It is through high repetitions of these practice exercises that students learn to manipulate distance, timing, power generation, footwork and to create openings in an opponents defenses. All the sorts of stuff that "sparring" is supposed to provide.

Of course there's a disclaimer here. The JSAs are a fairly large group of fairly different schools of thought. It's difficult to draw conclusions about the whole group, but to the degree to which such conclusions can be drawn, it is safe to say that "free sparring" is very rare in the JSA world, except in Kendo.


Edited by Charles Mahan (01/17/08 02:02 PM)
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#378908 - 01/20/08 10:04 AM Re: Sparing [Re: martialartspeon]
mercierarmory Offline
Member

Registered: 09/26/05
Posts: 44
Loc: Lincoln, Nebraska
When we fight in the European system (atleast at my school) when the students use our modified shinais or wooden wasters, the only protection used is just a 3 weapon fencing mask and gloves. Despite the potential for injury, we teach defensive techniques enough that rarely does anyone get hurt. Plus, before I let anyone go off an do any open fights, I make sure they can exhibit a bit of control. I don't want anyone to go out there and try to swing for the fences.
When we use rebated steel weapons either we will fight at half speed with the same gear, or during our demonstrations when faster speed is needed metal armor is needed. Atleast a helmet and gauntlets. I have had a finger broken when wearing leather gloves so the gauntlets thing is a necessity now.

I don't want to knock any other art, but I just can't understand how anyone can be an effective swordsman when all you do are drills. We do drills and I encourage as much open fighting as possible. When this happens you will see that all those drills go out the window.

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#378909 - 01/20/08 10:52 PM Re: Sparing [Re: mercierarmory]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5822
Loc: USA
merc

And I have no wish to "knock" you either...seriously.

But I would respectfully suggest that if your pulling the techiques or otherwise altering the "sparring", in terms of speed, target area, techniques etc to avoid injury..then your not really learning how to be an "effictive" swordsmen either...IMO.

There are many paths and many methods to skill with weapons-----folks in the Japan were killing people and fighting quite "effectively" for a loooooooonnnnnngggggg time---well past the time when swords etc were in common use as weapons in the West BTW....and their methods/methodology worked quite well.

A shinai BTW has no-where near the proper handleing characteristics of a real blade....too light and whippy by a considerable margin....its the rough equivlent of using a Olympic fenceing "saber" for a rebatted, period repro saber.

Its another animal entirely.

I would also echo the same question asked in various forms by a number of people BTW.

Unlike empty hand fighting arts---of what possible use is being an "effective" swordsmen in this day and age??

Isn't that rather like being an "effective" charoit driver?

Or being an "effective" slinger?

A "effective" pistol shot on the other hand.;)

If your serious about learning more--I can explain the reasoning.....if your not I would greatly prefer to skip another e-fight about the issue.


Edited by cxt (01/20/08 10:57 PM)

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#378910 - 01/21/08 12:13 AM Re: Sparing [Re: mercierarmory]
Aeges Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/06
Posts: 25
I don't want to knock any other art, but I just can't understand how anyone can be an effective swordsman when all you do are drills. We do drills and I encourage as much open fighting as possible. When this happens you will see that all those drills go out the window.


My instructor made a comment on this topic. He said, “We cannot hope to be effective swordsmen. We do not fight with swords. We cant actually test out if our skills work in combat. At best we can be efficient fencers with the techniques that have been proven by efficient swordsmen”

As Cxt pointed out; the Japanese have more then enough history to prove that their techniques did work, and were effective in killing opponents, as was in Europe, where in their own history shows that their weapons techniques were just as efficient in killing

My school practices open fencing, we let anyone who has any sort of skill with any type of sword. We have one man who comes in who has been doing weapons arts and martial arts for almost 17 years now I think. Over that long all of his various types of weapons arts have merged in to his own unique combination of techniques and tactics. He how ever has no idea if these techniques would work on a battle field, he isn’t a swordsmen, but, and I mean it in the best possible way, he is a very very efficient stick fencer.

I digress..


In my school we use aluminum blades. 3 weapons fighting mask, and a glove if the off hand is going to come in to play. Beyond that any type of padding and armour is completely left up to the individual. I my self like an elbow pad for my right hand, and on occasion shin guards.
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#378911 - 01/21/08 10:41 AM Re: Sparing [Re: mercierarmory]
socho Offline
Newbie

Registered: 05/03/07
Posts: 11
Loc: Virginia
Quote:

... We do drills and I encourage as much open fighting as possible. When this happens you will see that all those drills go out the window.


that is exactly the issue. free style sparring is usually about whaling away on each other with sticks, when it should be about applying technique in a dynamic situation. Take out the danger factor (swords cut, ya know? kind of changes the mechanics and dynamics of what you do) and the discipline of technique, and whatever you have may be fun, but it is not 'art'.

Dave
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#378912 - 01/22/08 12:47 PM Re: Sparing [Re: mercierarmory]
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
Quote:


... but I just can't understand how anyone can be an effective swordsman when all you do are drills. ...




Then you need to learn to be more flexible with your thinking.
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Iaido - Breaking down bad habits, and building new ones.

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#378913 - 01/22/08 01:27 PM Re: Sparing [Re: Charles Mahan]
Vennificus Offline
Member

Registered: 01/21/08
Posts: 206
Loc: The frozen realms of Kah-Nah-D...
back on topic...
It depends on the discipline. Or really who's fighting who and to what degree. Some people prefer the "don't get hit" approach, and don't wear armor at all.
(A suggestion to all those "wailing on each other with sticks," Ten foot planks with a handle carved into them are indeed capable of beating someone with a katana. They are however, NOT very good for blocking said katana. Neither are your knucles. )
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