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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MesserMan View Post
    Swords of Northshire huh? I’m going to have to check this out then. I have a Ronin Dojo Pro katana, and while it’s well balanced, it’s a bear of a sword for longer sessions because it’s a Dotanuki blade. LOTS of blade-presence! Doing kata with it for a half-hour is an intense entire body workout by itself. It’s the sword I hand to people who think that all Katana are featherweight laser beams. Cures them of that notion the instant they have it in their hand.
    Yes, sword work can be a great workout.

    Funny that people think katana are light...most are actually pretty blade heavy by design. And something else most people don't realize is that katana are pretty short, really short in comparison to even average European two handed swords. There are a lot of one handed swords that are longer than the standard katana.

    I've never handled a Ronin Dojo Pro, how do you like it?

    I've picked up a few Ryujin blades for the dojo the last couple years, I'm quite impressed with them. Good blades, very nice fittings, and a great value. They have all been nice quality but the weight of the blade hasn't been totally consistent (which isn't necessarily bad). I've got one that's surprisingly light and handy for a katana, out of character as compared to most I've handled. I have yet to cut with them though.
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

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    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  2. #12
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    Sep 2009
    Location
    Illinois
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    781
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    Yes, sword work can be a great workout.

    Funny that people think katana are light...most are actually pretty blade heavy by design. And something else most people don't realize is that katana are pretty short, really short in comparison to even average European two handed swords. There are a lot of one handed swords that are longer than the standard katana.

    I've never handled a Ronin Dojo Pro, how do you like it?

    I've picked up a few Ryujin blades for the dojo the last couple years, I'm quite impressed with them. Good blades, very nice fittings, and a great value. They have all been nice quality but the weight of the blade hasn't been totally consistent (which isn't necessarily bad). I've got one that's surprisingly light and handy for a katana, out of character as compared to most I've handled. I have yet to cut with them though.
    I don’t have much experience with katana in general, so I don’t have much of a baseline to compare the Dojo Pro to. It is by far though, the heaviest and most beastly katana out of the few I’ve handled. It’s a monosteel blade, made of 1060 carbon. I actually bought it about 7 years ago, before I knew much of anything about swords, based solely on its reputation for being tough and able to handle abuse. It lived up to its reputation; before I knew better, I used it to cut down I don’t know how many 2” to 3” saplings. Most of those were NOT clean cuts, but the sword is no worse for the wear, the edge is still just as sharp as it was out of the box, and the fittings are still tight to this day. I did manage to scuff the blade up pretty good and destroy the ito wrap in the process, and it now wears a very basic paracord wrap under a layer of tennis racquet tape. Not traditional in the slightest, but functional. It’s a heavy brute of a katana, but it’s well-balanced, and it can CUT. In case I didn’t say it enough already, did I mention that’s it’s heavy?

    These days, I’m more of a saber guy, and I’ve been studying Polish and Hungarian saber manuals. I’m beginning to learn some of the German longsword material alongside that, so the Katana stuff has been put on the back-burner. The Dojo Pro still has a place on my wall though.
    - "When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    - Keep your rifle by your side.

  3. #13
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    What saber do you have?
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  4. #14
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    Sep 2009
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    Illinois
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    The only saber I currently possess is a Cold Steel 1917 saber. It handles like garbage because it has no distal taper, but it’s great for going through some of the practice routines slowly. It really builds up the wrists and forearms, and makes other one-handed swords feel light in comparison. I have a Zombie Tools D’Capitan on order because I want something with a more modern design. Reviews say it handles well for a saber so I’m looking forward to that. At some point I’d like a proper historical example of a U.S. 1840 heavy cavalry saber.
    - "When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers."- Ralph Waldo Emerson

    - Keep your rifle by your side.

  5. #15
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    Dec 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Yamamoto View Post
    yes, though I usually see it referred to as Kriegsmesser. Same same. Big fricking knife. :)
    Doing some research into the old manuals for the Kriegs knives and found a few videos that show this 'knife' offense/defense is quite interesting:



    I have to wonder how these Kriegs blades stood up to real swords of the time, from different countries....
    "When one goes willingly into the darkness, all he will find there, is what he brought in with him".

    --Gabe Suarez, after the 7-11 shootout

    Proper development of the 'Warrior Spirit', training and physical conditioning before 'The Event' cannot be overstated.

    U.S. Army Rangers (1/75 'Old Scroll')
    CRG; 0-5 Feet CRG; PSP Pistol; FOF Instructor School; Combat Pistol Instructor School

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlinPhoenix View Post
    Doing some research into the old manuals for the Kriegs knives and found a few videos that show this 'knife' offense/defense is quite interesting:

    I have to wonder how these Kriegs blades stood up to real swords of the time, from different countries....
    cool. I see a lot of Jujutsu/Aiki stuff in there. I will review this more when I have some time.

    Messers and falchions had quite thin blades. I know they definitely were not intended for use against hard armor. They were quite sharp and worked well against clothing...some think they were really intended for use against peasants and non-professional militia. I would guess they are a self defense weapon rather than so much of a war weapon (no/little armor).

    I think swords in general got a lot more beat up than people realize. Steel on steel damages things quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised that a lot of swords needed replacing after a single battle.

    Even test cutting swords today, which are almost all better steel than what they had in the past, can get damaged just cutting hard stuff (wood or bamboo) or even tatami cutting mats, if one isn’t careful with edge alignment.
    Last edited by Brent Yamamoto; 10-05-2020 at 12:50 PM. Reason: typos
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

  7. #17
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    Dec 2009
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    Brent, when I saw the throws and joint locks, I thought you would find this interesting, particularly since these long knives were the tools of the common man.
    "When one goes willingly into the darkness, all he will find there, is what he brought in with him".

    --Gabe Suarez, after the 7-11 shootout

    Proper development of the 'Warrior Spirit', training and physical conditioning before 'The Event' cannot be overstated.

    U.S. Army Rangers (1/75 'Old Scroll')
    CRG; 0-5 Feet CRG; PSP Pistol; FOF Instructor School; Combat Pistol Instructor School

  8. #18
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    Dec 2009
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    Brent, I found another video that features this messer in dissimilar blade combat. Interesting that the messer-wielder still uses the binds and body mechanics of messer v messer. What do you think? 2:35 video

    "When one goes willingly into the darkness, all he will find there, is what he brought in with him".

    --Gabe Suarez, after the 7-11 shootout

    Proper development of the 'Warrior Spirit', training and physical conditioning before 'The Event' cannot be overstated.

    U.S. Army Rangers (1/75 'Old Scroll')
    CRG; 0-5 Feet CRG; PSP Pistol; FOF Instructor School; Combat Pistol Instructor School

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlinPhoenix View Post
    Brent, I found another video that features this messer in dissimilar blade combat. Interesting that the messer-wielder still uses the binds and body mechanics of messer v messer. What do you think? 2:35 video
    I think this was really well done! Not only great entertainment but after watching a couple times I think quite decent swordsmanship and fight choreography (at least to this amateur sword guy's eye). The short version - they demonstrate quite well how the different swords have different fighting styles, how distance is used to advantage/disadvantage depending on the weapon, how standing grappling is so important, defense from the ground, wild over-swing is not to evident (and even when it happens, it's believable because they are getting tired). We don't see that moment that is in EVERY sword fight where they bind up and have a conversation...instead they fight to control each other's blade, and there's a kick at one point that was entirely believable at grappling range where both swords were bound/controlled. We only see two spins (thank God), both of which are defensible in context. And we even see the messer-ist punch the other guy using the knucklebow of his sword. Pretty damn fun I think.

    Now for long-winded, rambling sword video commentary...

    I think people can be too critical of fight scenes on movies/tv/youtube. I think if it's entertaining and drives the story forward, it's a good fight scene IMO (sadly, movies often fail at even that low bar). But if they can make it more realistic, that's a nice bonus. A big challenge is making the fight scene understandable to the audience; real fighting is messy, fast, congested, and sometimes incredibly subtle...those are all difficult things to show on film. So I'm forgiving of a lot of "bad" fighting (fists, guns or swords) as long as they can avoid egregiously stupid things and tell a compelling, fun story.

    The guys that put this together are clearly HEMA enthusiasts and trying to make something more realistic, so kudos to them. This short video tells a story (it's sparse, but it's a story), it's entertaining, it's fun, and at least to my amateur swordsman's eye, it's pretty realistic. I'm certainly no swordsmanship expert, but I do know a thing or two about fighting and this looks more like a fight than most crap we see.


    Some things I like:
    *The video shows the fighters using different swords to their relative strengths and strategies of use (at least based on my limited knowledge). Most of what we see from hollywood is wild slashing, using blades like baseball bats with no regard to how a sword is supposed to be used nor how different swords should be used in different ways. These weapons are used differently and I think the vid very effectively demonstrates that.

    *Rapier is a cut and thrust sword, but it is strongly optimized for the the thrust. They can certainly cut but are relatively weak. The rapier-ist in the vid mostly uses the thrust, and it least some of his cuts are set-ups to a thrust. This is great, mostly we see thrust swords only performing cuts (I understand why hollywood does this but it's still distracting to me).

    *Messer is a cut and thrust sword, but is optimized for the cut. There's a lot more variation to messer blades than rapier, some were straighter and very capable in the thrust, some less so...but all were decent cutters. The messer-ist mostly uses the cut in this vid, with a few thrusts thrown in, very appropriate.

    *The rapier is a later development and had a more complex hilt with better hand protection. Coupled with it's long point and being thrust-centric, the rapier-ist leads with the point, extending their arm and sword point towards the opponent. The hand is much less vulnerable with this weapon and the video shows this to good effect.

    *The messer did not offer as much hand protection (this example shows more hand protection than most), since the hand is more vulnerable they tend not to extend the arm as much in the guard. The video shows this as well.

    *They both started out with rapiers; at this time in history it was the highest development of the sword and it was optimized for it's context - the civilian duel. Assuming you were the right class and had the money, you'd be carrying a rapier and not a messer (sort of like comparing a Glock to a revolver...both are capable but one has a clear advantage). The missed shot hitting the rapier might be a bit of a contrivance but I think it works; in order to demonstrate a fight between different weapons, they had to set it up somehow. Those old pistols weren't all that accurate, and I like how it shows mistakes and bad luck just happen in fights. And I really like how the protagonist is forced to quickly grab what is at hand and make do. Indeed that was the whole point of the video...making do with an inferior weapon and using it to it's best advantage. Good stuff.

    *Manipulation of distance - this is probably my favorite thing about this video. The length of the rapier is an asset in the duel, it is simply the superior weapon in this context. We see the rapier-ist use the additional length of his weapon to his advantage, using the point to keep the other guy at bay and attack at longer distance. Even when he's knocked to the ground he uses it's length protect himself. The messer-ist clearly understands he's at a disadvantage. He tries to get away a couple times but is unable as the rapier-ist effectively uses positioning and threat of his point to cut off the escape. The only way for the messer guy to overcome is to close inside the range of the rapier. At grappling range he's able to successfully control the other guy's weapon and both slash and stab with the blade, and even punch with the knucklebow. I love it.

    *A side note on distance. In one of Gabe's Force on Force classes we had a long discussion about distance. One of the students made the point that CONTROLLING distance was a key variable in all fighting. Gabe and I both agreed that it could be controlled in a PROACTIVE fight, but we were discussing REACTIVE fights where one does not have the opportunity to control distance AT ALL. The bad guy has the initiative, and the bad guy determines the distance at the beginning of hostilities. Only once the fight starts does the good guy have a chance to manipulate distance...and even then he has no CONTROL over distance. Distance is something we try to manipulate, we of course try to use to our advantage, but much like initiative, distance is constantly contested. Each fighter gets a vote, but no one has control.

    At the start of the sword fight, these two guys essentially have equal initiative and are contending with one another to fight at the distance most advantageous for them. The messer-ist was eventually more effective at enforcing the distance he wanted to fight, but it was contested the entire time.


    A note on the messer. Calling it a "long messer" is perhaps misleading...actually it looks to be on the shortish side. But these are often called "lange messer", which just means "long knife"...and it's certainly long for a knife. But the single-hand messer is relatively short for a sword. Most messer examples I see are just overgrown bowie knives (and nothing wrong with that).

    When I first watched this vid, I thought it looked more like a cutlass. Indeed, the blade is no different than a cutlass or short sabre. But messer blades varied a lot, and the thing that really determines if it's a messer is the handle/guard. I had to slow the vid down to see it, but it's clearly a messer. Apparently later period messers had the beginnings of more complex hilts, with greater hand protection than early medieval period swords.
    Attachment 60348

    Fun vid, thanks for sharing!
    Brent Yamamoto
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor

    Ready, willing, able. Bring it.

    Instagram: karate_at_1200fps

    Upcoming classes:

    Pistol Groundfighting, Texas

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