Discussion in 'Weapons' started by samuri-man, Dec 15, 2004.

  1. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Good point and good links dude. Thanks!
  2. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    I suppose the level of contact in FIE fencing isn't that far removed from 'real' sword fighting - whatever that is. But, fencers are explicitly forbidden from touching their opponent with anything other than their blade and they can't deliberately touch their opponents blade with anything other than their own weapon. They also can't cover their target with their non sword arm in foil. That's fairly restrictive and if you're not used to getting up close and personal with fists and feet and grabs and grapples and throws it's completely different to hitting someone with a thin piece of steel at a distance of 3-5 feet away.

    I agree that fencing doesn't test your mettle in a more physical one-on-one sense and that's one of the reasons I don't think fencing prepares you that well for self defence (other than general conditioning, speed and a sense of distance). One of the reasons I took up CKD was to get into an MA that is more relevant to self defence. It's partially done that but it's non competitive and only covers strikes. However, it's a good start. Someday I would like to try a more grapply art (BJJ or similar?) and maybe some more competitive striking (TKD?) and weapon (Filipino stuff?) based arts as well.

    Looks like I'll be busy :D

  3. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Solid point.

    I've done taekwondo and the Filipino stuff (FMA) at length myself. FMA is definitely good for weapons. And it's related to fencing in some fundamental ways. Plus it does address empty hand as well (depending on the quality of the school). I consider FMA my "base."

    I could use some more grappling experience myself.

  4. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    I'd like to reflect on this one:
    *Modern olympic fencing is a deravation from renissanse rapier (war of the roses/3 musketeers, etc) That was pretty lethal, duel stuff; in fact; on another thread on shields in japan one suggests that japaneese katana have more in common with rapier than with medieval longsword. Current raperists I've met actually means that the rapier is more efficient than the longsword (given that both are unarmoured), and a pretty diecent longswordwielder from Italy sais that he have much more problems defeating rapierfencers than katanafencers. Yet others claim that portugeese adventurers beat the crap out of japaneese swordmen in the 16th century using a combo of dagger and rapier vs. katana.
    *Olympic fencers (and european boxers) don't have to go light on one another as the weapons they use are harmless. (in Olympic fencing they don't have to go hard either, as electronic contact is all it takes to land a hit; but compared to someone sparring with hard, potentially lethal weapons they're less drilled into go light than for instance a karate, reenacter, etc.)

    So will an olympic fencer be able to land lethal thrusts on another person if he happened to walk a stroll in the park with a museum-rapier?

    Two people in the european historical fighting community (that my teacher speaks well of) decided once on a WMA congress to try to have an actual duel, with sharp-point-swords-real-swords. Naturally they were going to go light, given the consiquenses were they to go full contact... One of them landed a stab in the tigh of the other, luckily the one stabbing managed to pull the blow so that the point went only an inch in. The one beeing hit told later that he imediatly froze stiff in his entire body, had incredible pain in the entire thigh and fealt for days later as if having someone banging an iron bar in this tigh.
    This is valuable info in a discussion where the discussion is: will a swordman finish his cut even if he's stabbed? Certain medieval longsword/katanatechniques are described in a way that it seems that the authors have been convinced that a stab is sufficiant to stop a cut, but many of us practicing it today have been doubhting the truefulness in this assumption, feeling that we've misunderstood some drawing or translation. The results from this little test pointed in favour of the ones believing that we haven't misunderstood anything and that the medieval swordmasters from either asia or europe knew perfectly what they were doing.

    Would he be able to land lethal thrusts with an ash-stick when doing a little stroll in the park and beeing ambushed?
    Well in the LARP community in europe some years ago some idiot decided that he could bring his quarterstaff (that he hadn't trained with, only had for show), a decition that prooved allmost fatal, as he used it to prod an opponed in the chest. This resulted in the opponents ribcage gave in, and he barely survived thanks to speedy shipment to hospital.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2005
  5. Chris Umbs

    Chris Umbs New Member

    Realism is a hard path to walk in tournament situations which is where different schools usually meet. There used to be a WMA group that, while rapier fencing, was notorious for fencers who just charged in, got hit, and then began wrestling - claiming that their adrenaline would have kicked in. As a trained classical and historical fencer, I tend to worry more about not getting hit. I've also read account from Vietnam war meds who said they saw people of similar builds take similar wounds and one would drop from shock instantly and the other wouldn't even know he'd been hit. So you just never know how you'll react when it happens.

    There is some supporting evidence against my views though, at

  6. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Stuart, Chris & stolenbjorn,
    Some good points made here. Stolenbjorn, I guess you're right about the walk in the park with a rapier (hypthetical right ;)). An FIE fencer probably would be more dangerous compared to a non fencer who had one. My original argument against was that an FIE fencer with a different weapon is not an FIE fencer anymore. Technically true but practically laughable so I won't try and defend that position anymore!

    "The results from this little test pointed in favour of the ones believing that we haven't misunderstood anything and that the medieval swordmasters from either asia or europe knew perfectly what they were doing."

    They did it for real on a regular basis so they did know what they were talking about. We mainly practise at MA's and I bet very few of us have seen a real swordfight to the death or felt the effects of a rapier cutting flesh.

    Alright then here it is, you lot have convinced me. FIE fencing taken as a whole, with certain caveats, is in fact a martial art in the broad sense.

    Good to have the debate though ;)

  7. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Good debate indeed.

    But resistance is futile. ;)
  8. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member


    Assuming similar size, basic physical ability and intelligence, would you fancy the chances of a filipino stick meister over an FIE fencer if neither of them had weapons but neither had trained in an empty hand art?

    I still slightly favour the stick wielders if it gets a bit physical although the fencer would probably be quicker.

  9. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    The FMAist actually trains the empty hand combat as standard practice it is very rare that an FMA would not do the empty hand combat skills anyway, but for your example lets say they had not, every thing done in FMA with weapons is applicable and applied in empty hand combat with just slight adjustments making the transition easier to apply from weapon to empty hand skills. In FMA the weapon skills are looked upon as the basic skills unlike other MAist and they empty hand skills are considered to be the advanced skills, but without even realising it whilst practicing FMA you are already learning your empty hand skills.

    But secondly, if a person claims to do FMA but has no empty hand knowledge then they have no knowledge of FMA, they are just stick twirlers.

    The FMAist range maybe closer and the fnecer may well be quicker down the centre line more like say a Wing Chun practioner, but the FMAist may have a more unpredictable line of movement but both styles deal with sword combat skills so they could well balance each other out, but as I said before the FMAist would automatically know how to adapt his/her skills to empty hand combat.

    I have guys that have trained with me for years and have then gone on to take up fencing as an additional art and have found it quite easy to adapt to their way of doing things, they also found that in some cases they had an edge becuase they could easily translate their FMA sword skills and adapt it to the European Sword Skills, you have to remember that there is a lot of relation between the FMA and European fencing after all the Spanish were fighting the Filipino's for over 300 years so some skills had to rub off on them.
  10. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    fie fencing (saber) is quite complimentary to fma. if i (a class c fie fencer) goes up against, say pat, using a standard regulation sport saber and pat used a stick, rule # 1 of the fight would come into play: longer weapon has advantage over distance. if pat bridges that distance, he'd whack me silly. my key here is to keep "in temps" but that would be purely defense and looking for a stop cut on my part.

    i am also fortunate enough to be a student of the fma. though my fencing footwork has helped me a lot during sparring. yet fma footwork can make the fma'er idsaterously unpredictable, giving him angle options not taught to an fie fencer (saber). plus the fact that fma sparring rarely breaks or pauses after one lands a hit. it goes on and on and on until 1) time runs out 2) someone drops his stick 3) someone surrenders or is unable to continue (i have on many occasions, stopped because my hands were so banged up that i could no longer grip my baston) 4) someone gets knocked out. fma also trains the fighter to "experience" and acclimatizes them to the heavy hits of bastons. something that may be a "shocking" experience to an fie fencer (even though the hits were heavy in the old days before electronic recorders were introduced to saber fencing).

    fencing is greaty at developing many combat skills. footwork distance and timing being some of the most important ones. i'd liken fencing as a cross between chess and sprinting in a sauna suit and helmet. i loved it! that's why i probably spent most of my collage years playing it.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2005
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Well, you've already gotten two really good answers to this. But here goes:

    As Pat said, all proper FMA programs feature empty hand. If they don't, it's a good indication that the teacher has just done a couple of seminars on stickwork or something. That's not really the heart and soul of FMA in my opinion.

    I tend to agree with you that the stick wielder is going to have a small advantage. Both stick and fist are impact weapons. And the requirements of bringing an impact weapon to bear on a target with appreciable force are already going to be a known quotient for one guy. Not so much for the other.

    But obviously we're talking about two abstraction combatants. Two tabula rasas who exist solely as embodiments of the limitations of their styles. In reality, it'd be impossible to say. I'm quite sure that I've known FMA guys who would have been hopeless and fencers who would be happy to dive tackle you and bounce your head off the pavement.

  12. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Pat, shooto and ap - Excellent stuff! These posts pretty much confirm what I had thought although my experience of FMA is nil so I'm only qualified on one side of the debate. For example, I wasn't aware that empty hand was an integral part of FMA :eek:

    It's been about 15 years since I fought sabre regularly but I seem to remember that in the days of steam sabre, the hits were of a similar force but just a lot harder to judge. As Shootodog says, fie fencers break when any sort of hit is registered and continual hard hitting is something they're not used to at all.

    "fencing is greaty at developing many combat skills. footwork distance and timing being some of the most important ones. i'd liken fencing as a cross between chess and sprinting in a sauna suit and helmet. i loved it! that's why i probably spent most of my collage years playing it."

    You've got it nailed!

    Maybe I should take up a FMA and see how fencing helps my FMA but also how FMA helps my fencing :D

  13. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I would definitely encourage you to do that mate. :)
  14. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    I am confident that it will help you on all counts, your FMA will definetly improve your fencing skills and visa versa.

    A little story here. I was hosting an historical fencing meeting at my club in Yorkshire a few years ago and I was asked to demonstrate the FMA, So I went through all the weapons and applications quickly including the empty hand translation, During the demo one guy stormed out which I thought quite rude, I never walk out half way through anyones demo even if I think it is rubbish, but there you go. Fot the rest of the weekend many of the attendee's kept comparing styles with me and noticing what similarities we had and we had a great time, but this guy kept clear of me all weekend, But that was his choice and I never gave it a second thought.

    Anyway, once everyone was saying their goodbyes this guy finally came up to me and thanked me for letting them use my venue, I asked him if he enjoyed the weekend. He looked puzzeld and paused for a second, he said "once I seen you demo I realised what I have been doing wrong all these years" I obviously got curious and asked him what he meant.
    He said, "well our only real way of learning is by trying to translate the wirtten material of the era and it is hard to translate hand drawn pictures, I then realised that what we have been laking was simply footwork".
    I think what he was also laking was an open mind, for if he had one, he would not have taken the written word as gospel and he would have looked at the footwork and utilise it in his training as opposed to walking off in a huff and learning nothing. But I suppose he learnt something in the end.

    I have done a bit of European MA in my time and I am more than convinced that the FMA has a heavy European influence and more than likely visa versa. and the two seem to compliment each other very well. You have to remember that the WMA was very much like the FMA as we see it now, they were complete systems of training, they did not just cncentrate of say Sabre, they trained a wide veriatey of weapons including empty hand combat skills, but over the years it splintered very much in the same way that the Japanese MA has, with it grappling styles e.g. Lancashire Wrestling, punching styles e.g. Boxing and weapons styles e.g. Sport Sabre Fencing, The WMA has all the atributes of a complete MA system it has just been scattered about a bit over the years and just needs someone to put it back together again, The FMA is more fortunate in that it is still taught reletavely the same way as it has always been, it is taught as a battlefield art and every weapon in a battle has to come to bear, that is what FMAers have the attitude that they have when it comes to a crossing of sticks.


    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  15. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Great post. I had forgotten the importance of the more holistic approach to MA's where lots of different techniques and weapons are taught under one roof and had assumed that all modern MA's were specialised.

    Strange that the guy in the story walked out once he realised what he had been missing or getting wrong - like you say, it should have been the opposite but the human ego leads to all sorts of strange behaviour.

    Hopefully I'll make it to a MAP meet someday and see what the FMA guys and gals have to show!

  16. Chris Umbs

    Chris Umbs New Member

    It depends on what Western system you want to learn. If you want to learn say 'Viking sword and shield' you're on your own - no living tradition, no treatise. If you wan't to learn c. 1300's German sword and buckler it gets slightly better - still no living traditions (AFAIK), but you get written material here (not just pictures, though the language translation is beyond most people). For later styles (rapier, smallsword, foil, sabre, epee, knife, cane, bayonette, etc..) there are living traditions though they are few and far between. Where I have a problem with some WMA folks is when they would rather download a 15th c. treatise off the net, get 5 pals together in the backyard without insurance and call themselves a WMA school instead of learning from what's still out there. I think it's all ego, they want to be known as teachers and researchers instead of students.

    As for complete systems, there are places where you can learn 'the French or Italian school' with all the weapons in the system. Where you see breakdowns in style is between military weapons and civilian weapons. If you are dealing with earlier weapons there's not much of a difference, but later on they become specialized and most living tradition schools usually only concentrate on civilian (self-defense and defense of honor). Please don't let some of the self proclaimed WMA schools color your opinion of the art.

    Pat, I wish I could agree with your statement about FMA and sticks, but I've been in too many FMA tourneys where the fighters don't even treat the daggers and swords as real let alone the stick. If there is one thing that fencers do better (again, based on what I've seen in tourney) is 'hitting without being hit' as opposed to 'hitting twice for every hit you get' or 'hitting twice as hard for every hit you get'.

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2005
  17. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    I am sure you would not base real fencing based on sport fencing so you can understand when I say don't compare sport eskrima with the real FMA. I have done both for many years and the sport in no way shows the real art, it is like Olympic Fencing, just a sport. I know what you mean where you say the fighters don't respect the dagger and such, it is a shame but the vast amjority of people that participate in the tourny's are simply what I call stick bashers, but you do get a rare few who treat it and look different.


  18. Wynnston

    Wynnston Member

    Hang on a minute................

    So sport fencing is not a 'real' MA then? ;) . That's the point I've been trying to make for the last 60 posts!

    Looks like I tapped out too early :cry:

  19. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    its more or less based on what the person doing whatever wnats out of it. Sayig fencig isnt a MA is like saying Wushu isnt or singlestick or any other sport or demo based art.
    If the particapant is only doing to win or too look cool then he isnt practicing a MA hes just doing a sport, but if the person is doing it to learn the skills and to hone them and persues them in a martial manner, ie treats the pratice tools as if they are real weapons and every or most every training seesion as thoiugh his life depended on it then I woulsd say he is practicing a MA.
  20. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    That is not what I said, please don't put words in my mouth:bang: . An assumption was made about FMA based on a few Tourny's, Tournaments at the end of the day as sporting events and do not show the whole picture especially in FMA, you see just 10% of what the art is about and many I am affraid to say just Stick Bash at these events, but then the rules encourage you to stick bash. The same way as you cannot compare the real art of fencing by looking at an Olympic Sporting event, again you miss the whole picture and only see 10% of the art. When rules are set down you PLAY within the rules.
    All forms of fighting at the end of the day are Martial Arts in one way or another, so I think you may have tapped out at the right time:D

Share This Page