Picking the proper weapon size.

Discussion in 'Weapons' started by imperial_guardz, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. imperial_guardz

    imperial_guardz Master In Training

    It has come to my attention that many people do not know how to select weapons that are of proper size for them. Therefore, it is my intent to help inform you with this forum. For those of you who are adding to this list, write the title of the weapon in Bold and Underlined in order for it to stand out. Thanks...

    Imperial Guardz

    This weapon varies greatly on the art. Some styles just use a standard size for certain age ranges, others uses a different length depending on the size of the practitioner. See style for detail

    Chinese Broadsword/Sabre
    Cup your left hand, hold the guard of the broadsword to the side of your body with a straight arm, so that the tip of the sword points directly up towards the ceiling. A properly sized broadsword should have the tip of the sword at approximately the level of the practitioner's earlobe.

    Chinese Straight sword
    Hold the straight sword handle in the left hand, near the guard, with the index finger (and the middle finger) pointing down and touching the end of the sword handle. Keeping your arm nearly straight, the sword should be behind your left arm with the tip of the sword pointing directly up towards the ceiling. A properly sized straight sword will then have the tip of the sword at the same approximate level as the practitioner's temple or top of the ear.

    Sais / Gen
    Hold the weapon so that the joint of the prongs (between the middle prong and an outter prong) rest in between the pit of your thumb and index fingers. Let the middle prong be parallel with your forearm, pointing towards your elbow. When holding the weapon in this poisition, the proper size sai/gen should be when the middle prong's tip was at the level of your elbow, or an inch longer.
  2. LilBunnyRabbit

    LilBunnyRabbit Old One

    Personally I just go with the weapon size that feels the most comfortable, rather than some artificial prescription, but if you want some nice, artificial, generalised sizes that may not actually suit the people concerned:

    Should be the same length as the distance from your foot to your hand when your hand is fully stretched out above your head.

    Long knives
    At most the length of your wrist to elbow should be the length of the blade, otherwise you may as well just use a sword.

    Oh forget it. Go with whatever you personally find comfortable.
  3. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    Italian longsword
    Should IMHO be as long as from floor to your navel. The blade should not be so long that the tip of the blade touches the ground when you're in the lower guards (like fools guard, borars tooth and tail guard) It should have it's balance point no longer than a hands length out from the crossguard, and shouldn't weigh more than 6lbs; ideally closer to 4lbs.
  4. YODA

    YODA The Woofing Admin Supporter

    Works for me :D
  5. Domenico

    Domenico Valued Member

    The rules of thumb that I heard of in regards to weapon lengths, is that Zwiehanders should be to just above the bridge of the nose or forehead.

    Longswords are described by Fillipo Vadi in 'Liber de Arte Gladitoria de Dimicandi':

    Measures of the Spada da doi Mane (Two Handed Sword).
    The sword should be of the correct measure
    With the pommel just under the arm (pit),
    As here is written
    To avoid any hindrance:
    The pommel should be round to fit the closed hand
    Do this and you will not be in troubles
    And know for sure
    That the handle should be a span long
    Who has not this measures will be confused
    To prevent your mind from being deceived
    The hilt should be as long as handle and
    pommel ensemble, and you will not be endangered
    The hilt is squared and strong as needed
    With iron broad and pointed
    His duty being to wound and cut
    Be sure to note the following:
    If using the sword in arme’ (“in plate armor”)
    It must be sharp four fingers from the tip
    The grip as said above
    The pointed hilt, and note this writing

    I had always heard it described that a Longsword should sit at the sternum, and that is about the same height as the armpit.

    Rapiers should sit at the bottom of the ribcage or Solar Plexus, and the single sword (of the Renaissance at least) should end just above the ankle when held at the side.

    A different measure that I use for single sword is that when your arm is down and the tip is up, it should just sit above your shoulder. This puts the "sweet spot" (usually 2-3 inches from the tip) for a tip slash in a nice comfortable place that corresponds with the terminus of the strongest and most natural arc that your arms operate in (i.e. the distance from quillon to sweet spot is the distance from fingers to the deltoid.

    I fear this delves into a separate world of physics and kinetics akin to the harmonic waves described in blade manufacture, so I can only describe it as feeling "right" to have that relationship in place. Too short and it feels like I've exerted to much force for naught, too long and it feels like I'm not maximizing the energy I'm exerting, and hitting "short" of it's potential.
  6. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    Just gimme a big stick, regardless of size, and what ever comes within reach I will pound it to a pulp:D .
  7. Nerevar

    Nerevar A son of a mother

    Personally I think it should be varied. The indoctrination that a stick "Must be the leingth of your forearm from elbow to wrist and be as wide as thumb at it's thickest point" or a sword "must have a blade the leinght of your left leg from the floor to your hip while you stand on your tippy-toes and the guard is to be no larger than your right buttock" to be dumb-diddly. What if you find yourself with a weapon of the "wrong" size? Oh noes! I can't use a pair of nunchucks that have a cord longer than my erect.... fingers! :D
  8. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    From George Silver's paradoxes of Defence

    His single sword
    Of the length of weapons, and how every man may fit himself to the perfect length of his weapon, according to his own stature, with brief reasons wherefore they*ought to be so.* To know the perfect length of your sword, you shall stand with your sword and dagger drawn, as you see this picture, keeping out straight your dagger arm, drawing back your sword as far as conveniently you can, not opening the elbow joint of your sword arm, and look what you can draw within your dagger, that is the just length of your sword, to be made according to your own stature.

    His twohandedsword
    The perfect length of your two handed sword is, the blade to be the length of the blade of your single sword.

    To know the perfect length of your short staff, or half pike, forest bill, partisan, or glaive, or such like weapons of vantage and perfect lengths, you shall stand upright, holding the staff upright close by your body, with your left hand, reaching with your right hand your staff as high as you can, and then allow to that length a space to set both your hands, when you come to fight, wherein you may conveniently strike, thrust, and ward, & that is the just length to be made according to your stature. And this note, that these lengths will commonly fall out to be eight or nine foot long, and will fit, although not just, the statures of all men without any hinerance at all unto them in their fight, because in any weapon wherein the hands may be removed, and at liberty, to make the weapon longer of shorter in fight at his pleasure, a foot of the staff being behind the backmost hand does no harm. And wherefore these weapons ought to be of the lengths aforesaid, and no shorter, these are the reasons: If they should be shorter, then the long staff, morris pike, and such like weapons over and above the perfect length, should have great advantage over them, because he may come boldly and safe without any guard or ward, to the place where he may thrust home, and at every thrust put him in danger of his life, then can the long staff, the morris pike, or any longer weapon lie nowhere within the compass of the true cross, to cross and uncross, whereby he may safely pass home to the place, where he may strike or thrust him that has the long weapon, in the head, face, or body at his pleasure.

    [n]Of the lengths of the battle axe, halberd, or black bill[/b], or such like weapons of weight, appertaining unto guard or battle.

    In any of these weapons there needs no just length, but commonly they are, or ought to be five or six foot long, & may not well be used much longer, because of their weights, and being weapons for the wars and battle, when men are joined close together, may thrust, & strike sound blows, with great force both strong and quick. And finally for the just lengths of all other shorter or longer weapons to be governed with both hands, there is none. Neither is their any certain lengths in any manner of weapons to be used with one hand, over or under the just length of the single sword.

    And ty Domenico for the passage from Vadi, I can use it in some research for teh an SCA guild, and get them to allow larger weapons in it.
  9. imperial_guardz

    imperial_guardz Master In Training

    For training purpose, I believe it is best if you trained with a weapon that properly fits you. This makes it easier for you to learn proper technique and positions, which makes it alot easier for you to become efficient in the techniques. When you have become efficient in the techniques, then you probably would be able to perform the same technique accurately with a weapon that does not suit you perfectly anyways. So if you were in a situation with a weapon that was not right for you, then you would still be able to use it, even though it may take a while to become used to the weapon.

    And try using nunchucks with a different cord length...it makes a big difference...too long...then too short...both makes it much more difficult to use. If you train with one of the wrong size, you could easily pick up many wrong habits that will effect your technique when using another sized pair.
  10. shootodog

    shootodog restless native

    if you can work it, then it works!
  11. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    also some schools or sytms specify a weapon of a specif size and using a weapon of an inapropiate size would distort the system and not make it teh system. In other words there is a reason, usually, on why some one ssays to use a wepon of such and such length.
  12. Pat OMalley

    Pat OMalley Valued Member

    If you cant it's Karate:D , no sorry about that, only joking.
  13. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    The length of your cane:
    For self-defense, the cane should be as long as comfortable usually the longer the better . If the cane will be used for support while walking or hiking, measure from the outside of your wrist to the ground while wearing shoes.

    ... I waited no one else wanted to post it :rolleyes:

  14. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    That is actaully the premise behind Silver's perfect length. The longest weapon that you should be abel to comfortably weild. Liek with the sword, his perfect lenght is LONG for a single handed sword but if it were shorter some of the gaurds he describe arent doable, an dif too long then you have take more steps an dits longer to recover and bring to bear.

    reach is King, or at least for me.
  15. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    I want to play with a sheperds crook or one of those Bocanes ( 60+ inch staves with a crook .... ) not much good for my knees or taking to the coffee shop with me .. but oh the joys of beating someone from a distance ...... but at the same time I think my cane is a little sluggish and not as responsive as I would like it to be becouse of its length and weight . Working with it seems to help but I may end up having to just taper it and see if it speeds it up any becouse I cant lose any length .

    Should Tanto's be consider long knives ?

    And so far we have nothing on the Katana, the wakaski, ( spelling is wrong I am sure ), or the Bokkan .

    Where are the ninjitsu people ? They should be in here adding some stuff !

    Anyone know anything about selecting the Kama ?

    Be well and train hard everyone !!!


  16. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    I actually think a tanto is short knife or middle sized one, but then again I think katanas are shortswords and wakizashis large knives.
  17. imperial_guardz

    imperial_guardz Master In Training

    By tradition, the proper sword length is measured by naturally holding the sword (grabbing it right at the base of the guard) by your side with the blade tip pointing down to the ground. The tip of the blade on a proper sword should clear the ground without touching it. The hilt (handle) of the sword should be three palm widths long (or a forearm length) for maximum leverage, proper balance, and to reduce the tendancy of breakage.

    Some Iaido schools recommend longer swords for resheathing the sword properly (also to make resheathing easier and safer). They measure the sword length by extending the arm fully positioning the sword horizontally, so that the tip of the sword is at the centre of the sheath opening. This length is usually slightly longer than the traditional lengths.
  18. imperial_guardz

    imperial_guardz Master In Training

    Katanas are the large swords, Wakizashis are the medium swords and Tanto are the small swords.
  19. Cudgel

    Cudgel The name says it all

    I was referomg to how these weaposn are when sized to the average stature of the japanese.
  20. Stolenbjorn

    Stolenbjorn Valued Member

    I know little of japaneese weapons history, but a katanacollector I've been talking with once claimed that the wakisashi originally was more like a long knife, and that it's blade have grown steadily (evolved) into the shortsword it is today.

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