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"Edges of Knowledge:Parrying With A Cutting Sword" Topic

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339 hits since 4 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP04 Jun 2018 3:57 p.m. PST

"Defense with a cutting sword is often a much misunderstood aspect of employing the weapon. It is vital to realize that parries (the opposition blocking of attacks) with a medieval sword or with any edged cutting blade are made not with the edge of the blade but with the flat ("mit der flech"). Yet it is astounding how often this basic fact of swordsmanship is violated or ignored. Many enthusiasts and students incorrectly continue to naively believe that a cutting sword can easily use its edge to parry with ľor should even do so preferably.

Whether a sword has a keen hard-tempered edge or a duller, softer one, parrying edge-to-edge will quickly trash it (something witnessed in many films and swordplay videos). Doing so will also likely break a blade far sooner than not. For example, even without any sharp edge on them the best replica rapiers today will immediately accumulate a multitude of significant tiny gouges and nicks in their "edges" from the blade to blade contact occurring during simple practice. This applies even more so to wider swords with dedicated cutting edges. In fact, taking a hard blow on the edge of a real sword's fully-tempered blade can actually cause it to fracture (something seldom witnessed today with softer, case-hardened replicas used for theatrical combat, instead, their thicker soft edges can be repeatedly beaten on and filed over)…."
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goragrad04 Jun 2018 9:51 p.m. PST

Frankly I have seen epees and foils with nicks and they dont even have edges.

As to swords and parrying with the edge, Oakshotte in 'Archeology of Weapons' noted an incident from one of the sagas where a man loaned his sword to a friend for a holmgang. The man became quite wroth with his friend when he parried a blow with the edge and the point was cut from the blade.

As I recall the point flew/fell and hit the friend (one of the duelists) and drew blood ending the holmgang.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP05 Jun 2018 12:07 p.m. PST



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