Kendo, kenjutsu and HEMA

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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 16 Apr 2012 17:46

Gordon L wrote:The largest shinai that is lighter than my usual sabre is 400g (Adult woman's 1h or youth 2h).
All I can say is to stop using the wrong shinai.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Mink » 16 Apr 2012 18:51

Gordon L wrote:
admin wrote:...makes for a drastically different handling characteristic compared to a real sword.


Well, it's not meant to be a military sabre simulator - military sabres are point-heavy. Chopping heads off at a gallop is a different task to fencing, after all. Then again, the set of 'real swords' is wider than military sabre.

They are simulators of the spadroon, and the successor to the spadroon, the duelling sabre. Some quintessential spadroons are the British infantry officer's swords from either side of the turn of the 1800s.


I happen to have data about an antique Spadroon.
Overall length 96.5cm, blade length 80cm, mass 1.3kg, CoG 10.2cm.
Even bearing in mind that these stats do not tell the whole story (we'd need the dynamic length to draw a more extensive comparison), the Olympic sabre with its 6.5cm CoG and 500g cannot be similar to that sword.
Assuming a similar dynamic length, the Olympic sabre is roughly 4 times lighter in the blade than the spadroon. That means doing moulinets with the Spadroon would ask 4 times the energy you need to do them at the same speed with the Olympic sabre, or that the Spadroon would be twice slower for the same power input. It cannot be argued that these weapons are the same.

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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 17 Apr 2012 01:17

Mink wrote:It cannot be argued that these weapons are the same.


No one has made the argument. Contrast and compare:
"This is a simulator for X"
"This is the same as X"

Mink wrote:I happen to have data about an antique Spadroon.
... than the spadroon... ... with the Spadroon ... that the Spadroon


But most importantly, not all spadrone are identical. For instance, there's an interesting one in Aylward (1948).

And of course, some of the final spadroons, the duelling sabres, are 400g to 700g.

Can I suggest we move this discussion over to the Fencing/Hema thread?
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 17 Apr 2012 06:56

Matt,
By pure luck I have found this very interesting picture on your Facebook page:

ken_sword_a.jpg
ken_sword_a.jpg (102.21 KiB) Viewed 16677 times

What do we know about it?
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Mink » 17 Apr 2012 08:44

Gordon L wrote:
Mink wrote:It cannot be argued that these weapons are the same.

No one has made the argument. Contrast and compare:
"This is a simulator for X"
"This is the same as X"

Now that is a great job of selective quoting :)
The point of my post, which must have escaped you due to that terrible imprecision in that last sentence, was that the weapons (these specific weapon examples if you prefer) were very different. The quality of a simulator is measured by its closeness to reality, in my opinion at least.
So let me rephrase:
It cannot be argued that this particular sabre is a good simulator of this specific spadroon.

But most importantly, not all spadrone are identical.

Hey it's you who said "They are simulators of the spadroon, and the successor to the spadroon, the duelling sabre"... You made that generalization first :)

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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby admin » 17 Apr 2012 10:38

Gordon L wrote:They are simulators of the spadroon, and the successor to the spadroon, the duelling sabre. Some quintessential spadroons are the British infantry officer's swords from either side of the turn of the 1800s.


The sport sabre is not remotely a simulator of the spadroon, I don't have a clue where you got that Idea Gordon!

FYI, the 1786 and 1796 Pattern British Infantry Officer's spadroons (of which I own two originals of the latter) weigh only very slightly less than the 1822 pattern infantry officer's sabre - just under 2lbs. The spadroon was a battlefield smallsword - if you look at Gordon's treatise of 1805 you will see that they were used more or less like a smallsword, with some cuts thrown in:
http://books.google.co.uk/books/reader? ... _atb_hover

The modern sport sabre equally is not a simulator of the Italian duelling sabre... the simulator of those were the Italian gymnasium sabres, on which the 1895 pattern British gymnasium sabre was modelled.

In short, the modern sport sabre is not a simulator of any particular historical sword. It is a more or less modern invention - at most you could say that it is a lighter and more hilt-balanced evolution from the last generation of Italian gymnasium sabres. But I thought we had already clarified this in the 'other' thread.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 17 Apr 2012 13:14

I got the idea from the fact that Italian duelling sabre is a late-model spadrone.

And yes, spadroons were both military and civil - in the UK, lighter spadroons were often civilian dress swords for people of a military background, and heavier ones were generally military swords.

But, given it's a name given to swords over a period from Stewart times to almost the 20th century, it's not really surprising that it covers quite a wide range of specific sword designs that form a lineage, rather than a single design. Comparing the spadroon of the 1600s and very-early 1700s with that of the late 1800s shows dramatic differences.

I think it helps to think of it as a designation of function - it was also known as the cut-and-thrust, and many of them would be better named as thrust-and-cut - rather than a label for a specific sword. Rather like 'hanger' describes the sword's owner, more than the sword itself.

That said, Roworth and Taylor's 1804 and 1824 works have spadroon sections, and you'll find them espousing essentially the the same things that Waite espouses in the 1880's, which look remarkable like the sporting sabre of the time, and a long period afterwards. Even in the 1950's, R&T and Waite's hanging-guard approach is defensive triangle number one of the UK National Training Method.

The guard stances using the Italian and Hungarian point-upwards positions are relegated to defensive triangle number two.

Meanwhile, back at the kendo... one minor point to make about shinai weights.

It's my understanding that even for IKF competition shinai, the minimum weights were increased to the current levels in the rule changes of 2000. I know the current weights certainly pre-date the 2006 rule changes, but it could have happened a bit earlier than 2000. I don't have access to the inaugural IKF rules of 1970, and I don't know the pre-change weights - I only only to knowing that the weights were beefed up for safety reasons, relatively recently.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 17 Apr 2012 13:20

For clarity, the National Training Method begins in the 1950s, and runs unchanged in that form through to the mid 1970s, at least.

At which point Prof. Leon Hill (now MBE) takes over from Prof. Bob Anderson, and the National Training Method changes gradually.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby admin » 17 Apr 2012 15:08

Gordon L wrote:I got the idea from the fact that Italian duelling sabre is a late-model spadrone.


Sorry Gordon, but I don’t agree with that premise. The evolution of the Italian duelling sabre has little to do with the spadroon. The Italian duelling sabre evolved from the military sabre, not the spadroon or smallsword.

And yes, spadroons were both military and civil - in the UK, lighter spadroons were often civilian dress swords for people of a military background, and heavier ones were generally military swords.


Whether civilian or military they were both developed from the small and court sword though, and the methods of use for both were based on the smallsword (ie. Foil).

That said, Roworth and Taylor's 1804 and 1824 works have spadroon sections, and you'll find them espousing essentially the the same things that Waite espouses in the 1880's, which look remarkable like the sporting sabre of the time, and a long period afterwards.


There was no ‘sporting sabre’ of the 1880’s in Great Britain (unless you count singlestick) – simply there were rules for competing at military sabre. Taylor’s treatise contains quite a different system to Waite’s and Taylor’s spadroon is rather different to his own sabre method. Also, Waite -explicitly- states that you cannot use a sabre like a foil, because the former weapon is too heavy! So I am unclear of what point you are making here – neither Taylor or Waite’s sabre system is like spadroon or smallsword, and a sport sabre is far lighter than a real sabre (yet does not use a spadroon or smallsword method!).

In a sentence could you please clarify for me what the main thrust of your point is?

Even in the 1950's, R&T and Waite's hanging-guard approach is defensive triangle number one of the UK National Training Method.


Most post-medieval fencing systems have some form of hanging parry or guard. Waite’s engaging guard is not a simple Prime or Seconde however, it is held lower, and Taylor seems to have used various engaging guards, including Tierce and Quarte.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 19 Apr 2012 16:00

From a Wikipedia article on bogu:

"The target areas of the dō are the two lower sides for a slashing cut to the stomach. The top half of the dō is a valid target for a thrust in naginata. In the past, this was also a valid target for a thrust in kendo, but is no longer a permitted target."

Do we know why a thrust into the do isn't longer permitted?
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Kendo and HEMA

Postby NeilG » 19 Apr 2012 19:43

Ulrich von L...n wrote:Do we know why a thrust into the do isn't longer permitted?
Thrust to the mune (the leather portion covering the upper chest) was for a while legal if the opponent was in jodan (high guard). It was probably legal if he was a nito player too. The intent of the rule was to discourage jodan which was getting quite popular at the time. It was changed back because it was just too easy to hit and now you have to hit the nodo (the flap hanging down from the men) regardless of your opponents posture.
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Max C. » 19 Apr 2012 19:55

Matt,
By pure luck I have found this very interesting picture on your Facebook page:


ken_sword_a.jpg (102.21 KiB) Viewed 137 times

What do we know about it?


This is Mitsuo Maeda - the guy who taught Judo to the Gracies in Brazil - fighting against anonymous sabre fencesr. Maeda is known to have challenged people all around the western world. Here is another pictures of them:
Image
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby bigdummy » 19 Apr 2012 20:55

Wow... really cool! Any report on how the fight went?

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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Max C. » 19 Apr 2012 22:08

No idea really. Those pictures are supposedly from this book http://www.ejudo.info/book/nonfiction/000066.html
So whoever reads Japanese and can get a copy might find the answer. :mrgreen:
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby admin » 20 Apr 2012 04:12

Great to pin this down, and they are proper sabres!
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Ulrich von L...n » 22 Apr 2012 07:00

NeilG wrote:...now you have to hit the nodo (the flap hanging down from the men) regardless of your opponents posture.

Thanks.
Receiving a two-hand thrust into the nodo must be a very unpleasant thing, because shinai is quite stiff in that direction. For a thrusting target I would prefer the upper part of the do.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 22 Apr 2012 07:25

Max,
Thank you for pinning that down.

This picture, showing something (just posturing, friendly sparring etc.) between a kenjutsu (kendo?) practitioner and a sabreur, is an extremely rare visual document. It is difficult to say when this photo was taken. Based on the headgear, the really heavy hand, forearm & elbow protection worn by the third person it might be fair to assume a time period between say 1890-1920.

It is worth noting the strange mask worn by the "kendoka". To my untrained eyes his posture, wrist position (twisting his wrists inside while holding the kattana's grip), the distance between the end of the grip & his body suggest that he was a trained swordsman or watched a lot trained swordsmen. If you measure the length of blades (sabre: ~47mm on my screen, kattana: ~40mm) and assume 85cm for sabre (Arlow gave 82-88cm as average length in 1902) that an approximation of 72-73cm could be calculated for the kendoka's weapon which is very realistic.

Edit: I have been forced to use "kattana", because I don't want automatic conversion into "banana". Btw it is a bit similar to "kattan", "coottan" spelling from Richard Cocks' diary (1615-1621).
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 22 Apr 2012 14:00

Or rather "cattan".

"But on a sudden, before it could be prevented, he start up and drue out a cattan and cut affe his brothers head, wounded his father, allmost cutting affe his arme..."
Diary of Richard Cocks, 1618

http://books.google.hu/books?id=QD8RAQA ... d+Cocks%22
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 22 Apr 2012 14:31

Max C. wrote: This is Mitsuo Maeda - the guy who taught Judo to the Gracies in Brazil - fighting against anonymous sabre fencesr. Maeda is known to have challenged people all around the western world.

After checking Wikipedia Commons it is painfully obvious that it would be almost impossible or impractical to find this Japanese book on Maeda:

Worldwide Judo Warrior: Biography of Mitsuyo Maeda aka Conde Koma
Written by Takao Marushima
Publisher: Shimadzu Shobo, 1997 (309 pages)

Strangely enough Maeda is usually depicted in a judogi or in Western clothing, probably this is the only picture where he wore hakama. I haven't been able to find any indication that he ever had studied kenjutsu or kendo, sources usually mention only his exposure to sumo and naturally judo. So it is very strange that Maeda posed with kattana, against a sabreur.

Till now I have found only one plausible explanation:
"On October of 1915 the Folha do Norte announced the coming of a new attraction to Belém, the capital of the Amazonion state of Pará:

'The troupe will perform jiu-jitsu, wresting, boxing and Japanese fencing matches and is directed by the undefeated world champion Count Koma. He will offer 5,000 francs for anyone able to defeat one of the troupe's members formed by Okura, champion of Chile, Shimizi, champion of Peru, Satake, champion of New York and Luku a former military instructor in Peru. The troupe is currently in the state of Pará on its way to North America. Its performances were met with great success in other countries. The troupe will be dressing proper and decent attire, and its performance is rigorously family oriented. The troupe will parade through the streets in their traditional outfits.' "
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Re: Kendo and HEMA

Postby Gordon L » 23 Apr 2012 06:19

NeilG wrote:...
Now I understand that kendoka aren't the only JSA people using shinai but the others tend towards things like fukuro shinai which are even heavier.


Not in my experience of a couple of Itto Ryu derivations, intermittently since the mid 80s, and Katori Shinto Ryu in the past few years.

Of course, ymmv. :-)
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