Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Open to public view.

Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 03 Mar 2014 21:29

Hello all!

I've compiled a small article with advice I've found in sources that inform cutting mechanics:
Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

I've focused on relatively late sources, first because I know them better, and second because they give a much more thorough description of the mechanical details, but I do think it applies to all manner of weapons. There is a specific sequence of images that should speak to the longsworders anyway!

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Chris Holzman » 04 Mar 2014 06:32

Mink wrote:Hello all!

I've compiled a small article with advice I've found in sources that inform cutting mechanics:
Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

I've focused on relatively late sources, first because I know them better, and second because they give a much more thorough description of the mechanical details, but I do think it applies to all manner of weapons. There is a specific sequence of images that should speak to the longsworders anyway!

Regards,


You might also want to look at the 19th century Italian sabre texts - though they're later than what you're looking at. Masiello, in particular in his 1892 "Scherma di Sciabola a Cavallo" and his 1902 sabre book, takes great pains to explain mathematically/geometrically how the effect of any cut that contains a sliding component must be considered absolutely ruined. He basically complains about how a pulling action combined with the lunge creates opposite and contradictory movements that are detrimental to the power generated. It's an expansion of Radaelli/Del Frate's concept of cuts being made from the elbow 'like the blow of a hammer'. That said, the slice is created by the lateral/upward/downward closing of the line during the cut, rather than a pull back toward yourself. Basically, Radaellian sabre wants the arm still extending the last couple inches at impact, so that the body weight plus leg power plus arm power is all delivered into the target. I think I quoted the Masiello 1892 cutting section somewhere here on the forum, or on my Facebook page for The Art of the Dueling Sabre.
--
Chris Holzman
Moniteur D' Armes
"[T]he calm spirit is the only force that can defeat instinct, and render us the masters of all our strengths." -Capt. Settimo Del Frate, 1876.
Author of "The Art of the Dueling Sabre".
Chris Holzman
Staff Sergeant
 
Posts: 220
Joined: 17 Mar 2006 20:44

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Megalophias » 04 Mar 2014 19:18

Very interesting - there seem to be very few explicit depictions or descriptions of cutting mechanics.

Di Grassi says to cut with the part 4 fingers (3 inches) from the point, and to strike from the wrist and elbow, not the shoulder. He also says that foot should move together with the hand when striking, both moving about the same distance, so that the leg is always supporting the hand. For instance he says that if you are standing with the hand low and the right foot forward, when you lift up your hand, you should draw your foot back. But I think he is mostly talking about the thrust, because he primarily uses cuts as a follow-up to thrusts, combined with oblique steps.

Image
Jon Pellett

How do you know but ev'ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos'd by your senses five?
Megalophias
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 366
Joined: 25 Jul 2006 17:24
Location: Calgary, AB, Canada

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 04 Mar 2014 22:35

Chris Holzman wrote:You might also want to look at the 19th century Italian sabre texts - though they're later than what you're looking at. Masiello, in particular in his 1892 "Scherma di Sciabola a Cavallo" and his 1902 sabre book, takes great pains to explain mathematically/geometrically how the effect of any cut that contains a sliding component must be considered absolutely ruined. He basically complains about how a pulling action combined with the lunge creates opposite and contradictory movements that are detrimental to the power generated. It's an expansion of Radaelli/Del Frate's concept of cuts being made from the elbow 'like the blow of a hammer'. That said, the slice is created by the lateral/upward/downward closing of the line during the cut, rather than a pull back toward yourself. Basically, Radaellian sabre wants the arm still extending the last couple inches at impact, so that the body weight plus leg power plus arm power is all delivered into the target. I think I quoted the Masiello 1892 cutting section somewhere here on the forum, or on my Facebook page for The Art of the Dueling Sabre.

Interesting, thanks Chris! I have indeed left out the sabre texts, primarily because I don't know them too well...
I actually think that the slice in earlier texts is not caused by a pull back proper, but by the angle of the blade as it hits and the continuing motion of the hand. But this is an interpretation from my part, and the quote you shared seems to indicate that at least some people indeed did a literal draw back. Topics for further articles I guess :)

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 04 Mar 2014 22:49

Megalophias wrote:Very interesting - there seem to be very few explicit depictions or descriptions of cutting mechanics.

There is relatively few, but what drew me to writing this piece is that with the few things we have we can get a relatively precise idea, once they are put together...

Di Grassi says to cut with the part 4 fingers (3 inches) from the point, and to strike from the wrist and elbow, not the shoulder.

Ah yes, and I have other quotes about the shoulder, elbow and wrist which I have not included. I chose not too because it seems a bit specific to arm-forward styles, where moving from the shoulder opens a bigger opening in your defence. But for other starting positions, well you're pretty much moving from the shoulder anyway...

And that article is already a bit of a wall of text :)

He also says that foot should move together with the hand when striking, both moving about the same distance, so that the leg is always supporting the hand. For instance he says that if you are standing with the hand low and the right foot forward, when you lift up your hand, you should draw your foot back. But I think he is mostly talking about the thrust, because he primarily uses cuts as a follow-up to thrusts, combined with oblique steps.

I'll have to read that text! It could be talking about the cut too...

Thanks for the hints!

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Reinier » 05 Mar 2014 08:43

Hi Mink,

Thanks for posting. Did you look at Fabris's description of the four different cuts? He does give quite a nice description of the mechanics there.

Cheers,

R
…en A alſoo liggende kan aen B, ſonder eenigh beletſel, met de zijde van ſijn hooft, op het aengeſicht van B, ſoo veel ſtoten als hy begeert. – Nicolaes Petter, 1674.

http://www.bruchius.com/
List of publications
User avatar
Reinier
Major
 
Posts: 853
Joined: 12 May 2009 16:37
Location: Rhoon

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 05 Mar 2014 09:00

Hi Reinier,
Reinier wrote:Thanks for posting. Did you look at Fabris's description of the four different cuts? He does give quite a nice description of the mechanics there.

Yes I did, I'm leaving that for the next article... I wanted to focus on the stuff that can be observed both in text and illustrations, the full-body sync can, the slice can to some degree, but the four types of Fabris are harder to find clearly illustrated. Even on plate 26 where he says that we should see a cut from the elbow it arguably looks like there has been significant shoulder motion...

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Max C. » 05 Mar 2014 17:56

The stepping in Thibault (which is the same in his rapier work it seems) is very reminescent of Niten Ichi ryu footwork.

Image
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata- Traditional Irish stick fighting
http://www.irishstick.com
I don't do longsword - A blog for all HEMA misfits
http://www.hemamisfits.wordpress.com
User avatar
Max C.
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 399
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 03:57

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 05 Mar 2014 20:06

Hi Max!
Max C. wrote:The stepping in Thibault (which is the same in his rapier work it seems) is very reminescent of Niten Ichi ryu footwork.


Can you give more details on the similarities you see? I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with that ryu to really understand...

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Max C. » 05 Mar 2014 21:19

Mostly the very clear lifting of the foot during the cut. The back weighted stance is not something we use but then most of the guard positions are very upright.

In the picture I posted the rapier fencer is doing an exact sassen, the only difference being the position of the sword in the first movement (we put it point down, not up) and the left arm going on the hip instead of hanging down.
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata- Traditional Irish stick fighting
http://www.irishstick.com
I don't do longsword - A blog for all HEMA misfits
http://www.hemamisfits.wordpress.com
User avatar
Max C.
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 399
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 03:57

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 05 Mar 2014 22:42

Ah yes, Thibault tends to depict people quite upright, and lifting the foot quite high with a straight knee. Actually I wonder if it's not also because of artistic limitations: it's almost as if the models had to remain balanced even with a foot up...

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Max C. » 05 Mar 2014 23:13

Could be, but then you have examples of other uses in MA so why not?
Also reminds me of Paulus Hector Mair, although I'm conscious it doesn't necessarily shows an ideal attack. http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/000 ... 0&seite=39
Maxime Chouinard

Antrim Bata- Traditional Irish stick fighting
http://www.irishstick.com
I don't do longsword - A blog for all HEMA misfits
http://www.hemamisfits.wordpress.com
User avatar
Max C.
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 399
Joined: 04 Mar 2010 03:57

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 05 Mar 2014 23:29

Could certainly be...
The matter of being an ideal attack is interesting, the objection could be raised against most of the illustrations I've picked. I think they do not show flawed attacks because I'd expect them to mention it in the text, which they don't (they say there are weaknesses in cuts in general, not weaknesses of a flawed form of cutting). But for Mair I don't know...

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France

Re: Cutting mechanics – hints from sources

Postby Mink » 19 Mar 2014 21:34

Hi all, I've published the next installment:
Cutting mechanics: shoulder, elbow and wrist

This uses some of the material suggested by Reiner and Jon... Chris, I'm sure Italian saber would be relevant there too, but I'm sticking to the sources and period I'm most familiar with.

Regards,
--
Vincent Le Chevalier
Ensis Sub Caelo
User avatar
Mink
2nd Lieutenant
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 25 Mar 2010 17:11
Location: Paris, France


Return to General Historical Martial Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests