Mixed weapon tournaments...

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Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby admin » 17 Mar 2014 12:18

...are great fun!
I was at the very enjoyable event HEMAC Florentia this weekend just passed and at it the organisers held a tournament. The tournament was first conducted in pools and then in direct elimination - there were 60 people entering, so it was pretty big. I was lucky enough to come 3rd, which I was quite happy with. The scoring system was a bit different to what most of us use (3 point fights, but a thrust to the head or torso, or a cut to the head, could get 3 points - everything else was 1 point), but what really marked this tournament apart from any others I have competed in, was that in each fight the weapons were randomly asigned to the fighters, from a possible set of about 8 options, including things like sword and rotella, spear and long shield, partisan, sword alone, longsword, sword and buckler, sword and dagger, and dagger alone. The weapon sets were all inspired by the Bolognese treatises, from the likes of Marozzo and Manciolino. Thus I found myself using sword and buckler against someone with only a dagger, using only a dagger against someone with a sidesword and using a spear and long shield against someone with a partisan, amongst other things. This was really good fun - it meant that there was a big element of luck, but it also meant you have to use tactics and switch tactics from round to round. It also somehow reduced ego, I suppose because the element of luck took away some of the judgemental nature of tournaments where even weapon matches are common. In the final direct-elimination rounds the fighters fought one 3 point bout and then exchanged weapons - if that resulted in a tie then the judges gave both fighters the same weapon set as each other, to fight a 3rd deciding round.
This competition was really great fun and I dare say that it was more fun for spectators to watch than a regular matched-weapons tournament. I also think that it required a wider range of skills than a normal HEMA tournament - not just because you had to be able to fight with many weapon combinations, but also because you had to really think very tactically, differently, with each bout.
I definitely want to run a tournament like this myself. The only part of the rules I would definitely personally change was the rule about thrown weapons - spears and partisans were the only weapons allowed to be thrown (and overarm only). I think this gave too much advantage to those weapons, as they already have a general advantage over shorter weapons, and at that short range you can throw a sword or dagger just as easily as a spear. So I would rule out throwing, personally. But maybe I am biased as I took spear throws to each of my legs in different rounds :D.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Rein » 17 Mar 2014 12:26

Hah, that sounds like great fun and a great way to test someone's skills across the baord : ) Quite the Iron Man challenge. So they only ran one tournament and this was it?
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Phil C » 17 Mar 2014 12:32

There was something similar mooted for Bartitsu/Antagonistics competitions should they ever occur- each competitor would be given an aspect (savate, pugilism, jitsu or cane) by lot and played against someone else doing the same as a test of breadth of knowedlge and skill, before finally playing "all-in" to test ability to mix n match skills.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby admin » 17 Mar 2014 13:10

Rein wrote:So they only ran one tournament and this was it?


Yes :)
With 60 fighters entering and fights in the later direct-elimination rounds all consisting of 2 or 3 rounds, it took a long time to run, even with two fighting areas running at the same time (a whole day, with a couple of breaks). I have to say though that the Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo guys really ran a tight ship (mainly under Luca Dazi) and it ran very smoothly.

It was illuminating in many ways - for example, seeing that a given weapon set could work really well against another given weapon set, or really badly, depending on the skills/adaptability of the users! Most longsworders seem to suffer horribly against shields, because they easily close off the lines most longsworders are used to going for against other longsworders. But where a person quickly changed how they usually used the longsword, then it could hold its own. And having a dagger alone seemed like a huge disadvantage, but against certain weapons (eg. Spear and shield) it seemed as effective as a sword, because it could parry the spear pretty much as well as a sword, requiring more accuracy but having greater reaction speed.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby the_last_alive » 17 Mar 2014 14:24

Was this run using plastic simulators? What did they use for the polearms?

It seemed like a fun, and different, type of tournament when it was announced. Glad it seems to have been well run, and as fun as it appeared it could be.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby admin » 17 Mar 2014 14:58

Yes, nylons and rattan for the polearms. They had some very nice nylon sideswords, but I don't know where they were from. Shields were real wood and leather etc.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Phil C » 17 Mar 2014 15:00

admin wrote: but I don't know where they were from.

Possibly these http://www.blackfencer.com/en/synthetic ... sword.html ?
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby the_last_alive » 17 Mar 2014 15:11

Phil C wrote:
admin wrote: but I don't know where they were from.

Possibly these http://www.blackfencer.com/en/synthetic ... sword.html ?


Beat me to it.

May also be the Purpleheart ones.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby KeithFarrell » 17 Mar 2014 15:12

admin wrote:Most longsworders seem to suffer horribly against shields, because they easily close off the lines most longsworders are used to going for against other longsworders. But where a person quickly changed how they usually used the longsword, then it could hold its own.


This is something we have noticed in our melee games at Loch Lomond over the years. Against someone with broadsword and targe, the longsword seems to have a huge disadvantage. Short edge strikes such as the Sturtzhaw and Krumphaw tend to have the best effects against the shield side, as they benefit from an advantageous angle that can allow them to circumvent the shield. It is quite an interesting problem, and certainly requires a different approach from the more normal ways of using the sword.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby admin » 17 Mar 2014 15:53

Phil C wrote:
admin wrote: but I don't know where they were from.

Possibly these http://www.blackfencer.com/en/synthetic ... sword.html ?


Ah yes, that's them.
Strange company name! :?
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby fullplate » 17 Mar 2014 18:13

Well done Matt, sounds like a fun competition. :D :D

Those side swords are very nice, shame there is no basket option.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Revan » 18 Mar 2014 11:52

Hello everyone,
I'm Devis, from Sala d'Arme Achille Marozzo.

I'm glad you appreciated our tournament! :D

The sideswords where indeed the ones sold by Black Fencer, in fact these were made under my request.

We found the purpleheart swords to be too dangerous to be included in the tournament, as we fear they can easily break bones and damage fencing masks. While trying them in sparring one weak blow on my heavy hockey glove (hard plastic layer and foam) made my fingers go numb for some minutes.

Last but not least.. I feel sorry for your legs Matt, those spears were meant to hit you right in the chest :D

fullplate wrote:Well done Matt, sounds like a fun competition. :D :D

Those side swords are very nice, shame there is no basket option.
Phil


Just ask them for the basket, you never know :wink:

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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby admin » 18 Mar 2014 12:03

Hi Devis, welcome to the forum!
Thanks for the information - also, it's good to know that my legs took what was intended for my chest :). The first one I *almost* parried!
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby tea » 18 Mar 2014 12:56

So, what are the Blackfencer synthetics like to fight with? They certainly look rather lovely, but how are they in the hand - too stiff, too whippy, just right? Do they bind well?

(By way of some sort of introduction, I'm Tea, relatively new to this and based in Cambridge. Should hopefully make it across to Fightcamp this summer)
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Andreas Engström » 18 Mar 2014 14:10

I agree with everything Matt wrote above! I only made it to the quarter finals but had a great time trying all these new weird scenarios. Apparently I suck at spear and rotella but am quite decent at sidesword and cloak, neither of which are combinations I ever tried before.. :-)

The nylon sideswords were very nice; well balanced, quite stiff and bound well (for being nylons, obviously nothing compares to steel). If you want something that flexes a lot perhaps you would find them too stiff. The thrusts did pack a punch.

Anyway, the tournament was great fun both to participate in and to watch! I'd enter again in a heartbeat.

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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby M Wander » 18 Mar 2014 21:36

KeithFarrell wrote:
admin wrote:Most longsworders seem to suffer horribly against shields, because they easily close off the lines most longsworders are used to going for against other longsworders. But where a person quickly changed how they usually used the longsword, then it could hold its own.


This is something we have noticed in our melee games at Loch Lomond over the years. Against someone with broadsword and targe, the longsword seems to have a huge disadvantage. Short edge strikes such as the Sturtzhaw and Krumphaw tend to have the best effects against the shield side, as they benefit from an advantageous angle that can allow them to circumvent the shield. It is quite an interesting problem, and certainly requires a different approach from the more normal ways of using the sword.


Totally agreed.

Another very effective strike against sword and shield users with strapped or large center-grip shield is a very high Zwerchau that goes above their comfortable shield range, or so we've found in our group.

Works on either side but on their weapon's side it's important to get them to put their sword in a position where you will hit the weak on the way in. That way you bind the sword for just a few moments while your cut lands, making you fairly safe and since you hit the weak the sword won't be effective in blocking your cut. On the shield side we find that with correct timing and distance management it is often possible to hide behind the opponents shield until we're ready to defend again. If you fail to do that, off course you're rather open. On the other hand, if you manage it there is some great satisfaction to be had from using people's shields against them.

The most important thing with this Zwerchhau against shields is that it is really high. One member of my group actually jumps with it sometimes in order to reach over really tall people's shields. Don't know how well he'd cut doing that, but it looks good and takes them by surprise.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby demoman_chaos » 27 Mar 2014 23:13

Is there any video of the bouts?

M Wander wrote:Another very effective strike against sword and shield users with strapped or large center-grip shield is a very high Zwerchau that goes above their comfortable shield range, or so we've found in our group.

Works on either side but on their weapon's side it's important to get them to put their sword in a position where you will hit the weak on the way in. That way you bind the sword for just a few moments while your cut lands, making you fairly safe and since you hit the weak the sword won't be effective in blocking your cut. On the shield side we find that with correct timing and distance management it is often possible to hide behind the opponents shield until we're ready to defend again. If you fail to do that, off course you're rather open. On the other hand, if you manage it there is some great satisfaction to be had from using people's shields against them.

The most important thing with this Zwerchhau against shields is that it is really high. One member of my group actually jumps with it sometimes in order to reach over really tall people's shields. Don't know how well he'd cut doing that, but it looks good and takes them by surprise.



I've been using viking center grip shields for quite a while, and I don't see that working too well (at least with how I use mine). I know many people hold center grips in a manner that presents the flat, which I disagree with. I hold mine so the "corner" is presented (not really edge forward as the front edge is positioned to be just past my right side, but not flat forward as it is much closer to edge forward than not). It would be much easier to show rather than describe, but holding it in this manner will allow one to cover themselves much better and give greater control over the pivoting of the shield (and knowing how to manipulate that pivot is key to using center grip large shields).
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby M Wander » 28 Mar 2014 16:25

demoman_chaos wrote:Is there any video of the bouts?

M Wander wrote:Another very effective strike against sword and shield users with strapped or large center-grip shield is a very high Zwerchau that goes above their comfortable shield range, or so we've found in our group.

Works on either side but on their weapon's side it's important to get them to put their sword in a position where you will hit the weak on the way in. That way you bind the sword for just a few moments while your cut lands, making you fairly safe and since you hit the weak the sword won't be effective in blocking your cut. On the shield side we find that with correct timing and distance management it is often possible to hide behind the opponents shield until we're ready to defend again. If you fail to do that, off course you're rather open. On the other hand, if you manage it there is some great satisfaction to be had from using people's shields against them.

The most important thing with this Zwerchhau against shields is that it is really high. One member of my group actually jumps with it sometimes in order to reach over really tall people's shields. Don't know how well he'd cut doing that, but it looks good and takes them by surprise.



I've been using viking center grip shields for quite a while, and I don't see that working too well (at least with how I use mine). I know many people hold center grips in a manner that presents the flat, which I disagree with. I hold mine so the "corner" is presented (not really edge forward as the front edge is positioned to be just past my right side, but not flat forward as it is much closer to edge forward than not). It would be much easier to show rather than describe, but holding it in this manner will allow one to cover themselves much better and give greater control over the pivoting of the shield (and knowing how to manipulate that pivot is key to using center grip large shields).


It does get easier the closer the opponent holds the shield to his body, face on and withdrawn for viking type shilds, but it's entirely possible against your style as well. That is by the way the way I've instinctivly used shields since forever.

The whole thing depends on you striking higher than the opponent can comfortably cover, and lifting a sword in two hands to a high position faster than a heavy shield in one hand isn't very hard. The pivoting of the shield doesn't really matter because the point is to strike where it isn't.

Off course this isn't a catch all technique and definitely requires a good set up and more of one the closer you have to get, that is the higher they can comfortably defend but it works. Often enough. Sometimes even against people who should beat you.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby demoman_chaos » 30 Mar 2014 08:34

M Wander wrote:It does get easier the closer the opponent holds the shield to his body, face on and withdrawn for viking type shilds, but it's entirely possible against your style as well. That is by the way the way I've instinctivly used shields since forever.

The whole thing depends on you striking higher than the opponent can comfortably cover, and lifting a sword in two hands to a high position faster than a heavy shield in one hand isn't very hard. The pivoting of the shield doesn't really matter because the point is to strike where it isn't.

Off course this isn't a catch all technique and definitely requires a good set up and more of one the closer you have to get, that is the higher they can comfortably defend but it works. Often enough. Sometimes even against people who should beat you.


With the way I hold it, my head is close to the shield and only requires a small duck and a short lift to give full protection on the left side. The right is is covered as well, and can also be guarded with the weapon.

Biggest issue I see is you are leaving yourself WIDE open to attack. If it works for you, keep going.
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Re: Mixed weapon tournaments...

Postby Carletto » 30 Mar 2014 13:25

Rein wrote:Hah, that sounds like great fun and a great way to test someone's skills across the baord : ) Quite the Iron Man challenge. So they only ran one tournament and this was it?



We had something like 21 workshops a museum visit and a couple of conferences and tournament referees were doing us a favor. I think they did a good job and a lot of people enjoid the tornament. As far as I am concerned, I don't want more tournaments.
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