Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Irish and European fighting styles and techniques, and the required Arms & Armour

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Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby RecycledViking on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:25 pm

I was wondering what people think about using the blade in swordfighting, particularly slow and display swordplay. Should people block the blades edge-to-edge or flat-to-flat? Which has more strength for defense? Which is better for your sword? Which do you prefer and why?
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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby Neil on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:57 pm

Well when I'm blocking I'd be inclined to use the edge of the blade. If a sword where to come down hard on the flat it might be more inclined to break. When striking I've been told you should always be prepared to turn your blade if the block is missed so that if contact is made it will be with the flat on the person
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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby the_power on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:27 pm

It completely depends on the swordsman and what the object of the fight is. I always start newbies off with edge-to-edge. I tell them that you can tell the 'quality' of the block is in the ding that you hear - a short tone is a perfect block, a 'dong-ding-ding' likely means that you weren't perfect, and the blades got some reverb.

However, as a swordsman gets a little more skilled, they can fight closer to the authentic styles - techniques like a stab-knock require you to hit the other blade at 45 degrees - between flat and edge - with your edge, so you knock it out of the way. Instead of relying on square blocks, you can direct the blade away for you instead. This is *required* for double handed techniques. Also, edge-blocking looks better in a choreographed fight.

As for 'better for your sword' - most reenactment swords have reasonable rebated edges the whole length. Historically, it was only the first few inches. If you have a hard sword, (like a Binns or Armour Class) you can take a reasonable amount of edge to edge - but if your sword is coming off second against harder sword, try not to meet the edge as much. Though, as a rule, the harder the sword, the more likely it is to snap in two if hit on the flat...

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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby brendan on Mon Jun 16, 2008 5:25 pm

The level of armour on the opponent is a small factor. I prefer to hit unarmoured people with the flate of the blade.
For display stuff a "big" stomach slashing shot works better on the flat.
Also, it is more humiliating to hit someone with the flat of the blade in a disdainful manner than to barely sneak in an edge shot :D

Seriously, its about control. I would prefer someone to control an edge-on shot than an uncontrolled flat-on shot.

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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby Neil on Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:04 pm

brendan wrote:Also, it is more humiliating to hit someone with the flat of the blade in a disdainful manner than to barely sneak in an edge shot :D


Cause you really loved it when Pete did that to you at Ballymore Eustace! :lol:
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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby brendan on Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:55 pm

Nah, It was Ronan did it to me first - a few years ago at BotF. Not that I bear a grudge :evil:

Sort of like a friendly head butt/tap in a grapple. (Only works if both people are wearing good head protection!!!!!)

-Pete lifted me off the ground so I am glad that he was using the flat :shock:

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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby Billy on Tue Jun 17, 2008 4:01 pm

it is more humiliating to hit someone with the flat of the blade in a disdainful manner


Is that cos being hit with the flat is a lot like being spanked!
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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby Dave Mooney on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:07 am

I've been a very naughty re-enactor...... :roll:
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Re: Swordplay: Flat or Edge?

Postby brendan on Wed Jun 18, 2008 8:25 am

Is that cos being hit with the flat is a lot like being spanked!

nah, its more a case that the person had not only the chance to hit you but sufficient time to alter the shot to make it a slap rather than a cut - kind of like delivering a cuff around the ear.

Of course, with my falchion the only possible attack is with the flat - it is hard to see an edge on attack on someone NOT in plate NOT breaking bones (I could have strcutured that sentence better)

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