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TJ Tolton
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TJ Tolton

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Perhaps a more important reason I would submit for consideration. +scholagladiatoria .

the overhand would allow you to attack around the shield on the weapon side, a bit like Roland Warzecha shows with the viking weapons here at 13:26 (Sword & Shield Fighting with Roland Warzecha)  I don't know if this technique was ever used, but the fact remains that if your opponent is using his weapon underhand, his attacks will only ever come from his right side.  Overhand exploits more lines of attack.

Also, consider that the sharp, 90 degree-or-more angle at which you hold the spear overhand allows it to attack indirectly (circumventing your opponent's shield) -- both from the left and the right, above and below.

Keep that in mind next time you pick the two up.  Hold the spear at the balance point with a grip like a "thumbs up" position, thumb on the underside pointing to the back.  This is a much more versatile position for single combat with shields.
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Hey there, gent.  Really glad to see someone joining the HEMA fold.  A few tips -

"Fighting with the German Longsword" By Christian Tobler was, until recently, incredibly expensive (think hundreds of dollars) and hard to find (the publishing company were real scumbags, got in a battle with the author, stopped printing and refused to give license to have it printed)  I think the author eventually won publishing rights, so the situation may be improving, but its still somewhat hard to find.

Also, and believe me I say this with love (I started with Fighting With the German Longsword): the information is somewhat dated.  Tobler's interpretation has changed considerably, but he hasn't published any new books.

If you really want to start off studying longsword (I might actually recommend starting with sword and buckler, but I wouldn't blame you if you told me to shove it)  Here's what I recommend:

https://learn-sword-fighting.com/

once you sign up and pay, you'll have access to a finite number of videos which you get to choose.  I'd recommend splitting this with your friend and going for as many as possible.

Not only is the quality of the video instruction excellent, they have very active instructors who will critique videos of your sparring  (also, bear in mind, most of the videos labeled "drills" are available for free here (https://www.youtube.com/user/LearnSwordFighting).


Also, Armor.  There are three things you really need.  Most importantly Gloves, and I mean the big kind (lacrosse, ice hockey, etc)  If you don't get them, you will give up the sport quickly.   Why would I rate the gloves above the mask?  because you can, if you wear eye protection and keep the fight controlled and slow, avoid the head.  also, an accidental hit with the rawlings won't give you a concussion.  However, it is entirely impossible to avoid strikes to the hand.  and an accidental hit can easily break a finger.  The gloves are vital.

However, if you ever want to truly train, you need a mask too.  A regular fencing mask is fine.  I have been training for a long time with rawlings and a foil fencing mask has never been insufficient.

finally, and least importantly, you can find something like this for a really good price (I got mine for 25 bucks free shipping)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorcycle-Full-Body-Armor-Spine-Back-Chest-Shoulder-Protector-Shirt-XL-XLARGE-/400701022447

Its for motorcycles, but it provides rigid protection where you need it.



seriously, those three pieces of equipment will last you from beginner to pro.
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Also, here's my single most important piece of advice to help you on your way.  If you can realize this at the beginning of your training, you will surpass many as you grow.


Learn the difference between a regressive cut (draw cut) and a progressive cut (push cut), and realize that the progressive cut should be your FIRST option, and a regressive cut ONLY if a progressive cut doesn't make sense from your position (follow up cuts, cuts from the off hand side, etc)

I know that this probably means NOTHING to you right now, but the sooner you master this, the better you will be in the long run.
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TJ Tolton

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Sword and buckler, I think.  1), for dispatching meth-heads, a thrusting kill just wont cut it - need to slice off some meat for stopping power.  2) for as much stopping power as it has, it's frequently a nonlethal weapon.  (weekly 40 person renaissance s&b brawls rarely ended in fatalities, according to many accounts) -- easier to defend in court if you don't kill them.
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This is exciting.  A taste of what HEMA could look like in short film, props for trying to throw in some historical sequences.  It still looked like you were afraid to go full historical, 70% was standard movie sword bashing, and you saved the historical sequences for the pivotal moments.  I hope you get a good HEMA consultant for your next one.  Some people are suggesting that "if real historical techniques were used, it would be over too quickly"  -- Trust me, there are a million ways a technique can break down and go wrong or be countered before it reaches a killing strike.  Go full HEMA, I think audiences will accept it.
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+Dan Morgan Historical European Martial Art
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TJ Tolton

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Everyone who knows me! EVERYONE, even if we haven't spoken in a while!
/please/ text me at 212-666-8687 with your name! I recently lost my phone, and this is my new number!

If you've been trying to contact me with no success -- this is why. If you haven't spoken to me in a while, this is a /great/ opportunity to catch up!

Again - EVERYONE who can read this, /please/ text 212-666-8687 with your name!

Thanks!
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Well. At least that's settled.
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TJ Tolton

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I mean really though. Just think - I could print out vampire killing kits!
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http://xkcd.com/924/
very relevant xkcd from today
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TJ Tolton

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I disagree, here's why:

Firstly, a persons natural flinch reflex is to move your head /away/ from the incoming blow, not toward it as you show at 4:10.  A natural flinch reflex would move the other way.  Flinch reflex is all about gaining time to escape, creating more distance -- this is written about by Donald McBane, who exploited his opponents flinch reflexes to land his blows (a thrust to the eyes causes the head to spring backwards, then he redirects the blow to the sternum).  It would take dedicated training to make your instinctive reaction a removal from the /angle/ of the incoming blow rather than a simple /retreat/ from the incoming blow.
That said, a persons natural flinch would actually cause you to do more damage, as your cut would land on the side of their face or the top of their neck.

Secondly, you talk about a glancing blow to the head at 4:20.  This kind of glancing blow is actually extremely effective at causing fatal injury, perhaps more so than a direct hit down the center line of the skull.  Plenty of forensic archaeology has found skulls with neat slices removed from the upper part of the skull causing death.  But we need not look at forensic archaeology to prove this point.  Let us turn to modern day German student duels with "Korbschlaeger".  The only target is the head and face.

The "Korbschlaeger" is a very thin blade designed to cause scars and not injuries.  Nevertheless, a very frequent outcome is that one of the combatants is "scalped" by a flick of the wrist that catches the top of the head at an angle, that is, the scalp is neatly separated from the skull and remains hanging on by some remaining tissue.  The shearing forces involved with hitting a skull at an angle are much more likely to cause damage than a direct hit on the well protected top.

Next, lets consider the equally likely scenario that your opponent flinches backwards (this is the primary flinch reflex exploited by Donald McBane)  if you are striking for the top of the head, and the opponent pulls his head back, you will still (depending on how far he withdraws the top of his head) hit his face or temples, his cheeks, his chin, or his sternum)  If you had instead aimed the shot at his face to begin with, his removal could have been just enough to void your attack completely.

Tactically, aiming the blow at the top of the head is a "catch all" tactic.  it provides for each possible flinch response that you opponent might make.  Paradoxically, the /least/ diesirable outcome of a head attack is for your opponent /not/ to flinch, and to take the attack on the center of the skull (which is highly protected) but it would be very unlikely. And of course, in the unlikely event that you do hit him square on the top of the head, you will break so many fragile blood vessels that your opponent will be instantly blinded by the waterfall of blood pouring over his eyes.

Even if you miss and strike the shoulder, you're still likely to incapacitate him.  
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TJ Tolton

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Great Video!  BUT I want to elaborate on the concept of "cutting power"

I find that the single most overlooked truth in all weapon analysis is "a person can only get so dead."  In other words, a weapon doesn't need much "cutting power" to successfully kill or disable their opponent-- the design choices of a weapon reflect its delivery system and its defensive abilities, not its "killing power"

Edged weapons have weight distributed into their blade in order to "cut through" a parry and to neutralize incoming attacks.  A sword with more mass in the blade can better apply its center of gravity in a binding situation, using the momentum of your initial attack movement to simultaneously displace your opponents defense and strike.  Likewise, a sword without a properly weighted blade would have to receive an incoming strike much closer to the hilt (its center of gravity) in order to successfully prevent the strike from overpowering its parry.
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If I could expand on my own point here, I think that the ignorance of the "a person can only get so dead" principal is why the Katana is such a misunderstood weapon.

A katana is optimized for sharpness (the lack of secondary bevel being the largest contributing factor).  Let us accept that for what it is.

If you've failed to internalize the "a person can only get so dead" principal, then you probably fall in one of two camps -- either a) "YEAH and a good katana can cut a fucking gun in half, I don't care what anyone says!" or b)"meh, a tulwar can cut better"

Both of those statements miss the point entirely.  A person can only get so dead, so the level of cutting power in a perfect swing against a stationary, unresisting target is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT (and I mean that about all swords) because a perfect strike with even a dull sword would kill or disable a human being.

Simply put, a katana is sharp because it allows for another use besides cutting, namely draw-cutting.  With most weapons, even when highly sharpened, if you lay the edge of it against someone, put pressure and draw, you will not cut very deeply (the depth of the cut is limited by the secondary bevel).  A Katana, however, because it lacks a secondary bevel, is almost guaranteed to open a major artery in a draw cut.  

This creates a uniquely different "effective range" for a katana practitioner.  If one places one's hand on the back of the blade (the "mune") one can create killing wounds at "dagger range", while still retaining the tactical flexibility of having the reach of a two handed weapon if needed.  A european longsword at the same range would be, while not useless, far more awkward.

There you go.  A katana is not a "pretty good cutting sword", its a weapon that has been given the quality of sharpness in order to perfectly exploit the tactical realities of a common unarmored combat situation.
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TJ Tolton

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I need to use this.  My partner tends to ward to particularly high when I zornhau to his upper inside line.  My usual follow up from the bind is a short edge krumphau/zwerchhau to his outside upper line, but because his ward is so high, he easily stops this too.  This unterhau variation will catch his hands or forearms, I'll bet.   My partner will owe a couple of new bruises to you guys :)
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TJ Tolton

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>_<
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TJ Tolton

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Ahem...yes.. well... it seems there's been a little mishap. Everyone who has been following the directions in my last status has been texting a nice man in Sweden named Tony. My phone number is 218-666-8786... not 8687.

look!! here's a screen cap to prove it's the right one this time!

uhhh. Sorry, Tony.
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Yeah, I thought 218 666 was Cook, Maine. And Yes, he too is using google voice. Did you talk to him?

I suppose you did. Yeah, I did too - I still can't believe he's not a redditor.
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TJ Tolton

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What did I just watch?
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This creeps me out.
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