Who among us in childhood, having seen enough movies about brave musketeers, having read books about brave knights, did not arrange grandiose court battles, imagining ourselves to be a master of a blade, a fencing guru! However, the musketeers and other knights fought, as a rule, on swords; fencing, however, is possible with other types of knives. For example, swords. What is the technique of owning a sword and how does it differ from the rest of its "fellow workers"?
What is a sword?
Before talking about owning a sword, you must first understand what it is and how it differs, for example, from a sword or saber. So, a sword is, of course, a kind of cold steel with a non- curved blade more than 60 centimeters long. It is intended primarily for chopping strikes, so it is also called a type of offensive weapon. It is also possible to strike stabbing with a sword.
Sword: weapon history
In general, it should be noted that swords, due to various factors and reasons (we will discuss them later), have always been rather expensive weapons, and not everyone can afford them; Despite this, not anything else, namely the sword and shield, have become a true symbol of military affairs and a true warrior.
As a forerunner of the sword, historians call, as a rule, a baton, or a club - it was made of stone or very hard wood, while its edges were extremely sharp, capable of cutting. With the development of metals, people learned how to create real swords. The first of them were bronze and appeared so long ago that I can’t even believe it - already at the beginning of the second millennium BC. Until the end of the sixteenth century, edged weapons (swords, in particular) were very popular among Europeans, later giving way to sabers and swords; as for Russia and its inhabitants, their interest in the sword faded even earlier - the same saber (in the fourteenth century) came to its place.
The sword has long been considered both a combat and a hunting weapon. We will not talk about the last function of the sword, but we will tell about this weapon as a means of battle. In this regard, it is just appropriate to return to the question of why the sword was an expensive pleasure.
The high cost of this type of cold steel is directly related to its features. So, for example, the length of the blade of the sword is quite large - about sixty (or even more) centimeters, but, despite this, it is always sharpened to the full extent. This solution allows you to hit a much larger area. In addition, it increases the chances of getting "exactly the bull's eye" and provides a pretty impressive list of sword skills.
Another feature of this weapon is that its production is quite laborious and requires much higher costs than the same sabers, say, or swords. It takes more metal to create swords, the material for such a product must be really high quality, and only a highly qualified specialist can be entrusted with making a blade. As you can easily guess, this factor also does not reduce the cost of the finished weapon.
Affects the price and the need to constantly maintain the blade in its proper form - acute, which is also quite costly both in strength and in time. The fact is that a dull blade when struck in a fencing with swords will not bring the desired result. The weapon practically does not cause a blunt injury, which means it becomes useless. Useless in battle - we are talking specifically about a battle sword!
This type of cold steel still has enough of its own features, both positive and negative, inherent only to it, however, they do not have an impact on value formation - unlike the above factors.
Fencing - the art of owning knives, the ability to fight on it, the ability to strike blows to an opponent, while dodging his attacks. This word comes from the German verb fechten, which means "to fight." Initially, rapier was used for fencing competitions and tournaments - a long thin narrow blade that cuts air with a whistle. Later, fencing began on swords, sabers, and swords.
History of Fencing
The history of fencing goes far, far into antiquity. It is known that already in ancient India, Japan, China and Egypt they taught stick fights (in China - bamboo) with a special safety handle that protected the hand with a weapon. And the first competitions in this sport were held in Egypt four centuries before the Olympic Games! However, in those ancient times such games and exercises did not gain much popularity, until in Ancient Greece schools for training in the use of knives were established. Then fencing and talked about as art, a sight. By the way, not only adults were engaged in these schools - this discipline was mandatory in the process of comprehending a variety of sciences for children aged five to eleven.
Until the Middle Ages, fencing was available exclusively to representatives of the upper strata of the population, while simple people dispensed with sticks, as before. Every self-respecting knight, a nobleman considered it a matter of honor to learn this art.
In the thirteenth century, the first textbook on this sport appeared (or rather, it will be correct to say - on martial art, since then fencing was considered to be such a thing, they began to rank it in sports today). Theoretically sound principles of fencing arose only by the sixteenth century thanks to the Italians. And already in the last century, in the twentieth, in 1913, the International Fencing Federation was organized in Paris. Now this art is one of the Olympic disciplines.
About some types of swords
Despite the fact that the sword - it is, as they say, "and in Africa the sword", it, like many other types of weapons, has its own varieties. All existing swords can be divided into one-handed and two-handed. In a given time, in a particular country there were its own types of such weapons. So, for example, akinak - the sword of the Scythians, water - Chinese, gladius - the ancient Romans; among the Scandinavians the sword bore the same name (the Norman version was the other option), in India there was a straight sword with the interesting name pata (or puddha) ... They even distinguish the Russian sword - it looks like the Scandinavian one, but it is longer and lighter. All types can not be listed - there are several dozen of them, and each is something interesting.
The most important thing that the ancient sword warriors have focused on is the speed with which it is necessary to wield a blade (and not the force of impact, as many believe). The faster you act, the more chances you have to be the first to kill (well, or at least cripple) the enemy. Nevertheless, good physical fitness has always been and remains necessary for perfect sword mastery.
Since its main function is the application of chopping blows, this is precisely the point in the instruction for working with this type of cold steel that special attention is paid. For example, it must be applied at a certain angle, making sure that the plane of the blade coincides with the plane of impact. In it, in turn, there must be the target itself, which must be hit with a blade, as well as the hand and elbow of the hand that holds the sword. If you do not comply with this condition, you won’t be able to do much harm to the opponent: the blade simply slips and turns to its side. It should be noted that the technique of using the sword is the most complex of all techniques for various types of knives. Talking about it is necessary in relation to the technique of conducting knightly combat. Significant importance was given to the union of the shield and the sword - in the description of the battle racks, the position of both the first and second was given special attention. Stands and positions - in general, one of the main elements of the proper conduct of battle. For example, in order to inflict a really strong blow with a sword that could significantly injure an opponent (cut off any part of the body, as an option), it was necessary to take the starting position with an emphasis on one leg - then the weight of the body and the movement of the whole body helped to make a stronger swing . At the same time, they tried not to take their feet off the ground - otherwise one could easily lose their balance, which means that a real threat to their own life or health appeared. This is directly related to the speed already mentioned, including the reaction. Responding to opponent’s lunges with lightning speed, squatting, spinning, turning, doing all kinds of “feints” and body movements to confuse the opponent is really a good tactic in sword fighting. As well as looking into the eyes of your opponent - they, as a rule, give out the true intentions of the fighter. However, it’s still worth monitoring the weapons themselves.
Stabbing blows with a sword, which became especially popular from the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries, should be applied either in open parts (for example, in the face, if the visor was not omitted), or at the joints of armor. Another option is the eye socket of the helmet. The technique of possession of the sword provided for a special approach to the duel on horses. So, it was allowed from acceleration to rush at full speed at the enemy, putting the sword with its tip forward, like a spear. Thus, it was possible to pierce through even an opponent protected from all sides.
Starting from the fourteenth century, fencing textbooks began to appear actively. From that moment, the technique of using the sword gradually reduced to the art of fencing, in principle, only based on the basic principles that are indicated above. It is understandable. Those who masterfully knew how to fencing simply could not help but win a sword fight.
Of course, there are no jousting tournaments now. But if suddenly someone wants to learn how to wield this kind of cold steel (sword fencing is still in price) - here is the information that it will be useful for him to know:
- Before practicing with a sword, its weight must be estimated. To do this, raise the weapon up in your outstretched arm. If the sword does not fall to one side, it feels rather heavy, but not heavy - everything is fine.
- If in the process of training there was a feeling that the sword became lighter, you must immediately replace it with a heavier one.
- To get used to any weapon and be able to hold it in your hand, you should, when training with a sword, choose the heaviest blades.
- It is worth considering the sword as a sports equipment, and with each sports equipment you should engage in and carry out sets of exercises. It is necessary to do this regularly here: hand exercises, such as scissors, will be very useful. You should take a sword in each hand, and then simply wave them. Another exercise is the figure eight. First, with an outstretched hand, draw an infinity sign in the air, or an inverted figure of eight. Accustomed to keep your hand on weight, you should arm yourself with a sword and repeat the procedure.
Kenjutsu, or Japanese sword possession
As you know, the Japanese are great experts in battles. Therefore, it is not surprising that it was in the Land of the Rising Sun that its own art of owning a sword appeared - kenjutsu. It originated more than a thousand two hundred years ago and has successfully existed to this day. In training, the Japanese practice with wooden models of swords and practice various combat situations - this is called “kata” in them. They repeat the same skills over and over again, honing them so filigree, bringing them to such mastery and automatism that all these combat situations and techniques become already reflexive for them. Thus, fencing, the Japanese fight on a subconscious level, without thinking where to put their foot or direct their weapons.
Kenjutsu teaches a tough battle style - aggressive, threatening behavior, attacking an opponent, demonstrating his strength, power and fearlessness. Mostly Japanese people work with a large sword called daito, but those who have already achieved perfection are able to train with a small short set (to deal with small weapons is more difficult than with a long one). As before, and now in Japan there are special fencing schools, where everyone is taught all the methods, subtleties and techniques of kenjutsu.
Interesting Sword Facts
- One of the predecessors of this weapon, in addition to pointed clubs or clubs, is called an ax.
- The price of a sword, average in quality, was approximately equal to the cost of four cows in the Middle Ages.
- The most ancient sword in the world today is considered a bronze sword, found in the Republic of Adygea and dating back to the fourth millennium BC. Currently, he is in the St. Petersburg Hermitage.
- The weight of a sword, a standard one-handed sword made in the Middle Ages, did not exceed one and a half kilograms, and a two-handed sword - three.
- Chipping punches were used against rivals in chain mail, and piercing was used against those in armor.
- Two-handed swords were used mainly for fights with horsemen.
- The sword symbolizes justice, justice and strength. And in Buddhism, the sword is a symbol of knowledge, cutting the darkness of ignorance.
- Until iron and steel were so widespread, the blades were made of copper.
- The hybrid of a two-handed and one-handed sword is called one and a half. The Europeans came up with his "popular" name - "bastard".
Sword skills, like fencing lessons, are actually quite useful for everyone in many ways - especially in our turbulent times. And even if we discard the protective functions of this sport, then at least a good physical preparation will give fencing, no doubt. Keeping your body in good shape and at the same time feel like a hero of chivalric novels - what could be more interesting? ..