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Old 03-04-2003, 11:10 PM   #1
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
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armored combat

Hi folks,

Just a question for the general group.
Lots of the posts here make mention of Martial Arts that aikidoka have practiced before, or are currently still active in as well as aikido.
My question is concerning the middle-ages re-enactment club known as the Society for Creative Anachronism...(SCA) for short.
Are there any other members? If so, did you fight heavy wepons, or light style?
For those unfamiliar, the SCA is like a rennaisance fair sort of atmosphere with folk making costumes (garb) and other items of arts, crafts, and all manner of other historically documented items.
One of the most visible and popular forms of study is the armored combat done in the tournament style. ie: using proper armor, blunted weapons, or cudgels, and celebrating the concept of chivalric combat.
Cool to see.......cool to do

I would be interested in comparing notes on how the differances in this art and sca fighting are dealt with by you.

Vivat! Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-05-2003, 05:52 AM   #2
paw
Join Date: Mar 2002
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This may be of interest, or not ....
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Old 03-05-2003, 04:59 PM   #3
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Hi Lan,

I was a member of our local SCA group for a little over 5 years. I started with heavy fighting, concentrating on polearms. I then took an interest in fencing and eventually moved all my attention to that and left heavy fighting behind.

I'd be happy to talk about my experiences with the SCA. They were fun times (maybe not the most historically accurate but still fun) and I learned a lot. I'd probably still be fencing with them if my work schedule permitted it.

Train safe,

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-06-2003, 10:01 PM   #4
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
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Hey Bronson

Thanks for the discussion.

Mostly as a new student, I was thinking of the foot-work training that Aikido is super-imposing onto the sword and shield movements.

Did you have habits to break in how you move?

I still move with the right hand yokomen defenses as if I was hefting a shield. (even to the point of having my left fist in place for the covering of the slot-shot.

Heavy weapons have taught my feet to move......thus, aikido demands.......so



Getting better though.

What Kingdom is MI?

From your post it sounds as though you fought mostly light?

I have done a bit, more of the collegiatte style fencing for me.foil and ep'ee.

Been training long?

I recently started with this dojo, and it is a blast!

See ya, Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-07-2003, 01:22 AM   #5
Bronson
 
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Dojo: Seiwa Dojo and Southside Dojo
Location: Battle Creek & Kalamazoo, MI
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Hey Lan, I'll take this piece by piece
Quote:
Did you have habits to break in how you move?
Not too bad really. Do you like to go to the opponents shield side with your body on a right yokomen sword shot? If so that is a lot closer to the aikido footwork that we do here than what I learned in SCA. I learned to take the front edge of my shield and put it in the opponents sword arm elbow joint then crank him in the sword arm bicep, backhand strike to the right side of his head, thumbleading wrap to the back of his head, or whatever target was handy. A lot of the footwork for light is closer to aikido than the heavy stuff was. So I guess I got most of it out in transitioning to light. I did however find my heavy fighting footwork changing with aikido. One of the guys who taught me how to fight with a polearm moved away and when he came back for a visit we armored up. I hadn't been heavy fighting much since he left (mostly fencing and aikido). We started and he kept telling me to "stop it". "Stop what" I asked. "I don't know, but you're moving different and I don't like it". Then I hit him in the face
Quote:
I still move with the right hand yokomen defenses as if I was hefting a shield. (even to the point of having my left fist in place for the covering of the slot-shot.
Do they make you guys authorize sword/single hand weapon & shield first like we have to up here in the Middle Kingdom? I dropped sword and shield as soon as I authorized. I went in knowing I wanted to learn pole weapons and as soon as I could that's what I focused on. Do you fight with a round shield or a heater? Medium round shield is a WAY more active shield style. I think the movements I learned for using a round shield wouldn't be too hard to translate into aikido. You'd have to remember to open your hand though
Quote:
From your post it sounds as though you fought mostly light?
Yeah, I got tired of having two day headaches and salad plate sized bruises I really fell in love with the grace and finesse of the fencing. Not to mention fencing in the round is pretty easy to translate into aikido practice.
Quote:
Been training long?
Did tai chi for just over 3 years, left that and moved right into collegiate fencing, heavy weapons, and light weapons. After about a year of SCA I found aikido. Did SCA and aikido concurrently for awhile then a new work schedule put the brakes to the SCA stuff about 3 years ago. Kept doing aikido right along, it'll be 7 years this fall.

Aikido and the SCA are both physically fun practice. I just happen to get a little more mentally/spiritually from aikido practice than I did the SCA (less politics too)...but I'd still go back if I could

Have you done randori in aikido yet? That's where all that melee combat experience comes into play. You'll get on the mat already knowing how to have 360* attention...it helps a lot.

Train safe,

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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Old 03-08-2003, 01:03 PM   #6
Lan Powers
Dojo: Aikido of Midland, Midland TX
Location: Midland Tx
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 660
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Hey Bronson...

Thanks for the feedback!

Mostly I have done the heavy armored combat in the ansteorra fashion , whch means mostly leather armor (minimal) and a larger than most kingdoms shield. Mine is a scutum, or square. Heaters are better than small rounds by far as you said, although the round style is quite a bit better suited to the aikido footwork . (sure makes for sore thighs from bruises tho.)

Light fighting is, as you said more gracefull in the average run of participants......(there are some heavies you would be amazed with tho). mostly i have had trouble taking the 14 years of sword and shield footwork and making myself switch feet to bring my right side forward in the yokomen attacks. That make any sense to you? The only seperate authorizations there are for specific weapons styles here in TX are for fiberglass spears, and unpadded polearms. You can use them with padding with just a standard authorization card.

Still looking forward to randori.........it ought to be a fun thing......just don't HIT them in passing as you do with a rattan stick.

aikido is proving to be all I had hoped it would be........with randori it could even give the physical workout of a good intense melee' heeeee hee. what fun!

Take care, practice safe..........Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 03-11-2003, 03:50 PM   #7
Bronson
 
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Hey Lan,
Quote:
Mostly I have done the heavy armored combat in the ansteorra fashion , whch means mostly leather armor (minimal) and a larger than most kingdoms shield.
That's because you'd die of heat stroke if you wore more than that I used to wear full plate and use a medium round shield. My plate was based on period armor patterns but we made it out of ABS plastic sheet. My helmet was a behemoth of a thing coming in at around 13 1/2 lbs.
Quote:
Heaters are better than small rounds by far as you said, although the round style is quite a bit better suited to the aikido footwork . (sure makes for sore thighs from bruises tho.)
Whoa now, I never said heaters were better Please take this as the good natured ribbing it is meant to be. I always teased the shield fighters (especially the heater fighters) by telling them they fought with a "newbie, nancy-boy style". That they could only fight if they had a big wall to hide behind As for the sore thighs with the round shield I hear ya'. We used to do "punch drills" with our round shields to learn to block the head and leg shots. We'd stand in a doorway and punch the shield straight up and down trying to not hit the sides of the doorway. At least it kept the left arm in about the same shape as the right so you didn't look all lopsided. I think you're right on the round shield footwork being more similar to aikido too. Round shield just requires that you move more. You gotta move your hands, feet, and body a lot more to keep from gettin' clobbered.
Quote:
mostly i have had trouble taking the 14 years of sword and shield footwork and making myself switch feet to bring my right side forward in the yokomen attacks. That make any sense to you?
Are you having trouble getting your right leg in front when uke is striking your left side head in yokomen? Or are you having trouble bringing your right leg forward when you strike right yokomen? In the first case I'd try to think of it either like stepping into the open (shield side) of uke like you're going to hit them with a thumb leading wrap to the back of the head. Or dropping the left foot back like you were going to hit them in the sword arm. I used to combine the two. I'd step into the open side and pivot to face a little more than perpendicular to the opponent (looking the direction of his sword arm) and strike at his sword arm elbow...of course I was fighting with a bastard sword or polearm and not one of those wimpy shields In the second case if you're in class and can reach uke with a right yokomen without stepping in with your right foot then your ma-ai is way to close. Something I've found works well for me to keep the proper distance is to look at uke's chin area, if you can just see their feet with your peripheral vision then your ma-ai for empty hand is probably pretty close to correct.
Quote:
The only seperate authorizations there are for specific weapons styles here in TX are for fiberglass spears, and unpadded polearms. You can use them with padding with just a standard authorization card.
When I left the Mid was just starting to streamline the auth. process. When I was authorizing there were seperate ones for sword/shield, single hand weapon/sheild, single hand thrust, bastard sword, bastard weapon, great sword, polearm, two-hand thrust, and combat archery. At that time we didn't have face-thrust either. I know we've got face thrust now and that's another auth. but they've combined some of them to make it a little easier.
Quote:
...unpadded polearms.
Ahhh, the bane of my existance. I hated those things. They may as well just call it staff fighting. A polearm is a mass weapon therefore it should have some mass. I much prefered the heavily padded/weighted ones. the one I used came in just under the 5lb. limit. That's a lot of force with most of that weight at the end of a six foot stick
Quote:
Still looking forward to randori.........it ought to be a fun thing......just don't HIT them in passing as you do with a rattan stick.
Randori is a blast! As for hitting them as you pass...talk to your sensei. It may be ok as long as you don't hit them WITH a rattan stick.

Have you done aiki weapons yet? What did you think? I'll be honest and say that it took me awhile to come to grips with the fact that I knew that many of the stances and strikes I was learning in my aiki weapons would get me hit in a real weapon-to-weapon fight. Then I realized that the purpose wasn't to teach me to use a sword, it was to teach me better empty hand. With the aiki weapons you get something you can do without a partner that teaches you to move correctly for aikido. At least that's how I see it. I suppose that if you take the theory that as you get better at empty hand the circles and movements become smaller and more efficient and apply it to the aiki weapons then you should be able to employ them effectively.

For the fans of the "glove up and try it" approach. Find a local SCA group and get in touch with their heavy fighting marshal. Tell them you practice a japanese sword style and you want to see how it fares. I'm sure you'll find someone who fights with bastard sword (hand-and-a-half sword--close to a katana) who will be willing to go with you. They will most likely be able to hook you up with some loaner armor and weapons too. The rules for one-on-one are pretty simple. No strikes below the wrist and no strikes at or below the knees (small bones that break relatively easily and are difficult to armor well). Although you may be able to find someone with good enough armor who will be willing to ignore these rules. Everything else is a fair target. We once had a nidan in kendo show up. He came in rather snooty like and got his ass handed to him on a plate. If he'd come in with honest curiosity everybody would have been happy to work with him and compare styles. Just keep that in mind if you look for a group.

Later,

Bronson

"A pacifist is not really a pacifist if he is unable to make a choice between violence and non-violence. A true pacifist is able to kill or maim in the blink of an eye, but at the moment of impending destruction of the enemy he chooses non-violence."
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