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Author Topic: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)  (Read 3055 times)

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Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« on: January 16, 2009, 11:21:16 PM »
Question, a right handed swordsman would most assuredly buckle his sword to his belt on the left hip, always, correct? Were he or she left handed, it would always be buckled on the right hip. Would there be any sensible reason you would not do this?

Presuming of course the sword is in fact sheathed in a scabbard.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2009, 11:22:44 PM »
... generally, yes, lefties tend to wear sheaths on the opposite hip.

*peer*

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2009, 11:25:04 PM »
... generally, yes, lefties tend to wear sheaths on the opposite hip.

*peer*

Well left or right handed, it would be the opposite hip, so yes, ok. Thanks.

*squint*

Offline Vekseid

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2009, 02:13:17 AM »
Question, a right handed swordsman would most assuredly buckle his sword to his belt on the left hip, always, correct? Were he or she left handed, it would always be buckled on the right hip. Would there be any sensible reason you would not do this?

Presuming of course the sword is in fact sheathed in a scabbard.

The side you have your scabbard on may be determined by culture and etiquette rather than handedness.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2009, 03:18:00 AM »
I know in Japan the side you wore your sword on spoke alot about your intentions and what you thought of your host.  You could basically call someone a horrible swordsman depending on where you put your weapon.

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2009, 07:34:07 AM »
Assuming the stuff we encountered in L5R is accurate, where you had your sword during a meeting spoke about your trust for the other party.

Wearing it opposite your dominant hand, or placed on the floor on that side showed you were still ready to draw it, hence did not trust the other party.

Having it set in front of you meant you were sort of neutral towards them.

Having it set beside the dominant hand, where it would be slowest to draw, showed you did trust them.

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2009, 07:56:56 AM »
Depends on the culture and the blade involved.  Medieval and later European swordsmen always wore their blades on the opposite side of their "handedness".  However, the Romans wore their gladius on the same side.  The reason being that it was a shorter blade and was easier to draw on the same side when they were using a shield (after their spears and javelins were gone).  The ancient Greeks did the same.  Some swordsmen in the Caucasus region still carry on the same side, when using a qama (similar to a gladius, but less "frilly" and more bare bones).  Most dagger users also wear their dagger on the side they plan to use it (faster than a cross-body draw).

From my, admittedly limited, knowledge of Japanese swordsmanship (garnered from a brief fling with kendo and current study of aikido), it doesn't matter what "hand" is primary for a Japanese swordsperson, they all train as if they were right handed.  At least formally, there's nothing but cultural tradition stopping someone from training left handed in their own time.  :)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 07:58:01 AM by Vandren »

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2009, 09:05:33 AM »
Interesting thoughts, and the question not so obvious as I first thought it might be!

Here's the context, perhaps this will clear things up.

I will be writing about a bumbling mercenary and wanna be adventurer for hire (Theodore Woolhelm). If I were to describe him as in part, so bumbling he wears his sword on the wrong hip. Would that lend to describing him as I am thinking?

He would be a European styled swordsman, though set in a contrived but classical medieval/fantasy setting.

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2009, 09:20:23 AM »
If you see him weilding something like a rapier or longsword, and want it wrong, I'd say place it on the hip of his dominant hand. Harder to draw that way (I would think).

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2009, 09:22:28 AM »
If you see him weilding something like a rapier or longsword, and want it wrong, I'd say place it on the hip of his dominant hand. Harder to draw that way (I would think).

Right, that's what I was thinking, a right-handed swordsman having his longsword buckled on his right hip. Thanks!
« Last Edit: January 17, 2009, 09:32:17 AM by Zamdrist »

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2009, 12:25:05 PM »
Definitely.  With longer blades, you want the scabbard opposite the drawing hand (or in Theodore's case on the same side), otherwise drawing is extremely difficult, if not impossible.  Shorter blades, you've got a lot more leeway.  :)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2009, 03:10:17 PM »
Even with a short blade, every time I've seen a same-side draw, it makes me think of the person removing their own kidney.  If you've ever seen the ITV Robin of Sherwood series, they use a same-side draw for a dagger, and I kept seeing that as being able to go all sorts of wrong.

With a back-scabbard, you can probably get away with either shoulder, but those are usually two-handed blades.

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2009, 03:31:22 PM »
Even with a short blade, every time I've seen a same-side draw, it makes me think of the person removing their own kidney.  If you've ever seen the ITV Robin of Sherwood series, they use a same-side draw for a dagger, and I kept seeing that as being able to go all sorts of wrong.

Is that the BBC Robin?

It's actually a lot easier than you'd think . . . it feels a bit awkward, but with practice that goes away (I've carried a qama, coustille, dagger, and even a baselard this way, although the baselard's getting to the length that causes problems).

Oh, for Zamdrist, the short-long thing goes out the window with some blade designs.  It doesn't work very well with curved blades - a wakizashi or kindjal, for instance, are both short blades, but difficult to draw well when sheathed on the swordhand side.

Offline ZeitgeistTopic starter

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2009, 03:34:02 PM »
Got it. Thanks. When writing, you've got be right even when you're intentionally wrong. So, I wanted to make sure my premise was correct.

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2009, 03:42:09 PM »
The only thing I have experience of drawing is the katana, so I'm going with guess work for the rest :)

Offline Oniya

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2009, 03:53:06 PM »
Is that the BBC Robin?

Yes it is - I've got a bunch of episodes on VHS from when it showed on public television here in the states, as well as the soundtrack album. :)

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2009, 04:00:02 PM »
<derail>
Excellent show, just waiting for more seasons to make their way to the States
</derail>

Offline dready

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2009, 04:13:51 AM »
i would also account the size of the sword in question to where it would be 'belted/sheathed' on the swordsperson. weapons like a katana, being (on average) a hand and one half, can be in one of four positions since it's able to be used as a one handed or two. left hip, right hip, in front, and on the back of the weilder. i have no different information about the left and right hip though if the sword is in the front it shows that the weilder prefers to avoid a fight, (being that it's odd to unsheathe a sword infront of you as well as not allowing much of an immediate attack) as well as a higher ranking, and sheathing it on your back would signify that you'll attack only when provoked (usually) since you can strike right after unsheathing with the momentum provided as a small bonus. an alternative to back sheathing is that your character uses their hands outside of combat more often, or that their weapon is just easier to carry on their back as well as allowing better balance and less interference on the front, left, and right of the weilder. ^^

personally (as a fighter/rouge/cleric sorta person) i weild my main weapon on my back with secondary usually under my primary hand. :3

Offline Byron

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2009, 01:03:51 PM »
Putting my two cents worth in.

Generally Japanese Samurai, which were basically the only ones back then to have enough wealth or status to own a Katana, trained in use of both their hands. A Katana can be a one handed weapon as well as a two handed weapon and traditionally a Samurai carried around a Wagakashi (sp?) basically a short sword which they used if they lost their Katana during a fight or in conjunction with said Katana. In addition the Wagakashi was worn on their lower back parallel to the ground, with the hilt on their offhanded side. Not saying all did, but the standard training revolved around this style (or so I've learned)

Generally long weapons require a cross draw, and short weapons are better suited to a pull draw. Daggers or kunai are more offensive if their blade is up while weilded (so cross draw with your hand down, turning it up once you've drawn) and more defensive when the blade could run along your forarm (pull draw, like if you dropped it the point would stick in the ground)

Claymores greatswords and hand an a half swords are better suited to the shoulder or kept in hand, Longswords rapiers scimitars falcions are better suited to the opposite hand, and dirks daggers knives and kunai could be drawn from any area of the body. It all depends on the weight and length of the blade, as well as your arm reach.

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2009, 03:40:31 PM »
Just a few little tweaks from sword/dagger experience and research (anything by Ewart Oakeshott is a wonderful source):

Daggers or kunai are more offensive if their blade is up while weilded (so cross draw with your hand down, turning it up once you've drawn) and more defensive when the blade could run along your forarm (pull draw, like if you dropped it the point would stick in the ground)

Pre-20th century in battle--in Europe--the dagger was most often used in a "reverse" grip (point down if the arm's parallel to the ground), in dueling (post-15th century) it was held in a "blade up" grip.  Why?  Because the "reverse" grip provides more power on a stab, usually coming out from the chest--horizontal, parallel to the ground--and, thus, could better pierce mail and plate armor.  After such armor more or less vanished from the battlefield, using a dagger for cutting or a less powerful stab became practical.  And in dueling, having an off-hand parrying weapon to replace the shield and later buckler became desired--a lot easier to carry a long dagger than it is to carry a shield/buckler around all day.

Quote
falcions

Falchion varies as far as easiest draw.  All the word means is that it's a sword (of any length) with a reinforced, single edged blade (despite what Gary Gygax and his followers believed :) ), basically a European machete.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2009, 08:00:29 AM »
Claymores greatswords and hand an a half swords are better suited to the shoulder or kept in hand, Longswords rapiers scimitars falcions are better suited to the opposite hand, and dirks daggers knives and kunai could be drawn from any area of the body. It all depends on the weight and length of the blade, as well as your arm reach.
Sorry, but a Longsword is generally the same as a hand and a half which is the same as a bastard sword. What D&D calls "longsword" would actually be an "arming sword", and you wear even an arming sword on your opposite hip.
Also, a Katana has often been worn with the blade up, I don't remember how the Wakizashi was worn.

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2009, 09:33:14 AM »
Wakizashi is typically worn beside/over the katana.  At least in every drawing/painting I've ever seen from classical Japan.  Both go edge up ("blade up" is physically impossible, if the sword is to stay in the scabbard), because it is easier to draw the sword in a fluid manner thanks to the curve--to draw and cut in one motion--as the scabbard is basically tucked into the belt, rather than hanging from the belt in the Western style.

Oh, and for note, the katana blade is roughly the same length as that of a broadsword.  The balance is different, though because the hilt is more than twice as long.  The same goes for the wakisashi v. Western "shortsword".

Miyamoto Musashi states that "the abdomen is braced by the scabbard of the short sword in such a manner that the belt does not loosen" (The Book of Five Rings, "The Water Scroll", 19, trans.Thomas Cleary).
________________________________________________________________________

Longsword v. broadsword is also a sort of interesting debate, since they didn't really exist concurrently.  However, most fantasy uses the terms interchangably because Tolkien did, whereas the fencing manuals of Europe make a clear division--the longsword having a narrower blade and a point, while the broadsword being a heavier blade with a rounded tip that seems to have been phased out of use by the 16th century.  After about the 15th to 16th centuries, the manuals don't even mention broadswords, to the best of my knowledge.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2009, 09:41:03 AM by Vandren »

Offline Oniya

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Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2009, 09:40:35 AM »
As I recall, the samurai would take hold of the scabbard and turn it so that the blade was perpendicular to the body, edge farthest from the waist, while the other hand pulled out and generally up to make the first slash.  The curved edge not only made it an easier draw, but it makes for a more efficient and deeper cut, due to the way the curved edge slides along the target.

Online Vandren

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2009, 09:44:32 AM »
That sounds, and feels, right.  The twist becomes second nature and difficult to remember doing.  :)

Offline dready

Re: Swordsman (or swordsperson if you wish)
« Reply #24 on: February 10, 2009, 07:53:23 PM »
That sounds, and feels, right.  The twist becomes second nature and difficult to remember doing.  :)
yet easy as hell to explain. :3