Sword and Shield DVD Review

 
00:00

Sword and Shield (2011), by Agilitas.tv, covers basic principles and techniques of sword and buckler combat. It is 85 minutes long. It draws mostly from I.33, but it discusses other manuals as well. It doesn't cover the entire I.33, but it does take the time to suggest how to stand, how to move, when to strike, how to strike etc. They show techniques from a variety of angles, at a variety of speeds. It also shows solo drills for practicing.

This DVD has four parts:-

  1. Historical Introduction
  2. Anatomical and Physical Basics
    - Biomechanics I: Pressue, Strength & Weakness
    - Biomechanics II: Reach
    - Biomechanics III: Cutting technique & Posture
  3. Martial Basics: Wards, Actions, & Tactics
    - Right Shoulder
    - Distance and Tempo
    - Follow-up actions from the bind
    - Left Shoulder
    - At the chest
    - Underarm
    - Revision of Wards and Attacks covered so far
    - Reflections on Tactics
  4. Appendix
    - Appropriate Equipment
    - Freeplay

If I had to choose between this and the Obsesseo DVD I would choose this one. It's coverage of biomechanics, stances, tactics, and technique are deep. Following this interpretation I feel that I have better balance, and I'm better able to work from binds, or follow up a retreating opponent. I found myself watching Obsesseo and trying out the I.33 moves in it through the methods shown in Sword and Shield. Despite that, I still think that Obsesseo is a good buy because it shows more of the I.33 manual.

Not only do Agilitas explain in depth, but they also explain what makes early S & B manuals like the I:33 different from the later manuals. Of which a key difference is that early teachers recommended that the buckler cover the sword hand, whereas some later teachers recommended moving S & B independently. This depth makes it easier to know when to apply the techniques of the DVD and when they need to be changed for different tactical scenarios.

In summary, I am pleased to own this DVD. I feel it has enriched my understanding of fighting with Sword & Buckler. I believe I am a better fighter for having watched and applied it's teachings.


DVD Website: Hammaborg

Comments

john
john's picture

I emailed Hammaborg, thanking them for producing the DVD and got a response from Roland. I've posted our email conversation in the following comments.

Roland

Hi John,

Thank you so much for your email. This is the kind of feedback that is rare but so rewarding to us and I am most grateful for you taking some time to let us know what you think about our DVD. The fact that you like our work that much makes it all the better. I am thrilled to read that you use it to actually improve your training. While this is the apparent purpose of the video's content, I constantly find myself in discussions, whether this medium can live up to the task at all and if any viewers actually try to incorporate any of the suggested drills etc. into their training routine.

It certainly made my day when I read your review. I hope you don't mind if we link to it on our Hammaborg Facebook Site?

Would be awesome to meet and fence with you one of these days.

Take care,

Roland

john
john's picture

Hi Roland,

The DVD medium does work, I practise regularly from it. I bought Stephen Hands Sword & Buckler book a few years ago, I skimmed through it, practised one technique from Under Arm and never touched it again. It was too hard to interpet his pictures, I had doubts about his biomechanics, and I was too lazy to try harder. The multiple angles, and speeds in the DVD make it easy to follow along.

By all means link to it. My purpose in writing the review is to encourage other people to buy it. Which will encourage you to make more. I get more DVDs that make me a better fighter. Everybody wins .

My friend Colin McKinstry has also published a review http://www.swordsmanship.co.nz/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1281 he writes from the point of view of an instructor, as opposed to me who is a junior student.

Just out of interest, how accurate is the English speaking narrators pronunciation of Deutsch words? My Deutsch is quite poor, and I would like to do my best to say things right.

Regards,
John

Roland

Hi John,

Thanks for the link to Colin's review. I am pleased he recommends it. His criticism on Third Ward as presented on the DVD is quite justified. We have re-assessed that one by now, too. The version depicted in the DVD is unfortunately not in line with the manuscript depiction, where the sword hand is extended further back with the elbow pointing forward, shield held somewhat lower. Only works if you also turn your upper body further to the shield side. I realised at one point (that was after producing the dvd, which was in 2010) that blows with the short edge, or rather what was later called a sturzhau likely feature prominently in I.33. Striking such a blow from third allows to cut/thrust over the opponent's shield and allows for much more reach as the curving blow shown in the dvd.

Countering an Overbind in MS 1.33I don't have a video or photo to show, but I have attached one of my drawings which at least shows how such a strike is basically executed, alas, not from Third. Anyway, you will get the point, I suppose. Feel free to share the image with your fellow students and with Colin, of course.

As for German terms and their pronunciation:
I think Keith Farrell's group in Scotland have an audio section on their website where a native German speaker pronounces pretty much all German Liechtenauer terms. I cannot find it right now (apparently I have little use for it!) but I am quite confident that someone on the more frequented forums will know. Hope that helps.

All the best,
Roland

john
john's picture

Hi Roland,

Thank you for newer interpretation of 3rd ward. I'll give it a go. Colin is a big fan of the false edge, he teaches in another city so it is rare that I get to catch up with him. And that is what makes your DVD particularly valuable. I belong to a club where the emphasis is more on hitting one another, and less on studying historical texts. DVDs are a good way to develop skill in the absence of a skilled instructor.

What about underarm? The interpretation in the DVD has the buckler extended out in front, but the I:33 suggests that the buckler might be held closer to the body? Also the hand position of At the Breast appears to have the true edge up, but in the DVD the true faces out.

I found a series of audio translations at http://www.myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=18593 by a Dutchman, couldn't find Keith Farrell's native German speaker.

Can I post an edited version of this email conversation on my review page?

Regards,
John

Roland

John,

Yes, you are most welcome to share the content of our conversation.

As for First Ward:
I do adopt First Ward in a more compact posture now, too, with the buckler less extended, the pommel fairly high which helps with accelerating the sword's point around the center of rotation. Also, I noted that on the dvd I held the sword outside the shield arm which I don't do anymore. However, all of this is to reconstruct the optimized I.33 version of underarm. Apparently, a lot of variations were in use. Here is a website that presents the bulk of contemporary depictions for this guard:
http://talhoffer.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/sword-buckler-the-first-guard-...

Regarding Sixth Ward (at the chest):
If a fourteenth century artist wanted to depict the hand position as suggested in our video, he would have to twist the swordman's arm in his illustration, so that the sword's flat would face the viewer. Now, the existing image from I.33 allows for two ways to twist your wrist, both of which feel awkward, with the more obvious one being less uncomfortable, with the wrist curled clockwise. But from a combat point of view, this is somewhat pointless. I find that the way we reconstruct the sword hand position, that is twisting the wrist counterclockwise, makes for a good tension that can be used for dynamically uncoiling with the thrust in a cork-screw movement. However, it is not possible to turn the hand as far as the according image seems to suggest. However, this still seems the most reasonable interpretation to me. And it is in line with the manual's art work, if you look at it this way: just think how you would illustrate our hand position if you had to remain true to the limitations of gothic art work and flatten out what you see.

All the best,
Roland

Add new comment