View Full Version : Book "By the sword" by Richard Cohen
18-06-06, 08:13 PM
Although the primary focus of this a book about the use of swords in warfare, then duelling, and finally competition fencing as we know it today, the author also addresses sword making in Europe and Japan in a couple of interesting chapters. Overall, a well-written book that put swords into their historical context.
18-06-06, 08:32 PM
The local library should have it, and everyone should own a copy...humourous, intellectual, and a damn good read...
19-06-06, 08:48 AM
I thoroughly recommend it - read it a couple of years ago and couldn't put it down.
While this is a reasonably good book I did have a couple of issues with it. Firstly, he totally miss-quotes a friend of mine about the Spanish style of fencing. In fact miss-quote is being generous as my friend never talked to him and was never asked if his name could be used in the book. Mr Cohen also holds the outdated view of many modern fencers (and I used to be one) that the foil, epée, and sabre are the final and best distillation of the fencing art, and that all older styles were working up to it. Having studies older styles of European swordplay for ten years I have to disagree. Sorry if that sounds a bit ranty.
Would like to say that this is a good book, I was just a bit disappointed.:rolleyes:
21-07-06, 10:40 PM
Richard has an opinion, that is true, but I felt the book was worth it, and I will get my own copy soon. Your friend should take him up on that plagaristic theft, BTW.
I personaly feel that modern fencers disregard the foil as soon as they have learned the basic skills, and continue onto epee and sabre.
My son fences, and I have a battle to keep him with foil, as the older lot all want to use sabres, as he likes the freedom to slash.
Pin point precision is more disciplined, for me, at least...
22-07-06, 03:41 PM
Intersting point Zackerty,
However the foil was the practise sword of the small sword, and I guess unless you are going on to competition proper, or go on and practise with a small sword, there is not much point. I can understand the wish to use saber, as it has more freedom in use, and it also in actual duels had more victories over epee, so perhaps it is the sword one should practise with?
22-07-06, 06:31 PM
My fencing instructor reckons the epee is the easiest to understand, the hardest to master, and also the closer to what would have been a real sword fight in the past. The saber is technically identical to the military weapon but for the weight that makes for very fast moves. The same fencing instructor also teaches medieval long sword (two-handed) for re-enactments and stage/TV. There is indeed more to fencing than the three competitve weapons. Two days ago I was introduced to the long sword and learning the basic gaurds and moves made me understand better the way these swords were designed and built.
22-07-06, 08:42 PM
I am no expert in fencing...and it is interesting to have a point of view from the players.
The sport and always intriuged me, but like most Westerers, I went the Oriental route of knock-on duelling in white pajamas.
No regrets, but I only fenced for a short while when I was younger, in between judo classes, and my age, it is not too late to start in earnest.
You will notice that I am choosing my words carefully?
Just remember, British Blades is strict on the subject and discussion of mar--tial arts, and pratical com---batting of any sort.
Keep this acedemic, and we can learn.
If this sounds sour, I apologise in advance.
If anyone drags this down, Goodbye thread.
22-07-06, 09:35 PM
As the thread starter (especially as it is one of my first ones!), maybe I should emphasize that the use of the word "weapon" in the context of competition fencing is historical. Basiacally we are talking about a flexible steel rod with a handle; I would be more wary of a walking stick to be honest. Anyway, I mentioned the book for its chapters on swordsmithing in the first place.
23-07-06, 02:55 AM
The history of duelling has always fascinated me, whether by blade or bullet.
The making of the implements, even more...
Swords and ploughshares are essentially the same steel, but designed for doing different tasks.
It is rather sad, that technology is always accelerated by war, but we as tool users, can benefit from the progress.
I have obtained a sword blade from Wilkinson Sword, supplied by a memeber here, Andy.
There are no more available, and I hope to handle the one I have, in a way honouring the intentions of that fine company.
I hope this thread expands...:)
23-07-06, 11:07 AM
I have myself a French Army officer ceremonial sabre (from defunct France-Lames) Modele 1961, derived (actually the handle; not the blade that is straight) from a model from the 19th century. That is my personal one as I did my military service in the Engineers almost 10 years ago. I will post some pictures in the near future.
Hi all, just to say I had no intention to make this into an inappropriate discussion of things martial. I was (I think) careful about how my first post was worded. I am happy to talk about the research being done at this time, and the groups doing it, but as Zacherty says this would be treading a fine line for this forum. I have no desire to upset our hard working moderators.
I do however have a couple of very nice antique military sabres; one an 1885 British cavalry pattern, the other an early 19th century infantry officer’s sabre.
BTW Zachetry you're right to keep your son at foil for a good while, though when he picks up sabre (and he will) make sure he remembers how to parry! The sabre being done at high competition level is so focused on a speedy first hit that the amount of simultaneous points beggars belief.
23-07-06, 08:40 PM
Could we have pics, please? I am aware of those patterns mentioned, but folk here can get a better idea?
I would like to see more people here in BB making swords, even just a good represention, or an original idea.
Swords are NOT just big knives, as the work that goes into the straightness, and form, and athetics...is intensified, much more than even a big Bowie...
Pics as requested.
Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. Zacherty is spot on the money when he says swords are not just big knives. If only some "sword-makers" understood that the market would be so much better.
23-07-06, 09:55 PM
If you resize those pics, so that there is no horizontal scrolling required, you could post them here Gareth, with HIDE tags...
How do I use the HIDE function?
23-07-06, 11:18 PM
If you highlight the link to the picture in your thread then click on the RED questionmark in the row of functions above the comment box. This puts hide brackets around the picture so the person viewing can look at each picture at a time.
23-07-06, 11:21 PM
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23-07-06, 11:24 PM
Look two posts back
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