This Sword Points video addresses the 3 distances of swordfighting:
On Guard Distance
Trash Talk Distance.
If swords are out and you are close enough to hit your assailant, you are in Fighting Distance, and if you are not engaged in swordplay, there had better be a really compelling theatrical reason why you are not swinging steel.
If each combatant takes a step back, this is On Guard Distance. It’s called On Guard Distance because if you are this close to an assailant and swords are out, then you better be “on your guard” – prepared to defend, because you are one quick lunge away from being hit.
If the swordsmen take one more step back, this is Trash Talk Distance. At this distance, the characters can have swords out and insult each other to their heart’s content. They are too far to need to be in a “ready” on guard position, and the physicality can be loose and flamboyant. A mistake made in many theater productions when adversaries, with swords out, are blocked to be in each other’s face during pre-fight dialog. Once swords are out, the 3 distances of swordfighting come into play. Keeping the action consistent with the logic of the 3 distances gives your sword choreography verisimilitude and allows it appear more realistic to your audiences.
Here is a Sword Point video on maintaining the power of the legs during footwork. The basic cross step in 16th/17thC. rapier play is called the “Pasada”. While moving in pasada during an engagement the swordsman must maintain a position of power in their stance allowing them to move quickly and decisively. As soon as the swordsman engages his adversary (or acting partner), the legs should be coiled, meaning the swordsman should be in a crouch. This is the same position that gives power and quickness to a linebacker in football, a shortstop in baseball, or a tennis player. If the combatant comes out of his crouch at any time while in fighting distance, they are vulnerable to a counterattack, for they are not ready to move quickly either in offense or defense. Keeping a crouch in the stance while moving in pasada requires the fighter to “float” their upper body along the line of movement. If the shoulders bob up and down then the swordsman is not maintaining the power in the legs. The image is of a cat moving forward, ready to spring on its prey.
This Sword Points video features one of the basic sword fighting cut drills used at the Albion Schoole of Defense stage combat instruction program. For rapier fights we use 5 basic cuts and 5 corresponding parries, which we’ve put together in this drill.
This video is a demonstration. There is a lot going on in the simple drill that isn’t obvious to people new to stage combat, including the critical safety techniques that are incorporated–more than we can explain in one quick video–which is why we are filming a series of videos. We’ll explain the details in upcoming installments, so please don’t copy what you see in the video without additional safety information or qualified guidance.
Some of the details include how to make cuts properly; what angles are needed; how hard to make the cuts, how to transition from one cut to another and proper distance. You’ll also need to know where to parry and why; what angles to use; how to transition from one parry to another; how to keep your blade safely out of your partners way; proper timing and more. So, stay tuned for more sword fighting tips and techniques.
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Here is the first in our series of “2 Minute” sword instruction videos which we call – “Sword Points.” This installment shows the proper hand positions when holding the classic cut & thrust sword: the rapier. It also covers one of the most over-looked and critical techniques for creating the look of realistic sword wielding: The “Power Angle”. Enjoy!
For my first swordplay blog for the new Albion Schoole website, I wanted to welcome all those lovers of all things swordplay! This blog is here to pass on detailed information and unique insights on swords and swordplay. We have planned video demos and instruction I have called “Sword Points”, which are designed to share expertise from my 32 years as a professional Fight Director. Enjoy the site, and remember, “Any day with sword in hand, is a great day!”
The Albion Schoole of Defense blog-format website is back on-line. Intermittent server problems still persist but the service is now up and running.
The Schoole is looking to use the new blog format for education and outreach, featuring insightful posts on swordplay and stage combat by award-winning industry veteran Michael Cawelti, founder and director of the Albion Schoole.
Sever problems have hit the new Albion Schoole of Defense website upgrade. The Albion Schoole has moved to the WordPress Blogging and Content Management System software which is run as an application on our webserver. The application is currently experiencing extreme slowdowns. We are working to solve these problems so the site changes can get fully underway. And we understand the irony of posting this message on a website that many people can’t see at the moment. 🙂