Test Cutting Rattan Shield

This Forum is a place for students of swordsmanship to ask advice from moderators Paul Champagne & Scott M. Rodell on how to practice test cutting in a manner consistent with how swords were historically used in combat. Readers use this Forum at their own risk.

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KyleyHarris
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Re: Test Cutting Rattan Shield

Post by KyleyHarris » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:52 pm

Scott M. Rodell wrote:
Nik wrote:BTW, that's a reason why I made heavy-contact ready blunt swords - I was trained hitting leather-wrapped heavy chains with just the front inch of an unsharpened sword...
Another way one can train striking with a weapon & get use the associated shock is by strike a spare car that is either hung from a rope or mounted on a stand. Any old wooden dowel will be fine for such conditioning training if one doesn't want to mar the surface of nice wooden practice sword.
I do hope you mean a car tire.. how do you hoist a car up? :mrgreen:

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Peter Dekker
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Re: Test Cutting Rattan Shield

Post by Peter Dekker » Wed Jul 07, 2010 3:13 pm

I am not much into protective gear for test-cutting and have never felt at risk when cutting targets, soft or hard. It is all about carefully visualizing the movement before executing, and using only cuts that are already programmed in one's system. Also, make sure to always prepare to stop the sword right after the target whether you expect to go through or not. Preventing uncontrolled after-swings is fundamental to any kind of sword practice. Getting maximum power into the target should only be the concern of advanced test-cutters, which I don't consider myself to be.

Back to the tengpai, I found this to be a very interesting test which yielded some interesting and unexpected results. Personally I hadn't expected a sword to cut so deep into the shield's rim but would have thought it penetrated more easily. It inspires me to look further into historical methods to strengthen the shields. Looking at the damage on the shield, I realize that the channels in the shield are not totally filled with tung oil yet. Another flaw in this shield was that it was rather unevenly domed, and we saw it collapsed where the bulge was the least graceful. We can conclude that the more even the dome, the more even the distribution of energy through the whole.

I agree that we need to devise a better way to hold the shield. The stand moved a little with the shield but was probably still different than an arm. The best way in my opinion is to devise a good arm guard so a person can hold it.

From a practical standpoint one can wonder about the consequences of these outcomes in a real fight. I wonder, would the swordsman really want to hit the shield? Probably not because the moment the weapon is shield-bound the shieldman knows he is safe and will launch his counter. Contrary to a swordsman, a shield bearer can attack and deflect at the exact same time. When one knows that cutting into the side of the shield will only weaken the shield but will pose no direct threat to the bearer, we can conclude that a swordsman wouldn't want to bother because it may provide the shield bearer with too big a window of opportunity for a counter.

In a later test by a local student, Antoon Kunst, he managed to put a jian through the shield some 15 cm. Amazing that a difference that made with the saber that Scott used. Although it is enough to reach the shield bearer's arm, he probably won't stay still and will turn the shield away and counter. So yes some weapons can get through, but the question is whether you would really want that to happen.

We also need to keep in mind that we are now much looking at it from a dueling standpoint, where fighting in battlefield formations is quite different.

I am looking forward to make better shields, do more tests, and get more experience sparring with shields!

-Peter
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Willing is not enough, we must do.


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KyleyHarris
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Re: Test Cutting Rattan Shield

Post by KyleyHarris » Wed Jul 07, 2010 9:08 pm

Interesting. I think you are right.. Wailing on the sheild is exactly what the shield bearer would like you to do because they can then come inside the shield and your centre to attack directly with no response. Its no different than beating on the side of a knights armour.. it may look good in a movie, but it wont really do much except leavy you vulnerable to a knight cutting you up..

This thought led me to another immediate thought about the softness of blades found in medieval europe.. many of them were actually very very soft. almost annealed by our standards.. But it does bring to mind the concept of the Armour piercing sword. The goal wasn't really to pierce the armor. The goal was to find holes in the armour such as the neck blacks, back of the knees, and armpits.. So they had long narrow tips.. It makes sense for the blade to be very soft and bend.. once you actually get into the armour the weight and torque could easily snap a sword.. but a very soft blade would just bend and you pull it out.. if very soft you could even bend it bad crudely on the battle field..

So.. I am beginning to wonder in my mind if ultra soft swords that would almost bend in half rather than break was to make sure that you could get into the chinks in armour, or shields without the blade snapping or getting caught too easily. But if your target is a normal footman, youd want hard edges that hold and edge.

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Re: Test Cutting Rattan Shield

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:18 am

KyleyHarris wrote:
Scott M. Rodell wrote:
Nik wrote:BTW, that's a reason why I made heavy-contact ready blunt swords - I was trained hitting leather-wrapped heavy chains with just the front inch of an unsharpened sword...
Another way one can train striking with a weapon & get use the associated shock is by strike a spare car that is either hung from a rope or mounted on a stand. Any old wooden dowel will be fine for such conditioning training if one doesn't want to mar the surface of nice wooden practice sword.
I do hope you mean a car tire.. how do you hoist a car up? :mrgreen:
What's this, you mean you Aussies don't keep a spare car just for beating on?

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KyleyHarris
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Re: Test Cutting Rattan Shield

Post by KyleyHarris » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:56 am

Scott M. Rodell wrote:
What's this, you mean you Aussies don't keep a spare car just for beating on?
Linda might. :mrgreen: Here in New Zealand i might find occasion to beat on the side of the house :lol:

I have just designed a modern hand and a half sword for mixed style (not chinese historic) and am building it now. perhaps a car test will be good for durability on armour piercing.. hehe

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