Re: Digest Number 438

From: Greywolf <greywolf_at_...>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 13:33:45 -0600

>   Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2001 07:21:09 -0000
>   From: reinierd_at_...
>Subject: Shields, spears, weapons (longish, crosspost)
>Mike Dawson:
>[snip] Skirmishing, open-line spear & shield will get picked apart by
>long-weapon users, or charged by sword and shield wielders. The spear
>is used purely for stabbing. Used 1H, there's no way you can get the
>leverage and power to parry with it. (Well unless you're  Heroically
>strong and skillful, but I assume you wanted to know the > norm, not
>the exceptions).

A parry doesn't have to be strength based.  In most martial arts, a parry is a re-direction of the force of the attack.  Doesn't take much stength, just a fair amount of skill and damn well trained reflexes, and application of a principle called unbendable arm.  A block, however, is direct opposition and not something I'd want to be doing with the typical medieval type sword - too easy to break or bend - you'd be surprised how fragile those swords really were...

>[major snip] One thing we don't do in the SCA is hit each other's
>bodies with our shields. Why not? Because it is really easy to really
>hurt someone! I wouldn't be surprised to find lots of damage being
>done by an orlanthi's shield boss or rim.

Well, one thing that the SCA doesn't really teach is how to thow your entire body into a weapon strike (and for damn good reason, there would be a lot more serious damage if those 250 lb fighters knew how to put the momentum of that 250 lbs into a sword stroke).  A typical shield bash is normally going to involve more of the body, more momentum, and therefore more impact damage.  Ganted all of the damage is (relatively) minor and generalized.  But having the bruise of someone's shield boss might demoralizing for an extended period of time  ;)

>EG, it seems to me the shield is under-rated in HW. I have no SCA
>experience but do have a dan in kendo and personally I would consider
>facing someone with a decent-sized shield a major pain in, uh, not
>sure what hit location yet, but point sure to be driven home
>painfully. Not sure why, but shields don't appear to have been used
>in Japan. Maybe they were considered cowardly.

A few reasons: 
1) most weapon forms are either two handed, or 2 weapon.  Most peasants who had any training would typically get trained in the spear or staff.  Most samurai were trained in the traditions that empasized two handed katana strikes, until Miamoto Mushashi (sp?) started to popularize the two weapon techinique by NEVER losing a duel over the course of something like 50 years  (however, it is rumored that he ended a combat with the man who developed the Jo and jo combat techniques before he got beaten...)

2) Most japanese sword techniques focus on speed, agility, and movement.  A shield is a weight dragging you down, obstructing your vision, and generally getting in your way.  Great for passive defense, which is something that is not really part of the japanese mind set.

3)  Yes, I think in some ways it was considered cowardly (or perhaps not manly...).  The only images that come to mind of someone using a shield are women (and Ninjas), and I've studied Japanese weapons from a variety of directions for a while...  If I remember corectly, the Chinese and Koreans were more openminded about shields, but they also used more peasant levies...

Personally, from my training once upon a time in the SCA, I'd much rather just rely on my Aikido training to not be in the way of the attack and strike when he was overextended...  Granted I'm biased, since in a fight with weapons, I'd more likely drop any of my weapons, disarm him and watch him cry like a baby as I pin him to the ground...

>   From: "Wulf Corbett"
>Subject: Re: Shields, spears, weapons (longish, crosspost)
>Well, in the Norse Film & Pageant Society (Viking re-enactment group
>- metal weapons & armour, 10th century accurate styles), we DO use
>shield charges. Full-weight, often leaping the last 3 feet or so for
>added impact. And yes, it hurts, lots of bruises, but nothing worse
>I've seen. Bashing with the boss to distract & blind is also popular.
>We're not ALLOWED to smash the bottom edge down onto our opponent's
>knee... but when using a kite or Legionary shield, kicking the bottom
>of your own shield into your opponent's shin is fun :)
>One major tactic of the NFPS is the Boar's Snout. Against an
>overlapped shield wall, the attackers choose a point man (often me,
>as I'm among the heaviest...), with shield forward. Two others 'lean'
>on his shoulders from behind with their shoulders, overlapping their
>shields as an outside 'wall', one each leans on theirs, and so on in
>a large 'V' formation. At full charge, the point man is almost
>guaranteed to break the shield wall. He's also unlikely to feel too
>well afterwards (I should know). How's that for Augmentation?

Damn you guys play rough!  Which brings up the last point about shields - to get the most use out of them, you have to form a sheild wall and become sitting ducks for the Viking berserkers.  Passive defense just never was a big idea for the Japanese...  Even their armor is designed for the greatest mobility possible - they never used anything equivalent to European field plate armor because it would simply have been to great a liability...

Respect the elders
Teach the young
Cooperate with the pack

Play when you can
Hunt when you must
Rest in between

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