Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Discussions about manual study, translations, philology, historical research, and similar topics.
User avatar
keith_b
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby keith_b » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:22 am

Greetings gents,

I'm looking for a little advice and/or insight. I recently moved to a small city in Northern, Ontario that does not have a HEMA club or a sport fencing club.

I'm interested in sabre (military and Italian duelling), cutlass, and Scottish broadsword. I'm thinking of starting a training group with one or two other people. I have zero fencing experience. Is there a training DVD/download that you'd recommend to get us started? I know there's quite a few historical texts, but I'd much prefer something visual that we can work off of, something that demonstrates basic techniques, solo / partner drills, etc....

Does anyone have any recos? The only thing that seems to turn up for me is Cold Steel's Fighting with the Sabre & Cutlass DVD.

Any insight and/or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Best,

Keith.

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby Richard Marsden » Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:52 pm

Keith Farrell's book on Singlestick and Broadsword is one start.

I have a book on Polish saber of the 17th century.

Christopher Holzman has a book on Italian Dueling sabers of the 19th century.

Buckets of historical sources you go straight to as well, depending on time-period of interest.

User avatar
keith_b
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby keith_b » Mon Feb 29, 2016 3:59 pm

Richard Marsden wrote:Keith Farrell's book on Singlestick and Broadsword is one start.

I have a book on Polish saber of the 17th century.

Christopher Holzman has a book on Italian Dueling sabers of the 19th century.

Buckets of historical sources you go straight to as well, depending on time-period of interest.


Thank you for the reply, Richard. Are there any DVDs / digital downloads you would recommend?

User avatar
Richard Marsden
HEMA Alliance Member
Posts: 2539
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:17 pm
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Contact:

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby Richard Marsden » Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:19 pm

Not off the top of my head.

DVDs are interesting in that I find them too long and tricky to go back to!

Bill Carew
Posts: 249
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:57 am
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby Bill Carew » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:27 am

The good thing about studying 'British' (the '3 kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland) military sabre and broadsword circa 1800 is that they are mostly the same, consistent system. You can use a military sabre of the time (e.g. a 1796 LC) or a basket hilted broadsword (as carried by the famous Black Watch) with the same skills, with just a few minor adjustments for the specific strengths and weaknesses of the specific weapons.

If you are interested in this system, you are fortunate to have some excellent, clearly understood, primary sources in English. Charles Roworth ('Art of Defence on Foot with the Broadsword and Sabre...'), Thomas Mathewson ('Fencing Familiarised') - both available online for free I believe, or in the 'Highland Broadsword' anthology edited by Mark Rector and Paul Wagner - and Henry Angelo Sr ('Hungarian and Highland Broadsword') are all easily accessible and available.

If you want videos, check out the Cateran Society on Youtube - These sources are Chris Thompson's speciality.

https://www.youtube.com/user/gilbride100/videos

Chris also runs a free, online, long distance apprentice program if you would like some external oversight and guidance. I joined up because it is very well done and Chris has been very generous with his online materials.

User avatar
Joey Nitti
Posts: 1494
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:52 am
Location: Canada

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby Joey Nitti » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:50 am

Bill Carew wrote:The good thing about studying 'British' (the '3 kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland) military sabre and broadsword circa 1800 is that they are mostly the same, consistent system. You can use a military sabre of the time (e.g. a 1796 LC) or a basket hilted broadsword (as carried by the famous Black Watch) with the same skills, with just a few minor adjustments for the specific strengths and weaknesses of the specific weapons.

If you are interested in this system, you are fortunate to have some excellent, clearly understood, primary sources in English. Charles Roworth ('Art of Defence on Foot with the Broadsword and Sabre...'), Thomas Mathewson ('Fencing Familiarised') - both available online for free I believe, or in the 'Highland Broadsword' anthology edited by Mark Rector and Paul Wagner - and Henry Angelo Sr ('Hungarian and Highland Broadsword') are all easily accessible and available.

If you want videos, check out the Cateran Society on Youtube - These sources are Chris Thompson's speciality.

https://www.youtube.com/user/gilbride100/videos

Chris also runs a free, online, long distance apprentice program if you would like some external oversight and guidance. I joined up because it is very well done and Chris has been very generous with his online materials.

I'll second Keith Farrell's book. Not only a guide to sabre/broadsword, it gives you the history, the cultural context, the background, everything. And it doesn't just teach you how to do sabre/broadsword/singlestick, it teaches you how you teach yourself. It's like a textbook, not a how-to-guide.

His book includes Roworth's treatise too. Roworth's is pretty simple and straightforward. I also like Waite, and Thomas Page.

Pretty much all of them are available for free online.
Joey Nitti
Ottawa Swordplay

"...stab him in the face." ~Sigmund Ringeck

"Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears?
make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out." ~William Shakespeare

User avatar
KeithFarrell
Posts: 1003
Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2011 7:02 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby KeithFarrell » Wed Aug 10, 2016 7:55 am

Joey Nitti wrote:I'll second Keith Farrell's book. Not only a guide to sabre/broadsword, it gives you the history, the cultural context, the background, everything. And it doesn't just teach you how to do sabre/broadsword/singlestick, it teaches you how you teach yourself. It's like a textbook, not a how-to-guide.


That's a lovely little review, thank you!
-- Keith Farrell --
Academy of Historical Arts: website Facebook blog
Fallen Rook Publishing: website Facebook

User avatar
Joey Nitti
Posts: 1494
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:52 am
Location: Canada

Re: Insight / Advice Needed - Sabre & Cutlass Beginner

Postby Joey Nitti » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:49 am

KeithFarrell wrote:
Joey Nitti wrote:I'll second Keith Farrell's book. Not only a guide to sabre/broadsword, it gives you the history, the cultural context, the background, everything. And it doesn't just teach you how to do sabre/broadsword/singlestick, it teaches you how you teach yourself. It's like a textbook, not a how-to-guide.


That's a lovely little review, thank you!


honestly, it took me a little while to fully appreciate what the book was. I was honestly expecting the broadsword equivalent of say, Tobler's Fighting with the German Longsword, or Secrets of Medieval German Swordsmanship, or the other "guide books" out there that show interpretations, teach drills and techniques, etc. But eventually I realized it was something different, and realized it had more in common with my university textbooks than it did with my other HEMA books. Unfortunately I haven't had the time to actively study sabre/broadsword/singlestick, but it's still very high on my HEMA to-do list
Joey Nitti
Ottawa Swordplay

"...stab him in the face." ~Sigmund Ringeck

"Will you pluck your sword out of his pitcher by the ears?
make haste, lest mine be about your ears ere it be out." ~William Shakespeare


Return to “Research & Techniques”