The Blade-Gain, in Modern Times   9 comments

I’ve recently been thinking about how the majority of people at my practice go to great lengths to ward off any and all of my blade gain attempts, keeping their blade free from entanglement entirely. This morning, a thought occurred to me:

Most period fencing masters put emphasis on finding/gaining the blade when teaching their students, correct? If this is true, I imagine it was so because not everyone could afford to study under a fencing master. This means that, if up against someone who takes offense in the street, there may be a lower likelihood that the offender is going to be schooled in the finer points of rapier combat; meaning, they are going to be more like your generic/noob SCAdians (the kind who pick up a blade for the first time and swing wildly with zero finesse, anyway.)

Perhaps I should give the people of SCA period more credit: I’m sure they were at least a little more proficient with weapons than people in modern times. So, assuming that someone learning under a fencing master is going to have the advantage over someone who is not (but who may have some skill in fighting, in general, due to the times), gaining the blade and making that person their bitch via their skillset sounds solid.

However, we are now in modern times. Fencing manuals are much easier to come by, and some of us not only read said manuals, but are skilled enough to relay the information to others. Period technique, while still not the norm in my experiences, does tend to carry throughout the SCA. So with the fact that this knowledge is so readily available now, people can learn of it and choose whether or not to apply it. Many people are aware of the blade gain, and work to prevent it from happening, to a point that I feel it is practically useless for me to even try. Basing a lot of attacks around the blade gain seems very difficult to carry out when your opponent knows you’re going to do that, and does everything in their power to keep their blade free. So is this technique outdated* in terms of general SCAdian rapier combatants?

* I did not say inefficient. It can work beautifully, and I’ve even made it work beautifully, myself. I’m focusing on the assumption that it gave a specific advantage to the scholar of a master in period times, versus someone who was not learning from a fencing school, and how times are so very different now that everyone has a basic understanding of finding the blade, and can work easily to avoid it.

Posted October 26, 2015 by Toki Ima in Musings

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