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Mjehehe

Sword fighting!

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Hallo!
I think the regular "hack hack slash"-style so often seen in film is really unimpressive. Look at this, especially 1:05 and on: [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3DhjFUOG6Y"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3DhjFUOG6Y[/url]
Wow!!!

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Depending on which movie your referring to i couldn't agree less: LOTR, & Troy. Are two of my favs for there fighting squences all well done.
Those youtube guys look more martial artist than midevil warrior. I don't see why changing any of the major sword fights is nessary nor benifical since they were all masterfull written.

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Hmm cybroleach you are wrong!
Jaime, Sandor, Boros et cetera are some of the finest warriors in the world. How skilled can one be at hacking at eachother's shields? This video is an illustartion of actual medieval longsword techniques, something that requires years and years of training.

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[quote name='cybroleach' post='1606385' date='Dec 2 2008, 13.30']Those youtube guys look more martial artist than midevil warrior.[/quote]

Most of the movements they were displaying were straight out of Hans Thalhofer's "Alte Armatur und Ringkunst". Talhofer was 15th Century fightmaster who wrote and illustrated several Fechtbucher. They list several of their sources for movement and technique in the opneing credits. The Martial Arts that they were displaying are very European in origin.

Taking the well trained knights and giving them a base in these techniques to choreograph from would be a great jump off point and would all the fight directors to easily show clear distinctions between their fighting style and some one like Bronn. Having seperate fighting styles would add another level of realism to the show. Although it would not be immediately apparent to many viewers, they would still be able to tell the difference in skill level of people like Jamie and Gregor, they just wouldn't be able to discribe exactly why it seems one is more skilled than another.

apparently it doesn't like my U with and umlaut

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The real problem here is that the sword fights as written in the books are mostly not realistic. No one ever grapples and the like, and yet such information as we have concerning medieval and early Renaissance martial arts recognized this as a very important means to defeating an opponent in armor. Accounts from Froissart and the exploits of Jacques de Lailang (the greatest knight of his day) make it plain that grappling happened damned quickly in single combats between fully armored opponents -- it was the best way to get them in a position where youu could shove something into an exposed joint.

So, as to whether I'd want to see "real" medieval martial arts ... probably I'd have to say no, because there'd be a lot more grappling than I think would best interest an audience. Something more faithful to the text (i.e. LotR-like technique) with a good, energetic shooting style would probably be best. Something on the order of [i]Gladiator[/i] would not be bad -- that one had some tremendous fight sequences.

ETA: Although ... if they mixed in some cool, actual MMA like [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Pnw-9A8qQ"]throws[/url] [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIFIn6tAI3A"]like[/url] [url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6Pnw-9A8qQ"]these[/url] at the actual speed one would do them at when you were serious about killing someone, I would be very pleased. Just so long as it doesn't all end up that every time knights stand around trying to throw one another inconclusively until someone slips in the mud and then a passing peasant stabs a dirk through their visor ...

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Arrggh. My connection burped and I lost my long post...

Short version: I'd like to see the cuts and blocks incorporated from the historical fighting manuals, since they match the period and are interesting to watch, but I agree with Ran in that the grappling shouldn't be used much if at all.

I've read De Liberi's work and attended a hands-on seminar on the techniques. It's scary how efficient the moves were, this from someone who studied Asian martial arts for near 10 years.

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Ran,

I absolutely agree that going straight off of "historically acurate" fighting techniques would be rather boring for the TV audience. I just hope that the choreographers ground their stylistic decisions in what we have from European history. They director for those fight scenes will be the key to their success his filming style, choice of camera angle, film speed etc. will make all the difference between good and bad fight scenes. I loved the film style used for the fights in Gladiator and if they could get someone as good as Phil Neilson, stunt coordinator, and whichever director / DP actually coordinated those scenes it would be fantastic.

The great thing about choreography for film as opposed to live performance is that you have all of those things to help make the fight look better, regaurdless of the quality of the choreography. There is much more front end planning that has to go into filming a fight sequence, but you have a wide range of tools to spice it up in post production. Where as with live performance you get only one shot to do it right.

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I have to disagree somewhat that grappling and the like is wholly unrepresentative of the fighting style of Westeros. Dunk does a lot of it. The fight between Oberyn and Gregor was eventually decided by grappling. It is portrayed by GRRM as something that is resorted to by larger fighters with less finesse, which makes sense. Smaller fighters would obviously avoid grappling and depend more on striking with the sword.

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Gregor resorts to it when there's nothing left for him to do (no weapon, pinned to the ground, and so on). Same with Dunk. In the Middle Ages, knights in single combat on foot would actually choose to grapple as, practically, an opening move rather than as an act of desperation. I don't mind seeing an unarmed knight desperately charging at someone and trying to grapple them. But if every single combat is depicted "realistically" according to what we know of how actual single combat were fought back in the day, they will come out very different from how they are in the books.

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There is so much in the text to draw from to make some amazing fights to be filmed, not least of which is an understanding of the individuals fighting. Each fight has to tell its own story, in keeping with the flow of the broader context in which it happens and staying true to the characters involved. You can't have Jaime swinging wildly and at random, or Gregor using his claymore like a rapier, or the Sandor only being defensive and opportunistic. I just hope the choreographer will reference the scenes as written in the books and find a way to translate it into action that works for what D&D need from the scene.

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I've studied some Western Martial Arts, and for me the fighting is very important. But really I'd be happy if at the very least they don't look like buffoons waving clublike swords around.

If it were me, I'd be taking some fetchbuch moves (not just horizontal slashing) and showing fighters using different guards. And maybe if they depict scenes from the Melee or battles some interesting grapples and more brutal moves cut together to give a good visual quality without slowing down fights for the audience.

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[quote name='Myrddin' post='1606474' date='Dec 2 2008, 21.25']Short version: I'd like to see the cuts and blocks incorporated from the historical fighting manuals, since they match the period and are interesting to watch, but I agree with Ran in that the grappling shouldn't be used much if at all.

I've read De Liberi's work and attended a hands-on seminar on the techniques. It's scary how efficient the moves were, this from someone who studied Asian martial arts for near 10 years.[/quote]
It's of course nice to see some real techniques in there (although movies like LotR aren't all without such either, given the coaches they had) but since you have practiced martial arts yourself you will know that realistic and effective fighting is very rarely shown on screen when it comes to portraying people who are very skilled at fighting. The reason is of course that the most effective techniques are seldom very exciting to watch, at least for the people that haven't trained the arts themselves (which means the vast majority).

But if they can make a good compromise I'm of course all for implementing as much real fighting as possible since I really enjoy those kind of things myself, having trained and competed for a long time as well.

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Hell, if they could do a reasonably good job of sword fighting scenes in Excalibur in the mid-70s I'm confident they'll do a good job here. In fact, I hope they don't go all over the top as was done sometimes in LotR, for example. In the LotR many fights seemed "too" choreographed to me but I'm a big fan so I was pretty easily able to let it slide. Seems to me that a realistic fight to the death would often be much more ugly and brutal than it is fluid and pretty.

I have a pet peeve about which I'd like to ask those of you here who might know: did medieval warriors really do as much sword blocking with their sword as is depicted in the movies? To me that seems largely like a product of "Hollywood-ization" but I could be wrong.

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Depends a lot on what the knight used. A lot of knights didnt wear shields as their armor was deemed strong enough, so yes they did parry with their swords. In fact, from what I remember many techniques I've seen involve blocking with a sword in some way that can go straight into an attack.

That's not to say that everyone parried all the time, as there are plates I've seen depicting a man using his armor or gauntlets to catch an opponents sword instead of parrying.

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Keep in mind, a lot comes down to filming.

No swords were involved, but remember that movie[b] A History of Violence[/b]?

The fighting came across as ultra gritty and realistic, such as Viggo's character stomping a downed guy's windpipe, or shooting another guy in the jaw. Conceptually, they were good, but what made them even better was the editing and filming--showing just enough to know that he beat the shit out of them without making it look over the top. You see the guy gagging on the floor with most of his jaw gone, and you hear the crunch of the other guy's throat, and it's enough.

The best choreography in the world can look crappy if it's filmed or edited badly. But, like someone else said, a really good director and editor can work wonders.

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Ran, I think you're exaggerating the extent to which grappling was employed in actual historical combat. Perhaps many fights devolved into grappling matches, but the existence and apparent popularity of the sword militates against the suggestion that knights preferred to grapple as an opening move. If that were the case, swords would be of little use. Daggers and dirks would prove far more effective.

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[quote name='Bolton Bastard' post='1608160' date='Dec 3 2008, 17.17']Depends a lot on what the knight used. A lot of knights didnt wear shields as their armor was deemed strong enough, so yes they did parry with their swords. In fact, from what I remember many techniques I've seen involve blocking with a sword in some way that can go straight into an attack.

That's not to say that everyone parried all the time, as there are plates I've seen depicting a man using his armor or gauntlets to catch an opponents sword instead of parrying.[/quote]
Yes, I see what you mean. I'm certainly no expert in sword fighting so that's why I'm asking these questions. I know there is a lot of parrying with lighter blades/swords but I just don't know how much would/could be done with the bigger/heavier swords. Seems like a good way to notch/break your sword but I could be wrong.

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Sergio,

You can read the sources and see for yourself. It's not like I'm the only person with access to Froissart or Le Fevre. ARMA's site probably has some good stuff in relation to this.

There's a reason that combat at the barriers developed in the later Middle Ages. It prevented grappling contests.

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[quote name='Prince of the North' post='1609170' date='Dec 4 2008, 11.44']Yes, I see what you mean. I'm certainly no expert in sword fighting so that's why I'm asking these questions. I know there is a lot of parrying with lighter blades/swords but I just don't know how much would/could be done with the bigger/heavier swords. Seems like a good way to notch/break your sword but I could be wrong.[/quote]

Also keep in mind that a large sword does not need to have all that sharp of an edge to cause the desired amount of damage. Breaking a colar bone is just as affective at taking some one out of a fight as severing their arm. Hollywodd tends to use a lot more sword to sword contact than you would see in an actual combat, but dramtic liscense must be taken with a firm foot in realism or the fights don't look all that great on film. You want it to be exciting for the majority of the audience, with just enough realism to keep the majority from scoffing at it, unless you are doing a film like "Croutching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" in which the fights are stylisticly "over the top". This project requires a gritty realism to be true to the text, but has to be balanced in such a way as to make the broader audience buy into and be entertained by the fights. Sadly, if they decide to go with a style that is highly historically accurate I don't think they will achieve that balance. However, I don't see the fights as being a key element to the success of the show, other than in pivotal moments where the story hinges upon the fight itself, ie: Tyrion's trials by combat, the Blackwater etc. As long as these scenes are put together in such a way as to carry the characters and the story forward, the rest can be spiced up as needed by editing, music, camera angles, being able to do multiple takes, and all the other miriad of bits of movie magic.

SergioCQH, on a side note, and completely off topic, let me say as a Sooner fan, I'm sorry. Those have to be the worst Tie-breaker rules ever evented. 45-35 it doesn't get any simpler than that. It should be UT vs. Missouri on Sat.

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I appreciate your sportsmanship, cronos. I also appreciate the Sooners taking the Florida beating for us.

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