Dragon Blood into a Sword


The skillful, manly, work of art that goes into making a sword in 3 minutes.

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Marozzo’s Sword and Buckler – Assault 1 Part 4a, Annotated

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

I am skipping the footwork diagrams for this section. The exact footwork you are going to be using really depends on what you opponent is doing. Instead of thinking in terms of exact footwork, just think forward, backwards, to his left, or two his right.

As you pull back your right foot, turn over the sword so that the point is forward. This is necessary for the next action.

Note that Marozzo says “face”. Don’t aim for the chest, it will weaken your own defense. Don’t thrust to the side of the head, it will tie up your sword and make the next action difficult. There is an assumption here that he will parry.

This action should elicit a parry of some sort. Use the momentum of the parry to perform the disengage and subsequent false edge strike. As you do this, make sure you bring up your buckler to…

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Camillo Agrippa – Chapter 5, A Different Kind of Seconda

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

If you were like me, you were taught that second refers to the rotation of the hand. If the true edge is upwards you are in prima. If it is to the right, you are in seconda. But that’s not what Agrippa taught. Seconda refers to the height of the arm.


Agrippa acknowledges that the term also refers to postures where the feet may be wide or medium and the arm may be pulled back, but this is what he prefers for seconda.

Purpose and Uses

Like prima, this guard cannot be attacked on the outside with the false edge. The opponent may attempt to attack on the inside with the true edge, but this forces his arm into a crescent shape and thus expose his chest, shoulder, and right knee.

This guard allows for quick attacks. Using careful timing, one can thrust in third or fourth using…

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Steel rotella target shield–Therion Arms

Talhoffer And Marozzo/I.33 Bucklers by CASHanwei.com

The Role of Filippo Vadi in the dei Liberi Tradition, Pt. II

(c) 2010 Greg Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild

While Filippo Vadi’s De arte gladiatoria dimicandi differs in the main very little from the work of Fiore dei Liberi in terms of technique, the assertion that Vadi’s work does not differ in method of communication is simply incorrect. The true originality of the De arte gladiatoria dimicandi stands in the sixteen introductory chapters that come before the illustrated leaves. These elegantly written verse chapters constitute the center of Vadi’s work and detail the main principles of swordmanship. They also mark a notable difference in the pedagogical method of the manuscript itself from all three of the dei Liberi texts.

Dei Liberi’s Fior di Battaglia are experiential manuscripts. In the Getty and Pierpoint Morgan manuscripts, the author clearly describes the various guards, attacks and mechanics of the individual techniques. Each illustration follows in a logical sequence, so that a technique is followed…

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The Birth Of A Tool

Keep The Stoke Alive!

This video of a dude making a hand axe kinda turned me on a little bit. If that’s wrong then I don’t want to be right.

Thinking about saying screw you world and becoming a blacksmith.

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With a heavy heart I must say good bye

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

With a heavy heart I must say good bye,
To my old friend who laughed and lied.

My companion was tall and proud,
Tap his should and he would sing out loud.

He deviated neither left nor right,
There was no hint of a curve in sight.

Tonight I presented him with a brass plate,
But it seems my timing was too late.

For five short minutes we played with his new toy,
Then is was time to say so long old boy.

For ten long years we roamed the fields,
Now I stand above and he below.



I know I was long overdue for a new blade, but I’m still sorry to see it go. Especially since I literally just finished adding that etched plate to cut down on the vibrations and better protect my hand. The plate is too shiny to photograph with my cheap camera, but…

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Krumphau is a Long Edge Strike… Until the Last Second

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

According to Aaron Pynenberg, Krumphau is a normal long edge cut to the sword until the last moment when it is turned over. He writes,

My thought is that I am “cutting” with the long edge initially, and the long edge makes contact first, but then as my hands cross then the short edge actually forces the other sword down after it makes contact, that last video showed the “best” possible outcome as there are times when you can do this without even having to make contact here is a video showing what happens most often

See his video here: http://vimeo.com/49951783

This appears to work much better than my Krumphau, which begins as a short edge cut. It also gives you more flexibility, as this late decision point also gives you the option to turn it into a Schielhauw.


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Practice Notes – Master Cuts are not Belly High

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

My experiments with the center vom Tag turnout out better than expected. Look at these images of the master cuts, they are all aiming for the head.




When using vom Tag on the right, my target was the chest or even the belly. And correspondingly, my defense was weak and my hands were often struck.

Last night I played predominately with center vom Tag and all of my attacks landed high with many, many clean head shots. Even the bane of my existence, the Schielhauw or squinting strike, just worked without any thought or effort.

I’m sure that once I’ve grown accustomed to using these strikes from vom Tag in the center I’ll start throwing them correctly from other guards as well. But until they are fully engrained in my muscle memory (or my practice partners learn to use Alber correctly) I’m sticking with this guard.

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Ahead of Their Time — Early Attempts at Modern Weaponry

Military History Now

Jan Zizka, a 15th century Czech military leader who led a rebellion against the powerful Catholic Church, was a brilliant commander in spite of being totally blind. Even with this considerable handicap, Zizka did have the vision to foresee the invention of the tank 500 years before the advent of modern armoured warfare. As reported previously on this very blog, as far back as the 1420s, Zizka came up with the idea of mounting archers, arquebuses and even cannons on armoured horse-drawn carts and rolling them into battle. He called his contraptions “wagon forts”. [1] Zizka wasn’t the only one from the distant pass to envision the weapons systems of modern times. There have been a number of military innovators throughout history who developed early versions of some of the more revolutionary fighting machines of today. Here are a few of these remarkable inventions.

Bombs Away
History records the…

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Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo’s Montante – Demonstrated by ModernSwordsman

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

These videos are an interpretation of Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo’s Memorial Of the Practice of the Montante. If you open the video on YouTube you can see the text of the lesson the presenter is working through. 

Purpleheart Armory sells wood and synthetic montantes. I cannot vouch for their quality.

Simple Rule 1


Simple Rule II

Simple Rule III

Simple Rule IV

Simple Rule V

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Don’t be Sloppy – Guardia Alta Edition

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

While researching for a class on Bolognese-Dardi terminology, I looked at this picture. I didn’t just see it, something about it caused me to actively look at it.


Notice how his blade is about 15 degrees from center. Now look at mine:


Pretty sloppy, isn’t it? For literally a decade I thought it was just laziness. But look at his quillions, they are traverse not forward. And his palm is turned forward so that the true edge is to the outside.

Look Good…

Marozzo isn’t just some random master at arms hired to teach peasant soldiers, he is a refined instructor of knights, noblemen, and the upper crust of merchant society. They come to him not just to learn how to use a sword, but how to look good doing so.

They don’t want to walk into a fight looking like they are already worn out. It is ok if…

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The Cutting Drill – Part 1

Ready, Set, Unsheathe

Do you know what the cutting drill is? I’ve thrown the name around in my posts maybe once or twice, but have actually neglected to clearly define it. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if I had described it on this blog at all. Apparently I have – sort of, anyway: Week 1 – Swords Are Heavy. About half-way through that post I start to describe the first version of the cutting drill I learned. Further into the beginner’s course this was expanded on and named the cutting drill (although we still only knew the first half of it). It is an exercise that, as the name implies, is for practicing your cutting technique. We usually spend at least a few minutes on it in the middle of every class.

The first half of the cutting drill can be summed up like this: cut down from the right, cut…

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The Cutting Drill – Part 2

Ready, Set, Unsheathe

As said in part 1, it’s time to go beyond the old “cut-cut-cut-cutting drill”. Since we happen to be three beginners and three experienced students, each beginner gets a sort-of personal instructor for this class. The first exercise we do is described below.

The defendant (me) takes the posta di finestraguard. It literally means “window guard”, and I guess I can see why.

This is a funny sort of guard. Instead of having your weight on your front foot you shift it on to your back foot (the right), but you keep facing forward. Your arms are crossed on the right side of your head and are holding the sword up in a horizontal position, so that the tip of your sword stares your opponent in the face. I’ve seen others use this guard, but this is the first time I try it. It takes a few moments…

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Fiore Longsword – Works of Richard Marsden

Discussion on Sturtzhauw, the plunging strike

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts


Meyer often describes cuts that seem a lot more like plays to me and I believe the sturtzhauw is a two step attack rather than a strike you throw directly. The way I see it the sturtzhauw begins with a scheidelhauw thrown either as a feint or clearing stroke that is followed by a thrust or cut to the face using the short edge to wrap around the opponent’s blade. That’s probably clear as mud in text but it’s a simple, continuous motion when executed… too bad I don’t have a video. Meyer specifically says that the sturtzhauw is mostly used as an opener in both his longsword and dusack sections but it can work when the fur is flying too since the scheidelhauw can often be used as a parry and that will initiate the process.

The sturtzhauw is actually one of the techniques that makes me think…

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The Role of Filippo Vadi in the dei Liberi Tradition, Pt. I

Galina Krasskove recently responded to my post on patronage. You can read her response at http://krasskova.weebly.com/1/post/2012/08/pagan-blog-project-p-is-for-patronage.html. You can read my post at http://swainwodening.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/patronage/. I am not going to address her post here as I have already done that in the comments section of her blog. What I want to do here is clear up a misunderstanding. A few people took it to mean from my post on patronage that I do not believe the gods interact with us. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I do think the gods interact with us on rare and special occasions sometimes in big ways. Let me share an experience with you. Many, many years ago, longer than some of you have been alive when I had not been Heathen very long I was still unsure if Heathenry was for me. I could not sleep one night, so I left my bed and laid down on the couch as I would often do when I could not sleep. I fell asleep rather quickly. Next thing I knew I was face to face with a large man with one eye. I knew instinctively that he was Woden. He then took me up on the back of his horse, and gave me a tour of the World Tree. I saw the gates of Osgeard (Asgard), the gates of Hel, the edge of Wanaham (Vanaheim), and many other places. He never spoke a word. I then awoke. It was all so vivid, so real. Ever since I have never questioned being Heathen. Was it real? Was it just a dream? I do not know and feel I am not in a position to say. I do know it set me firmly on the path of Heathenry. There are other times I feel I have felt the hands of the gods and goddesses. I was almost killed in a head on collision once at night about twelve years ago. I pulled out in the left lane to pass a car when headlights came on not more than fifty to seventy feet in front of me. Some idiot had been running dark. The car I was passing pulled onto the shoulder. The fool took the other shoulder. I passed safely between the two. I cannot credit my survival to the other drivers or to myself. I feel the gods were with me that night. I feel the gods and goddesses have gifted me in other ways. I feel I met my ex-wife because of the gods (my ruining our marriage was all my doing), and I feel being blessed with the son of my dreams was too a gift from the gods. My books stem from gifts the gods have given me. I feel the gods have interacted with me.

However, that does not mean I think I was chosen by Woden. I do not see myself as unique amongst Heathens. Indeed, I think most Heathens have had such experiences. So much so that it is nothing really special to say the gods did this or that for me when something important happens. I think it is not an everyday thing. I do not think Woden guides my every move. Indeed, one I think can go years between truly special experiences. But it does happen. The gods do interact with us. That said, I do not think there is anyone alive today that has been especially chosen by the gods. I see no one like Starkad or Sigurd. I see no one who is so blessed that it is clear they have a god as a patron. And that is where I stand. That is not to say that someday Woden or some other god or goddess will not choose someone for something special. We know from the lore, that some people were chosen by the gods and enjoyed their blessings as well as suffered their curses. It is to say that time is not now.

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

Part of Vadi’s goal may have been to show his art as unique, which is certainly how he promoted his work to the court of Urbino. Another possibility is that all of these guards likely originated from older sources. The Bolognese masters also used coda longa (or properly, coda longa e distessa),dente di chinghiale and porta di ferro (but these two terms mean an entire class of guards).Eisenpforte (“iron gate”) and Kron (“crown” – corona) are old German guard names, for the same positions Fiore shows as porta di ferro mezzana (“middle iron gate”) and posta frontale o corona(“frontal guard, called crown”). We have to remember that what we have is a snapshot in time of how the guards look c.1409 in Ferrara, c.1482 in Urbino, and c.1500 – 1570 in Bologna. We have no linking information per se, nor anything on their origin.


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