Thursday, November 08, 2012

David Black Mastro - European sword cutting feats, by J.M. Waite

European sword cutting feats, by J.M. Waite
By David Black Mastro (aka TrueFightScholar)

The following was taken from the Fall 1995 issue of J. Christoph Amberger's Hammerterz Forum historical fencing newsletter, and appeared originally in J.M. Waite's text, Lessons in Sabre, Singlestick, Sabre & Bayonet and Sword Feats; or, How to Use a Cut-and-Thrust Sword (1881): 

Cut a Broom-Handle or Wand on Two Glasses Without Breaking the Glasses or Spilling the Water: 

Take two stools of exactly the same height. Place a tumbler filled with water on top of each, then lay an ordinary broom-handle on the glasses, so that the ends will rest on the inside edges, each end projecting about an inch over the water. 

Take your sword. (Best for this purpose is something like a naval cutlass, but longer and heavier. The best-sized sword for a man of average strength is one weighing 3.5lbs., with a blade 1.75 inches wide and 31 inches long.) Deliver a downward chop with great suddenness and quickness, striking as near the center as possible. 

This feat may also be done with a thinner wand and two wine glasses. Or you may hang two loops of paper or strong thread on the edges of two sharp swords and suspend the wand on them. 

To Cut and Orange While Falling: 

Suspend an orange by a piece of thin thread about four or five feet from the ground. Place yourself with the right toes in line with the orange, then, with a very light touch of the sword near to the point, cut the thread, and quickly turning the hand, divide the orange as it falls. 

The thread may be cut from right to left and the orange from left to right, or vice versa, whichever you find the handier. In both ways the cuts must be very small and close. For this any light and handy sword will do. It should not be very sharp, except close to the point, so that you can cut the thread with ease, and thus cause the orange to fall straight. 

To Cut an Apple in a Hankerchief Without Injuring the Latter: 

Take a hankerchief and tie the four corners together with a piece of string. Hang it four or five feet from the ground, then put in the apple so that it will rest exactly in the center. 

Aiming under the apple, give an upward cut of sufficient force to pass through. If you make the slightest draw, you will cut the hankerchief. (...) Do not chop or hack, but make the cuts with neatness and freedom. Avoid all parade and always remember to grasp your sword so that the middle knuckles are in a line with the edge of the sword. This rule is imperative.



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