european rapier

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Hello! So! Basically, ive been feeling a bit down about art recently. And whilst working on commissions, an idea for these babies came to me. So I too ka bit of time for myself and just went for it. They aren’t all complete, but im away this weekend and just really wanted to post them. I will probably finish them all and neaten them up for DA and repost onto here.  I’m happy with the concept, because I really loved thinking about how these things would work.

 Now, this is a VERY rough idea of what I imagine the Honedge life cycle to be like. A proper pokedex entry will be included with the update. But it gives you jist of my thoughts J Hope you enjoy! (oh and sorry for the wall of text to follow!)

POKEDEX ENTRY - HONEDGE

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Indian Sword, 16th Century

This sword resembles a European rapier, but the style can actually be attested in Indian art as early as the 500s, where it figures as a typical weapon for rulers and nobles. Such early Hindu styles survived longest in southern India, far from the Islamic invasions that reshaped north Indian culture.

Double edged pointed blade with raised medial rib on both faces. Reinforced on both faces with elongated diamond-shaped plate riveted to central rib. Iron hilt. Wide, flaring crossguard, now bent in sections, grip swollen at mid-height. Pommel in shape of flattened Morion-cabasset helmet. Reinforced point.

Date & origin from Stone’s, per RRW; see 594 #4. See Rawson pl. 14-16 for other temple swords; see also 32 ff. and pl. 18-20. The term “Temple sword” is apparently inappropriate per Oliver Pinchot. See examples in Elgood 2004: 87 ff.; discussed 74. Cf. a similar example in Delmar Auction Cat. Dec 08 #31.

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“We are the most hated women in HEMA,” Lisa says, and she might be right. It’s late on a Saturday at the far end of Staten Island, and we’ve just finished the pools for the first-ever Fecht Yeah! longsword tournament.

What have we sixteen women done that’s caused so much outrage?

We held an event. We fought with longswords, rapiers, bucklers, and sabers. We had classes in longswords, rapier, and conditioning for sword work. We got coverage from the Village Voice, New York Post, and Wall Street Journal. We held our finals in front of a captive audience of school kids and their parents.

And we did it for ourselves, to celebrate ourselves.

***

For some it’s hard to understand - why would women, who in HEMA are given the chance to fight on with their male counterparts in open competition, want to segregate themselves?

The answers to this question are as varied as the women who pick up a sword. Here’s the basic rub - as women, we are in a decided minority in HEMA. We all have different reasons we picked up the sword, different goals, and different levels of risk we are willing to take. We exist, doing this thing that society still often tells us we should not - branding us as unusual and unfeminine.

We’d rather just fight.

So last weekend some of us got together and did just that. We fenced, and we helped others fence. We taught and we learned, and we did it in an environment of support, without judgement, and we did it well.

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There are some who are upset we decided to do this - both men and women. As another has mentioned, I don’t like offending people, but it bothers me that something meant to help and be a space for other women could end up being among the most controversial things I’ve ever done. That doesn’t make any sense.

The competitive choices of someone else shouldn’t be a concern, unless you’re an instructor and your student who’s been training in time measured in weeks instead of years decides to register for Swordfish. Then you might want to have a talk. Otherwise—what other fencers do on their own, in their free time, shouldn’t matter.

Some of us who competed here also compete in open competitions and have no desire to forever segregate ourselves, but only to once in a while be able to celebrate swordsmanship with our sisters in HEMA. Others may not be so comfortable in an open environment - but that is not for you or me to judge. Their reasons are their own, and we have no place to call them valid or invalid.

Everyone has their own notions of what gender equality should mean, but the way I see it, the answer is rather simple - if there is a demand for a thing that can reasonably be done, then that thing should be done. At Fecht Yeah! we had twelve competitors and more support staff and instructors. The demand for a women’s event was there, so we held it.

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I had a fun time fighting, including my second-best finish in a longsword competition, and knowing that my losses were close and well-fought. I also picked up a rapier and fought with that for the first time - I finished last there, it wasn’t particularly close, but I didn’t particularly care - I scored points with a weapon I don’t yet know how to use. I can work with this.

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Tony Donley asked:

Hey Man. I have a weird question. In that recent block of reference pics you posted you have one with what looks like a home made sword. Is that home made or store bought? I am starting work on a book with lots of fencing in it and need something like that for reference myself. I would love to here where you bought it or how you made it. Thank you and look forward to hearing form you.

It’s homemade, a variation on a method that a friend taught me.  I’m not sure when your story is set, but this particular type of sword is best for things from the early 1500s through the early-mid 1700s, when rapiers were replaced (on the whole) with smaller, lighter swords.  If your story takes place in the mid-late 18th or 19th century, you’re better off using a fencing foil or fencing saber, the sporting kind, or, possibly, a cavalry saber.

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​ But if you want a rapier, this is the best I’ve found.  It’s very flexible without being springy, it’s quite heavy but the balance offsets that.  Using one, either fighting with others or shadowboxing, will help to show how slow you could actually move these things in contrast to the lighter foils of today (which is generally what the swashbucklers of 30s and 40s movies used), and how strategy was much more important than speed as a result.  If you have a friend with which to spar with these, it’s a lot of fun, and a good learning experience.