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Dancre
06-11-2007, 01:20 AM
Ok, here's my next question. How long does it take someone to learn to use the sword in battle, like a samurai type person? I have a MC in my story whom I'm thinking about having her to learn to use the sword. BUT I'm thinking it would take someone years to learn to use it properly in battle. I hate it when the MC learns to use the sword in three months and swings it like a seasoned warrior. So how long? 5 years, 10 years?
Thanks to all.
kim

Rolling Thunder
06-11-2007, 01:26 AM
Depends. Do you want your MC to be a natural or someone who has to work hard at it? Seems to me you have the opportunity to set a facet of your MC's personality there.

alleycat
06-11-2007, 01:32 AM
Traditional training was quite long, especially if you're talking about kendo, the Japanese form. If I was using it in a story, I'd probably want to use at least five or more years of training before the character went into battle. If I really needed to, I might let it go at one year (it is a story after all, you want to get the fact right, of course, but you don't necessarily have to be a stickler . . . unless you want to).

Here's another idea: Have her beginning to learn sword training when she's ten or so, or maybe fencing. You could easily come up with a plausible reason (maybe her grandfather taught her, maybe the neighbor across the street is a Japanese gentleman who taught her).

Richard White
06-11-2007, 03:15 AM
I've been practicing Kendo since 2000. The answer to your question depends on who your protagonist is. Some, who've started doing kendo when they were little kids (In Japan, Kendo is a class they take in school like we take P.E.) would be quite skilled by the time they reach teen-age.

An average American, only taking classes a couple of times a week, would take several years to develop the skills necessary to defend themselves against another skilled swordsperson. Then again, I probably could have taken a non-swordsman with my swords after a year of training.

So, to really answer your question, you'll have to give us a little more information about who the story's about and when it's taking place. Also, I'm hoping Zornhau will chime in since he's our resident German Longsword practitioner.

Dancre
06-11-2007, 04:03 AM
She's 16, very insecured and a nerd. She's thrust from our world into a fantasy world where they still use swords and all. The baddies are after her and her new friends. I thought of her learning to use a sword, but I kept thinking it would have to be at least 5 years or more to learn it. I didn't want to do the old, she learned in 3 months to be a pro with the sword routine. Thanks to all.

kim

Robert L.B.
06-11-2007, 06:20 AM
Is the sword sentient in any way? A character from one of my stories is horrendous at using them, but since his weapon can make its own decisions it does most of the work, using his limbs like a puppet.

Alternatively, she could be unskilled at using them, and must be defended by her new friends.

Alternatively alternative, she could absorb someone's skill through their death, not necessarily an enemy or her own doing.

Dancre
06-11-2007, 06:54 AM
Alternatively, she could be unskilled at using them, and must be defended by her new friends.

This is what I was thinking of doing. Plus in their culture, a woman cannot own a sword. I just wanted to cover my bases, see how long it would take for her to learn, if she pushed the issue. But I don't think she will have the time to learn. Thanks.

kim

Rolling Thunder
06-11-2007, 06:58 AM
Would that make your MC a bit wimpy though by depending on others? It makes it a bit hard to become emotionally attached to the character, reader wise.

ALLWritety
06-11-2007, 05:03 PM
HI

You may not have to mention exactly how long it took to learn. You could if you really had say she has been learning the sword for a number of years. WHY do you need to clarify how long she has been using the sword?

To use a sword properly you to use a cliche "Become one with the sword". It moves as part of your body. You, your body your thoughts are one. This is actually a real part of the trainning. It sounds very cliche but it is true.

I trained in MA (Karate, Aikido, Ju-Jitsu & Tai Chi) for 4 years with the use of weapons. MA was my life. I lived it, breathed it and I trained very hard everyday. I got to a fairly good level but i was no where near an expert. I did train with a number weapons though and not just one so that may also count towards that aspect.

If you need anymore please ask OK.
Kev

Dancre
06-11-2007, 09:39 PM
Would that make your MC a bit wimpy though by depending on others? It makes it a bit hard to become emotionally attached to the character, reader wise.

Well, actually, she does have a part to play, (not with weapons, but in translating something) so I think I can get away with it. Thanks so much!!!

kim

Richard White
06-11-2007, 10:05 PM
She's 16, very insecured and a nerd. She's thrust from our world into a fantasy world where they still use swords and all. The baddies are after her and her new friends. I thought of her learning to use a sword, but I kept thinking it would have to be at least 5 years or more to learn it. I didn't want to do the old, she learned in 3 months to be a pro with the sword routine. Thanks to all.

kim

Kim,

The part I've bolded is the best part of your answer. However, there are other options.

A good solid oaken staff is much quicker to pick up than a sword and can be just as devistating. I've fought single sword against naginata and I can guarantee that's something I don't ever want to do again (talk about getting whomped). Now, two sword (nito) vs. naginata, I have a better than decent chance of winning, but single sword (ito) is at a definite disadvantage.

Staff, light pole arm or a spear/javelin might be a better choice as an initial weapon. She can train with other weapons as your story goes along, and if one of her new friends is exceptionally skilled and considering her life depends on getting good in a hurry, improvement would be understandable. But unless your story is an epic that stretches over many years, it's unlikely she'll be a swordsmaster anytime soon.

I recommend snagging a copy of "The Adventures of Robin Hood" and watching the quarterstaff fight between Robin and Little John to get an idea of what a staff fight might be like. (Also, people carry walking sticks all the time, so unlike a sword, people tend to over look their capability until it's too late.)

reenkam
06-11-2007, 10:06 PM
The other thing to take into account is that swords are really heavy. You'd need to build up your arm muscles to hold one up and even moreso to use it effectively. My cousin has a light-weight katana and I'm pretty sure that I couldn't do much damage with it just because it'd be so hard to hold up for any significant length of time.

Though, if this is a fantasy novel, you could also go with the idea that they have a better training technique. Something with meditation, maybe? LIke each sword belongs to it's own (the whole one with your sword thing) so you can learn faster when you with with it, not against it? Just some thoughts...

Dancre
06-12-2007, 02:51 AM
thanks!!!!

kim

Dancre
06-12-2007, 02:56 AM
Kim,

The part I've bolded is the best part of your answer. However, there are other options.

A good solid oaken staff is much quicker to pick up than a sword and can be just as devistating. I've fought single sword against naginata and I can guarantee that's something I don't ever want to do again (talk about getting whomped). Now, two sword (nito) vs. naginata, I have a better than decent chance of winning, but single sword (ito) is at a definite disadvantage.

Staff, light pole arm or a spear/javelin might be a better choice as an initial weapon. She can train with other weapons as your story goes along, and if one of her new friends is exceptionally skilled and considering her life depends on getting good in a hurry, improvement would be understandable. But unless your story is an epic that stretches over many years, it's unlikely she'll be a swordsmaster anytime soon.



Yeah, I agree. She's only going to be in the fantasy world for maybe a couple of years. The series will be around 6 books all together, but the time will be two to three years. NOt enough time to become an expert at anything. LOL!! But as I said, she has a part and her friends will depend upon her as she depends upon them. Thank you all for such wonderful and informative info. I appreciate all you input!!!

kim

TheIT
06-12-2007, 05:22 AM
For more quarterstaff info, try here:

"Quarterstaff vs. Sword" in the SF/F forum

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17889

freethinker
06-12-2007, 05:57 AM
If you're in the sword tech world, the unskilled weapon of choice is a crossbow - short range, high damage, and takes very little strength to wield (middle age versions used handcranks to tighten the string)

job
06-12-2007, 06:27 AM
My heroine -- she's a canny, thinkie type rather than a 'clobber them on the head with something blunt' type -- runs like hell when a fight starts.

If she wants to participate in an ongoing conflict, she throws rocks.

If your heroine is the star of the local girls softball league she could do a fair amount of damage with some well-aimed rocks.

frimble3
06-12-2007, 10:22 AM
For that matter, maybe she's more of a batter than a pitcher, skip the quarterstaff lessons. Look for a nice bat-like stick and take a swing.

job
06-12-2007, 10:34 AM
I like the bat idea. Or maybe one of those edged frisbees.

Evaine
06-13-2007, 05:04 PM
When people join Regia Anglorum, the Dark Ages/Medieval re-enactment group, they start off by learning spear and gradually progress to using a sword. They have to pass a test in each weapon before they go on the battlefield with it.
(I passed axe and shield at Hastings last year).

One of the members of the group I belong to joined at 16. He's now 20, and very good indeed - but he does also juggle and do fire poi, so he's got very good co-ordination.

LloydBrown
06-13-2007, 05:19 PM
Going off-topic here: I love the Regia Anglorum site. It's one of my oldest bookmarks and has exhaustive information of the daily life stuff that is so valuable and so hard to find in history references. That's good stuff.

ALLWritety
06-13-2007, 06:30 PM
My twin is a viking and he belongs to those battle re-enactment groups. He told me about the "Tests" for the swords and the Axe. I asked him what it was like. Here is my version of the test.

A head clean cut off is a A+
Head not fully off maybe a B
Head is "batted off rather than cut" - Fail. Go and get your sword sharpened!

He saw the funny side of what i was thinking about the tests!!
K

blackpen
06-17-2007, 12:17 PM
also keep in mind that there's a disparity between your skill when practicing/sparring and when you're in a real battle. anyone can memorize the right moves and get their belt, but that doesn't necessarily mean they can actually defend themselves in a real situation. case in point, me.