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Lessons Of The English Longsword Paperback – 1 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Paladin Press (1 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581607342
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581607345
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.5 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 338,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

A life-long martial artist, Ben Bradak has been focusing on the martial arts of medieval/ Renaissance Europe for about 10 years. Brandon Heslop has been dabbling in the martial arts for the last couple of decades but has solely focused on the Renaissance martial arts since he discovered them eight years ago.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By mattyherbert on 12 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought long and hard about buying this book after reading a lot of good reviews and reading some not so favourable reviews and also not hearing great things from other HEMA practitioners I know.

I ignored them all and went ahead and bought the book. I'm pleased to say that I'm glad that I did. I am relatively new to HEMA so could be forgiven for reviewing this book from a position of someone who has very little knowledge on the subject, but I think that this is a strength. I have found the book ( thus far) very interesting from an historical perspective and have been particularly pleased and excited to start practicing the flourishes.
On just these flourishes, the book would get five stars from me because I don't have anyone nearby that I can sparre with, so being able to engage in rigorous sword practice on my own is worth its weight on gold. It helps me to put the guards and various techniques into a context and see how they all fit together in a fighting scenario. Having only learnt the first flourish the day before yesterday, I can already see how I could 'improvise' moving from one guard into a strike and to another guard etc. also, practicing the flourishes very slowly is akin to a good yoga workout, not to mention helping programming yourself to move in the most efficient way possible. I study fiore with a really good trainer, but my experience thus far has been one of learning fragments of Fiore's techniques with nothing to string together in a coherent manner when practicing. Whereas LOTEL gives me english longsword techniques in context that I can practice in long flowing sequences. Ironic, given that English longsword texts are very very few in comparison to Fiore.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mr michael birch on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very good tutor, however after learning the German school, the difference in names for essentially the same thing feels strange.
Having said that, it's a very good well described text.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 8 reviews
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
problematic 7 Aug. 2012
By Midgardarts - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At the risk of drawing criticism from the authors, I feel potential readers should know where this book fails to live up to its claims. The book says that it contains a "Full transcription and translations of the three texts" but this is misleading. The authors have not transcribed these texts, they have used transcriptions from previous published sources. Those sources have their own problems and are unsafe starting points for a detailed re-construction. MS Harley is copied, with silent alterations, from the 1901 edition prepared by Alfred Hutton. The transcription of MS Additional is from Russ Mitchell and it is incomplete (those who own the book may have noticed that the 'J Ledall' which gives Additional its common name, does not actually appear in the transcription. That attribution, and three more of the lessons, are missing from Mitchell's transcription which he made from low resolution photocopies made from microfilm). The text from Cotton Titus is more reliable, having come from a PhD student's transcription of the original manuscript in 2003 but it's not perfect and the authors falsely state that the manuscript is in Corpus Christi College Cambridge. The authors have not seen the manuscripts themselves, so they can't be sure that their source texts are accurate, which further undermines the quality of the 'translations.' Those translations are made with very little support from other linguistic sources, and this is extra troubling because many of the terms in these texts only appear, in these texts, in this particular context. For example, the OED definition for a 'hauk' as a type of blow, is based entirely on the appearance of the word in Harley. You can't use your own source as its own definition.

There are other misstatements in fact, perhaps superficial, but still indicative of a lack of care on the part of the authors. George Silver is incorrectly described as a member of the London Masters of Defence (p. 21, note #8). For some reason the photo credits appear to be the BL license numbers instead of the titles and pages of the reproduced works.There is more, but readers may think I'm being pedantic. Although readers of this book should wonder how exactly the authors manage to turn what appear to be one-sided instructions into sequences for an active and patient agent. There are far too many assumptions at work, and often undeclared, in the reconstructions.

If one ignores the tenuous historical basis for the conclusions, the demonstrations and descriptions of the system are clear and intuitive. Readers should have little trouble following the instructions in the system. Heslop and Bradak have certainly spent a great deal of time and effort in building a style that they believe contains a particular 'English' spirit. However, it remains to be proven that this system actually represents the constant of the three manuscripts at the centre of this book.

For readers interested only in the mechanics of a slightly different system of long-sword and staff combat, then this book will please you. If you have any serious interest in the historical roots of these systems, or the peculiar English texts of martial instruction, this book is too problematic a source for anything other than as an example of what not to do with manuscripts.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Sword lovers 23 Nov. 2011
By boopgirl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my husband who is seriously into swords and fencing. I thought it would be a great book to broaden his knowledge base from traditional German and Italian fencing styles. My husband loved it. He said it was well laid out and easy to follow. Plus, it had great visual aids in it. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who is into fencing and wants to learn more about it.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A unique take on longsword 14 April 2012
By Richard P. Marsden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a soft spot for this book. I emailed questions to the authors of nearly all the books and works I have read. All of them, to date, have responded and done their best to entertain my thoughts. Authors win me over and the Helsop -Bradak team won me over with their replies to a few of my questions and their good nature.

They have an excellent sense of humor and had a very ambitious plan. Ambitious plans take daring! They took an obscure and short poem from England, and use it to create a complete fighting system. What they came up with is a system that uses universal concepts of longswordsmanship as applies it to the poem. Now this isn't an ordinary poem. The poem's purpose is to teach someone a variety of drills. Interpreting these drills isn't easy.

Helsop and Bradak looked at each line of the poem, then devised how best to visually represent it. In some cases there are two combatants, sometimes three because the poem calls on the fighter to turn and perform cuts, thrusts and so on in another direction. By having combatants in their photographs the directions have context. Without it the photography would have been more a distraction than the vital benefit that it is.

Those familiar with German and Italian longsword will see many similarities to the English system, but also differences as well. While all three cultures are using a longsword, not all three use it identically. Just like various baseball teams don't approach baseball the same way, even though they are bound by the same rules. The English system has terms, movements and attacks that differ with other systems making the book unique.

As for the book itself, it is large, full of photographs, full of explanation and a great buy given the authors took a tiny poem and transformed it into a weighty book. It is a great addition to any Western Martial Art library, and something worth looking at to compare and contrast it with other systems.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A must have. 10 Nov. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One of my favorites, I have some experience with Koran and Japanese longsword and always wanted to experience some of my English medieval heratige. This book fit the bill I was able to take the poynts, chases and cowntrs and reproduce almost immediatley. The authors explanations and reasoning were logical and the techniques felt valid. I recomment to anyone looking to expand their knowledge of the sword.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Extremely well written book!!! 16 Dec. 2011
By C. Alam - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
As a novice to sword fighting or most combative arts I found the book to be extremely informative. In the first chapter of the book named Breaking the Code, one of the things that stuck with me throughout reading it is that the applications used were tested with martial practicality. Being a person who has been raised with martial arts surrounding me daily as a child and one who practices it now, I felt this was a strong point in the authors favor. Chapter 1 to 3 of the book is excellent for those who have never picked up a sword before or has no prior training. The detail given throughout these chapters were very easy to follow and the visual pictures help the reader immensely. Stances and foot maneuvers are one of the hardest aspects for any beginner to understand with any type of martial arts. I was very pleased to see the visual pictures that clearly show the type of stance that would be needed for a strong base, with a detailed explanation given where the feet are in alignment to the body, and why this stance is important when fighting. There are many more aspects of the book I could list such as the full explanations of the three texts, Manuscript 39564, Cottonian Titus A XXV, And Harleian MS 3542 with detailed insights and the visual techniques shown. Since I am unfamiliar with the background of sword fighting, I will not say much about that aspect, but to me it looks like the book is very comprehensive and gives detailed instructions of how to strike an opponent and why these strikes are effective. It is obvious to anyone that reads this book that the authors are dedicated and passionate about this subject. It is evident that they are life long students and masters of combative martial arts. I would recommend this book as a must read for those who have a desire and passion to learn another avenue of combative arts or if you are just interested in sword fighting. An amazing read.
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