Now, I know the term "hand-and-half sword" should be pretty self explanatory, but please bear with me.
I've been "fooling around" with swords (I call it that because I don't have any formal training) for about twenty years, mostly katanas, and have recently purchased my first European-style sword, Gen 2's Black Prince (mostly due to the glowing review on this site). It's a lovely blade, but after two decades plus of doing Japanese sword katas it definitely takes some getting used to. I think the toughest thing for me, thus far, has been getting a proper grip on the blasted thing.
How *do* you hold this type of sword properly? I don't feel comfortable with a full two-handed grip on the hilt, since I have rather large hands and that tends to compromise my mobility. The two grips I've been using the most have my first two fingers on the lower hand gripping above the pommel and the last two curled around it. I've also tried holding it with the two top fingers grasping the pommel and the two lower ones hanging off it.
Would one of you kind souls care to set me straight?
Last Edit: Feb 19, 2010 16:49:35 GMT -5 by baronwvs
While not a bastard sword, I used the same grip on one. Kind of a handshake grip on the top hand, with bottom hand mostly on the pommel. Bottom hand moves depending on position, allowing pommel to rotate around as needed but stays mostly on the pommel.
I agree, I think that this is accurate. If you look at the Fiore material and try to do the poste, you will find that most of them can be done with the right hand in the same position. The left hand can be expected to rotate around the pommel depending on which position the sword is during any particular posta. Bicorno appears to require the pommel to be in the left palm.
Posta frontale may require the right hand to shift. I wouldn't say that's authoritative, however.
In the German style, I think that the right hand is required to rotate for some of the techniques, but that style is not one that I am informed or trained in.
I think (regarding Kortoso's post) there are times in the german system where the hand may rotate around the handle to place a thumb underneath the flat of the blade for support or to get a better cut angle with the false edge. For example, when in Ochs, some teachers advocate the thumb under the flat of the blade, pretty much in the fuller, to help stabilize the position. From personal experience, I find this a much more comfortable way of staying in that position. Also, when throwing a Zerchau at the right side of an opponents head, (spelling?) from Right Shoulder Vom Tag, I generally rotate my hand so that my knuckles face up and the flat of the blade is parallel with the floor. In other words, the back of my hand is facing the long edge of the sword, and I'm holding the grip perpendicular to how you normally would.
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