- Skilled swordsman Dave Rawlings reacts to film combat scenes that includes longswords and daggers.
- Rawlings charges lightsaber fights in “The Mandalorian” (2020) and “Star Wars Rebels” (2017).
- He breaks down sword fights equivalent to “Rob Roy” (1995) and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938).
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Dave Rawlings has over 15 years’ expertise educating Western swordsmanship. He has been featured within the documentary collection “Warriors” and “Bloody Tales of the Tower.” He suggested The Wallace Assortment on its exhibition “The Noble Artwork of the Sword,” and he teaches longsword on the London Longsword Academy.
Following is a transcript of the video.
– Dave Rawlings: I hate how he is holding his sword. Orlando Bloom is holding his sword in a fashion that upsets me.
Hello, there. Dave Rawlings right here on the London Longsword Academy. And chances are you’ll recall, I did a video taking a look at, how real looking are sword-fight scenes inside movies? We’re gonna have a look at a number of totally different combat scenes and see what we expect is real looking or what is nice in a sword-fight scene.
“The Lord of the Rings” (2001)
This combat scene must be seen within the context of “f— it,” as a result of in the event you’ve bought that many opponents, what are you able to do? There’s something which I might counsel is just a little bit much like a few of the actions in one of many treaties I studied. Which is, principally, run away loads, after which when any person will get shut sufficient to you, lower them, spin and canopy your head as you go, after which run away. That would not be such a very good search for Aragorn. So, I am fairly certain he might discover a extra environment friendly means of doing this. However that stated, I feel there is a second of final sacrifice by which he will get rescued. So I feel there’s actually this sense, like I say, it is simply, “I’ll save these folks it doesn’t matter what. If I die, it does not matter.” So, that is the eponymous longsword. The longsword. And, as you may see, this specific instance shouldn’t be the skinny factor that you simply see in a variety of HEMA competitions. That is designed to cleave issues fairly nicely but in addition to thrust them. I by no means thoughts seeing cuts to legs. You’ve gotten tons and many cuts, and that is nice. There’s parries. That is nice. However there’s not this consciousness of area round you. And the most important use of something is that upkeep of this protected area round him, not letting folks get shut. That is the place the research of montante is admittedly, actually good. I don’t care which of you I damage, so I am making the area as massive as doable. And that, I really feel, is unused on this just a little bit. So, I feel in all probability a six, perhaps.
“Star Wars Rebels” (2017)
When you’ve seen the Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Maul combat within the prequels, that is lovely. You’ve gotten Obi-Wan’s signature transfer, after which you’ve this transformation into Qui-Gon. That is the important thing. That is one thing that sums up all martial arts for me, which is evolution. Studying, learning your sources, studying every part that you’ve got made errors by permitting your self to make errors. Every part in fencing the place we’re not dying is training. And that is good, as a result of you’ve Darth Maul doing the identical factor that he is performed within the prequels. And Obi-Wan, anticipating this similar smash within the face, relatively than making an attempt to parry severs the blade with the only reply. It is a Gordian-knot second. If you have a look at double-bladed lightsabers, I do not need you to search for one thing which goes to be the identical inside swords. Have a look at polearms. So, that could possibly be employees, it could possibly be halberd. It is one thing the place each ends have the potential to do injury. So, this may be what I might name half-staff, since you’re holding it roughly within the center. And clearly that construction is dictated a bit by how extensive aside you may maintain your fingers, so it adjustments the combating type just a little bit. After which with that, clearly you may thrust, as a result of your attain together with your ahead hand continues to be going to be the identical, no matter you are doing. So you may thrust. You may stab this fashion. There’s a variety of potential with a weapon like this. It is 10. It is 10. It is lovely. When you’re allowed 15, it is 15.
“The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938)
So far as swordplay is anxious, this to me seems to be very, very similar to a basic saber. It isn’t posh. It is bought parry riposte. That is what you want. If you get shut, ideally you do not simply wish to lower back and forth on the sword. It isn’t a very good use of your time. We, generally, would like, in many of the programs that I research, to remain on the blade after which to thrust the opposite facet of the hilt. And that may encourage your opponent both to have to dam, or if they do not have to dam, then they will depart themselves open. Simply beating down the sword. Completely superb, good thrust, and transferring out of the way in which of the thrust, such a beautiful factor. A mix of canopy and getting out of the way in which. Excellent. No drawback with that in any respect. If I’ve one grievance, it is that every time anyone will get shut, you’ve this arm that’s floating round, ready for the purpose that it does one thing with the dagger. It would be very nice when there’s these closures, smack somebody within the face, push them on the elbow to show them away. The end is gorgeous. The end is completely pretty. The truth that he provides a blow, he nonetheless, even on the finish, maintains distance, retains his distance, delivers one thing to get the opponent to react. There is a thrust, then a restoration to see what occurs. That’s pretty. Simply the stab, get out of the way in which. “Are you all proper, mate? Oh, no, you are lifeless.” There are three issues that you simply wish to do if you wish to ensure that your opponent shouldn’t be going to nonetheless attempt to mess you up afterwards. No. 1, as you see on this, is stab and get out. No. 2 is one thing that Fabris and Thibault use, which is that you simply smash the hilts collectively, so the opponent’s blade is successfully squashed into them or out of the road of assault, and then you definately get out afterwards. Third is to hold out some type of motion of conclusion. And also you see this in several programs, the place you seize the opponent’s blade together with your left hand or your secondary hand, you immobilize it, then you definately give them a little bit of slice and cube, and then you definately both take their sword away otherwise you preserve management of it. I feel that is, actually, this can be a 10. The truth that there’s clearly, clearly a particular fencing system stepping into there.
“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003)
Proper at the start, the place there’s this sliding alongside the blade, from a Destreza viewpoint, that is pretty. The measure is horrible. Somebody ought to have been stabbed within the arm, however then they’re probably not making an attempt to kill one another. You do it sometimes simply to see what the opposite individual is doing. Can I get management of your blade to do one thing? It isn’t nicely illustrated, however in the event you have been being good about it, you possibly can say it is Verdadera Destreza. It isn’t. I hate how he is holding his sword. Orlando Bloom is holding his sword in a fashion that upsets me. Put your thumb on the flat of the blade. You are going to have far more capacity to carry on to your sword. When you needed to show your hand over barely, then accomplish that. However this simply type of looks like a hideous method to lose your sword. That is all superb. It is very, very gradual. It is simply plodding by. Distance is maintained. So, once we’re speaking about distance in combat scenes, actually what we’re taking a look at is an ideal distance whereby we will drawback our opponent. So the perfect scenario is for us to be at a distance the place we will simply hit our opponent, placing him with our hand, or perhaps by placing him with our hand and just a little little bit of a lean of our physique, as a result of that signifies that we’re free to maneuver. What we wish from our opponent is a minimal of needing to succeed in us with a step. The sword within the door is a really, very attention-grabbing factor, as a result of what you’ve is one thing which tapers to a really, very small level with a fricking nice lever on the tip of it, that, in the event you went waggle waggle on the lever, would intrinsically — all the features of a sword that make it good to really stick into one thing additionally type of make it comparatively straightforward to take away. So in the event you’ve simply bought the purpose in there and also you go up and down a few occasions, that is popping out. That is getting a six. There’s bits in there which can be passible fencing.
“The Mandalorian” S2E8 (2020)
One of many issues I by no means perceive about lightsabers is that they’re all the time portrayed as being these gradual, cumbersome issues. And I do not suppose it is intentional, however you’ve methods right here the place, the place you’ve this cross towards the blade, the only factor would simply to be to chop round so shortly. With a longsword you’ll do that insanely quick. It is such a quick, sharp maneuver, and there is not any purpose to suppose that this may be any totally different. So I do not know why you’ve this lengthy, gradual press towards the wall. There’s so many issues you possibly can do. You possibly can wind in from the opposite facet. You possibly can lower to the opposite facet. So, spear and employees are intrinsically interlinked, so there’s actually not an issue. These single-handed releases, the place you whirl with the again finish of the employees, completely a factor. Completely efficient. You may see the one factor actually that is happening in there’s that as he is delivering this downward blow, he is actually making an attempt to not smash the opposite individual within the head, which is type of courteous. So it isn’t being delivered with the power that you simply would possibly realistically see. Kicking this with the foot, that is one thing you see in montante so as to begin the technology. The factor that I feel is presumably lacking from this sight is, actually, there’s two benefits that the Mandalorian has. Initially, the Darksaber isn’t any good at slicing by his armor, so he can just about do what he likes more often than not. And, secondly, he isn’t utilizing the total benefit of his spear. Normally whenever you’re seeing a spear towards a sword, what you are taking a look at is any person holding a spear actually on the final quarter and making an attempt to take care of distance as a lot as doable and actually letting the purpose jab as shortly, and as shortly as doable. However, yeah, I feel entertaining, and does include a variety of real looking approach in it. I feel I might give this a six, seven out of 10.
“Rob Roy” (1995)
I completely love “Rob Roy.” There are little bits of issues. First one is that there is not very a lot level work from Liam Neeson. The concept that the broadsword can not thrust is totally flawed. Zachary Wylde, who does a small-sword and a broadsword treaty, says that the broadsword has the benefit over the small sword as a result of it may well each thrust and lower. Tim Roth is a significantly better swordsman. And that is, once more, arrange by the entire movie. He is aware of he is the villain of the piece. He units himself up because the villain of the piece. So do not have a look at Liam Neeson’s character, Rob Roy, as being a very good fighter on this. He is any person who can hack and slash. He is not conscious totally of the total capability of the weapon that he is utilizing, and Tim Roth is simply massively outclassing him. I really like that there is good way on this movie. Individuals not simply hanging round in distance messing round with one another’s notion of area. Not only a linear combat. Round parries, following the sword. Fantastic issues. Fantastic. Good. I’ve seen this duck beneath the arm criticized loads. That is utterly viable. If any person is coming down with fairly a diagonal motion, perhaps not a lot in the event that they’re doing a vertical motion, you will get away with it. In the event that they’re coming by a diagonal motion, they arrive in by necessity larger than your head so as to cleave by your head. This leaves you a giant triangle of area you can step into. Normally you will put the sword in the way in which to maintain your self protected, however that consciousness of that triangle you can step into, very a lot there. And that is the proper hubris dying. It is completely fantastic. Individuals get so apprehensive about grabbing blades, but when it is the distinction between you dying and the opposite individual, completely, it is what you will do. You see this all through so many manuals, and each time you present an image of it, some wise— on the web goes, “Oh, you’d by no means seize a sword!” Sure, you’ll, in the event you do not wish to die. Scores-wise, I am giving this a ten.
“Vikings” S6E6 (2020)
Initially, inside this combat scene, now we have one thing thrown in a easy deflection. Simply roll it and keep it up. So you are not making an attempt to obscure your imaginative and prescient very lengthy, and then you definately’re piling in. You possibly can say there’s an issue in that he then instantly goes again to assault on the facet which has bought essentially the most safety on it, which isn’t essentially the perfect use when going towards a big protect. You do not wish to carry on cracking on the massive object. This rotation and slicing round, completely pretty. Now, there’s alternative ways you are able to do this, however that may be a superb simply rotating with the weapon and slicing by on this facet. In case you have contact and you may spin inside that, it’s totally, very a lot a factor to do. It makes it very onerous in your opponent to defend. You must be cautious. It is overly used in direction of the tip of this, and the combat scene begins getting fatigued. It is type of gone into outdated Viking tropes the place everyone has to hit the weapons actually, actually onerous. And this does an unimaginable disservice to the lightness and the maneuverability of a few of these weapons. Lots of Viking swords are so nippy whenever you deal with the originals. Not all of them. Ladies have been fencing for the reason that very starting of recorded swordsmanship manuals. Our very, very first fencing handbook is the very first fencing handbook with a girl fencer in it. That is all that you must know. Now, on this combat scene, you’ve any person who’s technically utilizing their weaponry higher than the opposite. The dialogue is between two fencers, one in every of which is best. It isn’t gendered, and this can be a actually, actually cool factor. So, I feel in all probability a six, perhaps. Possibly a 5, six. It begins off very nicely, after which it deteriorates into trope, which is a little bit of a disgrace.
“The Duellists” (1977)
Oh, that is all the time attention-grabbing. At any time when you’ve blades that are in what I name a passive place, this makes it extremely troublesome so that you can acquire dominance over them. And that is their energy. In case you have two angles like this, it is fairly straightforward so that you can attempt to wrest for just a little little bit of dominance and attempt to really feel very, very strongly what your opponent’s doing by placing stress on their blade. When any person is on this passive and this passive, it may be extremely harmful for you to take action as a result of they will disengage so shortly. This can be a lovely begin to the combat. No crossing the gap. There’s simply this wait, ready to see when it is the precise time so that you can go ahead. This, this, this, even this, is simply, that is good. That is good. In case your distance administration is thus that as they carry on coming ahead, they cannot attain you. So he is encouraging his opponent to commit. After which as his opponent goes to go round to go above this little bit of hilt, it is solely sufficient, nevertheless it’s sufficient for him to reposition himself beneath the hilt, and that, to rotate the palm down, a easy thrust. This can be a lovely combat scene. Clearly, it is “The Duellists”! It is a 10.
“The Mummy Returns” (2001)
I hate this. I hate this a lot. So, once more, generally, nearly all of this combat is simply too shut, and it type of will get higher because it goes on. The gap turns into extra elongated. So I do not know in the event that they shot this the flawed means round, or no matter’s occurring. Something the place you would not have safety in your fingers, if you wish to parry one thing, stab on the different factor. In the event that they go up, stab at their fingers. Assault the fingers. There may be not this intrinsic consciousness of, “That is the factor coming forwards. I can injure that.” I am unsure the place these daggers are purported to be from, however I might not counsel that they are actually meant to be Egyptian. They give the impression of being an terrible lot like sai. Possibly there’s some cross-pollination. Who is aware of? It isn’t a very good combat, so I might give this a 4.
“The Rely of Monte Cristo” (2002)
I actually do not know learn how to price this combat scene, as a result of there is no such thing as a readability to it. There isn’t any purpose for the man, so far as I can see, to fall off the horse. There may be an terrible lot of sword waving that does not appear to be notably relevant. You’ve gotten somebody who, earlier within the movie, is meant to be good at swordplay and to grasp it who abruptly thinks simply waving your arm round is a very good factor to do, does not have a very good sense of timing of learn how to hit any person, purported to be skilled. Throughout the disciplines I research, there’s an artwork referred to as Rossfechten, which principally means combating on horseback. Now, inside that, there are methods of controlling any person’s stability on the horse, making them lose management of their horse’s stability for instance, or simply the motion of the horse. So that you would possibly slice their bridle. You would possibly lower the bridle. You might management the bridle your self to attempt to rotate the horse’s neck. These issues are very, very well-known inside the neighborhood. You even have methods on foot, that are issues like, with a spear, making an attempt to journey the horse and break its legs. None of that is on this. This simply seems to be one thing that occurred. There was some arm waving, after which a person fell off a horse. No person actually is aware of what is going on on. So that is getting a two, as a result of I do not perceive it.
This, I’ve actually no concept what’s purported to have occurred in any respect.