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Michele Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 11:52 am    Post subject: Thank you for the info, Jean, and Johann!         Reply with quote

It is intersting to read about your individual ways of dealing with off-hand fighting. As trainers, you both must find the task daunting, to say the least.

Now I am going off-topic:

Jean, my enthusiam is because of my great love for all things Medieval; however, my favorite area of research is Arms and Armor. I am not a fighter in any way. I am an artist running a one-woman-counter-Pre-Raphaelite-war against the historical innacuracies seen in paintings from the 19th, and 20th centuries. Most of those artists re-invented the Middle Ages in their own images; sans-iconic. Hence my interest in this site. Every thread proves the attention to detail, and love of historical accuracy of the membership.

I am aware that many of my posts may seem ignorant, even stupid, but I will learn nothing if I don't allow myself to ask the "stupid" questions. I'm here to learn, and share my insights. I know with absolute certainty that left-handed warriors existed: I have seen their effigies, and read accounts of such men.

By the way. If the off-topic section of this post needs to be moved, please have the moderators PM me, and let me know to which thread those comments should be moved. I will edit this post, and delete them from this discussion. Thank you, gentlemen.

Il est apelée de Montfort. Il est el Mond, et si est fort. Si ad grant chevalrie; Je vois et je m’ acort. Il eime le droit, et het le tort. Si avera le mestrie!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 04 Aug, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Thank you for the info, Jean, and Johann!         Reply with quote

Michele Hansen wrote:

Jean, my enthusiam is because of my great love for all things Medieval; however, my favorite area of research is Arms and Armor. I am not a fighter in any way. I am an artist running a one-woman-counter-Pre-Raphaelite-war against the historical innacuracies seen in paintings from the 19th, and 20th centuries. Most of those artists re-invented the Middle Ages in their own images; sans-iconic. Hence my interest in this site. Every thread proves the attention to detail, and love of historical accuracy of the membership.

I am aware that many of my posts may seem ignorant, even stupid, but I will learn nothing if I don't allow myself to ask the "stupid" questions. I'm here to learn, and share my insights. I know with absolute certainty that left-handed warriors existed: I have seen their effigies, and read accounts of such men.


I have been training in longsword " Liechtenauer " German style for 4 or 5 years and trained on and off 1:33 and staff work.
I own a number of shield of the kite, heater, round Viking, round steel rondache and a couple of bucklers: My actual experience fighting with an enarmed shield is currently " zero " but can sort of extrapolate to a small degree from sword and buckler.

The above just to give you some background but my first interest is in collecting and the design and use of weapons plus the historical contexts that go with it.

This Topic may have a " usage " tilt to it but you have much in common with most of us in interests even if the practicalities of practising the periods arts as a martial art is not something you are interested in participating in. Wink Cool

Still since form often follows function even a purely intellectual interest in the fighting arts is useful to understand better the why certain weapons made the way they where made, proportioned and even stylistic or aesthetics may be affected by usage.

Oh, don't worry about asking stupid questions: We all had a learning curve and it takes some courage to ask what one thinks are " stupid " questions even if they actually aren't stupid at all. Wink Big Grin Cool I know that I really enjoy answering questions if I think I can help as well as most members here are also very happy to help.

( In any case do cross check and fact check our opinions and statements: We can also get it wrong and at times you have to separate supported by evidence facts from opinion that even if true need some fact checking ).

To get back to the Topic of handedness I have found that as a left hander if I started training a new skill as a right hander it soon felt natural to use the weapons right handed but I can to a degree reverse the actions and do them left handed .... but not as well without some specific practice: I may be lucky to be very ambidextrous. Wink Laughing Out Loud

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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Thu 05 Aug, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The biggest challenge I generally see right-handers experiencing with left-handers is all about geometry. Against another right-hander, when both of you extend and cross swords the swords extend across the space between the two of you, which means that to push the sword offline to the right, you don't need to move your sword all the way to the right side of your body. Economy of motion is valuable, so most people train to only parry as far as they need to (or close the line as far as they need to, or what have you). Against a lefty though, their sword is coming in straight at you in mirror line, and you need to move your sword further to the right to parry or close the line.

You can adapt to this by changing your stance or widening your parries etc, but in this case your training often works against you. It's hard to break habits that you have trained to be automatic. Meanwhile, the leftie has been trained to deal with this scenario more than the reverse, ie. fighting another leftie. So they have an advantage against a right-hander, but often have trouble with another leftie.

Incidentally, there is also a similar but opposite problem with parrying or closing the line on the left. against a left-hander you need less movement, and lose your economy of motion. This can lead to you moving your sword far enough offline that it no longer presents threat and/or takes too long to recover from, creating an opening that would exist against a right hander.

All of this is, IMO, the source of the often-stated advantage lefties have against righties.

Getting back to the topic of sword and shield however, the dynamic changes somewhat, because you have tools on both sides dealing with your opponent's tools on both sides. This changes the lines of combat enough to reduce the geometrical advantage of the leftie, except in a few specific instances (like the shield pin I mentioned in my previous post). But there is also the basic rethinking you need to do when the default positioning puts your defensive tool against their defensive tool, and your offensive tool likewise against their offensive tool. In this case, in my experience, you need to learn some new ways of doing things, but those new ways are different enough that you won't fall into your standard pattern brought on by training against right-handers. It's not just a matter of slightly changing angles, it's a matter of holding your sword with the point to the right instead of to the left.

I hope that's useful information

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Michele Hansen




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Aug, 2010 1:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Craig Shackleton wrote:

"...there is also the basic rethinking you need to do when the default positioning puts your defensive tool against their defensive tool, and your offensive tool likewise against their offensive tool. In this case, in my experience, you need to learn some new ways of doing things, but those new ways are different enough that you won't fall into your standard pattern brought on by training against right-handers It's not just a matter of slightly changing angles, it's a matter of holding your sword with the point to the right instead of to the left.

I hope that's useful information"
_________________

Very useful information, Craig. When I sketch, a skirmishing pair of ground troopers (possibly as an element in a larger battle scene), I will keep the positioning of the blade angle in mind. Is there a specific tactical difference in mounted combat, or would the same sword-angle adjustment still apply?

Il est apelée de Montfort. Il est el Mond, et si est fort. Si ad grant chevalrie; Je vois et je m’ acort. Il eime le droit, et het le tort. Si avera le mestrie!
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Craig Shackleton




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Aug, 2010 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm... mounted combat would have its own issues, partly because the horse occupies part of the space where combatants on foot would normally stand. Unfortunately, I can't comment further than that, except as speculation, since I only do foot combat. I know that there are folks out there doing mounted stuff, maybe one of them can chime in.
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Justin Lee Hunt




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 7:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Aaron Schnatterly wrote:
One additional thing to consider here, guys... the shield isn't solely there to be bashed on by an opponent. There aren't many who I have run into that actually put this into practice, but those who did, often kicked my back side thoroughly with the shield as a weapon.

That shield can be used to bash, trip, hack, bind... it's a real nuissance when it's actively deployed rather than passively placed in the way. In a nasty, heated, got-out-of-control, seriously insulted my lady's honor and I really got pissed off pseudo-duel once, I put the point of a heater in an opponent's solar plexus, then beat him halfway to nowhere while he was sucking wind. I'm not proud of the event, but it is an example of what someone can do when they actually mean it. A decade later, I ran into him again, and that's the first thing he thought of... the pointy part of that heater.

Skilled men-at-arms of the day would have developed great skill with a shield, and would have fought with both hands - sword AND shield. With an aggressive weapon in each hand, lefty or righty, nasty from any direction.


Sir Wulfscyld, one of the knights in my troop, is ambidexterous and often fights me using a two-handed sword technique that puts his left hand in the top position. He occasionaly uses his shield on his right arm, but the fact is that I fight in this situation (I'm a righty) so much that I just don't think about it. Tell you what, he and I have a training session coming up soon. I'll have my wife record it and I'll post a link.

As to the above quote, I do that quite frequently when I do performances. During practices we try for safety reasons to tone it down a bit.

I opperate a website for my reenactment troop it's www.orderoftherouseclan.org Be sure to check out our forums www.orderoftherouseclan.proboards.com
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Jan J. Gahy




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PostPosted: Wed 29 Jun, 2011 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting topic for interesting situation, i have a friend a starting fencer and hes lefty, we tried to fight with heater shields and swords and we found out the shields for this LH and RH fight are almost useless in blocking because they are on same side and not on side of opponents weapon. So we used shields only for bashing and pushing and all blocking was mainly with swords (and very awkward). Its very strange to fight against LH opponent everything is reversed and mirrored when you face the opponent. Shield and weapon on same side as yours. I tried often to block his blows with shield but it was kinda unnatural for me but a great practice ALMOST like to fight against someone who has totally different style like kendo.
Thats just my point of view about this kind of fight.
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Justin Lee Hunt




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PostPosted: Thu 30 Jun, 2011 9:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, we had our practice session and here's the videos. They're the first two on the page. My appologies for the non-professional style. But most of these videos were shot on the fly during practices and many are unofficial whereas they don't adhire to the rules of sport combat in the group.

http://www.orderoftherouseclan.org/Fighting-Videos.html

Just to let everyone know, these are youtube videos and can be found on there by searching for The Most Noble Order of the Rouse Clan.

I opperate a website for my reenactment troop it's www.orderoftherouseclan.org Be sure to check out our forums www.orderoftherouseclan.proboards.com
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Ben Bouchard




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PostPosted: Tue 05 Jul, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's worth noting that in the sport fencing world, while at the low level there are more righties than lefties, at the high-competitive and Olympic level the ratio is actually just about dead even. This, to me, shows that it's only a matter of inexperience that makes it difficult to fight a southpaw--clearly the pros have figured it out pretty well to the point where the advantage is greatly diminished.

I would agree that in cases of RH vs. LH sword and shield combat that there would likely be a lot more lateral/circling action as each combatant tried to slip past the other's sword. This would put both in a more exposed position, so the bout might be a bit more brief as a result. When I fenced regularly one of my friends in the group was a lefty, but it actually took me a while to realize it, as I focused on exposed target area and my own defense rather than on the fact that she was coming at me a different angle than usual. I found that I often was able to sneak a thrust in quite nicely by approaching with a circular motion, making contact with the opposing blade and using it as an axle to "spin" my blade around and attack from a higher or lower outside angle.
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Kurt Scholz




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PostPosted: Tue 24 Jul, 2012 7:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean Thibodeau wrote:
Vassilis Tsafatinos wrote:
In the case of rapier, longsword, polearm, or single sword were no shield is involved fighting with the off-handed presents little difference.


I just started training with longsword a few months ago and I decided to do it right handed just to avoid the confusion of trying to reverse instructions in my mind as I try to do a new exercise.

I'm left handed but very ambidextrous so this has been working well.

But to comment on the above from your very interesting post: I'm agreeing that left handed or right handed doesn't seem to make much difference except on which side the forearms will cross with some guards.

My instructor is actually left handed and often changes lead hand when giving instructions: After I finish the current course of 15 lessons I may just change to left handed for the next session of lessons.

Vassilis: Oh, and I enjoyed your entire post: I just quoted this small portion of it to avoid people having to read it all over again as a very long quote. And I did have specific comments for the part I quoted.


I've been studying this subject for some time because I fence with both hands and I'm cross dominant. I take different mental approaches for right or left hand/arm and have different advantages and disadvantages as a result. In everyday live, I do appear as right handed, but can easily switch to left handed.
Current research on left right issues is often neglects that none is sure about the natural numbers of left handers in comparison to right handers in a population. All data shows that it's in a flux and might have some correlations to minor cultural differences.
In my opinion, much research gets it wrong because they focus on acts that can be accomplished via different approaches utilizing capabilities with differing lateralizations. From the mix of capabilities that are a given, people can make choices which to employ more and which to employ less - resulting in a "left-right" pattern that in reality is crossdominance with imperfect observation and underutilization of capabilities.

I believe that differences in lateralization are part of organizing our body into distinctive characteristics. This organization does have a wider or more narrow footing and for some people these are all settled within one side, for others they run across the left-right divide. In the environments we are then in we make choices about what to do and how to do it. Some of our traits get underused as a result if they don't appear suitable for certain/many laterized applications. Shifting to two hands on a spear or other sport item can result in interesting capability changes because this approach bridges our left-right divide of utilized capabilities and makes everyone fully capable.
Using sword and shield are two weapons, one for each hand and you use both to win. That solves a lot of left-right divide problems and gives maximum flexibility to choose left or right sword hand, but not everyone can choose nor brings every choice the same individual capability. In a military application I would make the lefties one line and have as many lefties as possible fight left handed with the shortest weapon the formation employs because the shorter the length, the more of an advantage has the left hander - why? Symmetry, our lateralization is asymmetric and directed towards the right, not so right or even left is the symmetric appearance in structure - but with capability to utilize these features centered on the left side.

There are many claims that cross dominance is bad and such people underperform and are just insecure whether they are lefties or righties and have to be shown the way. You can significantly enhance performance if you are capable to work out what abilities you have and how they are localized. The better you know how to utilize your capabilities, the better they work together. Someone who is not cross-dominant considering respective required attributes for a task has it quite easy because the attributes on one side learn quite easy to cooperate with each other without it being necessary to know what they are. The cross-dominant person has to train and understand the single attributes in order to control them. This is quite tricky because we have pretty little idea what they are except some very basic grasp. It seems that hand or arm or eye dominance can differ due to tasks like power, speed, motoric control as well as object distance and neither hand, nor arm, nor legs must have the same organization for one attribute. Jumping high or wide can have different jump feet, so we are likely in for an even more complicated interaction of systems with differing lateralizations.
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Riki K




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PostPosted: Fri 17 Aug, 2012 9:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Bouchard wrote:
It's worth noting that in the sport fencing world, while at the low level there are more righties than lefties, at the high-competitive and Olympic level the ratio is actually just about dead even. This, to me, shows that it's only a matter of inexperience that makes it difficult to fight a southpaw--clearly the pros have figured it out pretty well to the point where the advantage is greatly diminished.


If the ratio is even at the highest levels, (roughly 50/50), then lefties are highly over-represented. This would imply that the advantage becomes greater at higher skill levels, not diminished.
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many (most?) of those high-level lefties are right-handed people who fence left-handed (often because that's what their coach decided once upon a time). At lower levels, fewer left-handed fencers, so fencers get less practice against them. So, left-handed fencers have an advantage.

But it is largely a matter of less experience against left-handed opponents, so at higher levels, the advantage gained from going lefty is less. But at higher levels, everything else tends to be very even - general skill level, conditioning, athleticism, tactics - so a small advantage can make a big difference.

At lower levels, opponents tend to be less evenly matched, so even if the "lefty advantage" is bigger, it matters less often.

(The "lefty advantage" works best against other left-handed fighters, since they have even fewer left-handed opponents to practice against on average.)

The practical matters of angles of attack and defense are symmetric, so don't favour either fighter in the absence of difference in experience.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Kurt Scholz




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 3:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben Bouchard wrote:
It's worth noting that in the sport fencing world, while at the low level there are more righties than lefties, at the high-competitive and Olympic level the ratio is actually just about dead even. This, to me, shows that it's only a matter of inexperience that makes it difficult to fight a southpaw--clearly the pros have figured it out pretty well to the point where the advantage is greatly diminished.

I would agree that in cases of RH vs. LH sword and shield combat that there would likely be a lot more lateral/circling action as each combatant tried to slip past the other's sword. This would put both in a more exposed position, so the bout might be a bit more brief as a result. When I fenced regularly one of my friends in the group was a lefty, but it actually took me a while to realize it, as I focused on exposed target area and my own defense rather than on the fact that she was coming at me a different angle than usual. I found that I often was able to sneak a thrust in quite nicely by approaching with a circular motion, making contact with the opposing blade and using it as an axle to "spin" my blade around and attack from a higher or lower outside angle.


Sorry, but I can't follow your interpretation. If there are more right handed amateur fencers training to become professional they should be represented in equal numbers among the professionals if the only advantage of the southpaws was unexpected surprise. A very high represenation of southpaws among professional fencers means that they have an inherent adavantage that even good training and knowledge can't compensate. You find that in all kinds of sports, the closer the distance, the higher is the southpaw(and foot) advantage. Things get slightly complicated by ambidextry and mixed laterality that is prevalent to some degree among a lot of people and can have benefits in certain situations, including the capability to act ambidextrous while not having each side really equal in capability. This lateralization includes all bodyparts and all perception, including possible different laterality for long distance and short distance vision. The vision aspect can be checked by poiting at an object with both eyes open and afterwards closing one eye and comapring for which dominant eye the finger is closer to the target. Generally, it's easier to coordinate features that have the same lateralization.

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Many (most?) of those high-level lefties are right-handed people who fence left-handed (often because that's what their coach decided once upon a time). At lower levels, fewer left-handed fencers, so fencers get less practice against them. So, left-handed fencers have an advantage.

But it is largely a matter of less experience against left-handed opponents, so at higher levels, the advantage gained from going lefty is less. But at higher levels, everything else tends to be very even - general skill level, conditioning, athleticism, tactics - so a small advantage can make a big difference.

At lower levels, opponents tend to be less evenly matched, so even if the "lefty advantage" is bigger, it matters less often.

(The "lefty advantage" works best against other left-handed fighters, since they have even fewer left-handed opponents to practice against on average.)

The practical matters of angles of attack and defense are symmetric, so don't favour either fighter in the absence of difference in experience.


If you have no capabilities suitable for fencing lateralized on your left arm, you will suck at it. You will certainly not make it to professional level, otherwise everyone would be fencing with the left hand. A coach can't change that, but he can discover and help develop capabilities on the left arm&hand&eye that were underutilized as part of becoming a seemingly right-handed person. See, there is still no consensus as to how many left handed people occur naturally in a population, because numbers do differ widely. The problem is crossed laterality that enables people to pass as left or right handed in tests on performing specific tasks. Well, you can do the same task with different capability approaches (hand eye coordination or fine motoric finger control for writing for example). Adaption can mean that capabilities localized on the other arm, hand, leg, eye, ear and so on have a diminished degree of use that leads to perceptions of overall laterality that does however not reflect inherent capabilities.
Some aspects reported frequently as cross dominant and relevant for fencing are:
finger motoric control, hand motoric control, strength arm, speed arm, jumping foot (can differ for high or wide), short distance eye dominance and hand-eye coordination for 3D.
Having them all aligned on one side(left or right) makes control pretty easy. Having them crossed, requires training to work out a feeling for each separate capability and then conciously integrate them. You can't become a southpaw professional without any talent on your left hand, but developing this talent takes lots of determination because we all come from an environment that favours more or less a general purpose right hand approach with widespread and usual underutilization of our capabilities on the other paw.
There are some people who have lost a limb and are forced to learn with their previously less used limb to cope with the world. It's very helpful if they mentally grasp everything with both hands because under such conditions you have a full capability integration. Ask some ice-hockey players about that, they have different ice hockey sticks and while they have fully integrated laterality, they also have remains of different specific capability levels on their hands/arms.
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Sat 18 Aug, 2012 4:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kurt Scholz wrote:

If you have no capabilities suitable for fencing lateralized on your left arm, you will suck at it. [...] A coach can't change that, but he can discover and help develop capabilities on the left arm&hand&eye that were underutilized as part of becoming a seemingly right-handed person.


Yes, I thoroughly agree.

Kurt Scholz wrote:

You will certainly not make it to professional level, otherwise everyone would be fencing with the left hand.


No, because if the fraction of people fencing left-handed goes over 50%, then the right-handed fencers have the experience advantage. At the top level, the players are (mostly) very close together in terms of ability. If there was a real advantage to left-handed fencing beyond the experience against particular handedness, we would see well over 50% going left-handed.

I think that it's not only the experience that is the total training time against particular handednesses, but also the immediate experience of the last bout - if the next bout has an opponent of different handedness from the previous bout, it's a little bit harder.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Aug, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Timo Nieminen wrote:
Kurt Scholz wrote:

If you have no capabilities suitable for fencing lateralized on your left arm, you will suck at it. [...] A coach can't change that, but he can discover and help develop capabilities on the left arm&hand&eye that were underutilized as part of becoming a seemingly right-handed person.


Yes, I thoroughly agree.

Kurt Scholz wrote:

You will certainly not make it to professional level, otherwise everyone would be fencing with the left hand.


No, because if the fraction of people fencing left-handed goes over 50%, then the right-handed fencers have the experience advantage. At the top level, the players are (mostly) very close together in terms of ability. If there was a real advantage to left-handed fencing beyond the experience against particular handedness, we would see well over 50% going left-handed.

I think that it's not only the experience that is the total training time against particular handednesses, but also the immediate experience of the last bout - if the next bout has an opponent of different handedness from the previous bout, it's a little bit harder.


In every fencing group from amateur level onwards is a southpaw. If you become a professional you will train with southpaws ad nauseum and with northpaws ad nauseum. You will even search for training partners who can imitate your future most feared enemy as close as possible. In professional fencing there is no surprise, even in amateur fencing there's no surprise. By now everyone in my fencing class knows very well how to fight any kind of paw.
It's about utilizing inherent capabilities.
Northpaw capabilities are due to lateralization that goes along with asymmetry of features, while southpaw is the default route if the lateralization influence is not so great and correspondingly is symmetric. It is established in the womb before you are born by an interplay of receptors and hormones that help to organize your body, otherwise you would have a hard time finding out what your leg and what your arm is. There were attempts to teach ambidexterity to kids a century ago that resulted in severe developmental handicaps because we must feel/know these differences in order to have an organized workable brain. You have more or less differences in laterality degree overall, but these aspects can stay in the north or south section or be across or in between it. The issue with south paws gaining an advantage in close distance sports is about their symmetry in certain features. But because of the existance of much cross laterality you ask the wrong question by looking at north and south paw, ask yourself about the influence of body symmetry in these sports. By contrast, there are highly asymmetric sports that are often associated with long distance, such as tennis, spear throwing or shot put. In these sports asymmetry is trump and you don't have an overwhelming advantage of symmetric sportsmen as in short distance (martial) sports. Southpaws are just an indicator of the degree of symmetry advantage and learning to utilize one's symmetric features has absolutely nothing to do with "surprise".
The issue with adapting to different opponents in fencing matches does include more than their paw, there are different styles and you have to get used to them in order to score. Both opponents usually improve mutually if fighting for some time while first both are "shocked". If you have a problem adapting to southpaws that's part of your individual package that might have to do with your German socialization, a country that has a very low rate of southpaws among the Western countries, but still higher than in more Eastern countries. You can underuse unsuitably located capabilities if your environment favours that approach. The difference to the old idea of teaching lefties to write with their right hand is about not interfering with someone obviously being left handed, but not wanting kids to become so "queer"(similar to "I tolerate homosexuals, but I don't want my kids to be like that"). Part of that environment is creating your mindset that makes southpaw an unexpected "surprise" for you.
Now comes baseball and their left handed specialists in the USA where people labelled southpaws are much more common. Their issue is spin. They spin the ball in a way that makes it hard for the guy with the bat and because our arms are chiral you can't do that spin with the other arm. But do you honestly believe that a player of the NY Yankees meets a southpaw the first time in a match and is overwhelmed by surprise for such a strange fellow? And watching baseball you might notice some switch hitters. Why is not everyone a switch hitter or why don't they exist?
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Michele Hansen




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PostPosted: Fri 31 Aug, 2012 5:29 pm    Post subject: Thank You All for Your Comprehensive Posts!!!         Reply with quote

I haven't been on in a while, so I have missed many of the posts from you wonderful members.

I really want to say thanks for all the interest you have shown in this discussion thread. Your replies are very informative, and I am hoping I can apply some of your comments concerning Left-Hand Fighting Technique to some of my artworks.

From the look of things, many of you are double-handed, and can utilize (and teach) both dexter or sinister styles for fencing. I wonder if this was typical of sword-wielders since the fist edged weapon was developed? It could certainly apply to most people of European descent. I was particularly interested to learn that the percentage of left-handed people varies by region, and continent.

Big Grin So let me lift my mug of ale to:

Ben Bouchard
Craig Shackleton
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Scott Woodruff




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PostPosted: Sat 01 Sep, 2012 5:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I find this thread interesting because due to a series of injuries to my right arm, I am unable to hold a sword right handed. I can use a light shield in my right hand with a guige as long as I don't fight its inertia and move around the shield instead of moving it around me. It has been very surprising how quickly I have been able to adapt to fighting left-handed. I always wanted to be ambidextrous, too bad it had to happen this way. Last weekend my reenactment group held its first combat practice and I won every single bout. I am sure that eventually the others will learn how to fight a lefty, but initially their unfamiliarity with fighting LH gave me an incredible advantage, even though I was as unused to fighting LH as they were to fighting a LH.
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Kurt Scholz




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PostPosted: Sun 02 Sep, 2012 2:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote



The prime is one of the fencing positions for switching hands. You can grab your opponent or your weapon with the other hand. Such left-right switches give a tremendous advantages advantage in combat. There was somewhere in the Iceland(?) Sagas a remark about a guy doing this with sword and shield in combat as a sudden surprise maneuver.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross-dominance and switch handed are good starting point if you have to train the other hand. A lot of people can tell you that they may be self-perceived right or left handed, but can do certain things much better with the other hand (Cross-dominance does include different lateralizations of capabilities of the same organ/limb, not just a simple general organ/limb laterality and even things like jumping high or wide can be on different legs for whatever reason.) Listen to them carefully and find out yourself where you have these specific capabilities and with what train of thought you can use them. If you use a certain limb emphasize the capabilities you have on this limb in order to enhance performance (for some limbs this is on autopilot).
After a while, you might be even able to train members of your group how they can switch in combat for some surprise advantages (to compensate and win against otherwise superior enemies). What you should not attempt, is to turn life upside down by trying to do everything with the other hand as long as you can avoid it. This is difficult and can mentally exhaust you. Always keep it an easy game. Just ask a drummer about the problems if he tries to switch the main beat hand because they are under most stress and quickly feel the backlash. However, one drummer told me a way out, he uses a back-hand beating with left dominance and a normal beat for right hand dominance.

There is lots of training advice about becoming ambidextrous/switch handed written by people who have not a clue and heeding their ideas will have negligible effects or can harm you. If you are ever unsure about negative effects ask a drummer, their job is under tremendous stress to do the beat with their correct personally dominant capability and very few of them can switch. Playing the guitar favours cross-dominance of different hand/arm capabilities because many people have their finger motoric skill on one hand and the beat hand on the other - best combination for guitar hero. These people will normally just know that they can and do things this way without bothering to categorize themselves as "special handed" in any way - quite reasonable because most human beings have some kind of cross dominant capabilities.
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