Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Subject of Debate

As I predicted it would, the big shield issue has popped up in the West with a backlash against the people who are using them and winning tournaments (some of whom read this blog). Predictably, the most complete comments came from Duke Paul. He gave me permission to reprint them here.


Just a couple of comments --

I have never said that small shields, or more specifically round(ish)
shields are better than other shields. My feeling is that using a small
shield (round, square, bunny, etc.) when learning how to fight aids in
producing a superior fighter. I further believe that this fighter will
fight in a more aesthetically-pleasing style than might be obtained from
learning with a larger shield. I think that in-kingdom tournaments -
specifically Crown and Coronet tourneys - are the pinnacle of this

So when I see top fighters switching to larger shields for use in our
crown tourneys, I do not feel that they are being unchivalrous, but rather
that they are abandoning a custom that has produced superior fighters and
a highly-aesthetic fighting style. By recommending such shields to their
students, and by serving as an example to newer fighters, they are
actively opposing something that has defined the Western fighter and, to
my mind, the highest level of the art.

I further believe that given an equal level of skill and prowess, the
fighter with the larger (to a point) shield will win the fight. So, if I
were to move to another kingdom, or attend an event like Pennsic, I would
modify my shield size to move towards the size prevalent in my new
kingdom, or at the event. In such a situation, I see no reason (unless
one has a "Western" chip on his shoulder) for using a shield that requires
me to actively block my legs, when it is not the local custom for my
opponents to do so.

I still believe that it is easier to move to a larger shield than to a
smaller shield. If roughly-equivalent fighters should meet with similar
shields (having become comfortable with the use of that size shield), then
the one trained with a smaller shield will have a more complete style, and
the advantage in the fight.

A small shield is a means to produce superior training, or to demonstrate
prowess. For a long while, Western fighters could use their small shields
successfully against larger shields. However, the world has, to some
extent, caught up with us. Perhaps we should move to larger shields for
inter-kingdom events. However, I think that if we continue the trend
towards larger shields in-kingdom, then we truly will pay the cost of


Titus said...

in what forum is this debate happening?

MAC said...

Right now it's going on via email, but it's about to appear on the West Kingdom chiv list.

Titus said...


Western Spartans said...

... because 2 guys fighting each other from their knees is the height of fighting aesthetics ...

Also, the converse to Duke Pauls' point about training is true - by never fighting against opponents with large shields, your offense can stagnate.