Sir William Hope

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Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Mon May 30, 2011 9:50 am

Hey Guys!

Since my focus recently has shifted to Scottish Martial Arts, I have been taking a close look at Sir William Hope's Smallsword method from his 1707 manual. Hope called his system the "New Method", in contrast to the "Common Method". The "Common Method" was the standard French style of smallsword that most everyone else was doing. Therefore Hope's method is somewhat different than what most people think of as smallsword. It was also truly "Scottish", since Hope was a lowland Scot as well as a Baronet and official at the Castle of Edinburgh. The other nice thing about Hope's method is that he designed it to be "universal", in the sense that it could also be applied with the Spadroon or Backsword, and could be performed either on foot or while mounted on horseback. It really is a pretty simple by elegantly effective system.

Anyway, I know that the 18th and 19th centuries, which I have returned to in my studies after a long hiatus, are not the focus of most people here. But I wanted to throw this out and see if it caught anyone's interest.

Thanks!

Keith
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Jeremy S. » Tue May 31, 2011 4:42 am

"Now, that's a name I've not heard in a long time"

Parts of his 1707 manual were required reading when I was getting started in classical fencing. As you said, simple, easy to understand and effective. I wouldn't necessarily call it "truly Scottish" since the English and French influences were pretty clear (if I'm remembering right) but goes through some pretty sound principles and is a very useful read.

Thanks for reminding me of it! I have a few potential group members that really want to get into smallsword and the late rapier material and this is a good resource.
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Mark H. » Tue May 31, 2011 9:33 am

I was bitten by the Victorian bug several months ago and purchased a Hanwei Hutton training sabre, been working from John Musgrave Waite and Hutton's Cold Steel. I have since developed an interest in smallsword and would certainly welcome further discussion, book/manuscript and training recomendations. Is there a pdf of Hopes' smallsword method available? And what would be a good training weapon (brand etc.) for smallsword?
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Tue May 31, 2011 12:20 pm

Hey Mark!

You can find Sir William's texts here:
http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/Hope/

You want the "New and Easy Method...." of 1707.

I am about to move to D.C., so I haven't ordered a smallsword simulator yet. Here are some I am considering:

http://www.amfence.com/html/10.html

If I decide to go with them I plan on asking about substituting a #2 Epee blade, which I think would be closer to a smallsword.


http://www.martinez-destreza.com/shop/weapons.php

Coming from the Martinez Academy, I'm sure this one would be a high-quality option! However, it is more expensive and would likely take several months to get!


http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp ... cing+Sword

This one would work "as is", but the blade is a little long for a smallsword and the listed weight seems a little on the heavy side.

As I work on Hope's "New Method", I plan to come up with a series of video lessons for the Cateran Society Apprenticeship program.
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Tue May 31, 2011 12:31 pm

Jeremy S. wrote: I wouldn't necessarily call it "truly Scottish" since the English and French influences were pretty clear .


Hey Jeremy!

This is true. However, look at the various Rapier methods that preceded smallsword. Can any one nation's Rapier method be said to not have been influenced from somewhere else? The German Rapier/Side Sword certainly drew upon the Italian method. Nothing exists in a vacuum, and Hope was indeed an expert at the "Common Method" (French style) prior to coming up with his own "New Method." But his method was a marked deviation from the French method. It was developed by a Scot in Scotland, and taught in Scotland. Hope was even the head of the "Royal Society of Sword Men of Scotland" for many years.

Compare this to the Broadsword of the same era. While the Highland Regiments of the British Army used their native methods, they also drew heavily upon Henry Angelo's teachings. Angelo was an Italian living in England.

So I'm not sure how one would qualify something as "Scottish" at all, if to be so it has to have no outside influences.
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Mark H. » Tue May 31, 2011 12:42 pm

Thanks Keith!

I really like the look of the Hanwei Washington from KOA and I have always been happy with the service and timely delivery from them, though the one from American looks pretty good too (and cheaper), hm, it seems I have a decision to make. :)

You can find Sir William's texts here:
http://www.sirwilliamhope.org/Library/Hope/


That site looks to be an excellent resource and I 'know' Milo from the Schola Forum, he is a really nice guy!

I also found this book at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Hopes-new-method- ... 636&sr=1-3
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Tue May 31, 2011 12:54 pm

Just to add to the discussion, let me list some of the basic principles of Hope's "New Method" as I see them. Most of them are in stark contrast to the French or "Common" method.

1. An emphasis on Defence rather than Offence. After all, you have to survive a real encounter not just defeat the opponent. In "school fencing" with the French method that are lots of double kills.

2. From this emphasis on Defence, Hope agreed with George Silver that the surest, best, and truest defence is to cross the opponent's blade at as close to 90 degrees as possible. This is emphasized in Hope's method in contrast to the French method which uses small wrist actions and very shallow crossings in the parrys.

3. The main guard/ready position in Hope's method is the Hanging Guard, because he recognized that it provides the best coverage for the body and is the position from which it is most easy to form a true cross when parrying. The French method uses primarily the guards of Tierce and Quarte with the blade held nearly level to the ground. Likewise, the main parrys in Hope's method are the parrys of Prime and of Seconde....or the "inside half hanger" and the "outside half hanger", if you are familiar with broadsword terminology.

4. Also from the perspective of emphasizing defence, Hope put a huge value on keeping the left hand forward and prepared to ward off thrusts or blows. Its use is critical in preventing contre-temps thrusts or the "double kills" that plague the common method. Hope also emphasizes closing with the opponent and grabbing his blade with the left hand to "command" it and prevent the opponent from being able to riposte. You just don't see this much if at all in the French method.

5. Now given that you are holding a Hanging Guard and have the left hand forward, one will just naturally lean the torso slightly forward and put more weight on the front foot than the rear foot. This is opposite to the stance used in the French method.

6. Using the Hanging Guard as the primary defensive guard or position limits the zones you have to defend to just two. Holding the Hanging Guard cuts your body in half along a diagonal line. Therefore you have a zone above the sword and to your left to worry about, and a zone below the sword and to your right to worry about. This simplies things and makes your defense more secure. In the French method the sword is held nearly parallel to the ground at the center of the body. This means there are four zones to worry about or defend: inside high, inside low, outside high, and outside low.

7. Hope intended his "New Method" to have universal application. This means he designed it to be used with a Smallsword, Spadroon, or Broadsword. It can be done on foot or when mounted on horseback. It can defend against any other weapon, not just against another Smallsword. It worked in battle as well as in self-defence or dueling. These things cannot be said of the French method.

So you see, while Hope may have been an expert in the French method (he even wrote a very popular book about it), he departed from it greatly when he designed his "New Method."
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Tue May 31, 2011 1:00 pm

Mark H. wrote:I also found this book at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Hopes-new-method- ... 636&sr=1-3


If you're going to spend money, this is the one you want:

http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Swordsma ... 509&sr=1-9

It has Hope's "New Method" as well as Donald McBane's autobiography and sword manual. McBane also covers Smallsword, and his autobiography reads like a Bernard Cornwell novel. :)
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Keith P. Myers » Tue May 31, 2011 1:07 pm

Here is a short clip of Milo Thurston fencing with Hope's "New Method":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhrBVgDkTCM
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Re: Sir William Hope

Postby Mark H. » Tue May 31, 2011 1:44 pm

Keith P. Myers wrote:
Mark H. wrote:I also found this book at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Hopes-new-method- ... 636&sr=1-3


If you're going to spend money, this is the one you want:

http://www.amazon.com/Highland-Swordsma ... 509&sr=1-9

It has Hope's "New Method" as well as Donald McBane's autobiography and sword manual. McBane also covers Smallsword, and his autobiography reads like a Bernard Cornwell novel. :)


Thanks, its a little more money, but it includes so much more for it.

The online resources are wonderful, but I am a hard copy kinda guy, I love books! :ugeek:
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