View Full Version : About sword fighting..

03-20-2012, 06:37 PM

I want to make a manga, with some sword fighting in it. Problem is, I can't draw any good poses or movements or whatever related to sword fighting! I can draw swords, I can draw hands holding swords, but it's the poses that get me.

I haven't found any good tutorials on this, as most of them say something like: "Step 1: draw the pose. Step 2: the rest..", so those are not really helpful.

So: does anyone of you know some good tutorials about sword fighting (or fighting in general)?

Or, even better, does anyone know any good reference material? Since, imho, the best way to learn drawing is from real life, or from other great artists, but I can't find any good reference on teh interwebz..

Any help or pointers would be appreciated! :3

Good day~

03-20-2012, 06:41 PM
Use Samurai Champloo as a stylistic guide, and Shigurui as a realistic guide. Shigurui fortunately features Western swordplay so you can use that too. Idk about tutorials though

03-20-2012, 06:54 PM
Well do you want to make it realistic or just flashy

If you want flashy any manga will work as a reference, but if you want it realistic you will have to read plenty of books about the mater, there are even physic books about sword fighting.

03-20-2012, 07:11 PM
In terms of manga the absolute best source for samurai fighting is vagabond. hands down the very best.

03-20-2012, 07:31 PM
I think its good, but mostly in the tactical thinking in sword fighting. But in poses, parry, and riposte... well I haven't seen any manga that handle those properly.

03-20-2012, 09:51 PM
Your best reference would probably be this if you can get a hold of it: HTDM: Ninja & Samurai Portrayal (http://astore.amazon.com/mangatutorial-20/detail/4766115309). Otherwise, generally for poses during battle, these are not bad:
HTDA&G: Mastering Action and Battle Moves (http://www.mangatutorials.com/tut/book/htdagc4.php)
HTDM: Illustrating Battles (http://www.mangatutorials.com/tut/book/htdmbattles.php)

03-21-2012, 01:22 AM
How powerful are your characters? I know this seems irrelevant but just work with me. You could save yourself a lot of needless research.

03-21-2012, 12:10 PM
Wow, thanks for all the replies, I'll check them out!

@Clock: the story does not revolve around fighting, so I think the fights should rather be realistic than flashy.

@Cype: There are some different characters who use swords, one is fairly weak, another is quite strong, and some in between, but nobody is like super-humanly strong. All within the borders of some sort if realism :3

03-21-2012, 03:05 PM
Ah, okay. I just had to ask cuz if they are like super human strong then I don't think their fighting would be confined to normal rules. It would be like Bleach where they'd just swing at each other once and the opponent goes flying off into some scenery piece.

03-21-2012, 04:37 PM
I don't like to share these info because most people read them and then believe their are expert or stuffs like that, also because is about killing, but what ever.

Sword Stances

Some Physic

German Techniques (Blocking).


German Technique (sparring).


Spanish Verdadera Destreza (a little explanation of the style - in Spanish)


There are more styles, from Italian, French, British, and so on; sword fighting in Europe have a long library from physic, philosophy and tactic. And not even mentioning China, Arabic, Mongol and Hindu sword fighting, you get crazy the amount of information is out there. You have The 5 Rings of Musashi which is one of the best tactic books ever made.

Also, to understand better the stances, try it yourself with a fake sword, you are going to notice that it doesn't feel or look nothing like in movies or comics.

Also, remember, weapons are not toys.

PD: for more information about all this. Ask.

03-21-2012, 06:17 PM
Those links are very useful! Thank you for sharing them!
I'll be reading and watching them this weekend, and continue my research from there.
Again, thanks everyone who replied to this thread! :)

Also, is that your arm in the last picture?

03-21-2012, 06:27 PM
No, my ....

03-21-2012, 06:44 PM
I hope you'll excuse Clockhand, I think he has typographic tourettes, but he posted some really cool links. I think I'll check those out too :)

03-21-2012, 07:28 PM
ouch wtf?? is that you clock? that is one seriously big gash

03-21-2012, 07:52 PM
Yeah, she bit me.

PD: no, its not me.

03-22-2012, 12:55 AM
Flat of my strong.

03-22-2012, 01:37 AM

04-17-2012, 01:41 AM
@ clock hand: that alst pic looks painful! errgh :grossed out:

rurouni kenshin is quite good for samurai fights as it utelises a lot of perspective-y shots that add interest. other than that,this is my best advice:
1.select which swordstyle your character will use(or which one it will be based on)
2.search learn(insertswordstyle) on google
3. sword arts are based around starting poses, so at least one website should have a few of them.
hope this helps!:)

04-17-2012, 11:22 PM
Also remember that realistic sword fights are over a lot faster than what you see in manga. If you run at an unarmored person with a sword with the genuine intent to kill that person, he or she will most likely die very quickly.

Read this on knife fighting, as well. It's not sword fighting, and a lot of things don't directly apply to fighting in manga, but the same general philosophy applies:

04-17-2012, 11:33 PM
Sup with necroes.

04-17-2012, 11:34 PM
Something that happens to me a lot in mangas, is that fighting is not dreadful enough. You know the main character is weaker than his badass nemesis, still the main character beliefs he is not going to win, that the righteous actions are enough to make him a brave warrior, but at the end, you, as a reader, lose the feeling of dread in the fight, the fact that someone is going to die, and we have been spoiled with too many victories from part of the protagonist that we believe without a doubt of question he is going to win. And this is one of the problems I have with most fights in the "genre" of shönen and something in others. In Vagabond you feel that Takezo can lose, he fell in fear some times, and that is okay, that's what you would expect for someone who is placing his life on the edge, but still, I keep having this feeling that fights, or better say the real danger in the stories is not as dreadful as we would feel in our lifes.

04-17-2012, 11:58 PM
When you engage in a fight using any sort of lethal weapons, the winner is often hurt worse than the loser. Study PTSD. Learn what happens to people who "win" a fight by killing the other guy.

Of course, real-life legal issues may or may not exist in your stories, and depending on your target audience, you can potentially avoid having to get all dark with PTSD and such. In shonen and shojo, you can go the Rurouni Kenshin route, but if you're going into seinen, you may want to take a slightly more serious approach (a la Wolfsmund).

I have yet to read Vagabond. I need to remedy that.

EDIT: I should probably attach a major content warning to Wolfsmund. It's fairly disturbing.

04-18-2012, 12:05 AM
Vagabond resolve this in a cool way, the character is completely unconscious of what he is doing, and ones he become more conscious about it, he just get more resolved to his goal.

In Rurouni Kenshin, they made this deal, not about "afraid of fighting" but rather "afraid of becoming a badass murder". So yeah, the focus is no in the dread of the fight, but rather of the inner dread of what you can become, which is cool, but its mean this first step, the dread of fighting was already crossed. So again, fighting is still not as dreadful as it should be.

04-19-2012, 01:54 AM
u answer alot of these threds, don't you,sylux.