Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?

I hear so many instructors telling people off for trying to block a cut by swinging wildly into it. Is that really a problem though? And if it is, does that mean counter-cutting is useless or is there a way to do it properly? So yeah, it probably won't surprise you to learn that swinging … Continue reading Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?

Feint high, strike low—the oldest trick in the book

The four-move checkmate of the fighting world—if you don't know it yet, you should and if you do already, it's worth discussing in depth. Who knows? There might be ways you can improve it. What is it though? At its heart, it's the most basic feint you can do. What's a feint? A feint is … Continue reading Feint high, strike low—the oldest trick in the book

Poetry, swords and the Finnish National Epic—the mystical roots of HEMA

What does the Kalevala have to do with longsword fighting? It's Finnish, longsword sources are in German and Italian, what's up? When reading about the Kalevala I realised a number of things about magic in pre-industrial societies. I think I've realised what, in a very real sense, it was for. Or at least one part … Continue reading Poetry, swords and the Finnish National Epic—the mystical roots of HEMA

Longsword vs Katana—a fight changing technique

There's a lot of similarity between Western and Eastern sword arts. Anyone who trains with or spars against both will tell you that. But what about where they're different? Is there anything fundamentally different about them, so different it can change the course of the fight? Let's find out. I'm talking here about using two-handed … Continue reading Longsword vs Katana—a fight changing technique

The limits of HEMA—Archery in group combat

When you think of reconstructing medieval combat, the first thing you think of is probably going to be sword fighting. Either that or jousting. If you take a bit longer to think about it, you'll probably get to massed battles with spears and shields and that kind of thing. We look to HEMA clubs and … Continue reading The limits of HEMA—Archery in group combat

Why axes are underrated

You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw an axe at you! It doesn't quite have the same ring, does it? Axes seem like the older, less understood cousins of the sword that don't get talked about much. Sure they might have a movie appearance once in a while … Continue reading Why axes are underrated

Longsword vs Rapier—who would win?

Being a longsworder myself, you'll probably scream bias here and maybe that's true. I'm looking at this primarily from the longsworder's perspective but I hope, as with all things, to give a balanced opinion by the end. Enough about me though, let's get into it. What are the key differences between the weapons? We'll let's … Continue reading Longsword vs Rapier—who would win?

Why Fool’s guard is actually foolish

It sounds like the coolest guard of all, right? Fool's guard: your sword is pointing down at the ground in a seemingly useless fashion but when they strike, you quickly parry, rebat or give a strike of your own. What's not to like? My point here isn't that Fool's guard doesn't work, merely that there's … Continue reading Why Fool’s guard is actually foolish

German vs Italian footwork

I'm talking here specifically about the difference between German and Italian longsword footwork. There are some differences and they're very interesting. I'm going to offer my thoughts on what the key differences are and how they affect the fight. I would argue they are fundamentally similar in what options you have, they just use those … Continue reading German vs Italian footwork

Why I hate the Duplieren but it works anyway

Strong way to start a blog post if you ask me. Nevertheless, the Duplieren happens to be a technique in German longsword that is fundamentally at odds with every underlying philosophy of sword fighting I identify with, yet it still works. It even works for me when I don't realise I'm doing it but how … Continue reading Why I hate the Duplieren but it works anyway