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

The Zornhau Ort—it’s simpler than you think

I've been looking over Liechtenauer's longsword system again and I realised a few things I missed the last time I studied it in depth. This is one reason I like studying multiple systems, you end up seeing the same techniques from new perspectives. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing some of my observations … Continue reading The Zornhau Ort—it’s simpler than you think

Beyond masters—the underlying philosophies of sword fighting

What do Spanish rapier and German longsword have in common? What's the difference between Swetnam and Silver or Mair and Meyer? Too often we get caught up learning a particular system or following a particular master that when we compare them to another, we just think about how their techniques are different. I think it's … Continue reading Beyond masters—the underlying philosophies of sword fighting

Cut vs thrust, can’t we all just get along?

Is it better to cut someone or stab them? If you stabbed someone in the Medieval Ages they'd almost certainly die but if you chopped off their arm they were less likely to hit you back. I think this is actually the wrong way to look at the debate, in all honesty. To see the … Continue reading Cut vs thrust, can’t we all just get along?

What’s the most important thing in sword fighting?

It's time to combat a few old myths and give an opinion on the single most important thing in sword fighting. Is it strength? Agility? Speed, surely? Or something more...? To those of you who study and practice HEMA, I doubt my answer will come as a surprise but let's get into it. Is it … Continue reading What’s the most important thing in sword fighting?

Ox Guard vs Posta de Fenestra

Posta de Fenestra (left), Ox (Ochs) Guard (right)

Technical longsword discussion ahead: Ok, so you're just starting out at learning the longsword. Maybe you're studying the Liechtenauer lineage or maybe you're studying Fiore. You see all these cool, fancy guards and you think, how on earth am I meant to use that? Maybe you're lucky enough to have others teaching you or maybe … Continue reading Ox Guard vs Posta de Fenestra

Longsword vs shield—who would win?

You've heard it on so many documentaries, "when he swings his big, heavy sword at me, I'll just stick my shield in the way, block it and hit him with my own sword and he will be dead." That basically never happens. Using a sword in two hands against someone with a shield and some … Continue reading Longsword vs shield—who would win?