How to fight multiple opponents

Get a longer weapon. That’s for starters. I’ll explain more in a second but, seriously, if you could pick one thing before going into a fight like this, that’d be it. If you’re fighting solo against more than one opponent, you need every little trick and twist to get the odds even slightly back in … Continue reading How to fight multiple opponents

Charge!—The best guards for running into battle

This might not be something you think of immediately when you start any kind of historical fencing. Most sparring takes place in duels between two people. You start off at a nice, safe distance from each other and then step into measure when you're ready. Group combat is fundamentally different. If you don't reach the … Continue reading Charge!—The best guards for running into battle

Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

No. Well that was easy. The answer's still no but I'd like to explore why that's the case. I'd also like to explore why, if you're so unlikely to succeed, we have sections on this in historical manuals. If you are so likely to fail, what's the point in trying at all? So let's back … Continue reading Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

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

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