will break down the use of the Longsword into several different
catagories for easy referencing. The catagories will not contain
the same old regurgitated historical text, but the weapon's
use from years of practical application put into understandable
terms. We will have historical links up for you to study as
well. Fiore dei Liberi and other major influences. The more
information you have the better. It's always cool to know
actual name's of guards or wards but, some people go off the
historical text alone and tell you that this the way it is
done and that's that. Let me let you in on a little secret.
A lot of historical text written by Masters of the Sword did
not tell you everything. That was saved for actual student
of the Master. The text didn't always tell you how to get
from point A to point B. Sometimes it was left up for interpretation.
Practical application my friend is the interpreter. We will
be adding on to these sections on a regular basis so please
check back. People have been asking us to put something up
so here it is. Anyway, let's get started!
the Longsword can be swung by a single hand it is meant to
be swung with a two hand grip. Being as such, when swung with
two hands it can leave devestating damage in it's wake. Also,
with a two hand grip, this leads to a well rounded offence
basic grip for a longsword is that of the lead hand flush
up against the crossguard and the rear hand close to, if not
partially gripping, the pommel. The lead hand is the guider
of the strike and the rear hand is the power. So, when you
strike your pushing slightly with the lead hand and pulling
with the rear. Almost like a fulcrum effect. The rear hand
can also put on the breaks when you need to pull a shot or
change direction. Keep these tips in mind when you practice
the drills that lay ahead. Also keep in mind this is a basic
grip for the longsword. The grip can change depending upon
the actions you wish to execute. More thrusting accuracy,
wrap you lead hands forefinger around the cross guard. Warning,
it may get tagged so be careful. More cutting or thusting
power, grip the pommel entirely. The fulcrum thing comes into
effect. Try it out!
stance with the longsword is a stance in which you need to
be mobile, not locked into one motion or another. If your
feet are lined up like a modern fencing stance, or even a
kendo stance, your linear movement is excellent but your side
movement sucks. Feet too square, same thing in reverse, side
movement great, linear movement sucks. Get the picture :)
A happy medium is what is called for.
OK, let's find your stance. Get into your fencing "on
guard" stance. If you are not familiar with that, put
your lead and rear foot together so that your heels are touching
to form an L, for lefties and a reverse L for righties. Now,
with your lead foot take a comfortable step forward. Your
feet should be about shoulder width apart. Tah Dah fencing
stance. With the Longsword you want to open that up a bit.
Take your rear foot and turn the toes so your foot is in a
45 degree angle. Now sidestep it out about shoulder width
with your feet evenly balanced. Turn your shoulders a little
more square. Play with it a little bit. You want it to be
comfortable and mobile. The fencing stance it great for linear
movement but sucks for any sideway or circular movement. You
want a happy medium. Your posture should be more or less straight.
Don't lean too far forward.
balance should be evenly distributed. But, because you use
your rear foot to catapult you forward, sometimes you put
more weight on it. Other times your weight will be on the
balls of your feet for all around mobility. Yet, other times
more on your front leg to propel you backwards. You need to
be prepared to move and move quickly in any direction and
balance is a key.
a note on your stance. Your stance will open and close, change
and move, depending upon you or your opponents intent or actions.
But, this is a good starting point. More will be explained
as we go along.
Wards, and Positions
guards, wards, or positions are postures from which to launch
an attack or parry. There are five basic guards and at least
an additional nine guards worth mentioning. Let's start with
the first five and take it from there.
guard is basically the foundation for all other stances. It's
the Longsword equivalent to an "on-guard" position
in Rapier or sport fencing. So, get in your "on-guard"
stance that we worked on in the above Stance section. Pick
up your weapon. Hold it out in front of you so it is held
at an approximate 45 degree angle pointing at your opponents
face or throat, no matter how tall or short he (or she) is.
Your arms are held out in front of you with a nice bend at
the elbows, relaxed and comfortable, not too close to the
body but, not bent out too far either. The weapon should be
pointing out from your lower abdomen, about a fists width
away from your body. Don't tence your grip. Keep your overall
self relaxed and on the ready. You can virtually make any
attack or parry from this position. A very important asset.