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Arming Sword

"The sword typical of the European High Middle Ages (sometimes academically categorized as knightly sword, knightly arming sword, or arming sword) was a straight, double-edged weapon with a single-handed cruciform hilt and a blade length of about 70 to 80 centimetres (28 to 31 in). The type is frequently depicted in period artwork, and numerous examples have been preserved archaeologically. "from Knightly Swords, Wikipedia.


There are surprisingly few references depicting actual arming sword technique as defined above.  Most of the manuals refer to arming swords in the context of sword and buckler like the I.33 or when fighting on horseback.


Other single handed weapons are more widely represented in the treatises.  For example the falchion , dussak, and the messer are widely referred to.  Andreas in 1491 for example talks about the messer. 

George Silver comes along at around 1599 at a time when rapier is becoming popular.   This is an era when baskethilts and their precursors are being developed and the sword that Silver talks about has one.

The  "cut and thrust"  swords come from this time period and on.

Silver's work is robust and quite descriptive.  It emphasizes the fundamentals of timing and distancing and gives a great many examples with a variety of weapons including single sword.  Plus his disdain for rapier is amusing.

We are presently using Silver as the basis for our single sword work.

From Paul Wagner's work with George Silver:

Silver's Admonitions

A sure defence is more important than an effective offense

Present a threat to your enemy aand force him to react before exposing yourself

Make powerful and committed attacks

Only make attacks that will incapacitate the enemy

Attack from a true place

Strike at the most vulnearale parts of the enemy

If an attack is defended, fly out rather than continue to offend

Defend by stifling an attack at its source, before it is in full force

Never rely on one line of defence

Never attack or defend in a manner that will leave you vulneerable if it fails

Keep your distance and force your enemey to expose themselves when attacking

Use all resources at your disposal

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