Usage and History
The sword is a weapon used with the one hand (usually dominant hand). It is both an offensive and defensive weapon and can be used for parries and deflections, as well as, cuts and thrusts. Cuts with sword are delivered either as slices or powerful chopping blows. Although it is primarily used with one hand only, some swords can still be used with both hands, allowing for more powerfull strikes and blocks.
Sword has adopted many forms in Europe through history starting with bronze weapons. Early sword forms were blades capable of cutting with wide profiles and with some ability to trust. Some of the medieval falchions were heavy cleaver like weapons with single edge capable of inflicting significant damage to a variety of targets. In renaissance period some of the swords become lighter and thrusting ability of the sword gained importance - later to witness weapons primarily used for thrusting: rapiers and small swords.
Components and Construction
A sword consists of a blade, a guard, a handle and a pommel. The blade comes in many styles: straight and curved, wide and narrow, cutting and tapered (for thrusting). Earlier guards are simple and shaped like a cross, while later Renaissance guards are complex and protect the hand well through side rings and ornate cages. A sword handle has enough space for one hand, and sometimes (though not often) little extra space for the second hand. The pommel is a counter weight to the blade and comes in many shapes and sizes. Because of this, it can be a formidable weapon in it's own right, when used to strike hammer-like blows.
At Sword Academy we make use of a variety of swords in our training. Wooden wasters are used for drills and are known, from historical sources, to have been used in the Middle Ages (also earlier in Europe) for training or combat. We use aluminum practice swords for drills and safe high speed sparring - with additional protective equipment. Replica steel swords are used for drills and cutting practice. We also use padded sword - made with an aluminum/oak core and covered in high impact foam - for safe (though not completely painless) sparring.