At Sword Academy we study the complete set of weapons employed by individuals during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The diverse nations of Europe were continually in conflict with each other for over two thousand years and because of this there was a constant pressure on arms and armor to evolve. When one region developed a stronger steel their neighbors were forced to counter it; whether by matching the technology or devising new techniques and strategies. This lead to the tremendous variety of weapons we find throughout European history.
The sword is the weapon most associated with Medieval Europe and it is also the weapon we make the most use of at Sword Academy. It is probably underwent the most amount of change and diversification of all European weapons. There were short swords, single-handed swords (simply referred to as swords), bastard swords, long swords, great swords, cut and thrust swords, small swords, rapiers and an endless variety of swords in between that combined the qualities of several.
The sword consists of a pommel, handle, cross guard and a blade. The blade cross sections are quite varied, and metallurgical technology continually improved over time. As a result, some earlier blades were quite soft and were unable to hold a sharp edge, however armor was rare during this period and not as protective as it was to become. Sword blades are often flexible allowing them to absorb the impact of hitting a shield of steel armor; where a stiffer more brittle blade could shatter. Early swords often had little thrusting ability because of a rounded rather than a tapered tip.
One of the most common Medieval weapons, even more so than the sword, was the axe. An Axe can be used in close combat or thrown, but it is also a tool that would be familiar to most people. Because the head of an axe is the only part made of steel it is easier and cheaper to produce. It is also a simpler weapon to learn to use because it primarily involves chopping. Axes were often used with shields, and the heavy head could deliver crushing blows even to armored opponents.
Axes are composed of a head and a handle. The head of an axe designed for combat, is very different from that of a wood axe and has a very thin blade, not a wedge. This enables an axe to cut much like a sword. The handle can vary greatly in length, from small throwing axes, to single handed axes used with a shield and to large two-handed axes.
The other primary weapons we train with are: Long Sword, Rapier, Sword & Buckler, Staff and Pole-Arms. We also train to a lesser extent with and against war-hammers, daggers, maces, great-swords and flails.