Live Steel: Longsword Fighting

by / 0 Comments / 91 View / March 7, 2015

Ancient fighting practices are being revived. You thought we left it all behind with modern technology and the invention of the musket? Turns out some people wouldn’t stand for that.

Enter the world of longsword fighting. Its distinction is its long hilt, allowing for a two-handed grip. It was a medieval and renaissance form of armed combat used by men on horseback or on the field.  For centuries, this form of fighting was lost, but this generation is seeking to revive it through copious research and training. The Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA, include several forms of grappling/wrestling and sword-fighting in their revival.

pointy end

Stick ‘em with the pointy end!

Sword fighting? Really? Yes, really! Not just steel swords, but something referred to as ‘live steel’. This means if you get hit, it’s gonna hurt, son. Armor and padding is worn, of course, but you’re still going to walk away with bruises. Fighting is done with blunted blades, but accuracy skills are performed with a very sharp blade able to cut through various targets.

There are many written documents with illuminations and sketches that show how longsword fighting was accomplished. These modern fights are not simply stepping into a ring with a basic idea of how to fight. Fighters study how to perform the proper movements based on ancient texts. This is not just a revival of the longsword, but of how it was actually handled.


I dun got stabbed!

What makes people want to try this? Many reasons. Some love the history that comes with this, and will dress up and adapt their colloquialisms and lingo to adhere to medieval and renaissance times. Some love a challenge, and what better way than to try something we don’t do anymore. I believe it stems from something deeper, and primal.

Why do people love sports so much? Games are a modern version of warfare, without too much blood and wounds. We get all worked up over teams and rules and points. I believe this stems from our urge to fight in war, which is something a select few do now. Sports allow anyone to fight. That is why I think longsword fighting has such a positive impact. It gives men and women a chance to really battle. Modern longsword fighting means you’ll walk away with bruises and great stories–and your life.


Ladies be fierce!

If you want to learn more, go here:

If you’re looking for fighting without live steel, check out my article on the SCA who fights with rattan (wrapped bamboo):

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