Sword and Buckler Man

Swashbuckler.  Swashing your buckler.  The term swashbuckler may refer to the sound sword make as young English ruffians bash them against their bucklers as they prowled the streets looking for a fight.  I’m not entirely sure I believe in that origin of the word, but it’s an explanation that, despite being a little too pat for my tastes, works as well as any.  This small, handheld shield was ridiculously popular throughout so very much of history.  But why? Continue reading

That’s Armour

Armour is a great thing.  It keeps people from dying.  The history of combat is in many ways the history of armour.  Looking back it’s a historical arms race between the weapons used and the armour used.  Let’s look back shall we, at the symbiotic relationship between swords and armour and carry it through to the present day. Continue reading

Battle Monks

DSCF1618The I.33 manual is a pretty cool look in to history.  A medieval document seemingly written by monks and for monks that totally shatters any idea of these folk were as gentle as we might now like to think.  The modern view of medieval monks is that of a life of quiet contemplation, scholarly works and prayer.  And yet we have I.33, which shows images of these same monks fighting with sword and buckler.  So is I.33 an aberration, or does it show us a side of monk life that we wouldn’t otherwise see? Continue reading

A Guide to Historical Fencing

I tell people I am a fencer.  This to them summons the image of those guys in the white suits poking at each other with what looks like car antennae.  So in order to combat this I thought I would provide a brief history of the sword as well as explaining exactly what it is I do. Continue reading

Guarded Statements

There’s something that’s been bothering me about historical fencing for a while.  I’ve been having a lot of problems with the term “guard.”  In theory a guard is any position your body and sword take to defend yourself.  There are complexities within that definition and some people have their own different definitions.  For example, one interpreter of the medieval I.33 system stated that there were no guards present in the style, because you were never supposed to stand stationary to protect yourself in any particular position.  One of my own instructors once made the ridiculous claim that any position you can hold your sword in is a guard, but it is only a “good guard” if it serves to protect you.  Ignoring the fact that if every position is a guard then the entire concept of guard becomes useless, some refining to the term is clearly needed. Continue reading