The Arts and Sciences- Heavy Fighting

For the Fighters – Heavy

Ideas from Duke Sir Cornelius, Sir Phillipe and others



  • Armour conforms to you. You should not conform to your armour.  If you are fighting your gear, what hope do you have against the opposition?
  • Crisp, well executed, field appearance.
  • Keep everything in good working order.


  • Select a shield that feels good for you to use and is appropriate to your culture.  Make your shield conform to you.
  • Small shields good for tournaments, large shield good for war.
  • Paint both sides of your shield.


  • Start with 36″ cut or add 1 inch at a time till comfortable. Don’t make a sword based on your height or arm length. Comfort and ability use proficiently is the key (length/weight/blance).
  • Make a comfortable handle.  Large handles promote over gripping the sword. Too round of a handle can hinder ability to tell blade orientation. A rounded triangular cross section is a good shape.
  • Balance point about a hand-span from hilt.
  • Lanyard at back
  • Thrusting tips should only be used after cutting is mastered. Thrusting tips early on can cause a false reliance and stop the development of proper cutting.  Thrusts are also dangerous at times for the thruster in a fight.

Basics of Sword fighting – Heavy

Grip: Do not hammer grip. This cause your own muscles to fight the shot and will tire you out (Ok-to-go)


  • Stance is your base. Your power for shots. It will also govern your ability to react to your opponent.
  • Shoulder width box. Either foot forward should not matter. Practice with both. There is a time and a used for every technique.
  • Your center of force should be through your opponent.
  • Project force forward in balance. If your leaning back it will restrict your movement and shot power.
  • Be comfortable. A comfort in stance allows you to breathe and relax.


  • Stay in balance.
  • Never follow your opponent over three steps.
  • Go to where you need to go – Move.
  • Retreat in balance.
  • Only retreat straight if luring.
  • Defensive retreats should use the J or sharp C
  • Movement should be tied to your shots to optimize power.
  • Reacting to an opponents advance can be offensive or defensive in nature.
  • Conserve movement positions the shield.
  • Basic Shots


  • offside
  • slot
  • onside leg
  • flat snap or onside
  • weak edge shots (wraps). Deny your inner octopus and the tentacle flail.
  • recovery is just as important as the shot
  • either ‘thumb’ or elbow touches body
  • let defense cue the offense
  • trust your core/body

Combination Shots

  • do not be repetitive
  • put together combinations that have a purpose
  • tie them to your movement and hips
  • does it flow?
  • does it kill by using the moving of the opponent’s shield?
  • does it kill by lying to the opponent?

The Fight

Space and Range
  • Long/medium/short/corp a corp
  • Space is needed for any shot to complete
  • You can create this space.
  • You can allow your opponent to create this space and use it to your advantage
  • keep your comfortable distance, not your opponents
  • Hand fakes
  • Arm fakes
  • Body or shoulder fakes
  • Slow down and be convincing (commit)
  • In shot – same shot angle change
  • Change shot – new shot mid throw
  • Set up shots to look the same
Offensive shield
  • Hook, press, snag
  • Work with opponents movement
  • Be ready to abort
  • Subtlety is key
Now What?
  • Remember your basics
  • Min-Max – combat is about the mind game and math
  • Shield – Sword – Stance
  • Tempo – can mean both time and distance (Feori)
  • Fight you pace – rest when you want – Don’t let your opponent rest on his time
  • Learn to plan combinations mid fight
No Mind
  • If you expect nothing; you are ready for anything
  • Always return to fundamentals

Other Things

  • Look good – fight well
  • ‘The horse, the gear, the man’
  • Keep a training/combat diary
  • We are a western martial art – a philosophical foundation (Chivalry)
  • Core strength is vital
  • General fitness and armour fitness
  • Train well, train often
  • Read some historical manuals
  • Banner/pennant