Sword 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Longsword

Sword 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Longsword


Greetings, my name is Alan and this is a
five-minute guide to longsword, which might not be exactly five minutes long but you get the idea. In this
video I will provide you with some necessary knowledge such as what a longsword is, where to get one, how to start training it, some of the most common ways of using the longsword according to historical sources, as well as how to
wield the sword and not look like an idiot, as well as some do’s and don’ts of
longsword and also a how not to be an obnoxious twat while owning a longsword, or any sword for
that matter. So, without further ado let’s do it! So here is a longsword. It is a type of
slender High Medieval through Renaissance sword designed for striking and
thrusting mainly. It can also deal damage by slicing and pummeling bludgeoning with the pommel or the crossguard an average longsword would weight around 1.5 kilos,
which is slightly above three pounds, and be a hundred fifteen centimeters long,
which translates directly into 45 inches this exact specimen is a little bit longer
at 127 centimeters, which is often the case with modern sparring
replicas. Where to get one? Well, you can order a
functional sword from a variety of vendors and makers, just consult the list below.
Most commercially available swords nowadays are CNC cut and machine milled into shape – which does not lower their performance – it just gives them a certain mass-made
feeling. Such mass-made functional longswords have prices starting at 400 bucks however if you’re looking for something
heavily customized and tailored to your exact needs, do consider commissioning a sword from
someone who makes them by hand. A shortlist of such swordmishts can be found below.
OR you could order a sword from me, as I make swords for a living. It is usual for a handmade sword to cost over 800 dollars the art of using the longsword has been
lost and forgotten for centuries, until modern scholars took an effort to study and
recreate the ancient techniques. They based their studies on preserved historical
manuals as well as archaeological finds such as original sword specimen and the
analysis of battlefield wounds. The discipline of studying and recreating these techniques is known as HEMA or Hhistorical European Martial Arts. Of
course it’s a vast area of research as there are many many ways to handle
a longsword, so I’ll just brush the topic here. Of course the truth about the
longsword is vastly different from what is portrayed in TV shows and movies such
as Game of Thrones – but it is even more exciting. We’ll get to that in a moment! If you’d
like to do some research on your own, most of the translated sources are available at
wiktenauer.org it is an excellent site, an excellent knowledge base.
However, I strongly recommend that you find a teacher, an actual instructor to guide you
and help you avoid mistakes It is as easy as logging on your
facebook account and joining The HEMA Alliance group. Just ask around there and
if there is an instructor near your location, will find him. There are also several
great great YouTube channels dedicated to HEMA, such as, primary, Matt Easton’s scholagladiatoria Dave Rawlings’ LondonLongsword or
Anton Kohutovic’s – kohutovic. The longsword is a weapon that relied on speed and
maneuverability in order to *cough* …get the point across. Quite contrary to what is portrayed in movies with atrocious sword choreography, such as Game of
Thrones, this sort of longsword does not need those huge wide overswings in
order to generate killing power. And even if you consciously choose to
overwhelm your opponent with a succession of rapid hews, there is absolutely no
need to struggle against the weapon like the stuntsmen in Game of Thrones.
Because a balanced longsword just flows from a cut into cut – see, there’s no
need for a pause. However, the usual tactic recorded in the manuals of the German
school of longsword, was to open with a sudden powerful strike and then – of
course if it didn’t disable the enemy right away proceed to work from the bind, seeking to
thrust the sword’s point into the enemy’s body. And if you fail to outplay the enemy
through winding and changing, you could still disengage while doing some slicing
damage. Another profound feature of the German school of longsword is the usage
of the masterful Indes tempo of striking As the masters of old point, out there is
absolutely no need for you to wait to wait until your opponent’s strike is
finished before you can counter-attack you can attack and defend at the same
time with the same sword, accepting the blow on the strong part of the blade
while thrusting or striking with the weak part. These techniques are known as Meisterhau, or Mastercuts and they rely on striking instantly and thwarting the
enemy’s attack in the process. It is also worth noting that while a sword couldn’t
strike or pierce through plate mail or even chainmail armor, certain techniques
were developed to make it useful against different kinds of opponents. So against
an armored opponent, you could strike, bludgeon, with the crossguard or the pommel, or you could go into halfswording to precisely thrust the sword’s point into
the gaps of enemy armor. Since we live in a time where the photographic
documentation of our lives has reached the point where we upload pictures of our
food, you will probably want to know how to wield a sword and not give out your lack of expertise right away. And here I am to provide you with this knowledge. Here, if you grab your longsword in two hands, place your dominant hand right under the crossguard and the other hand
on the pommel. It is a flexible, it is an expert grip employed mostly by fencers
who prefer thrusting and winding rather than powerful striking. There’s another
grip such as this where the hands are placed close together. It augments the strength
of your blows at the cost of flexibility. So, hands wide for an expert
fencer. Hands close for someone who relies on brute force. The longsword is a
two-handed weapon, but there’s nothing wrong with holding it in one hand. Just
bear in mind that the most comfortable way of grabbing things usually is
grabbing them as close to the center of mass as possible. So the center of mass
of this longsword is around here, so I want to grab it right here under the crossguard of course. Like this. If you grab your sword in one hand like this,
just as Jaime Lannister did in one of the photoshoots, It looks, it doesn’t look very
good. It looks less than expert. But if you grab it like this, the viewer will
instantly know that you have at least some experience with holding the sword.
And here are some relaxed sword stances that don’t scream DOUCHEBAG or WEEABO right away so if you place your sword on your arm
it’s perfectly valid, relaxed, there’s nothing awkward about it. If you drop your sword
like this it looks ok too. If you go like this, inviting your enemy that’s alright i think. The sword across
the back, of course it looks pretty good. And if you want something more offensive… A stance like this is very usual Just please don’t do this, or this,
especially paired with an awkward face also here’s a bonus stance that I’ve often seen employed by instructors, so if you want to look like a relaxed
venerable expert this is the way to go and for God’s sake please don’t do these
awkward “threatening” faces. A slight smile is what goes best with a sword. The
basic do’s and don’ts of a longsword’s owner and user. Do polish your sword from
time to time so that it retains the shininess. You can conserve it with mineral or machine oil. Natural olive oil will do as well. If you use the sword
for sparring, do periodically remove the burrs and chips from the blade Avoid touching the blade with your bare
hands. Don’t do it if it’s not necessary and remember to wipe the blade
afterwards. That is because the sweat that is always on the skin contains
acids which will cause corrosion instant corrosion really. Don’t try to
chop wood with your sword or strike a fixed pell with it with full force.
Because in the longsword the tang will shatter from the harmonic vibrations.
Don’t expose the sword to flames or any source of excessive heat, because any
temperature above 200 degrees Celsius will destroy the temper. Don’t put heavy
weights or tension on the blade as it might cause a permanent set over time. Last but not least: How Not To Be An
Obnoxious Twat while owning a longsword it really boils down to three major
rules. Rule number one: don’t go off showing off your sword to random people
so that they notice and think you’re cool. Because they won’t. They will think
you’re a loony. The presence of a sword is most respectable when it is
understated, natural – not emphasized for effect Rule number two: don’t wave your sword at
random people. Don’t stab people from behind to get their attention. Don’t swing your
sword at people just to stop the blade mere inches from their faces to show
how good your control is. I can’t emphasize these enough – those are extremely rude
behaviours that I often see in novice swordsmen Rule number three and perhaps the most
important one – armed with all this knowledge, don’t go on an online crusade
against sport fencers, kenjutsu practitioners, stage fighters, LARPers, HMB
people, battle of the nation’s people – pretty much everyone who does not follow
the German school of longsword. I mean, Fiorists are people too. Inferior, but still people. Kidding, just kidding, don’t Punta Soprana me in the face!
So that will be all thanks for watching and do consider
subscribing to my channel before you run off to get your sword. Keep slayin’!

100 Replies to “Sword 101: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Longsword”

  1. Its like Christopher Walken and Alucard had a baby and it became a swordsman. And Im fine with that. Liked and subbed.

  2. Hey Alan!

    Nice video, but it does leave me with a question; why do you recommend against the hangetort or ochs guard (it seemed like those were the ones you were using)?

    I find it quite effective defensively, as it has the point towards your opponent, while allowing you to parry and counterattack easily. Or did you exclusively mean for posing?

  3. "A slight smile is what goes best with a sword" i feel like there's a deep meaning behind this but i can't quite make it out, still a great qoute to keep in mind ^^

  4. Haha I just started fiore as my first martial arts and I had to laugh at your fiore comment. You got me to subscribe! Great video

  5. 10:43 i will forever referance this to the countless people brandishing their understanding of HEMA on youtube to thrash movies,games, and other works of entertainment and art. There are so many.

  6. Guys guys… You don't need all this nonsense. Just take your sword, unscrew the pommel and trow it at your enemy to end him rightly.
    This is historically accurate ^^

  7. 800$ za takiego sworda? O.o japierdole życie bym sobie inaczej ułożył za tyle. Wie ktoś gdzie dostane dobry miecz ale w rozsądnej cenie? xd

  8. You got some nice skills. Could you imagine the look of a group of thugs looking for trouble if you pulled that fucking thing out and started swinging it like you did here. You would cut them to pieces before they even got their hands on a gun. Impressive. 🙂

  9. I've have an easier guide for this. R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1>R1.
    There ya go.

  10. Your videos made me in love with this "sport" , I really hope I can find some trainers in Amsterdam (NL) and start it ASAP.

  11. Good day master swordsman! Iám so glad that i found your channel! I can't wait to see more videos from you. You create really good atmosphere with your videos and every time i watch them i feel like iám in one of the stories of The white wolf! I can't wait to get my first sword and start practicing! Keep up the good work!

  12. "Because a balanced sword just flows from a cut into a cut proceeds to kill 20 people within 5 seconds

  13. Hi, I live in Ukraine, and engaged HEMA.I to beg next to each video was translated into Ukrainian or Russian))) Thank you for your understanding !!!

  14. I recently bought my first sword, because I'm taking up blacksmithing. I got a katana, because training in that style is more readily available nearby.

    However, I am equally interested in sabre, longsword, rapier and jian.

    Love the vids.

  15. I have never found european swords interesting and I have only trained extensively with japanese swords but I can see the appeal in these too… why can't we all get along as martial arts practioners and history lovers? (oh by the way precoutionary screw you to the one guy who will instantly call me a weebo can be found here)

  16. @6:49 No. Holding your hands together closer to the guard will not result in a more powerful blow. It will result in less power, less manueverability, and horrible edge alignment. You should never hold a sword in that manner. Sorry, let's not get it twisted. Handshake grip vs. Hammer grip I can tolerate, but if your swinging a long sword with both your hands touching your a fool who is going to over swing and be ended rightly by my expert pommel throw.

  17. LARP players don't follow the German school? I think LARP is played aorund the world… I don't understand. And, what's a fiorist? I couldn't find the meaning.

  18. love your videos! I'd love to see a video of you explaining the differences between Italian and German longsword styles

  19. I want to get 2 longswords that are durable for sparring but I can't find any for under $500 each. Any recommendation?

  20. I'm hooked, dude. Were you in some longsword fighting camp in those clips in the end? How can I go to live there? Lol. But also, srsly, how can I? I'll build armor for work so i can live and practice longsword all day.

  21. Lol, he roasted Fiore Dei Liberi at the end. That'll get the sauerkraut and spaghetti flying across the room in a heartbeat.

  22. Why does everyone say he sounds like Christopher Walken. His accent sounds east european (which would make sense since he is polish I believe).

  23. Every other video says that you shouldn't put your hands on the pommel because it balances the sword. The handle is different from all the other that I've seen before (I've watched skallagrim and metatron and many others), it is like the handle of a bastard sword. This is the first video where I hear that I can put my hand on the pommel, which is perfectly right with a bastard sword. But this sword has a bastard sword like handle and the blade of a long sword.

  24. I am thinking of getting a sword for both practice and display at my house. But should I get a sharp one or a blunt??

  25. I don't understand why swords cost so much? Since swords can be made easily now with help of power tools and knowledge on craft, they shouldn't be this expensive. I understand the price of the materials used but the link you gave is 680 Euro without scabbard, lol. Am I buying a graphics card or something?

  26. I can't afford a longsword but I was given one of these. https://www.coldsteel.com/products/training-knives/hand-a-half-training-sword-clampack.html Would that be an ok substitute? love the videos 🙂

  27. Nice video, but I have a few questions. Should I polish swords to mirror finish? I do mirror finish on my dagger since, well, it's customary to carry one and it's expected to be nice and clean, but I don't know should I do it with swords too since they see much more use than daggers. You mentioned olive oil as "preservant". I heard that olive oil is slightly acidic and may cause slightly gray-ish patina on steel (that's why I use edible bio linseed oil). Since I live in "olive oil region", should I use it instead of linseed oil? And last question is, what is that inscription on your sword? Thank you in advance 😀

  28. I though he would teach like basic sword fighting or how to train the basics of the longsword, but no, i found a tutorial on how to take a selfie with a sword, lol

  29. Thanks my I copy this Video for further study ? Do you recommend any books or manual ..I enjoy your videos ..So keep up the Good work

  30. There's an added comedic value in him bashing Fiorists after having watched TSP play main antagonist (German merc) in Fiore mini-series finale made by another Polish fencing group.

  31. Another good tip for preventing rust from eating away at your sword is: DON'T leave it in the care of a friend for 3 months while you go off travelling…
    Ryan? I'm looking at you!

  32. I've just started Hema. Longsword, of course, and I follow your channel religiously.
    I suck, which is natural at the beginning, but I'm confident that will change some day.
    Actually my biggest problem is that I'm a former Savateur(Savate aka french boxing), so my instructor is always telling me to calm down lol. 😀 I'm a bit too agressive in combat/sparring so I need to work on that as well.
    But that disadvantage has also proven to be an advantage. Savate is a very flexible martial art, so at least I've picked up leg movements easier then non/ex martial artists.
    Anyways, I'm waiting to see more videos from you, preferably instructional.
    Hi from Croatia!

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