Swordfighting Tips/Tricks/Advice

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by red.entity, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. I need some help in the subject of sword-fighting in roleplay. How should my character be positioned, if my character goes first, what move should he take? Should there be consistent footwork? If you have any tips, or tricks even. I would appreciate you sharing them in this thread, and if you have a secretive trick you may PM it if you feel comfortable doing so. Thank you for your time!

    - RED.ENTITY (Red)
  2. A lot of people have a lot of opinions about this, but from what I've seen the best resources are out there if you search. You can look up instructional videos on fencing or other styles of sword fighting as well as reading some historical articles that might give you some insight on the subject as well. If you have a particular style you'd like to focus on you may get some more advice from people that are knowledgeable in it the matter. I know a bit about fencing, but that's really the end of it, and frankly my knowledge is summed up by "Keep the sword arm closer to the enemy than any other arm (or limb)." That really isn't all to helpful though.
  3. Thank you for your time and your reply, I will take note of that phrase you left me with, and your other pieces of advice.
  4. Here are some of the basics.

    #1: Blades come in a multitude of varieties, but as a rule of thumb the main two subtypes are slashing and stabbing. A slashing blade is used best to parry and then lash out in order to cause large gashes through flesh that cause shock and bleed out to easily kill targets. A stabbing blade on the other hand is made to cause massive internal damage in one blow. Depending on the length of a stabbing blade they're either made to pierce armour (shorter), or be used to keep an enemy at bay through sheer range (longer). There are hybrids however, with the arming sword being an example of such a blade. (You can generally tell if a blade is intended for slashing or stabbing based on its curvature. A scimitar or katana is a slashing blade, whilst a rapier is a stabbing blade. Blades that are only sharpened on one side also tend to be made more for slashing than stabbing.)

    #2: When engaging in swordplay, it's half in the footwork and half in the wrist play. Princess Bride has a really good dueling scene, choreographed and all, that shows this well. Watch the feet: When they're on the defense they don't jump back, they shuffle. Their feet hardly ever leave the ground save when performing silly acrobatics for show, because if you ever lose bearing on where your feet are, you can be easily tripped and impaled by your opponent. That, and when your feet leave the ground, the enemy can predict where you will land and hit you while you cannot dodge. They're also using rapiers, and as you can see, when they're on the offense and not parrying each other, they're largely thrusting--not slashing. With the wrist they can subtly change the point at which the blade will make contact with the enemy, which Westley uses ultimately to confuse Inigo and win the duel.

    #3: A lot of swordplay is also straight up grappling your opponent and striking for their hands. (Ergo why crossguards were invented.) If you can disarm your opponent, they're helpless, and you can easily kill them or force them to surrender! It also tended to be a weak point on knights, as any metal gloves had to remain flexible enough for the user to retain dexterity in their hands. To grapple, you want to engage in parrying with your opponent, then take the opportune moment to shove their blade up to their chest with your own--essentially locking up their sword arm as if they let go of their blade, they become defenseless. You can then easily grab them and throw them to the ground, or unsheathe a dagger (ex: a Tanto) to repeatedly stab your opponent with your free arm.

    You can see it all in play here. Again, watch their feet--they shuffle, and only lunge when going for the killing blow. Whenever they can they lock up their opponent's blade, shoving it up to their chest before grappling them to finish them off.

    This guy also explains a lot of this visually, the first part being about how you can use the crossguard not only to protect your hands, but to twist your opponent's blade out of their hand, or thrust with his blade locked into the crossguard to impale his defenseless torso.

    It should also be noted that much of swordplay was in locking an opponent's attention to you while a friend could run up to them and stab them from behind. Warfare wasn't nice--knights did not play fair. Speaking of, shields should be noted as disposable tools, they don't absorb nearly as many blows as Hollywood predicts and were mainly used to stop arrows and crossbows from instantly killing you, as well as being a piece of metal (or wood) to brute force shove in your opponent's face to put them off balance so you could finish them with your blade.

    It should also be noted that most duels last seconds. At the most, maybe a minute or two. "He who strikes first, wins."


    Oh, and it should be noted, rapiers weren't typically used on battlefields. They were specialized to dueling and nothing else.
    #4 Brovo, Jan 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2015
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  5. Excellent tips! I doss my non-existent hat in your favor! *Hat Doss*
  6. I Thank you.