Historical Context Edit

The Longsword is a type of European sword used during the late medieval and Renaissance periods, approximately 1350 to 1555 (with early and late use reaching into the 13th and 17th centuries, respectively). Longswords have long cruciform hilts with grips over some 15 cm (5.9 in) in length (providing room for two hands), straight double-edged blades often over 90 cm (35 in) in length, and weigh typically between 1.2 and 1.4 kg (2½ to 3 lb), with light specimens just below 1 kg (2.2 lb), and heavy specimens just above 2 kg (4½ lb).[1] The longsword is commonly held in combat with both hands, though some may be used single-handed. Longswords are used for striking, cutting, and thrusting. The specific offensive purpose of an individual longsword is derived from its physical shape. All parts of the sword are used for offensive purposes, including the pommel and crossguard. Contemporary terminology includes the Dutch grootzwaard, German Langschwert, Spanish espadón or mandoble, Italian spadone or spada longa (lunga) and Portuguese montante. The French épée bâtarde references the bastard sword, a type of longsword. English Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts refer to the longsword as the two hand sword. The terms "hand-and-a-half sword", "greatsword", and "bastard sword" are used colloquially to refer to longswords in general.

Modern Context Edit

Longsword simulators tend to be one of three different types:

  • Modified shinai. This is a standard Kendo shinai that has a cross-guard and a lead weight added to produce a simulator that feels considerably more like a sword than the original shinai.
  • Nylon. These are nylon swords that are custom made for HEMA. They are designed to feel more like steel than shinai, especially in blade to blade contact. They flex in thrusts more than shinai, but hit harder on the cut.
  • Blunt steel. These are as close to real swords as is safe for sparring. The edges are blunt and usually fairly thick, the point is rounded and may be covered with a tip for added safety. Safe sparring with these requires significantly more protection than with other simulators.