5 White Hot Swordfighting Tips for Swordfighters

LarpBy Martin "The Baron" Hubley
Combat using swords is harder than most civilians would imagine. You not only need skill in handling the weapon, but also the mental conviction to deliver the killing blow (when needed).

There are also many lesser-known factors most laymen don't consider about weapons combat. Factors like balance. Balancing is actually the most difficult part of hand to hand combat, and there are many things about balance that people don't realize. For example: did you know that balance is 20% mental, 20% physical, and 60% based on sight? It's really quite remarkable. If you don't believe me, simply try to jump up and down or walk forwards with your eyes closed. That's right, you can't do it. This is because of balance.
Read on for 5 of my hottest tips for swordplay beginners.

1. Learn Only the Style of the Orientals

Ice Cream SamuraiOrientals such as the Chinese Japanese, or Mongoloids are said to be excellent swordfighters by nature. This is because of the rich history these peoples have of their ancestors battling their oppressors (The French). Compared to the oriental style of fight, the white man's styles (Gladiators, Fencing, Vikings, etc) are merely a sick joke.
Although I used these styles as a basis for my studies while I was teaching myself swordfighting (paid schools are for peons and suckers), these are not your only option. Eventually you are going to want to go on to self-create your own self-created style. After years of practice, mine only just recently came into being. I call it Shinra + and it combines all the greatest strengths of every swordstyle known to man (including Jedi) without any of the weaknesses. I'm not trying to brag, but it really is quite powerful. I will offer as proof the fact that not ONE of my LARPing friends has even come close to besting me in mano-y-mono combat thus far!

2. Use Only Traditional Japanese Steel

Sword KidA traditional Japanese samurai sword (called a Kendo) can cut through anything in it's path with its razor sharp edge. Anyone with a Japanese sword at his side (its edge homed to perfection, of course) is one tough cookie.

  • It can cut through solid rock.
  • It can cut through bone.
  • It can cut through copper armor.
  • It can cut through a brick wall.
  • It can cut through bulletproof glass.
Needless to say: You never feel quite so good as when you're thrusting 12 inches of thick Japanese steel into the face of an attacker.


3. Watch the First Three Star Wars Films. Now Watch Them Again

Star WarsMany simpletons out there might scoff at the notion that someone could learn anything about swordfighting from watching movies. To them I say only this: "I have learned much of what I know about swording from films. Face me in a one-on-one sword battle and we'll see who has the last laugh. Hint: Don't even bother. You will be humiliated like an ant."
But getting back to Star Wars, I always recommend that the budding swordier watch (at the very least) Episodes 1, 2, and 3 before they even pick up their first cardboard trainer. These films (along with being some of the best movies ever committed to cellulose) show some bitchin' sword styles and moves. Be sure to take notes!
Also, once you've mastered the basics, the PC game series Jedi Outcast is a great intermediate course in sword fighting techniques. You are given three fighting styles (Fast, Classic, and Strength) each of which correspond to some real life Japanese styles. And while the swords might be pretend lasers, the moves are 100% real marital art, and you can truly learn a lot!

4. Real Men Spar Without Pads

ShirtlessI once paid a visit to a sword training "school" (read: rip-off academy). Upon walking in I was greeted by the sight of about 30 students leaping about in full padding while swatting at each other with cheesy wooden practice swords. And yes, I must admit, I came up with a joke and couldn't control myself. I remarked aloud "What is this, a baby clown college!" The instructors didn't look too pleased with me, but needless to say, I drew more than a few laughs from the assembled youths, who were obviously embarrassed at being treated like disableds.
My point is that most sword training "schools" (read: wastes of money) like to treat their students like small babies and have them wear pads while practicing. Talk about dumb. There is only one true way to learn swording: Full on sparring in combat conditions. This means real swords. This means no pads. This means no referee to stop the fight. We're living in the real life world so let's start acting like it.
Also, we aren't kids dressed as pirates for the high school prom, so why treat us like a mini-matey by making us swing a wooden sword around. My motto is, and has always been: Real Steel is the Only Deal. (Note: The only possible exception to this would be children under the age of 2, who should be given rigid cardboard swords as trainers. Safety first, people.)

5. Buy Quality Swords

The old adage "You can get what you pay for" has never been more correct than with swords. Swords are quite expensive. For example: You should expect to pay no less than 50 dollars for an excellent quality Katana. Anything less than that, and you risk buying a junker that will tarnish or refuse to cut. But shopping for a sword can be difficult for newbies, so let's end the first half of this article with an overview of 3 of my favorite  (great quality) swords and where you can purchase them.  

Sword 1
At first glance, you may take a look at the price of 80 dollars for this package, and say "Whoa 80 smackers for a sword, that's highways robbery!" but if you actually take a look at what you are getting, I think you'll quickly be whistling a different tune! This package actually contains 3 swords (a 39 foot Katana, 31 foot Wakashi, and a 21 foot Tonto,) 3 holsters, and a stand. Talk about value.
I'd say these swords truly are a CUT above the rest!
Sword 2
This sword is white, comes from the Anime bleach, and comes with a free keychain which hangs from it. Not only that, but they've SLASHED the price to a mere 29 boners. Need I say more?
Sword 3
Sephiroth's Maramusa Blade
Anyone who's played the seminole Playstation 2 game Final Fantasy 7 will recognize this sword immidiately. This is nearly a 1-1 replica, except for the fact that is it only half the size. But really, while I might not have had an issue with it, not many people are going to be able to use a full 9 foot sword! If you're still not convinced, just check out this glowing customer review:
By Darin J Hatcher
This sword looks great! It is pretty difficult to remove from its sheath, seems like it was improperly made, but all around a very nice sword. Thanks!!
Sounds great Darin, thanks! And at only 90 bucks, it's quite the steal any way you SLICE it!

That's all for now friends. Keep your eyes peeled for part 2 of this article, in which I reveal 5 more tips for budding swordfighters. Have at thee!

Image Credits
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