The Longsword

The longsword was considered the queen of all weapons, because skill with all weapons can be taught through the teaching of the longsword. Longswords are generally about four feet long and held in two hands.

In the early renaissance, the longsword began to lose popularity due to the increase in the use of armor, so sword use became more of a civilian activity, focusing on the rapier, smallsword, and, especially in Scotland, the broadsword. The saber, which was the dominant sidearm of officers in the 18th and 19th centuries, is a descendent of the messer, dussack, and falchion.

Sword and Shield

Sword and shield is actually the subject on which we have the oldest surviving manual, manuscript I.33, held in the Royal Armories in Leeds, England. I have been to classes run by two people who have actually been in the room with the book, and put on the special gloves they make you wear to handle it, because it's about seven or eight hundred years old.

The buckler, a small shield, about a foot in diameter, is usually mounted with a pointed "boss" on the front, and held in a manner which would allow you to punch people with the spike. Fighting in this style usually involved attacking with either the sword or the shield, and primarily using the shield to defend your sword hand.

Other Weapons

Knights would have been trained in numerous different weapons for different purposes. Spears allow for fighting at a greater distance, pole axes are better against an opponent in armor, and daggers can be carried easily along with your other weapons.

Each student will pick a breadth weapon with which to train more extensively than other weapons.