One-Handed Sword Fighting Techniques


The type of sword used will determine the techniques employed, and each sword has its pros and cons. Single-handed sword fighting either means you will be using a small, light, long or short blade, which allows for mobility, but lacks the power to inflict mortal injuries. If using a larger, heavier sword, with only one hand, you will have the power to inflict deadly wounds, but lack mobility due to weight. Single-handed swords vary from thin rapiers, such as those used in fencing, to long, heavy, sharp-edged ones, often used with a shield.


Rapiers are long, thin swords that were widely used in the 16th and 17th centuries and now used by fencers. Because they are thin and light, they are not used in a slashing manner, with the aim of inflicting heavy wounds or dismembering, but with quick thrusts often aimed at the face or body. An example of this technique is called the Stoccata, where the attacker lunges towards his opponent, arm fully extended, with the blade vertically in line with the arm. This is a fast, effective move that utilizes the length and lightness of the sword.

Two Swords

Fighting with two swords is effective, but the training time to master this technique is long because the user must learn to use both arms equally effectively. Furthermore, it is necessary to be completely familiar with both swords; the weight, balance and their strengths and weaknesses. Two-sword fighting is best used against one or a few opponents, not on a battlefield because there is too much concentration needed to effectively employ the techniques. Basically, one blade is used to attack, while the other is used to defend. However, each should be able to flow from attack to defense and vice versa. It is highly effective to keep the defensive blade pointed towards the opponent to prevent an attack.

Sword and Shield

Vikings are a good example of warriors who used long, thick, fairly heavy swords together with shields. Unlike in movies, which portray them as simply running into battle and hacking each other to pieces, they did have techniques. While the swords they used were capable of dealing mortal wounds, the skillful use of the shield negated heavy blows by directing them off-taget to where they could do little harm. Because the shield protected the torso, attacks were usually aimed at the limbs, head and face. For example, the attacker would strike towards the opponent's head and when he raised his shield to counter the blow, the attacker would then strike the exposed leg. Strikes like these would continue until a death-blow could be dealt or the injured party retreated.