Today we take a look at some of the comprises that come with designing training swords based on historical sharps. Both sharp swords and training swords have mutually incompatible design features. Namely, sharp swords are designed to act as weapons within a particular system of fighting and movement. This means that they need to be lethal, but they also need to incorporate the physical characteristics such as point of balance, point of optimal percussion, and an appropriate inertia to allow them to move as a sword ought to move within the particular art that was prevalent when the sword was made.
Training swords on the other hand must be as safe as possible while still moving, binding, rotating, and impacting as close to a sharp as possible without killing your training partner. This is particularly difficult to accomplish is you are trying to have the training sword visually look like the sharp. In the video below Dr. Nathan Clough discusses these challenges in detail through the example of a training sword made with a complex hilt base on a sharp longsword in the Wallace Collection.
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As always, we make all of our products by hand, in our shop in Minneapolis, MN. Our swords are crafted from 6150 carbon steel hardened and tempered to 50-52 Rockwell. Our swords are as beautiful, functional, and durable as the original pieces on which they are based.
Nathan Clough, Ph.D. is Vice President of Arms and Armor and a member of the governing board of The Oakeshott Institute. He is a historical martial artist and a former university professor of cultural geography. He has given presentations on historical arms at events including Longpoint and Combatcon, and presented scholarly papers at, among others, The International Congress on Medieval Studies.
Craig Johnson is the Production Manager of Arms and Armor and Secretary of The Oakeshott Institute. He has taught and published on the history of arms, armor and western martial arts for over 30 years. He has lectured at several schools and Universities, WMAW, HEMAC, 4W, and ICMS at Kalamazoo. His experiences include iron smelting, jousting, theatrical combat instruction and choreography, historical research, European martial arts and crafting weapons and armor since 1985