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Core Weapons of HEMA

Three Core Weapons

Italian Longsword
Longsword: The medieval longsword is a powerful cutting weapon held in both hands and is most commonly associated with knighthood. Longsword techniques include cuts, thrusts, halfswording and wrestling. Academie Duello’s longsword teachings are based on those of fifteenth-century master Fiore dei Liberi. Read more about the Longsword.
Italian Rapier
Rapier: Synonymous with The Three Musketeers, the skills and abilities developed while learning to master the ultimate dueling weapon build a solid foundation for learning many others. The Academie’s teachings are based upon such seventeenth-century masters as Ridolfo Capoferro and Salvador Fabris. Read more about the Rapier.
Sidesword and Targa
Sidesword: Sidesword technique covers the use of most short cutting swords. Sidesword technique is often combined with the shield, dagger or a second sword. Academie Duello’s sidesword teachings are based on the sixteenth-century Italian techniques of Achille Marozzo and Antonio Manciolino. Read more about the Sidesword.

Read about the duelling arts and other weapons taught at Academie Duello.


The Longsword

Italian LongswordThe longsword is a long straight bladed weapon with a simple crossbar and grip that can accommodate two hands. The overall length of typical longswords range between 40″ and 50″ with blades varying in length between 30″ and 40″. Sword weights vary but are typically between 2 and 5 lbs.

The longsword is a weapon that unites both sides of the body, emphasizes full body movement, effective footwork, and an ability to move between combat distances with fluidity.

The Longsword is a superb teacher of combative principles including:

  • Power generation
  • Combative fluidity and movement
  • 360-degree movement and perception

Physically the longsword will challenge you to develop:

  • Fast and effective posture and footwork
  • The ability to move with fluidity, power, and speed
  • Your body into a powerful and efficient martial tool

The mental game of the longsword will teach you:

  • Confidence and decisiveness
  • Combative strategy that blends cut, thrust, and wrestle
  • How to think in 3 dimensions

Read more about the nature of Longsword combat and the history of the Longsword.

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The Rapier and its Secondaries

Italian Rapier“The rapier has improved me as a martial artist more than any other discipline I have pursued.” – Devon Boorman, Academie Duello Chief Instructor

The rapier is a long, thrusting oriented weapon typically 43″ to 50″ in total length with the blade itself being between 40″ and 45″ long. Typical rapiers weigh between 2 and 4.5 lbs in overall weight. The balance point is typically 2″ to 4″ from the guard along the blade.

The rapier is a superb teacher of fundamental combative principles including:

  • Control of distance and timing
  • Understanding how to strategically control an opponent
  • Blade interaction and sensitivity – reading your opponent through subtle blade pressure

The rapier is a superbly physical weapon that will improve your:

  • Cardiovascular fitness through its athletic demands
  • Core strength, thighs, legs, shoulders, arms, and back
  • Ambidexterity through the co-ordination of multiple weapons

The rapier is an intellectual weapon that will teach you

  • Clear language for understanding blade interaction and position
  • How to control time and distance and manipulate an opponent to your advantage
  • Confidence and intentional action

Read more about the nature of Rapier combat and the history of the Rapier.

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The Sidesword and Shield

Sidesword and TargaThe sidesword is sometimes called a cut and thrust rapier because it has a similar hilt design to late renaissance rapiers. They are typically between 35″ and 40″ in total length with blade lengths varying between 30″ and 38″. They are broad bladed, capable of the thrust and the cut. The typical weight is between 2 and 4 lbs.

The arming sword fits similar dimensional properties to the sidesword but is typically on the shorter end of the spectrum and features a hilt made up of only a simple cross and optionally a finger ring.

The sidesword and shield is a superb teacher of combative principles including:

  • Flow and deception
  • Weapon unity and interaction
  • The blending of cut, thrust, and close play

Physically the sword and shield will challenge you to develop:

  • Graceful and effective posture and movement
  • Ambidextrous coordination
  • Finesse and physical endurance

The mental game of the sword and shield will teach you:

  • Confidence and decisiveness
  • Combative strategy that blends cut, thrust, and wrestle
  • Multitasking

Read more about the nature of Sidesword combat and the history of the Sidesword.

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