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   eBook: English Longsword
   A Tactical Approach

Price: $4.95
Item Number: FAP000055
Author(s): Steven Reich
Pages: Downloadable PDF
Published: September 2019
Format: PDF - Requires Adobe Reader 11 or higher, may not work on other viewers. (See below)

While the backsword, longbow, quarterstaff, bill, and sword-and-buckler were well

known as English martial specialties, the two-handed sword is more often associated

with Italian and German fencing master, who produced an impressive number of combat manuals on the topic. However, the records of the London Masters of Defence, the guild that oversaw the teaching of traditional English martial arts, show that “prizes” (gradings) were commonly fought with the two-handed sword. Additionally, the earliest works on English swordplay in existence are devoted to the “two-handed sword. There are four known sources for the peculiarly English style of two-handed swordsmanship, all of which are handwritten manuscripts, and the eldest three of which focus almost exclusively on the weapon. The fourth is George Silver’s Brief Instructions Upon My Paradoxes of Defense, which gives little advice besides specifying weapon length and advising that the weapon be used with the same plays as the quarterstaff.

Starting at Silver and working backwards, in this 25-page, heavily photo-illustrated essay Paul Wagner looks at the commonalities across the texts, defining the clear tactical offensive and defensive principals of the “English school” and providing a route of entry for students interested in this least studied, or understood, form of European two-handed swordsmanship. 

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