Medieval Sword Fighting Techniques

Learning The Basics of Medieval Sword Fighting

Sword fighting techniques have been practiced throughout history to allow the wielder of swords to adequately execute various moves perfectly. Swordsmanship is the art of killing an opponent with a sword and throughout the centuries, a large number of techniques and styles have emerged, developed, and perfected. All medieval warriors acquired numerous sword fighting techniques and they were able to beautifully execute ducks, parries, dodges, and traps; they made use of notably graceful foot and handwork simultaneously with equally outstanding medieval fighting techniques.

Medieval sword fighting techniques are made specifically for fighters who aim to perfect and execute powerful attacks. These warriors refrain from utilizing light techniques since every strike that they make is aimed to cause lethal damage to their opponent. Great power is necessary for certain reasons: one is that power can instantly put any opponent down, and the second is for attacking armored opponents. Doing so with light attacks would cause no damage to an enemy’s armor unlike with powerful attacks; it would quickly cause damage to the protective armor and eventually, reach the person behind this.

Defense for Sword Fighting Techniques

Defense for sword fighting techniques is just as necessary, and the primary trick of fighters during the medieval times was to avoid where the enemy’s strike / attack falls; they could easily do so by sidestepping, slipping, ducking, or dodging and these were commonly followed by parries, blocks, deflections, and counterattacks. Deflecting an enemy’s blow is possible: instead of blocking an enemy’s attacks, a medieval fighter could catch the full force of the blow via his weapon or shield. The following sword skills mentioned are not necessarily considered as academic and these do not have any detailed study on the swordsmanship of the swords from the Medieval Age.


Striking is one of the sword fighting techniques that refer to the utilization of swords to inflict physical harm to the enemy. It is usually made up of three parts namely thrusting, cutting, and slashing.


Timing is also needed and just as what Miyamoto Musashi said, this is one of the most important sword fighting techniques that a swordsman needs to perfect. The masters during the medieval period focused and aimed to promote aggression to control one’s reaction during combat.


Distance is another one of the vital sword fighting techniques referring to the proper positioning and distance to be observed between two swordsmen; it is also described based on the kind of medieval sword utilized for the duel.

Sword Fighting Techniques for Fencing

There are numerous sword fighting techniques for fencing and listed below are some of the most vital elements to remember:

Offensive Techniques

  • The lunge is probably the most basic move when it comes to the offensive sword fighting techniques; this is because it only involves assaulting the enemy by stepping forward while taking a striking position.
  • Feinting is one of the very useful sword fighting techniques since this provokes the enemy to make a mistake or to lunge, allowing the fighter to attack first.
  • To disengage is a sword fighting technique to also trick the opponent by targeting and attacking a certain spot. After doing so, the fighter moves in a circle-like arc to target and fully attack a different spot.

Defensive Techniques

  • The riposte is one of the defensive sword fighting techniques that is referred to as a counter-attack executed by a defender after lunging; the defender will either strike back with a parry or lunge.
  • Parrying is another defensive technique that is specifically a counterattack to lunging. It allows the fighter to block the enemy using the sword – this will cause the opponent to be pushed back while the fighter continues to retain his current position.
  • Circle parrying is also one of the useful defensive sword fighting techniques wherein the user’s sword is bent in a circular fashion to be able to catch the tip of the enemy’s sword before deflecting it.