One of the weapon discipline that we study is longsword. Longsword is, as the name suggests, a long sword. The sword is held with two hands and it often between 130-140 centimeters long. Even though the sword-type comes in different shape and sizes, a longsword always had a double cutting edge. The longsword can be used to cut or thrust and is the most populair weapon among H.E.M.A. practitioners both international and in the Netherlands.

Globally, two fighting styles of longsword fighting exists. One of these is based on the lessons of the German Liechtenauer from Neurenburg. This style is further influenced by manuscripts of Joachim Meyer, which makes the style date between the 15th-16th century. The ‘German’ longsword tradition is the most popular among H.E.M.A. practitioners.

Image from the manuscript of Joachim Meyer: Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (1570). Leipzig University Library.

A fighting style that is less popular in the Netherlands is based on the manuscript by the Italian Fiore de’i Liberi who published the work Fior di Battaglia between 1400-1409. His manuscript focusses on the use of multiple weapons which he has more than 50 years of experience of using. One of these weapons is the longsword. Contrary to the previously discussed ‘German style’, the fighting style of Fiore includes less techniques and the methods can be described as ‘efficient, but over the top showy’. The Fior di Battaglia is the manuscript is the one we use during our training sessions, when we fight with longsword.

Page from the manuscript Fior de Battaglia by Fiori dei Liberi. J. Paul Getty Museum.