Time, Distance and the English Longsword | Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner || Sydney, Australia

The earliest English extant sources giving instruction in swordsmanship are handwritten manuscripts dedicated to the two-handed sword. The language used in these three manuscripts is rather startling at first glance. A typical extract from the Harleian Ms., for example, reads;

“…a long cartar stroke smety flat doune by ye bak w a double broky spryng bak ye foete a drawyng & in w a long rake dobil, in wyth ye foete walkyng & on eche foete, ij rakys & at ye alurys ende smyte in iiij rakys doubille born into a step…”

Yet with the help of other sources, particularly the works of George Silver and Joseph Swetnam, these manuscripts can be deciphered enough to provide a clear enough picture of the English school of longsword combat.

This class will focus on the aspects of the system that give it a particularly “English” flavour, in particular the footwork, positioning principles and tactical choices.

Gear: A longsword (ideally a shorter, lighter model), Hand protection, A fencing mask