Sunday, April 26, 2015

Books read in 2015: No. 17 -- The Swordsman's Companion

by Guy Windsor

Started: April 15
Finished: April 26

Notes: I am by no means an experienced swordsman, though I did have some little longsword and rapier training while in college back in the Stone Age. Back then we did not have HEMA or ARMA, though the SCA and Renaissance festivals were around. Recently while cleaning my collection of swords, I took out a bastard sword and went through a few of my drills for the first time in ever. I decided I was not only out of practice, but that I was also out of shape, and I thought it time I corrected both situations. To that end I purchased a waster, a practice sword, mainly because it is too dangerous to practice with the real thing and because it would be rather foolish and expensive of me if I should damage one of my swords. I also watched tons of YouTube videos on swording to kind of catch me up, and I purchased this book as a refresher and perhaps to learn a few new things. The author here appears to approach longswording from the Italian tradition, and my limited training was from the German point of view, but I don't think that will matter much (especially as it's been so long since I've had any training). Unfortunately, I cannot take part in sparring or drills with another person because of my health, mostly because of my heart implant, which could easily be damaged or even destroyed if it were struck (to the point of potentially being deadly to myself, at least according to my cardiologist). So, solo drills it will have to be. Now I'll get to reading and training, maybe even lose a few pounds.

Mini review: This is a good, solid book for beginners with the longsword. For those who can't attend classes or want to know some of what they'll be getting themselves into by joining a class on the subject, this book should be for you. Only the basics are covered here, but the author has other books which get into advanced longswording. Between the Italian and German schools of swording, I did not see major differences, though there were some; the biggest difference, obviously, was in the terms used, and a few of the guard positions. If you decide to read this book, I suggest getting the one that has the cover I've shown above as an earlier version is apparently out of date as knowledge of the old masters' works have grown over the years. Now if I can only keep up with my practice drills.

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