Friday, July 10, 2015

Cold Steel Hand and a Half training sword

Having recently gotten back into longswording, I decided I needed a practice sword. Not yet sure I wanted to fully commit to this sport, I decided to go cheap in price. What I got for $30 was this hand and a half training sword from Cold Steel.

It's 44 inches long with a 34 inch "blade," in the area of the shorter longswords. The entire thing is made of black polypropylene, basically a hard plastic. It weighs about 2 pounds, which is about right for the lighter longswords. The balance point comes about 4 inches along the blade from the cross guard, which is more or less about right for a longsword.

I've enjoyed using this practice sword for drills. I wish the 10-inch handle was a couple of inches longer, but I've not had any problems with it or the sword, and besides, I've got pretty big hands. To add, I do like the shape of the handle quite a lot.

I've seen a number of negative reviews online concerning this practice weapon, and while I've understood from where the reviewers were coming, I also felt they were being rather harsh. You get what you pay for, after all, and a traditional, steel practice longsword can cost anywhere from $250 to $600 or more (I've got one coming in the mail, by the way).

The complaints usually point to the fact this sword is made of plastic, and that it is hard and has little give in the blade, meaning it is not necessarily the safest choice for sparring. Again, I understand, but personally I don't think of this as a sparring practice weapon, but one specifically for drills and the like, maybe slow practice fighting. Sure, I don't want to be hit by this sword because it would hurt, but I'd never use this sword for actual sparring, and I'd likely not face off against an opponent using one.

But that doesn't mean this is a bad practice sword, just that it shouldn't be used for sparring. For guard positions, movement, drills, etc., I found this Cold Steel training sword a fine tool.

The only reason I'm ordering a steel practice sword with a safety tip is for sparring, fencing. That doesn't mean I'll no longer use my Cold Steel sword. It simply means I'll use the Cold Steel sword for drills and the like at home, but in actual classroom situations or fencing, I'll use my other, steel practice sword.

Anyway, I like the Cold Steel training hand and a half for what it is. It's cheap, meaning it's good for beginners, but beginners who stick with fencing should be prepared to spend more money later on. They're eventually going to have to buy safety equipment, after all, and a sharp sword for cutting exercises, and that stuff's not cheap.

This might appear to be the flat of the blade, but it's actually seen from the side, which shows the width.


Charles Gramlich said...

I could probably benefit from some of this kind of practice

Ty said...

It's good exercise and fun, but it also shows you what's truly possible (or not) with a longsword. On the other hand, I'm by far the oldest and heaviest person in the training classes I've attended, which means I tend to take more than my share of hits, though I also tend to be more patient and have better form than the younger guys and gals.