Swordsmanship Training Basics


There is no such thing as a natural born sword master. You can learn the techniques of a sword, but it’s not something you can master without diligent training and practice.

A lot of people think it’s a waste of time to learn sword fighting. The truth is that learning how to fight with a sword can be very useful. Swordsmanship is a soldier’s art. It teaches how to move with the swiftness of the wind, strike with the force of lightning, and to face death unflinchingly. While most people don’t need to learn how to fight brutal battles to the death with a sword anymore, by learning swordsmanship you can build up your body the way that an ancient soldier did and gain a similar level of fitness and health as they obtained.

In order to be a good swordsman, you need to take a few things into consideration. Swordsmanship training is an important part of becoming a swordsman. It can help you improve your physical fitness, hone your hand-eye coordination skills and help you to learn concentration, too.

The most important thing to keep in mind about swordsmanship training is that it’s a fun way to learn martial arts, and something you can do for the rest of your life.

Is Sword Fighting Still Taught?

Yes it is! In fact, a lot of people don’t know that sword fighting is still taught in martial arts classes. There are many schools around the world that teach many different methods of sword fighting; Kendo, Modern Olympic Fencing, Escrima and HEMA are all forms of sword fighting still taught and studied today.

The idea of sword fighting is not new. It has been around since the ancient times. The study of swordsmanship is a long tradition that goes all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome. The art was popular in Europe for centuries, though its popularity faded in the 18th century with the rise of gunpowder weapons.

Yet swordsmanship has not remained a static thing. Sword fighting has evolved over the years to become more of a sport with rules, and less of a deadly weapon. Sword fighting is definitely not the most popular martial art, but it will still be taught for some time to come, especially as the popularity of sword fighting grows.

For more information about the different styles of sword fighting styles you can learn you can read our article, Which Martial Arts Use Swords? A List of Sword Fighting Styles.

Martial arts like kendo, fencing, and swordsmanship have been around for hundreds of years.

Can You Learn Sword Fighting by Yourself?

Yes, you can! It is possible to learn sword fighting by yourself if you have good instruction from books, videos or even a distance learning course. Some suggestions for how to learn sword fighting by yourself are featured in our article below.

The most important thing to decide is what type of sword you want to learn how to fight with. There are many different kinds, such as the longsword, the side sword, the rapier, the great sword, messers, military sabres and so on. You can even learn how to fight with swords from horseback!

How Long Does it Take to Learn Swordsmanship?

Learning how to wield a sword is an art form that takes years of practice to master but the fundamentals of how to sword fight can be learned in about forty hours of dedicated practice with a quality instructor, and a’bit longer if learning by self-study using books and videos.

Regardless of the style of swordsmanship, they are always a complex art that requires intense practice and attention to detail. If you want to learn how to fight with a sword, you have to practice. The more you practice, the better you get. It can take anywhere between three to six months to become competent enough to compete in swordsmanship tournament events, and, and many more years to fully master the art of sword fighting.

For beginners, the best way to learn is by taking lessons from a professional teacher at a club that teaches swordsmanship. You can find schools near you that teach HEMA using our free to use Club Finder resource app.

If you plan on taking up swordsmanship from a good teacher there are some important things to consider. When looking for a sword teacher these factors that are important to consider are personality and experience.

Ideally you want to learn from an instructor who has the patience to spend time teaching the fundamentals to a novice, as well as the experience of teaching others successfully on how to learn swordsmanship.

Basic Drills for Swordsmanship Training

There are several aspects of swordsmanship training that can be improved with basic drills. These drills, like thrusts, cuts, and blocks, will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in using your sword. Many forms of swordsmanship, especially in HEMA, have paired drills which can be performed with a training partner that allow you to practice these different types of techniques.

You can also build a pell, or a striking post, that you can practice performing cuts against. Some swordsmen also use a fencing dummy in their swordsmanship training, which is designed to hold a sword simulator so they can practice various kinds of parries and counter-strikes.

Another thing you can do is practice test cutting. This is where you use a sharp sword to cut objects such as rolled newspapers, water bottles, fruits and tatami mats. Some swordsmen do this competitively in tournaments. Test cutting can be a fun and useful practice for swordsmanship training.

Finally you can incorporate other forms of exercise into your training. There are many kinds of weight lifting exercise that will benefit your swordsmanship and will be useful complimentary training methods.

You should also consider your nutrition as well. What you eat has a direct correlation to your energy levels, and whether your body can properly recuperate after a workout. If you lack essential nutrients then you will have a diminished performance when sword training.

Consider Incorporating Other Types of Weapons Into Your Swordsmanship Training

It is a common misconception that swordsmanship training begins and ends with only using the sword. In reality the art of the sword stems from its use in combination with and against other weapons. Historical swordsmen fought against opponents wielding all kinds of weapons, and often also used companion weapons such as shields or parry daggers while wielding a sword in their primary hand. It’s beneficial to study how to use companion weapons to get a deeper appreciation for how historical sword fighting was done.

What is the Best Sword Fighting Style?

There really is no one single absolute best sword fighting style. Rather there are different traditions of sword fighting that focus on different things, often with entirely different goals. As swords are now an inadequate weapon no longer used for warfare or personal protection, the best sword fighting style for you to learn is going to depend on your goals with why you want to learn sword fighting.


If you’d like to learn more information about historical fencing practices please check out our Learn HEMA page for a guide to learning about the historical weapon that interests you. You can also find more guides we’ve written about other topics at our Helpful Guides page. You can also join the conversation at our forums or our Facebook Group community.

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