Triggers and Sword Length

Last night I sat down and exchanged my basket hilt for another one I had lying around.  I also shaved down the handle so that it fit my hand better.  I was afraid of making it too small.   I also realized something — I’m an idiot sometimes.  Over the years replacing the rattan of my sword sometime I must have put the basket hilt UPSIDE DOWN!  Here are some before and after pics of my sword:

Well, moving on from my own stupidity towards what I’m doing to improve my game.  I’ve been doing pell work every day there isn’t a fight practice.   I’ve also been running.  I know this will help only minimally, but I’m hoping it’ll improve my stamina.  I’m mainly running to help me lose weight to fit into my wedding dress (I’m getting married next year).  Even so, I’ve found a way to make running more congruous with my fighting goals!  I’ve had a goal to run a 10k in October and I found a costumed 10k through Sleepy Hollow at the end of the month.  I’m going to try and train to run it in armor!  I’m not sure if I’ll be able to.  Right now my maximum is 4.3 miles out of armor (a 10k is 6.2 miles).  We’ll see, though!  I’m trying to run every day that I have the time.  Usually I can’t run on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and some Sundays.  I’ll be running and doing pell work because everything I had today, including fight practice, was canceled.

After I had finished affixing the hilt and the strapping tape to the handle of my rattan, my fiance suggested that I add a trigger.  For those of you who don’t know what a trigger is, (I didn’t) it’s a loop of leather attached to your sword where you put one or two of your fingers through the loop.  The idea is that it’s supposed to give you more control over the sword.  You can also use a trigger instead of a lanyard to keep the sword attached to you.

Personally, I don’t favor triggers.  It has nothing to do with its usefulness and everything to do with my paranoia about getting my fingers injured.  That’s why I have full gauntlets under a basket hilt.  I play piano mundanely and am VERY paranoid of losing the ability due to a finger injury.

Moving on to sword lengths.  Since my rattan was out, my fiance decided to take my sword for a few practice swings.  He’s 6′ 5″ and complained that my sword was too long for him.  I asked him what length he prefers in a sword.  He likes his swords short and light.   They (obviously) go faster if they’re lighter.  He favors short swords because with his lengthy arms he has the reach to make the sword go far.    He also enjoys getting in close and playing the game that way.

I always preferred a longer sword.  I always joked that I was making up for something that I didn’t have.  Seriously, I prefer the longer sword because I do NOT have a lengthy reach, being only 5′ 7″.  Also, whether I have a lack of depth perception or just technique, many of my shots come up short.  I often end up hitting people with my thrusting tip!

I’m told that to find a good sword length you should hold the sword at your side and the tip should just graze the ground.  Mine hits the ground at about a 70 degree angle or so.  So everyone, what do you think is a good sword length?


~ by Gunnvor on September 29, 2010.

4 Responses to “Triggers and Sword Length”

  1. You know, I don’t know about sword length. I found, especially since I fight mostly in melee, that using my much shorter mace was easier for me. As you mentioned about being in a shield wall, you spend more time blocking shots than hitting and all your fighting is up close and personal that way. Having a shorter weapon just made sense. Also, back when I authorized to fight, face thrusting and body thrusting were separate authorizations in the Midrealm. I didn’t get those so the only blows I could throw were swinging blows. Thrusting is good for those close up fights if your sword isn’t too long. I do notice that more spear fighters carry a secondary mace or dagger for just this reason. So, if the sword feels right to you, use it. Throwing a fast blow isn’t as important as throwing a good, solid blow that your opponent will take. Out here in Cleftlands, if you aren’t using proper body mechanics to throw the blow, most people won’t take it no matter how hard you hit with just your upper body. The reality is, if you were using a real sword, it wouldn’t cleave through the armor without the proper body mechanics. Try it sometime. Using a real sword on a tough squash. It gives you quite a new perspective on fighting.

  2. I have found that for me a 36″ish sword works best and fits with the ground gazing test. Weighing in at around 2.5 lbs. Balances out at around a fists distance above the hilt.
    Now, I also have a mace that is about 30″ and a hand axe that is around 20″.
    Each is a very different beast.
    Once you get the basket issue fixed and get used to how your sword works with that resolved. Then try out different lenghts. If it seems too long, cut off an inch and try that.
    I’m only an inch taller so I’m thinking that, depending on the diameter of the rattan, a good length for you would be similar to mine, give or take about an inch and half either way. I normally use 1.6″ to 1.375″ rattan with the side shaved.

  3. I think the ground grazing thing is a bit silly, but I guess if it gives you a starting point then go ahead with it. Length of sword is completely individual and is determined by what style(s) you wish to fight with. A shorter sword requires getting in close with lots of fast hard shots. With a longer sword, you can stay at more of a distance but is a little slower. When I used to fight S&S in melees, I had a longer heavier sword for melee and a shorter faster sword for tournament fighting.

    I actually think it’s best to train with a few lengths of swords in order to understand better the different fighting styles.

    I definitely very much believe in training both left and right equally. I even have on occasion fought left handed to get a little bit of practice with the sinister side of things. I haven’t done that much lately though. When fighting with polearm and spear though, training equally is essential to success.

  4. The sword tip grazing the groud is a good gauge for proper lenght-to-height ratio but is not representative of your choice of weapon lenght. Go with what’s comfortable for you. I fight with a 36″ sword (overall length) with a pommel and guard (rather than a baskethilt) and and I’m 6′ tall. My girlfriend who’s 5’9″ uses a 39″ sword (overall length also with pommel and guard rather than a baskethilt. We both find it puts more weight at the tip of the sword, which makes the momentum work more in our favour.

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