Early Medieval swordfighting.
The Dark Ages are quite an interesting era when it comes to the swordplay techniques. One could call the epoch an Era of The Shield and he wouldn’t be wrong. From the ancient times till early medieval epoch, swords weren’t very long and didn’t have a wide crossguard (e.g. Roman gladius or Greek kopis/falcata). Moreover, crossguards were often made of organic materials. Why is that? Because blade to blade contact was rather seldom. There was no fencing as we understand it today. Warriors fenced with shields and swords, but the shield was a primary weapon, sword was just an exploiting weapon. Of course warriors used other types of weapons, like axes, too, but the idea remains much the same. And this is why even long knives like sax knives were a really good weapon at the time. We already shared our insights on swords from the era before here and here.
Reenacting medieval swordfight is a difficult task. It’s much easier when it comes to late medieval, due to knowledge treatises by masters like Hans Talhoffer, but the Dark Ages is quite a challenge.
We would like to share two movies on the subject:
A quick review by reenactors:
An excellent reenactment lecture by Moesgard Museum