Introduction to Mounted Combat
The Horse: Selection and Training
The Rider: Technique and Tack
Saddle, Lance and Stirrup
The history of the sword, and its many branches of evolution can
hardly be recounted here. This section outlines the three basic groups of
swords, suitable for mounted combat. The general categories are Broadsword,
Sabre, and Rapier.
While all swords may be used for cutting and thrusting, some are
more better suited to one action or another.
Despite the medieval image that comes to mind with this term, it may
be applied loosely to all those swords with a wide, straight blade designed
primarily for cutting. This applies to the cruciform medieval hilt, as well
as the basket hilt broadsword, now universally though erroneously referred
to as the Scottish Claymore. The points of these weapons, while sharp, are
generally of a more "rounded" appearance.
Sabers are descended from the medieval scimitar and are designed for
both cutting and thrusting. The word Sablya means sword in the eastern
European countries. The blades are usually curved, though some are
straight. All have a sharp point. The characteristic that sets it apart
from the broadsword is that it is sharp all the way down it's front or
"Leading" edge, and only sharp a third to one-half of the way down its back
or "False" edge. It usually possesses a curved knuckle guard. This can be
in the form of a simple single bar, a series of bars, a basket or solid
This term is loosely applied to thrust and cut weapons primarily
intended for the personal duel. Not especially well suited to Mounted
Combat, and definitely NOT intended for the wars, they were the everyday
dress weapons of upper class gentlemen and as such might be called upon to
be useful from horse back. These weapons are characterized by longer,
thinner blades of approximately 40-45 inches, that tapered to a sharp
point. The hilts might be elegant "Swept Hilts" or clam shells, or simple
cups. They grew out of fashion with the appearance of the court sword,
which is included here because it too is a thrusting weapon.
AREA OF ENGAGEMENT:
The area of engagement for the sword varies with the use of the point
vs. the edge. The point can be used "At Charge" in the same zones as the
lance. Keep in mind that the point of contact will be much nearer the
When using the point "At Thrust" in melee, the area expands again to
cover a 270 degree arc starting at Nine going round to Six on the overhead
clock. In addition the point in line or thrust may be delivered on the
horse's off side clock from a position of straight ahead at three o'clock,
in line downward to just ahead of the rider's foot at six o'clock.
Thrust from nearside, or "Nine" on the overhead clock
Thrust to front, or "Twelve" on the overhead clock
Thrust from off side, or "Three" on the overhead clock
Thrust to Rear, or "Six" on the overhead clock
Offside thrust to six o'clock
The edge blow is delivered fore-hand to the rider's right from three
o'clock to twelve and back hand on the rider's left from nine o'clock to
twelve, as viewed on the overhead clock. This area incorporates the forward motion of the horse. In addition, downward blows may be delivered overhand
on the off side clock vertically from twelve o'clock to six and underhand
or "Polo" swings may be delivered from six o'clock upwards through three.
The blind side for most swords on horseback, is just behind the
rider's left shoulder, or about six-thirty on the over head clock. Edge
blows downward on the near side clock must be delivered across the bridle
arm and so usually stop at waist level.
Back to Mounted Combat: Weapons
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This file was last modified Sunday, Mar 26 2006, 17:15:14 EST