The Cateran Society

An Comunn Ceatharnach

Battlefield Broadsword

The Highland broadsword is a battlefield weapon, but the broadsword fencing system is designed for single combat. Considering the popular martial arts saying “you fight like you train,” why is this the case? This exercise should help clarify the issue.

A duel of skill with the Highland broadsword is a much more complex scenario than anything likely to occur in a melee fight. First-hand accounts of real broadsword combat suggest that battlefield swordfights were usually short and simple, often lasting no more than a second or two.

To simulate the conditions of the battlefield, designate one fighter as the antagonist and the other as the protagonist. The antagonist sees the protagonist, runs in and makes between one and four simple but powerful attacks. The protagonist must respond with an effective defense and end the encounter with a decisive technique.

Rather than starting from a guard position, the antagonist should simply raise the sword and cut as if charging at the enemy. The protagonist should start with the broadsword lowered, the safest and least fatiguing way to carry it on the field.

As you can see from this video, the battlefield use of the broadsword is much less sophisticated than a standard broadsword bout. Anyone trained in the art of broadsword fencing should find this type of encounter almost simplistic by comparison. The training is actually much harder and more complex than the scenario you’re training for, giving you a distinct advantage against an opponent without equivalent skills.

Presented in slow motion for clarity.

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