Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Here is a list of all the various resources I use for my studies:

   I've used a bunch of different swords over the years (and I'm very proud of that actually), but here is my list of the best.
  • Albion Liechtenauer - regarded by many as THE training sword.  Good balance, good flexibility, tough price.  Really, the price is the only reason I don't own one yet.
  • Arms & Armor Spada da Zogho - one of A&As three options for longsword trainers.  All the A&As share the characteristic of having a tank-like blade.  Darn-near indesctuctible, but still pricey.
  • Arms and Armor Fechterspiel - similar to the Spada da Zogho, but with more flexibility, making it more ideal for sparring.  Based on a historical design for a training sword.  Just like the Spada da Zogho and the Albion, pricey.
  • CAS Hanwei Tinker Longsword - perhaps the best mid-price sword available.  Comes with a scabbard and the ability to replace blades.  Some have complained because it's thin edge profile tends not to last when put against Albions or A&As thicker edges, but the Academy hasn't had any problems with ours.
  • CAS Hanwei Practical Bastard - not a bad offering from CAS Hanwei.  Comes with a natural colored (read - dye able) leather handle and soft leather scabbard.  I've only used one of these for a short time, but I was impressed.  It has a thicker edge than the Tinker longsword, but is thinner than an A&A.  I like it because it is a little bigger and heavier than most of the swords on the market, but some may not like it.
  • CAS Hanwei Federschwert - ordered two of the first series for the Academy and really did not like them - way too whippy.  I've heard that the new versions are better, but I haven't handled one yet. 
  • Valiant Armoury Atrim I-Beam - another sword that I've only handled sparingly.  Great design gives you a lot of strength without the weight.  My only complaint is that they always seem back-ordered.
  • CAS Hanwei Practical Hand-and-a-Half - almost universally regarded as the "if you have to" sword.  If you can spend the money for one of these and really want a steel sword, you are better off saving a little extra and buying one of the other swords listed above.
  • Purpleheart Armoury waster - a lot of people poo-poo on the idea of a wooden waster (mostly because the price of decent steel longswords is pretty reasonable) but I like them, you just have to know that they have their limitations.  I use one for my solo training.
  • Various synthetic swords - the new nylon or synthetic swords are getting a lot of buzz but honestly I haven't handled any enough to form an opinion.
  • Arms and Armour - A&A offers three pollaxe varieties now: the Knightly Poleaxe, the Burgundian, and the Italian pole-hammer, as well as offering customs.  These are the choice for solo drills or in order to have a usable poleaxe - my Burgundian is sharp and can do some real damage!  Paired drills with steel should be very closely supervised.
  • Purpleheart Armoury Pole hammer - this is my preferred axe training tool.  Even if you plan on making your own hafts, their heads and thrusting tips are worth it.  But be careful, in the words of Christian Tobler "As soon as you make a trainer that is enough like a poleaxe, it becomes a poleaxe".  These trainers, even with the rubbers heads, hit HARD.
   Armour is not cheap and my own kit is a hodge-podge of various makers works.  Here is a list of those makers whose websites I frequent and drool over.  These are not all of the websites, just the ones  I frequent the most.
  • Revival Clothing - the recommended choice for everything - arming clothes, soft kits, shoes, belts, hats, etc.
  • Matuls - I believe it was Dvid Teague who pointed these guys out to me.  They make a lot of nice stuff.
   Honestly the only DVD I've checked out is Christian Tobler's German Poleaxe DVD, which, by the way, is awesome!  See my review here.

   I'm going to break the books section into three parts; WMA, History, and General martial arts.

While that is not all of the WMA books on the market, these are the ones that I own that I feel are worthwhile.  Needless to say, I also own many that are not worthwhile.


    Tyson said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Tyson said...

    Nice post - thanks. One thing, though - you link to Amazon for the Massimo Malipiero book. They list it for $329.90. I bought my copy on Abebooks for $45.27. Check it out: Massimo Malipiero

    Alex said...

    Thanks, edited accordingly.

    Sean said...

    You might also enjoy Rory Miller's "Meditations on Violence". Its written by a thoughtful Aspergers-ish American with an adrenaline addiction who found himself in a job where he was involved in violence a thousand or so times. His focus is on the violence a modern cop or civilian might encounter, so applying it to formal combat in 15th century Italy requires care, but there is still a lot of interest in it.