A sword. Arabic: saif. Chinese: jian, dao. German: klinge, schwert. French: épée, espee. Italian: spada. Japanese: ken; to. Latin: machaera. Korean: gum. Old English: sweord. Old High German: swerd. Spanish: espada.

Swordsmanship, fencing, swordplay. Italian: scherma. German: fecthen. Swedish: fäktning. Norse: fekting. Spanish: esgrima. Turkish: eskrim.


arming sword
(1) Aka fighting sword. In Italian: spada a un mano = sword of one hand. A generic term for single-handed, double-edged swords with an overall length of roughly 100 cm = 39". Arming swords were commonly used alone, or with a shield, or on horseback.

(2) Aka knightly sword; war sword. A single-handed, double-edged sword with a cruciform crossguard used in the Middle Ages (ca. 1000/1350). The predecessor to the arming sword was the the spatha and Viking sword which had much smaller cross guards and larger pommels. The elongation of the arming sword lead to the long sword. The addition of the a ricasso for fingering and more hand protection lead to the side sword.
back sword
(1) A sword with one cutting edge. Most Japanese swords might be classified as backswords.

(2) The English single-edged, single-handed weapon. The false edge was thicker than in most swords, thus giving the cross section of the back sword a distinctive triangular shape. 

(3) A sport similar to single stick that used practice version of the back sword: i.e. a cudgel, walking stick, or short stick.

(4) Aka single stick. The application of the word "back sword" to the sport of single stick arose because of the similarities between the back sword sport (practice for the back sword) and the single stick sport (practice for the side sword). The usage of the word "back sword" to refer to the sport of single stick can cause confusion and is discouraged.
A single-handed, single-edged short sword with a more literal leaf-shaped blade from the Philippines.
SWORD: Barong [ref]
Aka basilard. A weapon with a double-edged pointed blade that is somewhere between a big knife and a short sword, roughly 40 cm = 16" to 70 cm = 28", that was associated with Basel, Switzerland. A baselard also typically has crescent shaped hilt and pommel. The baselard design was revived by the Nazis in the 1930s and has become associated with the Nazis.
basket hilt sword
A Scottish single-handed, double-edged sword that enclosed the hand in a metal basket hilt that often has leather or cloth as well. The basket-hilt protected the hand, counter balanced the blade, and was decorative as well. The Scottish basket hilt sword is also sometimes called a "Claymore" but that term also refers to the famous Scottish two-handed sword. The basket-hilt sword was developed in the 1500s but was popularly used through to the 1700s.

There are basket hilt swords of non-Scottish origin such as the Italian schiavona.
bastard sword
A hand-and-a-half, double-edged sword. A bastard sword was wider, stiffer, and more tapered than its predecessor, the long sword, and thus it was better at piercing armor.

' The "bastard Sword" was so called because it was neither a two handed sword or a single-handed sword. Light enough to be wielded with one hand, the hilt was long enough to put two hands on for more power. The Bastard sword started making it's appearance in the 15th century. Wide at the ricasso, tapering down to a severe point, it is a weapon that is designed to be used against armoured opponents. The blade was rigid, and with two hands on the hilt you could develop enough strength for crushing blows, but light enough that you can swing and thrust with one hand on the hilt. With its point, it is suitable for thrusting into the open parts of the armour, such as the helmet visor and joints of the opponent.
The blade of the bastard sword is double edged, and the primary cutting section of the blade is about a hands width from the point. Both edges of the blade are used for cutting and parrying. In Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch and Flos Duellatorum, it is often shown in what is called the half sword technique. This is the technique where you have one hand on the hilt and the other hand on the blade. ' [Ref ]
See blunt.
Aka foamie. A padded light practice weapon. A boffer is typically constructed out of PVC pipe, foam tubing ("pool noodles"), and duct tape.
A single-handed, single-edged sword  of Filipino origin. There may or may not be a slight recurve. Usually the blade is considerably wider near the COP. Used for hacking and as a machete. See also parang and barong.
SWORD: Bolo [ref]
A bated sword. A practice sword that is like its sharp version except that the blunt is blunted, i.e. unsharpened. A blunt might also be more flexible. See also practice swords.
broad sword
A wide sword, usually with two edges, that is used predominantly for cutting instead of thrusting. This term came into use after rapiers and other primarily thrusting swords became the most popular.
(1) A two-handed, double-edged sword of Scottish origin with distinctively downward sloping cross guards that was used from the 1300s to the 1700s.
SWORD: Claymore

(2) See basket-hilt sword.
court sword
As swords came out of fashion in the late 1700s, swords became more decorative than functional. The small but functional small sword was reduced to a non-functional court sword --a fashion accessory only.
A long sword whose straight quillons, handle, and blade form a clear cross-shape.
A single-handed, single-edged sword that curves  away from the true edge and is broader at the COP. Used mostly for hacking cutting and slicing cutting. This is the traditional Chinese curved sword. See also jian and falchion.
dueling sword
Aka epee de terrain. An edgeless, single-handed sword that favors the thrust over the cut, on account of its blade's shape and overall balance, and permits fencing in double time. The small sword evolved as an edgeless version of the small sword in the 1800s. The practice sword for the dueling sword is the epee.
Aka dusack, dysack, tesak, tuseckn, thuseckn, disackn, dusägge, dusegge, dusegg. A shorter (70-95 cm = 27.5"-37.5") single-handed, single-edged cutting or cut-and-thrust weapon with a curved blade and possibly with a more or less complex hilt, although versions with a hole for the hand existed. This was used to represent the variety of similar weapons such as the cutlass, falchion, großes messer, hiebmesser, etc. Dussacks were made of wood, leather, or metal.
The kind of sword in the epee category of OSF (the other categories are foil and sabre). The epee is the practice sword for the dueling sword. An epee blade/overall max is 90/110 cm = 35.4/43.3", 770 g = 1.7 pounds max, has a triangular cross section, is stiffer than a foil, and has a larger guard than a foil. The allowed target area is the entire body. Right of way rules apply to sabre and foil but not to epee. Simultaneous scores are allowed in epee but not in sabre and foil. While epee and foil allow only thrusts, the sabre also allows cuts.
Estoc is the French (literally thrust or point) name for the sword the English called a tuck. The estoc had a very long rigid straight blade for thrusting only. It was single-handed but the forte could be grabbed for a stronger thrust. An estoc had only a cross guard whereas as the rapier usually had more hand protection. Appearing in the 1500s, the estoc design appeared before the rapier.
SWORD: Estoc [ref]
A single-handed single-edged sword that is somewhat broader at the COP. The back of the sword is recurved but the edge is curved. Used mostly for hacking cutting. The falcata was used in Ancient Spain (Iberia) ca. 300 BCE. The word falcata itself is of recent origin (possibly coined by M. Fuglosio in 1872). In Seneca's De Beneficiis 5.24, the word used for a "Spanish saber" is machaera Hispana. Length overall: 63 cm = 25 in. Weight: 1350 gm = 3.00 lb.
SWORD: Falcata [ref]
A single-handed, single-edged, curved sword with a yelman (a widening at the COP). Used mostly for hacking cutting and slicing cutting. Ca. 13th century middle ages. Length overall: 75 cm ( in). Weight: 1400 gm (3.1 lb). See also falcata, dao, and nagamaki.
SWORD: Falchion [ref]
fighting sword
See arming sword.
Aka kriss. Flamberge describes an weapon whose edge is wavy or undulating. The waviness is not only visually striking but when parrying, it can slow down an opponents blade and may even cause a disconcerting vibration for the opponent. See also jian.
SWORD: Flamberge Rapier [ref] and SWORD: Two Handed Flamberge [ref]
Aka le fleuret in French. The kind of sword in the foil category of OSF (the other categories are epee and sabre). The foil is the practice sword for the small sword. A foil blade/overall max is 90/110 cm =  35.4/43.3", 500 g = 1.1 pounds max, has a rectangular cross section, and has a tiny little guard. The allowed target area is the torso only. Right of way rules apply to sabre and foil but not to epee. Simultaneous scores are allowed in epee but not in sabre and foil. While epee and foil allow only thrusts, the sabre also allows cuts.

During the 1700s the French started putting leather safety tips on their practice small swords. This safety tip resembled a flower bud, thus in France the practice small sword became known as le fleuret. The modern foil is essentially le fleuret and is still called le fleuret in France.
To thrust with a pointed weapon. Rapiers, small-swords, and dueling epees are foyning swords.
The Ancient Roman short sword. Usually a relatively wide, single-handed, double-edged pointed sword with practically no cross guard and large ball pommels. Roughly 60-70 cm = 24-28 inches. The earlier variations were clearly leaf-bladed (when cutting was emphasized more) but later variations became pretty much parallel-edged (as thrusting was emphasized more). Gladius variations include: the Hispaniensis (ca -0200/0020, width ~ 5 cm = 2 inches), Mainz (width ~ 7.5 cm = 3 inches), Fulham, and Pompei (parallel edges, blade starting to grow to spatha length).
SWORD: Gladius
great sword
A generic term for larger swords that ranged from large longswords to zweihanders.
hand-and-a-half sword
See bastard sword.
A single-handed, double-edged sword that with a narrow consistent width until the tip. Used for either cutting or thrusting. This is the traditional Chinese straight sword. The sword most commonly used in Taiji is a jian. Think of "The Green Destiny" sword in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. See also dao.

Here are five common variations of the jian:
  • Wen Jian. "Scholar's Sword". Aka a female sword. Long and light with a rounded tip. For self-defense, decoration, fashion, or dancing.
  • Wu Jian. "Martial Sword". Aka a male sword. Long and heavy with a pointed tip. Used in battle.
  • Wu Gou Jian. "Wu Hooked Sword". Had a hook somewhere on the blade.
  • Ju Chi Jian. "Saw Toothed Sword". Sword with a serrated edge. Often had leaf blade-shaped tip with 2 holes (resembling a snake head) that makes a whooshing sound when swung.
  • She She Jian. "Snake Tongue Sword". Had a wavy blade but not as wavy as a flamberge. The tip was often forked.
'Considered a national weapon of the Moros of Sulu & Mindanao, the kampilan is a heavy dual-pointed sword with a rich history in the Philippines. Kampilans were widely used as "head-hunting" swords on enemies in the southern Philippines. According to Filipino history, the kampilan is believed to be the sword that struck down explorer Ferdinand Magellan on his journey through the area. Traditionally, the kampilan is about 40" to 44" with a carved hilt, a single edge, & a pommel in the shape of "crocodile jaws." ' [Ref]
SWORD: Kampilan
Katz + balgen = cat + to skin/brawl. A double-edged, short Renaissance sword (around 80 cm = 32") with a distinctive "S" or "8" shaped hand guard. These swords were commonly worn without a scabbard and were held in place only by a cat's skin. This scabbard-less approach was for both speed and intimidation. The katzbalger, pikes, and the zwiehander were the signature weapons for the German Landsknechts.
SWORD: Katzbalger [ref]
A single-handed sickle-sword. The blade length was roughly 70 cm = 2'4" = 28", the top part is straight but the last part is curved. There is some debate about the edge: Was it doubled, curved, or recurved? A sickle has a recurved edge in order to draw stalks together but it also has the blade roughly perpendicular to the hilt. In contrast, the khopesh has the blade parallel to the hilt. Khopesh is an Egyptian word for the weapon which was used by various civilizations from Sumer ca. 3000 BCE to Canaan ca. 1000 BCE. See also kopis, kukri, and falcata.
Aka kilic. A single-handed, single-edged, curved sword of the Ottoman Empire very similar to the falchion. In addition possessing a yelman (a widening at the COP), a kilij also had a "T-shaped" cross section at the false edge allowing the blade to be thin and yet rigid.
Aka makhaira. A single-handed single-edged sword or large knife of the Ancient Greeks with a slight recurve. The kopis may have have been derived from the even more ancient khopesh. The word kopis is related to the Greek work κόπτω (koptô), which means "to cut". The word makhaira (μάχαιρα, machaira or machaera) is related to an Ancient Greek work magh, which means "to fight" and passed into Latin as machaera, which means "sword". See the movie 300.
See flamberge.
Aka khukuri, khookree, kookerie, khukri, kukery, cookerie. A single-handed, single-edged short sword (or large knife) for hacking with a distinctive recurve. The blade is very wide beyond the bend. The kukri traditionally has fancy-shaped little notch on the true edge near the hilt called a cho (aka kauri, kaudi, or kaura). See also khopesh, kopis, and falcata.

'The kukri has been one weapon of choice for the Gurkhas of Nepal since at least the 1600s, and used for everything from a tool for building, digging a furrow or cutting up meat and vegetables, to the unique and effective fighting knife that has made its reputation.' [Ref]
SWORD: Kukri; Khukuri; Khookree; Kookerie; Khukri; Kukery; Cookerie
leaf blade
A sword with a blade that starts thin, widens, then thins to a point again.
SWORD: Leaf Blade
SWORD: Sting Bilbo and Frodo's sword "Sting" as rendered in the Lord of the Rings movies directed by Peter Jackson.
long sword
Aka longsword. Langes schwert in German. Spada longa, spada da mano e mezza, or spadone in Italian. A hand-and-a-half, double-edged sword. Not as wide as the bastard sword. A European sword design common in the later Middle Ages. An average overall length was 3'3" = 39" = 100 cm, and the weight ranged from 1.2-1.8 kg (2.6-4.0 lb).

'The longsword (also referred to as a warsword) was a common name used in reference to a long-bladed, double-edged, weapon with straight quillions. These swords were used throughout the Middle Ages in Europe. The longsword was the weapon most commonly used by European knights during the crusades. It was designed to be wielded by those with strength and could be used to thrust, used to slash, and even used to crush some parts of armor. The longsword is larger than a common or short sword but smaller than a bastard sword (typically 30-40 inches long), and it was an effective weapon for centuries in Europe.' [Ref]
Aka matchet (British) or panga (African).  A single-handed, single-edged tool for hacking through heavy undergrowth. A machete is 14-24 in (36-60 cm) long and is usually wider and heavier at the COP.
main gauche
Literally "hand left" in French. A dagger with a guard that covered the whole hand and was frequently used along with a rapier.
An Aztec (aka Mexica) double-edged sword-club. The edges were embedded with sharp obsidian, while the "flat" was hardwood. This was a hacking weapon also used as a club. The Aztecs reigned from roughly 1248 until the Spaniards arrived in 1519.
Aka großes messer = "great knife"; hiebmesser. A single-edged German long dagger (30-90 cm = 24-36") with a clip point and a large cross guard popular in the 15th and 16th centuries. A messer was effectively an affordable curved short sword. The tang was frequently sandwiched between two pieces of wood and the messer was used for menial work as well as battle. The practice weapon for the messer was called a dussack, and was frequently made of wood, leather, or metal. The langes messer = "long knife"; or kriegs messer = "war knife" were actually longer versions that were clearly swords instead of knives. The langes messer was like a scimitar, while the kriegs messer could be used in a two handed fashion.
Middle Eastern swords
Most Middle Eastern swords are single-handed, single-edged curved swords.
  • Kilij, aka kilic. Sword of the Ottoman Empire very similar to the falchion. In addition possessing a yelman (a widening at the COP), a kilij also had a "T-shaped" cross section at the false edge allowing the blade to be thin and yet rigid.
  • Nimcha. Sword of northwester Africa, esp. Morocco.
  • Pulwar, aka pulouar. Sword of Afghanistan.
  • Saif. "Sword" in Arabic.
  • Shamshir. "Sword" in Persian. A slim deeply curved blade. Worn horizontally in a "U" shape.
  • Takouba. A Tuareg sword.
  • Talwar, aka tulwar. An Indian sword. Wider at the ricasso than the shamshir.
  • Yatagan. A Turkish sword. 60-80 cm = 24-32". Different from the other Middle Eastern swords in that the upper part part is recurved while the lower part is curved.
mezza spada
"middle sword" in Italian. Not really a sword but the method of grasping a sword by handle and blade for close quarters combat, esp. in armor.
"long wrapped handle". Cousin to the more familiar naginata "reaping sword". Both are Japanese curved bladed weapons that are fatter at the COP, but the naginata is a pole arm, while the nagaimaki is a two-handed chopping sword. Compare:
  • A daito blade is roughly 60-110 cm = 2-2.5 feet/shaku, with a handle roughly 30 cm = 1 foot/shaku.
  • A nagamaki blade is roughly 60-120 cm = 2-4 feet/shaku, with a handle roughly 60-90 cm = 2-3 feet/shaku.
  • A naginata blade is roughly 30-90 cm = 1-3 feet/shaku, with a handle roughly 180- cm = 6-9 feet/shaku.
SWORD: Nagamaki [ref ]
padded sword
A practice sword (usually of approximately the same weight, shape, and size as a sharp) that is heavily padded and used for contact practice. The edge on a padded sword must be denoted in some fashion. A padded sword will hit much softer than a waster. The Japanese use bamboo shinai instead. See also practice swords.
See machete.
A single-handed, single-edged sword of Filipino origin. There may or may not be a slight recurve. The blade is slightly wider at the COP. Used for cutting and thrusting. See also bolo.
SWORD: Parang [ref]
Aka sword gauntlet. A single-handed, double-edged sword of Northern Indian origin. It is similar to the katar except that  the hand is encased in a gauntlet like cover.
Aka pinuti. A single-handed, single-edged sword of Filipino origin, specifically of the Cebu Island of the Visayan Islands. The sword is largely straight but it has a sharp thrusting tip and may have a sharpened clip point (false edge near the tip is also sharpened). The word pinuti may be related to puti, the Filipino word for "white" since the edge is traditionally whitened before battle.
practice sword
A sword that is made or modified in such a way so that is safer to practice with than sharps. Practice swords include four categories:
  • Blunts. These are non-sharpened metal swords that other wise have similar properties to sharps. HES rapier use blunts in sparring. Blunts are often used in open-air practice.
  • Wasters. These are wooden swords that other wise have similar properties to sharps. A bokken is a waster for a katana. Wasters are often used in open-air practice.
  • Padded swords. These are specially made safe swords for use in contact practice that other wise have similar properties to sharps. The WMAs are known for using padded swords.
  • Lightened swords. These are specially made safe sword that are only similar to sharps in dimensions. The OSF swords, singlestick, and the Japanese bamboo shinai are lightened swords. Boffers are lightened swords.
In Italian: spada da lato a striscia = sword from the side to strip; aka la striscia = the strip. A long single-handed sword that favors the thrust over the cut on account of its blade's shape and overall balance, that permits fencing only in single time and usually provides some hand protection.

'The name rapier is thought to have derived from the Spanish espada ropera, "sword of the robes." It is possible the name has French origins; a French document of 1474 references an epee rapiere. Either way, the term rapier was in common use throughout Europe by the end of the 15th century. In England, foreign teachers of fence taught the rapier in London. They were commonly called a Tuck, in England, which was a slang paraphrase of the French word for "thrust". The rapier's history, employment, and development is rich and detailed, probably more so than any other bladed weapon in history.
The rapier was, essentially, a civilian or gentleman's blade rather than a soldier's battlefield weapon. While the rapier design (small hilted, one handed weapon with a relatively thin blade) had been a popular weapon prior to the advent of firearms, the development of firearms for combat use furthered the development of the rapier. Full armor became a liability in the age of firearms; speed of movement became more important. Accordingly, weapons such as the mace, war hammer, and two-handed swords which were designed to penetrate armour were rendered useless. In this new age of combat, brawn was no longer the asset it once was; finesse and dexterity were paramount. The sword devolved from the primary weapon of combat to a secondary one. Smaller bodied, less brawny individuals (as many of the landed classes and nobility were) began developing the rapier and its use in sword fighting as a gentleman's endeavor.
During the first 100 years of its use as a weapon the original rapier blades were 1.25 inches wide with sturdy, straight quillons (sides of the crossguard which protect the hand). While the rapier blade remained relatively unchanged over the centuries, the weapon hilt changed considerably. To protect the fingers during combat, the quillons were extended, a knuckle bow was added for further protection, and the quillons grew curved bars which swept back over the hand, basket-style. Swept-hilt, basket-hilt, and cup-hilted rapiers became the most popular styles of rapiers, although dozens of styles existed across Europe. Rapier combat developed to the use of an off-handed dagger, cloak and small shields like the buckler, targe, and lantern for parrying the opponent's weapon. As the art of rapier defencing, or fencing for short, developed, the off-handed weapon and shields disappeared, leading into what we now think of as fencing. Rapier combat was the most involved, most studied form of sword fighting to date in history; it has been called an art form. ' [ref ]
Aka saber.

(1) The kind of sword in the sabre category of OSF (the other categories are foil and epee). The sabre is the practice sword for the sabre sword. A sabre blade/overall max is 88/105 cm = 34.7/41.4", 500 g = 1.1 pounds max, has a rectangular cross section, and has a large guard that also covers the fingers. The allowed target area is anything above the waist. Right of way rules apply to sabre and foil but not to epee. Simultaneous scores are allowed in epee but not in sabre and foil. While epee and foil allow only thrusts, the sabre also allows cuts.

(2) In Italian: sciabola. A light, single-handed, single-edged sword for the cavalry or single-stick like duels. Straight models emphasized thrusting (like a lance), while the slightly curved ones emphasized slashing. Sabres often have a guard that also covers the fingers and connects to (or almost connects to) the pommel.

(3) The Chinese divide their swords into two basic categories: the dao or "sabre" is curved and has a single edge. The jian or "sword" is straight and has a double-edge.
A short sword (30-60 cm = 1-2 foot) used by Northern Europeans from 500 to 1200 CE. It was a parallel-edged, single-edged sword with the back edge shorter than the true edge and there was a straight line connecting the two forming a triangular thrusting point. Saxes often had no guard. The Saxons are said to have named themselves after the sax. Saxes came in different lengths such as langsax v scramasax, or höggsax v handsax.
SWORD: Sax [ref]
Scandinavian swords
Aka Viking swords. A single-handed, double-edged sword that has a wide-fullered, parallel-edged straight blade with a pointed tip. Usually the guard is thick but not only a little wider that the width of the blade. Scandinavian swords were dominant in the dark ages and are lighter and shorter then the long swords of the middle ages since a Scandinavian sword was meant to be used with a shield in the other hand.
An Italian single-handed, double-edged, basket hilt sword in the 1500s and 1600s. See also basket hilt sword.
SWORD: Schiavona []
"Spotlight: The Schiavona and its Influences" by Nathan Robinson []
A practice sword that is lighter and more flexible than a blunt. Schlagers are often used for SCA displays. Schlagers usu. have an oval or diamond cross-section. See also practice sword.
A more modern word for single-handed, single-edged, curved swords that can be used for thrusting but are particularly good for slashing. See also Middle Eastern swords and messer.
SWORD: Scimitar
(1) Shinsakuto or shinken in Japanese. A real sword. A sharpened sword, whether an antique, a replica, or a modern design. Except test cutting, people rarely practice with sharps. See also practice swords.

(2) Wazamono in Japanese. The degree of sharpness. Having a thin edge or a fine point suitable for or capable of cutting or piercing.
仕込み杖 = prepared cane. A straight sword concealed to look like a cane or walking stick.
A lightened practice sword for the Japanese katana. It is made from bamboo and is used in kendo practice. A shinai is usually made of 4 take = slats held together by three leather fittings: tsuka gawa for the handle, nakayui a leather strip around the slats near the COP, and saki gawa for the tip. All the pieces are secured with a tsuru = string, that also denotes the mune = false edge. There two internal pieces: the saki gomu is a plastic plug between the take and under the saki gawa, while the chigin is metal plug between the take and under the tsuka gawa. There is one external piece: the tsuba = guard and a tsuba dome = guard stopper. Shinai are measured in units of shaku and sun for overall length. EG: 39 = 3.9 shaku = 3 shaku and 9 sun = 1.18 m = 46.53". Here are common commercial shinai sizes:
  • 39 = 1.18 m = 46.53". Good for longswords!
  • 38 = 1.15 m = 45.34"
  • 37 = 1.12 m = 44.14"
  • 36 = 1.09 m = 42.95"
  • 34 = 1.03 m = 40.56". Good for arming swords!
  • 32 = 0.97 m = 38.18"
  • 30 = 0.91 m = 35.79"
  • 28 = 0.85 m = 33.40"
See sharps.
short sword
A single-handed sword sword that cuts as well as thrusts. The most common example is the Roman gladius. See also small sword.
SWORD: Gladius Short Sword
side sword
Aka sidesword. A calque for the Italian spada da lato = sword from the side (contrast with ).  A double-edged, single-handed sword with a ricasso for fingering and some hand protection, used in the Renaissance ca. 1450/1700. In contrast, the similar arming sword (ca. 1000/1350) usually just had a cruciform guard. The ARMA has given the side sword a modern name of the "cut & thrust" sword to contrast it with the rapier (a thrusting sword with hand protection) that developed out of the side sword but also co-existed with the side sword. The side sword was a civilian and military sword while the rapier was largely a civilian sword. Other names that are often used for the side sword include "early rapiers", "sword-rapiers", and "transitional rapiers".

It is said that the term "swash buckler" arose from the use of the side sword with a buckler (a small shield) since there was "swashing and making a noise on the buckler". However the arming sword was also used with a buckler.
SWORD: Sidesword; Side Sword
single stick
A stick with a basket covered handle used in the English fencing game called single stick. Single stick is the practice sword for the side sword. In some variations of single stick, a match was won when blood was drawn from an opponent's head. See also back sword.
small sword
Aka smallsword. A single-handed sword that favors the thrust over the cut, on account of its blade's shape and overall balance, and permits fencing in double time. The small sword evolved as a lighter and shorter version of the rapier in the 1700s. Unlike its descendant, the dueling sword, the small sword still had an edge to discourage grasping the blade. The practice sword for the small sword is the foil. See also court sword.
Italian for sword.
  • spada a un mano = sword to one hand
  • spada da mano e mezza = sword from hand and a half
  • spada a due mani = sword to two hands
  • spada longa = long sword
  • spadone = great sword, a truly two-handed sword
  • spada da filo = sword from the thread, i.e. an edged sword
  • spada da lato = sword from the side, i.e. a side sword
  • spada da lato a striscia = sword from the side to strip, i.e. a rapier. Aka la striscia = the strip.
An Italian word for a large truly two-handed sword like a zweihander.
The Ancient Roman longer sword. Usually a relatively wide, parallel-edged, single-handed, double-edged pointed sword with practically no cross guard and large ball pommels. Roughly 75 cm = 29.5 inches to 100 cm = 39 inches. The spatha was designed for the cavalry but by the 4th century had replaced the gladius as the sword for infantry. This form was popular throughout the first millennium. The Viking sword and the knightly/arming/war sword are later versions of the spatha. See also gladius.
sport swords
A practice sword that is much lighter and safer than its corresponding sharp. The three most common examples of sport swords are shinais, the OSF swords (foil, epee, and sabre), and WMP padded swords. A bokken is a waster for a real Japanese sword but a shinai, while also a practice sword, is not a waster because it is made of bamboo and is much lighter.
A sword is a weapon with a long blade set into a hilt. Spada in Italian. Espada in Spanish.
A practice sword for a katana, like a bokken but heavier for strengthening exercises. The most famous suburito was made out of necessity when Miyamoto Musashi used an oar instead of a sword in one of his most famous fights.
Taiji jian
A Chinese jian used in Taiji (Tai Chi). Here are some criteria for a Taiji jian according to Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming:
  • The length is from the floor to the base of your sternum, i.e. your solar plexus.
  • The spring steel used for the blade must be flexible enough to bend 30 degrees without retaining a bow.
  • The balance point should be one third of the way from pommel to tip.
  • The bottom third (including the tip) is very thin and sharp. Used for attacking only.
  • The middle third is thicker and less sharp. Used for sliding, guiding, sticking, and cutting.
  • The bottom third is very thick and not sharp. Used for blocking only.
See estoc.
two-handed sword
A generic term for swords probably at least 140 cm (55") that required two hands to use. In Italian: spada a due mani.
Viking sword
See Scandinavian swords.
war sword
See long sword.
A wooden practice sword. It should be similar in weight, shape, and size to a sharp. The edge(s) of the sword are usually made distinct on wasters. A waster will hit much harder than a padded sword. A bokken or bokuto is a waster for a Japanese sword. See also practice swords.
ξίφος. A single-handed double-edged short sword of Ancient Greece. It had a leaf-shaped blade, whereas the Roman gladius had straight sides.

' The Zweihander (literally, "two-hander") was a 66 inch long sword, with a double-edged, sometimes undulating blade (flamberge), weighing anywhere from 7 to 14 pounds. It was the weapon of choice of the Landsknechte's Doppelsoldners, those who were fighting in the front rank, charging the enemy pikes, and getting paid twice as much.
The term Landsknechte translated literally means "servant of the country" and first began appearing in the German language in approximately 1470. The term applied to the mercenary soldiers of the areas of Alsace, Baden Wurttemburg, Austrian Tyrol, and other numerous countries in what is today Northern Germany. These troops were originally created by the "Father of the Landsknechte", Maximilian I, to uphold his claim to the Burgundian Legacy of the Netherlands. Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I had his troop swear their allegiance to him and their cause. This event brought about the discipline and unit integrity that would mold the future Landsknechte. This new military force was closely molded on the fierce and well-trained halberdiers and pikemen of the Swiss Confederation. The Landsknechtes carried a variety of weapons including glaives, pikes, halberds, Zweihanders, axes, Arquebuses, single handed swords, short swords and maces. The pike was the main weapon carried. ' [Ref]
SWORD: Zweihander

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