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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Two-Handed use of One-Handed sword? Reply to topic
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Oct, 2004 7:56 pm    Post subject: Two-Handed use of One-Handed sword?         Reply with quote

On a totally new subject: I have been wondering if one-handed swords like my "GADDHJALT" were ever used two handed anyway using an overlapping grip?(One hand cupping the other). I can see this happening during a long fight where the shield may have been destroyed or where fatigue would mean using both hands or just standing there waiting to be killed.

Just a passing thought that MIGHT be the beginning of an interesting topic: Not so much for a more powerfull blow but a desperate fix for dead tired arms?

Any opinions from the martial artists or sword designers among us?

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Allen Johnson





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PostPosted: Mon 18 Oct, 2004 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like anything in this study...It 'could' have happened. I have never seen any manual or iconic artwork depicting such a thing. But like you said if serious fatigue set in, you would do just about anything to stay alive.
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Oct, 2004 9:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The evidence clearly indicates that a single-handed sword was sometimes used with both hands. This practice is mentioned in various sagas, which is particularly appropriate for a Gaddhjalt. There are also illustrations of both hands on a single-hand sword; the first one that comes to mind is from the Manesse Codex ( http://www.tempora-nostra.de/index_f_neu.shtml?manesse0-9 thumbnail #111). It seems likely that this technique was used for especially powerful blows, or when a fighter was being extremely aggressive, and didn't worry about his shield.
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Brian M




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PostPosted: Mon 18 Oct, 2004 10:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean,

I own a NG Gaddhjalt. I have average-sized hands, and it it possible to get the off-hand index finger entirely on the grip, the middle finger on the grip-side of the pommel, and the ring finger on the aft-end of the pommel. The little finger kind of grips the top of the pommel. The point of the brazil-nut falls comfortably between middle and rings fingers. I find that this "semi-hand-and-a-half-grip" is actually quite comfortable and would lend considerable leverage and speed to the blade if this sword were used in that manner.
I can definitely see this grip used in case of either a lack of a shield, or for a more powerful blow. I don't see it used in case of "tiredness" (of the right arm) because one would have to drop a center-gripped shield to do this. Also, a shield with shoulder and arm straps would be difficult if not impossible to switch to the right arm in combat. So, in either case the shield would have to be discarded to use a two-handed grip on this sword. Well, a strapped shield could be hung from the shoulder and the sword held in both hands, but still, this doesn't necessarily imply changing hands, since if the shield is intact the left arm might be more profitably employed supporting the shield.

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Brian M
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Elling Polden




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I own a Lutel one handed sword ( http://www.lutel.cz/12017.htm ) , which I use for reenactment fighting.
We primarly fight our duels with sword and buckler, but sometimes we ditch (or forgot to bring) the bucklers, and fight with just the swords.
In these fights using both hands, in a longsword grip, is quite efficient. Not because of increased hiting power, since this is not very relevant in semi-contact combat, but because the two handed grip offers better controll. Basically, you can make faster feints.
It is however worth noting that the two handed grip actually shortens the range of your sword. It also makes it more difficult to grapple.

To sum up: In my experience, a pragmatic use of two handed blows can be efficient. But I would rather have a buckler any day Wink


Yours
Elling
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Gary Grzybek




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 7:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll agree with everyone on this one since anything was possible, and if it meant winning the fight then why not?

There's certainly enough examples of swords clearly meant for both single and two handed use.

Gary Grzybek
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello everyone,
This talk about single and combined hand usage brings up a question I have for the folks at albion.
I would love to see a hand-and-a-half sword produced from the high middle ages (1050-1275), ideally early in that span. I know that the beautiful Duke and Baron should be placed rather firmly in the 1300+ period but my current passion precedes this. Are there any thoughts to such a project- I know Oakeshott has 2 or 3 type XIII's listed in Records from this era. I am confident that Peter has more knowledge that can be brought to this issue. It's just frustrating that we know such swords would have been used and yet the only repro's we have to choose from (I am working on owning each) are single-handed (Gaddjhalt, Norman, Templar, Ritter, and the new Type X's).
High Middle Age war-swerdes please. Worried
Jeremy
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 8:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies, I don't know if there is much more to say past the obvious that yes this must have been used some time. It may have inspired the idea of making true two-handers?

Brian: I will try that grip you suggested, I also find that if I finger the guard with my strong hand index finger I gain room on the grip for the second hand.

Elling: Yes I have noticed that using two hands does shortens the range of a sword: An extra reason to make the blades of two handed swords longer than than a one hander. The blade of the Gaddhjalt is as long as many bastard swords.

Another possible use of two hands is faster recovery from a missed blow.

As long as you have a shield you would use a one handed sword as intended with one hand.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Hello everyone,
This talk about single and combined hand usage brings up a question I have for the folks at albion.
I would love to see a hand-and-a-half sword produced from the high middle ages (1050-1275), ideally early in that span. I know that the beautiful Duke and Baron should be placed rather firmly in the 1300+ period but my current passion precedes this. Are there any thoughts to such a project- I know Oakeshott has 2 or 3 type XIII's listed in Records from this era. I am confident that Peter has more knowledge that can be brought to this issue. It's just frustrating that we know such swords would have been used and yet the only repro's we have to choose from (I am working on owning each) are single-handed (Gaddjhalt, Norman, Templar, Ritter, and the new Type X's).
High Middle Age war-swerdes please. Worried
Jeremy


Hmmm, maybe I'm wrong, but the Baron and Duke could be seen in the 13thc. The Duke is a type XIIIa.

A&A produces an early War Swerde:

http://www.arms-n-armor.com/2000/catalog/item089.html

Mike
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Jeremy V. Krause




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yes Michael I have seen the 12th century sword from A&A, and I bet it's great, but for now I'm sticking with Albion-
The whole historical hilt construction thing.
As I understand it both the Duke and Baron would most likely not predate 1300, atleast according to Peter, and believe me I have asked as I really want a war sword from my era of interest. So my appeal goes out again- Albion how about an earlier hand-and-a-half, please. Cry . . . Wink
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Yes Michael I have seen the 12th century sword from A&A, and I bet it's great, but for now I'm sticking with Albion-
The whole historical hilt construction thing.


IMO, there isn't anything wrong with A&A's hilt construction. There is more than one historical method for securing hilts. Compression fitting (like A&A uses) is historically correct, and you can see it on historical swords. On swords where the grip is rotted away, some swords have loose crosses (and pommels), some have crosses wedged into place. Both methods were used.

If you're going to be picky about historical construction, Albion uses modern stabilized wood, and epoxies the grip into place. The wood and epoxy are modern concessions. Happy

FWIW, I've never heard of hilt loosening problems with A&A swords.

Happy

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Michael P Smith





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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Yes Michael I have seen the 12th century sword from A&A, and I bet it's great, but for now I'm sticking with Albion-
The whole historical hilt construction thing.
As I understand it both the Duke and Baron would most likely not predate 1300, atleast according to Peter, and believe me I have asked as I really want a war sword from my era of interest. So my appeal goes out again- Albion how about an earlier hand-and-a-half, please. Cry . . . Wink


I certainly won't question Peter's opinion, though I would like some clarification on that. In "The Sword in the Age of Chivalry", Oakeshott puts the XIIIa in the perid 1240-1350. He has an illustration form the Tenison Psalter (dated before 1284) of a knight weilding a sword which looks a LOT like the duke.

Sooo.. what would place the Baron and Duke 1300 at the earliest? The hilt components sure seem generic enough...

Mike
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy,

Are you sure that you aren't confusing the 13th century with the 1300's?

I've taken a look at the pre-1300 examples in Records, and there doesn't seem to be a significant difference in those and the post-1300 examples (Or in comparison to Albion's and A&A's offerings either). We also need to remember that there is a significant historical overlap in design and usage. Oakeshott himself dates the XIIa from at least 1250, so there's no reason to believe that it, or the XIIIa couldn't have been in use earlier than that.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Joseph C.




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

"The Victory of Humility over Pride", found in the Jungfrauenspiegel (c.1200) shows a single handed sword being weilded two handed. And, the pommel appears to be of the brazil nut type.
Hosea 4:6a
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 12:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Yes Michael I have seen the 12th century sword from A&A, and I bet it's great, but for now I'm sticking with Albion-
The whole historical hilt construction thing.


IMO, there isn't anything wrong with A&A's hilt construction. There is more than one historical method for securing hilts. Compression fitting (like A&A uses) is historically correct, and you can see it on historical swords. On swords where the grip is rotted away, some swords have loose crosses (and pommels), some have crosses wedged into place. Both methods were used.

If you're going to be picky about historical construction, Albion uses modern stabilized wood, and epoxies the grip into place. The wood and epoxy are modern concessions. Happy

FWIW, I've never heard of hilt loosening problems with A&A swords.


I don't think he's saying there's anything wrong with A&A's hilt construction, it's just not his preference.

The use of wedges on crosses and pommels points to a method of individually securing the components. It's not indicative of a compression type of assembly, neither is the fact that swords are found with loose guards and pommels. They may simply have loose guards and pommels because they're a thousand years old. Viking swords are found with loose or missing pommels, yet they were not constructed by using a compresion method of construction. The compression method, ie. in which the hilt components are held in place under pressure by the peening of the tang (A&A's method), really came into use during the 17th century and doesn't seem to be the norm during the medieval period.

This method seems to work well enough for A&A, at least it has in the numerous A&A swords that I've owned.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 1:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
I don't think he's saying there's anything wrong with A&A's hilt construction, it's just not his preference.

The use of wedges on crosses and pommels points to a method of individually securing the components. It's not indicative of a compression type of assembly, neither is the fact that swords are found with loose guards and pommels. They may simply have loose guards and pommels because they're a thousand years old. Viking swords are found with loose or missing pommels, yet they were not constructed by using a compresion method of construction. The compression method, ie. in which the hilt components are held in place under pressure by the peening of the tang (A&A's method), really came into use during the 17th century and doesn't seem to be the norm during the medieval period.

This method seems to work well enough for A&A, at least it has in the numerous A&A swords that I've owned.


Saying you prefer one because it is historic implies that other options are less so. Happy

I guess I was wrong about compression fitting. I thought it was used throughout the age of chivalry. Is there evidence of that method being used on Viking swords? I don't remember seeing any. I guess it's time to hit the books again.....

Thanks for the info, Patrick.

Happy

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Kenneth Enroth




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 2:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As long as we are talking about high quality work I don't think it matters from a functional standpoint how a hilt is assembled. To damage an A&A hilt would probably require such violence as to destroy the sword.

Perhaps A&A would make the wedged hilts on request?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Tue 19 Oct, 2004 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Patrick Kelly wrote:
I don't think he's saying there's anything wrong with A&A's hilt construction, it's just not his preference.

The use of wedges on crosses and pommels points to a method of individually securing the components. It's not indicative of a compression type of assembly, neither is the fact that swords are found with loose guards and pommels. They may simply have loose guards and pommels because they're a thousand years old. Viking swords are found with loose or missing pommels, yet they were not constructed by using a compresion method of construction. The compression method, ie. in which the hilt components are held in place under pressure by the peening of the tang (A&A's method), really came into use during the 17th century and doesn't seem to be the norm during the medieval period.

This method seems to work well enough for A&A, at least it has in the numerous A&A swords that I've owned.


Saying you prefer one because it is historic implies that other options are less so. Happy

I guess I was wrong about compression fitting. I thought it was used throughout the age of chivalry. Is there evidence of that method being used on Viking swords? I don't remember seeing any. I guess it's time to hit the books again.....

Thanks for the info, Patrick.


Well, I find that it's best not to assume any implications when conversing on the internet.

Quote:
"Is there evidence of that method being used on Viking swords?


Are you referring to a compression method of assembly? If so, then no. If you're referring to a method such as Albion's then yes, that seems to have been the general method of construction for the Viking Age.

"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Brian M




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 12:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was under the impression that A&A used a threaded/peened/compression hilt construction (like Albion's First Gen) for all its swords. I don't think this became "historical" until the 18th Century or so. In this construction, either a threaded pommel-nut or a threaded pommel is mated to a threaded tang, which holds the grip and cross on by compression.
I am not trying to run A&A down, because they clearly make a good product and I'm sure that such a construction could stand most any reasonable use. Nevertheless, a more historical (hot peened, non-threaded) construction is a selling point which gravitated me to Albion's NG line in the first place.

Regards,
Brian M
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David McElrea




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PostPosted: Wed 20 Oct, 2004 6:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeremy V. Krause wrote:
Quote:
As I understand it both the Duke and Baron would most likely not predate 1300, atleast according to Peter...


Hi Jeremy,

I jumped into this one a bit late and don't know if you have had confirmation one way or another, but I seem to recall Peter saying that the Baron (for instance) would have been very much in vogue from 1250-1350 (or possibly 1275-1325... I can't recall for sure). As mentioned by others, though, according to Oakeshott it would fit comfortably within the 13th and 14th centuries-- that is the 1200's and 1300's.

David
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