Here (above left) is the strike zone chart that Siggur and I put together for our trainees. There are many similar diagrams out there and all are based on known such diagrams from ancient treatises such as those written by the famous Hans Tallhoffer, Johannes Liechtenauer, and Joachim Meyer. The diagram above right is a modern chart representing Katana sword cuts. Many of the angles are different but the idea is the same. "To provide a reference that can be seared into a student’s mind that through practice will eventually become second nature." Bladed combat techniques have not changed much since those books were written and the treasures they hold still have value because many of the same techniques are taught in the military combat bladed weapons training manuals of today. If you take a look at ours you will see that there are two number nines up there. This is because it’s on the same vertical line so we call out high nine for strikes to the head.
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There is nothing like sword and shield combat to get your blood flowing. The sword can weigh anywhere from 3-5lbs depending on what it is made from which could be wood, resin, or metal. An average shield can weigh between 8lbs for a light practice shield upwards to 15lbs for an accurately replicated Museum quality example. Carrying all this extra weight and trying to keep yourself protected while striking out can wind you very quickly so it is important that you condition yourself before and during this type of weapons training.
Here Rørik slips past the Jarl's shield and delivers a solid hit. During Live steel spars it is essential that the hits delivered are substantial enough so that your opponent can feel the touch but not so hard that they are injured. There is a fine balance that must be maintained and injuries do happen.
In this photo you can see the Jarl trying to trap Bjørn's shied with his own but it seems that Bjørn has the same idea and it turns into a stalemate and both fighters eventually retired in order to regroup.
A blind sword stroke over the top of your shield can sometimes produce a hit but, if the stroke should miss it also leaves you blind to your opponent's next move. A sword fight is like a cross between a ballet, and a bullfight. In this case if the weapons were sharp Rørik would have lost a hand, and if the Jarl's mail-shirt failed him his life.
In this shot you can see that to turn an opponent’s blade you need only catch it with the edge of your shield. Moving your shield completely in front of you can conceal your attacker’s next move. By utilizing the edge of your shield to turn an opponent's sword you will also save time, and energy.