Two HEMA instructors comment on dual wielding swords

Without a doubt dual wielding was nowhere near as popular in historical times as it is in roleplaying games and other fantasy settings. How common or rare it was depends on the specific period and region but it was certainly done, mostly using a longer blade in the main hand and a shorter one in the off hand.

To get a professional opinion I asked Richard Marsden and Lee Smith, two of the most respected and skilled instructors of Historical European Martial Arts, what they think about this topic. Of course the perspective of practitioners of various Eastern martial arts may differ.


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  • KingLies

    I can't think of anything more unrealistic than attempting to deflect a huge, two-handed sword with a tiny dagger with no hilt... Are these guys for real?

  • mikael meland

    what are examples of two-time systemes?

  • Stencil the Noivern

    "[...] that he parries with his dagger then stabs with his sword [...]"Did you mean: Dark Souls

  • Tekhartha Zenyatta

    I'd rather just use a shield.

  • Liberty Lemonz

    duel wield shields for twice the blocking

  • Darkking Ice

    If Dual wielding is strong, you should see 3 sword style

  • Alde N

    Musashi got through just fine with both long and long/short swords. I'm not saying its easy, but its been documented.

  • ObNoXiOuS Tingry

    What about dual wielding axes?

  • Hudson

    so...a pirate a viking and a fat samurai...For Honor 2?

  • Abhinandan Bhagat

    only Gannicus and Spartacus can pull that shit off lol

  • Ignacio Matilla Iraola

    of course its not a casuality that Musashi used a short and long weapon aswell, since the Japanese ronin copied that technique from Spanish generals after fighting in Filipinas.Edit: sauce.

  • Nick Dzink

    2:50 but then the guy with a heavy sword will overwhelm your left hand with a dagger the moment you put the hand with a rapier away. And you can't just slide and slice his hand or body since there's a cross-guard, so you need to pull the rapier blade and then either slash or thrust anew. By this point the heavy sword would most likely push your dagger hand down and thrust you in a continious motion or simply disengages with a backstep.

  • Nigel Joshua Orbe

    At the end, that was almost Legion Etiquette. Now I want to use a sword and dagger to do that pose.

  • John Nieves

    "I need this liver to drink Richard" I'm dead 😂😂😂

  • Marik Zilberman

    I'm not an expert, but if you have two swords, you can effort to lock one with the opponent's sword and still attack with the other, no?

  • kirby march Barcena

    Well,I agree that wielding two long swords is hard to do in actual combat especially when fighting two opponents who are using one sword each.

  • Ray B

    okay, so this applies it to rapiers, the most forwardy, stand-stilly of all swords. What bout more mobile weapons? They off-glance mentioned Musashi, then continued playing with rapiers.

  • StripestheCat

    Would it just mean you need a different fighting style to use them?

  • Krazy Aspie Krakka

    Really? When dual wielding you hold one straight and one backwards (Reverse grip) so you parry and thrust with the forward sward and slash with the backwards facing sword.

  • Joren Bosmans

    It is nice that Richard explains how cross blocking can work.

  • Chicken Everland

    no matter how impratical, it still looks cool

  • tnexus13

    The most important thing that I take away from this is, skallagrim where did you get the t-shirt!?

  • Patrick Franks

    x blocking is definitely effective if you use it properly. If you just stay there and let your opponent pressure into your block of course it's going to fail. the second the block catches the strike you need to choose a side and party to that side. Given, this is much more effective in unarmed fights or as a block against someone trying to stab you with a knife. Like everything else it is situational.

  • Zane Ro'Meave

    Use one with a normal grip and the other with a backwards grip (to my knowledge you'd use the backwards grip on your off hand/non-dominant)

  • Sqidgery

    Were dual swords kind of like the mall-grab of the pre-firearm age?

  • santey man

    tell that shit to Edward keyway

  • Nicola Rondinella

    agrippa, marozzo, di grassi...there is plenty of documentation for two swords at once ;)

  • ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    It doesn't looks like they thrust each other

  • ZevranCrow

    So, the thing i see here is that he was mainly staying to two rapiers when he was referring to two swords, not what i myself would do but a lesson in a situation is such.

  • TIAN

    Duble the blade, duble the damage.

  • Faisal Adel

    "I don't think scissoring is a period technique"

  • Hell Ryder

    didnt spanish or italians used dual wielding?

  • AlwaysReason

    "I don't think scissoring is a period technique."

  • PizzaSamurai

    "I need that liver to drink" lol ...

  • ap0lmc

    yes I've been vindicated. In Wing Chun Kung Fu same principles or simultaneously blocking and striking

  • John Smith

    Ah peacekeeper does it wrong then, doesn't need a regular sword in main, but a rapier

  • Karine Fonte

    I caught myself wandering: and if it was two medium lenght blades, like machetes or the krabi krabong, from Thailand? Was it registered, or if existed in Europe or Balkans, it would be just way to "rogue" to figure on any early or late medieval manuscripts about it?

  • Merkky

    Can you dual wield bows?

  • Alexander Okak

    Peacekeepers in for honor: Take note

  • Vanta Lynx

    That cross block debunk tho. really an eyeopener the way Skallagrim did it xD

  • Pootis Spencer

    And I'm wondering why getting correography with two blades too look good is proving difficult. :(

  • Lewis Moore

    What is your take on double broad swords? Don't know your experience with Kung Fu.

  • Nerds With a mouth

    I love your chanel pal. but sword fighting to me even back in medieval times wouldn't matter how many books you read how much training you did. when your facing down an opponent be it alone in a dark alley or on a battlefield surrounded by your Bros. your going to shit out. at the end of the day the potential of you dying/killing another man is going to make you freak the fuck out. fighting in ranks like the Romans and Spartans and such all protected by big Shields wouldn't be as frightening. but having a sword and a tiny shield f that. my head would go big time. start waving my swords round in all angles.

  • Bot Bread

    666k views, the devil ._.

  • Dylan Chua

    Then I pull out my gun and throw it away then I pull out my sword and throw the pommel

  • Hamish Burger

    But they did it in Star Wars?

  • faris khan

    but you need 2 swords...1.silver sword for monsters2.steel sword for humans

  • cory greene

    i think you guys are OJing the glove a bit whith two long blades lol.

  • Lone Wolf The SJW

    You ever tried guns akimbo? That shit is hard as fuck.

  • Bill Kong

    Can you comment on Chinese dual broadsword techniques?

  • Catnium

    hema ? hema ?

  • Uriel OR

    I tought you were lee smith

  • Airsoft devil

    Do you think dual wielding a ninjato and a tanto knife would work

  • Paradox Edge

    But what about two daggers? both being catchers. Y'know, jagged edges for easy parrying.

  • caffeineyeti 1

    "Scissoring is not a period technique."

  • YouTuber Man

    I personally prefer the flail, attached to a smaller flail, attached to a smaller flail, attached to a smaller flail, with a bow on the end of the smallest flail equipped with ricocheting explosive pommels, each of which expel a lethal acidic toxin on impact... And I also dual wield.

  • james mcdaniel

    what about an axe right hand sword left?

  • MV3gaming

    The closet true dual wielding techniques get to stuff out of fantasy novels (I would say) would be the Chinese broadsword and butterfly sword. look it up.

  • Kyro

    Would it be effective to use your left hand sword as a opening denier? Slash or stab with the right and follow up quickly with the left as you recover to prevent their counter follow up?

  • Jack Joe

    Those guys look like legit martial artists.

  • Sam Gilley

    Dual Wielding lighter axes always seemed like a fascinating technique to me. Being able to use one axe to rip away an opponents shield is one potential advantage...

  • Jermyjake Gaming

    How is Richard Marsden in this video if he died in 1903 and was born in 1837 (According to Google)!!!!!

  • Jayden Mueller

    I have that same pirate shirt

  • Steven Ledoux

    very interesting and instructional video. I don't recall the name of a documentary video (or at least an episode of something) on the History Channel, that focused on the musketeers. They involved a bunch of people undergoing training for sword fighting, and they were teaching the different types of stances, techniques and what not. I remember that they taught with just one rapier, a rapier and buckler, a rapier and a dagger, and I don't recall if they taught with two rapiers, but after seeing this video I don't think that they did. once they finished their training, they did a sword fight with real blades and they had to simulate death if there was a minor cut. This was years ago that I saw this so I don't remember all the details, so I apologize.

  • FeanorBR

    In fantasy's defense, if real world weapons gave you passive bonus simply for holding it, it might have been more common.

  • Denís Fernández Cabrera

    Dual swords («a case of swords») is actually taught in Godinho's «Arte de Esgrima», 1599 ( He basically uses them in a maner similar to the montante (and, I'd assume, in makeshift replacement of that).

  • micheal hoffstater

    Crossblock (also known as x-block) is actually a really good maneuver for dealing with two-handed weapons. IT provides the extra force needed to defeat a strong, two-handed attack, then ensuring the weapon is ensnared in a bind, thus allowing just one weapon to come off and strike the foe.

  • Sean Hurd

    I'd argue that when two wielding is shown, or when I use it for fun, that it tends to involve a lot of slashing, rather than stabbing or chopping, which is why I think that theoretically two short(er) katanas would make sense

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