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?

  • Stencil the Noivern

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

  • mikael meland

    what are examples of two-time systemes?

  • Shock Foxx

    what do you do when someone with a giant two handed sword with incredible strength breaks through your two handed block?

  • Zenyatta

    I'd rather just use a shield.

  • ObNoXiOuS Tingry

    What about dual wielding axes?

  • 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.

  • Melanoma

    What about dual daggers or short swords?

  • Salted

    Huuhn? Hema? But wheres your alien tendrils and headshot life steal mechanic?

  • Internet Depression

    What about shaolin monks and their double sword style?

  • 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.

  • Joren Bosmans

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

  • 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.

  • Tristan Sisk

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

  • ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    It doesn't looks like they thrust each other

  • TIAN

    Duble the blade, duble the damage.

  • Faisal Adel

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

  • Thingaloo

    I suppose dual wielding axes is a terrible idea, unless you have perfect trust of your armor being able to defend you from their blade for a full.minute.

  • Nathan Baker

    Well clearly with the left hand occupied, there is no way for one to unscrew the pommel and end their opponent rightly.Though one could, in theory, hurl the off-hand sword at the opponent, distracting them long enough for the pommel throw.It'd be risky.

  • ap0lmc

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

  • AlwaysReason

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

  • Vanta Lynx

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

  • PizzaSamurai

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

  • 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.

  • Lone Wolf The SJW

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

  • cory greene

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

  • Airsoft devil

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

  • Alexander Okak

    Peacekeepers in for honor: Take note

  • Uriel OR

    I tought you were lee smith

  • Hell Ryder

    didnt spanish or italians used dual wielding?

  • John Smith

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

  • Steamedbread

    666k views, the devil ._.

  • Lewis Moore

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

  • Hamish Burger

    But they did it in Star Wars?

  • 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.

  • faris khan

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

  • Dylan Chua

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

  • 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?

  • Catnium

    hema ? hema ?

  • Techn0taku

    "Richard's" Rapier:)(Gonna let that game reference sink in~)

  • Merkky

    Can you dual wield bows?

  • Pootis Spencer

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

  • Paradox Edge

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

  • Nicola Rondinella

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

  • caffeineyeti 1

    "Scissoring is not a period technique."

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • Bill Kong

    Can you comment on Chinese dual broadsword techniques?

  • 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...

  • james mcdaniel

    what about an axe right hand sword left?

  • Carlos Martinez

    this is stupid. 2 nerds who obviously have no real fighting skills saying what works and what doesn't. real life scenario skilled fighters will not just stand there and be stabbed. they will move, parry, block and counter. really skilled fighters will be able to anticipate a next move. so this is a stupid video.

  • TheAtomic Gamer159

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

  • Nar Kyouma

    It annoys me when videos like this use a lack of a technique being seen in manuals as evidence that it doesn't work. Unorthodox methods are called unorthodox for a reason; they're unorthodox.

  • PastorOfMuppets

    This ruined Black Flag for me.

  • Jack Joe

    Those guys look like legit martial artists.

  • Yingtang lu

    that Hollywood style Ghost in the Shell ad makes me want to die.

  • Jayden Mueller

    I have that same pirate shirt

  • FeanorBR

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

  • tayfun gürgen

    I hope you'll answer this. When he parries you with two swords crossing you say "thanks now I can control both of your swords easily"But then while parrying you with a sword and a dagger then keeping holding your sword with a dagger is it harder to go in and do the same trick?

  • 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.

  • QuarionGalanodel

    I want to see main gauche vs sai. Not in a duel but rather an analysis of how they're similar, how they differ, how they're used, and which you might prefer as a disarming dagger.

  • Mo

    I don't think scissoring is a period technique.

  • 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

  • OverkillAntics

    Personally, I think dual-wielding isn't viable because it's actually INHUMANLY difficult to be skilled at it. Ideally, you'd need a swordsman who is ambidextrous or extremely skilled with his/her weak hand, and also skilled with both feet. Then comes the fact that you would require insane strength and dexterity in each arm to handle continually striking with any meaningful force and at the same time blocking and parrying strong attacks from perhaps a two-handed weapon with a single arm. And you'd need either eyes that can move independently of each other to track each weapon or an impossibly wide field of vision. Then there's also having the intense mental focus required for combat and somehow maintaining it while using two weapons at once, as well as having full control over both hemispheres of the brain, which can deteriorate due to the stress of battle. So essentially, you'd need a superhuman. And all notions of dual-wielding two identical weapons go out the window.

  • The Professor

    Basically: SAO is shit and Kirito is even SHITTIER.

  • virusguy5611

    Um, Skallgrim, Chinese and Eastern Martial arts have a LOT of dual wielding sets. What exactly is the difference then between their dual wielding and Western dual wielding that makes their sets look practical, or at least make them more popular? Is it really just a weapon design thing or is it something else?

  • Kim Bautista

    I think there is a single and dual wield sword martial arts or style which is in the Philippines, called "arnis" although I don't know if you have heard of it?

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