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

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

  • Douglas Fulmer

    Holy shit, Skallagrim has been there for two years? How time has flied by.

  • KyrosV128

    Throwing in some questions, because I think that "dual-wielding" (with a small object on the other hand) may work better than expressed in some of these videos (yours and Lindybeige), and it is very dependent on the situation....First of, let's say this is a small skirmish or a "dirty" duel, not a battlefield!Secondly, it is to the death. As in general, they are trying very hard to try to kill each other, they have no option, it is kill the other or death, if they flee they risk death anyway, if one succeeds he will live.Like gladiators were only one can "win" and live. Or like if you don't kill that person the "guards of court/assassins" will kill you or something like that. Maybe a bit too fantasy-based?Well, that kind of scenario....Then, I'd like to present two options of equipment and swords:1) an equal equipment setup2) an unequal equipment setup....for 1):Both oponents wear kind of a "leatherish-light" armor or something like a musketeer's kind of type, and wield a one-handed sword (somewhat "light, easy and quick").for 2):One wears kind of a "leatherish-light" armor or something like a musketeer kind of type, and wields a one-handed sword (somewhat "light, easy and quick").The other wears, a "heavier armor type" (some plates, mail, etc; something heavier and more protective), and wields a double-handed sword (somewhat "heavier, and slower", which uses other techniques)....Now, the questions (and adding to the "setups"):If the swordman that fights with a one-handed sword, has nothing on his other hand, what advantages/disadvantages does he has? what can he do with the free hand?If the swordman that fights with a one-handed sword, has a buckler on his other hand, what advantages/disadvantages does he has? what can he do with the buckler-wielding hand?If the swordman that fights with a one-handed sword, has a dagger on his other hand, what advantages/disadvantages does he has? what can he do with the dagger-wielding hand?What techniques can be employed? is it more "successful" nothing?, buckler? or dagger?...Of course, I'd like the answers ("estimations of possible outcomes", advantages/disadvantages) of all the possible cases for each of the previously mentioned "setups"....We could add more situations and different sets of equipment of course, but I just wanted to start with something....Note! Sorry if I did not express myself very well, English is not my mother tongue!

  • Alex Sutyla

    "I need this liver to drink richard" made it worth watching the whole video.

  • Ksortakh Kraxthar

    Dunno why the guys start with mentioning Muashi, though. After reading what that guy did, it would not surprise me if there is a story how he armed himself with a banana and then successfully battled Godzilla. I mean, come on, who goes into battle with an oar? Using a bokken was strange enough.

  • Nathan Pearse

    well sir arthur dwayne on got uses duel swords very effectively

  • mnb323

    Wish I had a beard like that lol

  • Liberty Lemonz

    duel wield shields for twice the blocking

  • Knight Shade

    Not trying to be mean but if someone has a Longsword and swung as hard as they can. Blocking with one hand would be very hard to catch and harder to stop

  • Idraki Radzi

    Star. Burst. STREAMMMM

  • mikael meland

    what are examples of two-time systemes?

  • Abhinandan Bhagat

    only Gannicus and Spartacus can pull that shit off lol

  • Lackus Shock

    My friend and I experimented with a combination of rapier and a sai. The sai is held in a ice pick grip.It mostly ended up being useful only if you could get into grappling distance with the opponent.

  • nobodycares

    I'd rather just use a shield.

  • Broken Wave

    Some of this is nonsense...and Skall is on here defending it like they are proven techniques...when they are basically urban legends.Blocking a 2 handed sword with a fucking dagger and rapier mid strike?Just fucking evade and then attack...dont throw yourself into harms way so you can get fancy with a dagger.

  • Devin Combs

    maybe dual wielding was done just to look cool...Because it does look really cool.

  • Hudson

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

  • Joren Bosmans

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

  • Xelocon

    What about dual wielding axes?

  • OfficiallyThatOneGuy

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

  • 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

  • Cancer

    no matter how impratical, it still looks cool

  • 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 😂😂😂

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    It doesn't looks like they thrust each other

  • Alde N

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

  • Broken Wave

    There were rumors of a man in Japan who learned to duel wield katanas...around 1945 i think...the US had no other option but to drop nukes and pray it was enough to stop him.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • TIAN

    Duble the blade, duble the damage.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • ap0lmc

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

  • Faisal Adel

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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Darth Vader

    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.

  • Lewis Moore

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

  • Dylan Chua

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

  • 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.

  • Substandard Gamer Kiba

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

  • Uriel OR

    I tought you were lee smith

  • Airsoft devil

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

  • John Smith

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

  • Alexander Okak

    Peacekeepers in for honor: Take note

  • 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?

  • 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 F. Cabreira

    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).

  • Bot Bread

    666k views, the devil ._.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Hell Ryder

    didnt spanish or italians used dual wielding?

  • 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.

  • Catnium

    hema ? hema ?

  • 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."

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