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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  • Antiphilosopher

    Clearly these guys haven't seen Ser Arthur "Motherfucking" Dayne of the Kingsguard, Sword of the Morning in action.

  • phoenixsplash135

    "I need that to drink Richard"

  • Bhusta Cap

    dual weilding just simply wasnt done. it leaves no hand open to "end him rightly" and therefore it is far inferior to the pommel throw.

  • Algiz

    "Scissoring is not a period technique". That is correct, it's terribly messy.

  • Abeth

    I'd have to disagree with this video. Duel wielding two pommels doubles both your efficiency AND your probability of ending him rightly.

  • 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?

  • Beau A

    Of course dual scimitar feels strange, your aren't Drow.

  • GaaraEnFemenino

    The "end him rightly" and "pommel throwing" have become a meme in this channel, haven't they??

  • Darkking Ice

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

  • Paweł Andonis Gawralidis Dobrzański herbu Leliwa

    Polish rennesaince infantry used saber and a light axe

  • Melanoma

    What about dual daggers or short swords?

  • Salted

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

  • 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.

  • Dapix

    could dual wielded buckler work? i mean the range would be almost none but you'd be like a boxer

  • Internet Depression

    What about shaolin monks and their double sword style?

  • Shock Foxx

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

  • 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.

  • Jason Patowsky

    Dual wield is impractical, you need the other hand to perform rude hand gestures.

  • Jim Mc

    Didn't the Chinese use short swords in pairs?

  • 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.

  • Morning Xanax

    We all know people dual wield two swords to learn it twice as fast.

  • Techn0taku

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

  • 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?

  • Nicola Rondinella

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

  • PastorOfMuppets

    This ruined Black Flag for me.

  • Bill Kong

    Can you comment on Chinese dual broadsword techniques?

  • FeanorBR

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

  • Jacob Burrell

    Do the guys that were talking have a channel too? If so please say what it is!!

  • james mcdaniel

    what about an axe right hand sword left?

  • Jack Joe

    Those guys look like legit martial artists.

  • Jayden Mueller

    I have that same pirate shirt

  • Yingtang lu

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

  • Mo

    I don't think scissoring is a period technique.

  • Marc Pabel

    Where is Musashi using two different long swords? That is not written in the book of five rings.Shure the tradition was to carry a katana and a...But that does not mean Musashi was not using two Katana...It is easyer to draw a dagger or nife if you have a sword in the other hand but that is the howl storry of that!

  • Scott Gates

    Would dual wielding possible be more viable if one or both were held in a reverse style? This would obviousness take a lot of practice to do right, but I wonder if it's even viable enough for the practice to be worth it.

  • PMartin7

    so duel wielding was the use of a dagger for defense and a one hand sword for, offense. you block with the dagger and at the same time counter attack with your one hand sword.

  • Daniel B.

    General Grievous had the right idea. If you plan on using more than one weapon make sure to have spinning robo-hands.

  • The Professor

    Basically: SAO is shit and Kirito is even SHITTIER.

  • Ben To

    I really had to cringe when he said that Musashi does not like to use two hands on one sword.

  • Psiberzerker

    I see a lot of that 1-2 1-2 tempo with Shield, but not Skilled shield fighters. Because it's predictible. Like he says it "Looks neat" but it's not effective. Gives the other guy too much warning to parry/counter.

  • George Soros

    You dual wield with a short axe with a spike on the back end in one hand and a short sword in the other.... then you can thrust with the sword, use the spike to get trough armor, use the axe or throw the axe, this guy is names "Skallagrim" so he should know this

  • viniciusfmlb

    Dude looks like Floki.

  • Jacob Burrell

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

  • zeal berkut

    +skallagrim you guys keep showing long sword and long sword, and you mention long sword and rapier, what about using 2 "short swords" or 2 daggers or just something smaller?

  • Sekai Ori No Game No

    Yes, it is definitely not very common, that's why who ever capable of doing that are considered as legends. In the times of prophet Mohammed, ( peace be upon him), a few of his followers wielded two swords, they were powerful men who would cut a man's body along with a half of his horse's body, straight on, with one hit, This is not mythical stories, they had happened in those times, that what was in old ages, strong and powerful swordsmen were real and honorable.One of them is called: "Omar ibn elkhatab ", May Allah be pleased with him, although he hadn't wielded two swords, he was so strong and so huge that his feet touch the ground when riding a horse, again, this is not some kind of a legendary mythical stuff, this has been told throughout the history and being accurate and don't have any kind of alterations.Feel free to not believe, you don't have to, but this is the truth.

  • renuoz

    Is it compulsary to grow a beard to get into HEMA? lol

  • Kazura

    How about carrying one sword backwards?

  • wiadroman

    Would a medieval knight respect "I need this liver to drink" though?

  • Liam Wilkie

    What about duel weilding small axes? I don't particularly have much knowledge on medieval weaponry but I thought I'd ask anyway.

  • zairuku

    I am also wondering how Chinese sword techniques fit into this. Is there an expert on Chinese weaponry and fighting that comments? Twin jian, Twin dao, Twin butterfly swords do seem to feature in a lot of routines like the more advance Tai Chi ones, but I wonder if they were used in practice.I was just always under the assumption Chinese swords are lighter and as such permit such fast movement but I honestly don't know.

  • WolfSarpi

    This actually helped a lot, since i'm trying to get better at fighting with my ketzbalger and my dagger, at the same time.

  • Stephen O'Malley

    HEMA? can anyone tell me what that means?

  • Oralkrieger

    in philippino martial arts, they prefer fighting double-wielding with a blunt weapon like a rattan stick in the one hand, and a sharp sword in the other one. So they can use both the advantages of blunt and slicing force. Furthermore they too use the two weapons simultanously, so they parry with one while striking with the other at the same moment.

  • Fuzzy Dunlop

    Any thoughts on carrying two swords not being well represented because of 'honor'? What I mean is, would someone from back then view fighting with two swords against an opponent with a single sword as 'dishonorable'?

  • epiclolman57

    is anyone else's favorite noise the sound of two swords binding?

  • OrderOfGamers

    "I need this liver to drink Richard..."

  • Ross Kostopoulos

    Skallagrim looks like shamas

  • Seems Legit

    they obviously haven't watched sao.

  • Jacob Burrell

    Can you make a video of them showing HOW TO duel wield with a sword and dagger and then sword and sword?!

  • Marshall M

    In Amtgard, many fight with duel swords but most do what's call "Heaven and Hell" (or Sky and Earth). This is where they use their dominant hand as one normally would when fighting and use their second sword just for guarding. However, if the opponent manages to move their primary sword out of the way, they can poke the opponent with their guarding sword. Would that me useful in HEMA?

  • Orkar Isber

    Personally i think that dual wielding becomes more reasonable the better your armor is - in full plate you dont have to worry about defense too much so no shield needed against incoming arrows - still you will likely be better off with a polearm then. BUT i can see dual wielding being effective against armor as armored fights are usually grappling all day long and the one to be first on the ground likely looses so how about dual wielding 2 axes for hooking your opponents weapon, leg, arm, shoulder, neck etc. to help you get him on the ground and a spike on top of the axehead could then be stabbed in weak spots

  • alastermyst

    All of that being said, here is my question; What is a HEMA instructor?

  • Sancd Lusion

    I don't know about you but Sword's Path dual wielding demo changed my mind about whether or not dual wielding is viable

  • Old Tercio

    If you want a true source for Sword and dagger where it shines, look at the "Pike and Shot" era, the Tercio infantry were equip with rapiers and daggers as secondary weapons and the fencing manual "La verdadera Destreza" taught how to take advantage of the dual wielding plus use geometry and mathematics, this is the era where is shined...

  • Grant Z Price

    this market is due for some UFC style disruption

  • William Breazeal

    Dual wielding was not uncommon in Eastern Russia, India, China, or South east Asia. In Russia and China it was typically with two sabers and in China it was typically done by people in the caravan guard profession. Southeast Asia has both dual sword and sword and dagger.

  • gamer7916

    Dual wielding's actually a big part of Chinese martial arts. The hook swords, for example, are a pair of dual wielding weapons said to have been as old as the Warring States period 2500 years ago and are still used in Shaolin martial arts.

  • caucasian genetic annihilation

    Dual wielding in FMA or Thai Krabi Krabong is not special, it is quite common and just makes sense on many levels (unless you only have one hand). Miyomoto Musashi didn't have a two sword technique because it was illogical, "it worked"! Unfortunately it takes extra time and skill for most to get comfortable with, plus some people are just more natural at it than others. Most of the "others" are just too lazy or narrow minded to see the value in it. If you have two hands you should train with both to wield weapons, and to do so simultaneously gives you a great advantage as a warrior.

  • Zormac

    Please, don't put subtitles on the top.

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Top 10 Sword Fights in Movies
How NOT to thrust with a sword (aka broken wrist position)
Throwing a sword - Crazy or viable technique?
My opinion on using a single handed sword with a reverse / icepick grip
Dual wielding
Inside the World of Longsword Fighting | The New York Times
Dual-wielding Swordsmanship Lesson by the Sword Of The Morning (Game Of Thrones)
My impression of the Kensei Odachi (not a full review)
The Elucidator from Sword Art Online - Would it be practical in real life?
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A look at a custom-made gladiator weapon: The Scissor
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