For a large chunk of time today, I found myself spellbound watching YouTube videos on medieval sword fighting and weapons. (A pleasant break from anime.) The coolest one, which blew my mind, is the following video on Viking sword and shield fighting. I knew that the Vikings used their shields actively in battle, but I had no idea that it was to this extent:
In particular, it solved the question I had about viking shields having a single handle without a strap to keep the forearm firmly attached to the shield, which would be more secure. Also, I learned that the shield strike and the sword strike are given with the same movement. There’s no such thing as blocking and then striking, which gives one a very different vision of sword and shield fighting. If only Hollywood or anime would catch up with what we now know about medieval combat, there could be some really amazing fighting sequences. (Or not, those techniques could end a fight very quickly.)
Then, the following video also offers some great insights into the use of shields and bucklers. The only inaccuracy I caught in the film was the way they described the Viking “spread eagle.” They said that it was conducted on defeated foes while still alive. In reality, we have no recorded incidents of Vikings performing the spread eagle on living persons. It involved hacking the ribs off the spine and pulling the lungs out the person’s back. (Yeah, some Viking had too much free time on his hands when he thought that up.) But, the video offers some great historical information and sparring:
While browsing through various videos, I stumbled upon a great channel called Skallagrim. The name–the name of the Viking Egil’s father– should be sufficient to tell you that the guy’s awesome. He loves posting videos on swords and other weapons. In particular, he has great videos about bronze age weapons, a category more sword enthusiasts avoid. They have advantages over iron and steel swords which I would not have thought of:
Well, I hope that you enjoy those videos, and I’ll be back to blogging about anime shortly.