As you know from my handle and previous posts–especially this one, I’m fascinated by medieval swordplay. I’ve discovered several great channels on YouTube by enthusiasts of Historical European Martial Arts and figured that I should share the best of them here. Some of my dear readers are no doubt curious what the difference is between real Medieval swordplay and what Hollywood portrays. Medieval swordsmanship had been been lost until people in the latter half of the twentieth century began to try to reconstruct medieval swordsmanship from old manuals and the ergonomics of the weapons and armor. There is a particular degree of ignorance in the study of the long sword and other weapons–as Skallagrim admits here; but one of the virtues of this community of enthusiasts is that they correct each others’ misconceptions. You may watch this video where Skallagrim points out some errors in a prior video. The other nice thing about that video is that he links to other channels which he considers valuable resources.
Naturally, I place Skallagrim at the top of the list. He easily runs one of the most entertaining channels. Though he calls himself a beginner, his videos make it obvious that he’s studied swordsmanship for a long time. I disagree with him on religious issues–as you saw here; but his videos on swords, fencing, guns, gun rights, and various rambles make for informative viewing. Many medieval sword sparring videos on YouTube make it seem like the opponents are trying to ding each other with the weapon rather than cut each other down. Skallagrim’s videos show good technique based on the historical manuals and practice, which reveals that Europeans of the Middle Ages did more than just bang at each other with their weapons.
Next, I would place Matt Easton on the channel scholagladitoria. He’s practically an encyclopedia on warfare and swordplay from medieval times to the 19th century. His memory for original source material on his topics is rather amazing. Also his demonstrations of sword techniques are quite good. I found myself rather impressed by his skill with the broadsword.
About as entertaining as Skallagrim is Lindybeige. His specialty seems to run from ancient to medieval weapons (good man 🙂 ); yet, as a history buff, he’s fluent in most areas of European history through the 19th century as far as I can tell. As with Skallagrim, I disagree with him on religious and philosophical topics. (He’s a determinist, for example; but, freely admits that the knowledge that he does not have free will does nothing to change the way he interacts with society.) Other than that, his videos are very entertaining and informative. His rants can be particularly fun and cover every topic under the sun.
Lastly, I just discovered ThegnThrand, who’s a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. This rather long video reveals that his knowledge of the history and use of medieval and ancient weapons is astounding. Also astounding are the demonstrations with sharp weapons involving a partner. They do seem to have great awareness in regard to what their doing, but I myself would not trust anyone less than a master, e.g. Nidar Singh, to demonstrate a technique with a sharp blade on me.
There you have it. I hope that you enjoy some of these videos on medieval swordplay. I’ll get back to writing about anime pretty soon.