Lessons in Longsword Combat

Photo by Nancy Northcott
Photo by Nancy Northcott

On Sunday at 5:30PM, Allen Johnson, Keith Cotter-Reilly, and other members of the Palmetto Knights offered hands-on instruction in some basic longsword techniques. The group supplied practice weapons, requiring participating audience members to use those for safety reason. Johnson walked the group through four positions, roof, ox, plow, and fool, and moving from one to the next. When the blade is on the right, the left foot is forward, the right is back and pointed about 45 degrees outward, and the hips face the opponent. When the blade is on the left, the stance is reversed.

In fool, the blade’s edge faces out. In roof, the hilt is by the wielder’s head. For plow, the pommel is down by the hip, and the tip drops for fool. Johnson walked groups of audience members through the various stances so that everyone who wanted to try had the opportunity. He emphasized that the arms are extended for a cut.

Johnson and Cotter-Reilly then demonstrated a basic cut-block combination and walked audience members through that. The program concluded with members of the Palmetto Knights demonstrating fencing without armor. The program ended with applause for the winner of the demonstration bout.

Author of the article

Nancy Northcott is the Comics Track Director for ConTinual. She's also a lifelong fan of comics, science fiction, fantasy, and history. Her published works include the Boar King's Honor historical fantasy trilogy and the Arachnid Files romantic suspense series. Collaborating with Jeanne Adams, she also writes the Outcast Station science fiction mystery series.