Glossary of Sword and Swordfighting TermsHere is a glossary of terms used for swords and swordfighting. For a visual glossary of sword parts, visit my sword part area:
Swords and Sword Parts
Advance - a short forward movement.
Blade - the length of metal that is used for attacking or defending (i.e. the entire metal length beyond the guard).
Boar's Tooth - a guard where the sword is before your front right leg.
Deflect - actively change the incoming sword's speed or angle by hitting it with your own sword (or foot etc)
Diagonal - Moving forward diagonally forward - right.
Edge - the sharp side of the blade. Japanese blades were typically single edged, while Medieval swords could have both sides sharpened.
Empty Fade - Leaping backwards as if to fade but immediately leaping forwards again.
Fade - Leaping backwards while leaving the feet in the same orientation.
False Edge - the back / trailing edge of the sword, usually the one you do NOT intend to cut with.
Front Guard - a guard where the sword is held vertically in front of your face.
Full Iron Gate Guard - a guard where the sword is halfway between your right and left legs, angled right.
Fuller - a groove running down the length of the blade. I have some books which claim this is a "blood groove" to help blood flow out of an enemy but other books which seem more reliable say it's to help the sword come out of a body without being caught (it breaks the suction).
Grip - the part of the hilt you grip with your hand for control.
Guard - a cross-piece on the hilt that keeps your hands safe from your opponent's weapon sliding down the length of your blade. Also called a cross-guard.
Guard - (meaning #2) - a position of safety, a pose where you can defend yourself from attack.
Guard of the Woman - a guard where the sword is over your right shoulder, behind your back.
Half Iron Gate Guard - a guard where the sword is held before your left leg.
Hilt - the generic name for the entire part of the sword near your hands, the part that is not the blade.
Long Point - a guard where the sword is straight out from your chest, with your arms extended.
Lunge - leaping forwards while leaving the feet in the same orientation.
Pass Back - Taking a step backwards by moving your front foot into the rear position.
Pass Forward - Taking a step forwards by moving your rear foot into the front position.
Pivot - Rotating 180 degrees while keeping the front foot stationary.
Pommel - the knobby end of the hilt, used by the second hand for a ball-in-socket pivot point in many moves, or merely as a counterweight in one handed attacks.
Posta - the Italian word for guard, as in a position of safety.
Posta drill - a series of movements from guard to guard, to help you learn the guards.
Retreat - a short movement backwards.
Shed - to allow a sword to slide away off your sword without trying to impede / change it, so you are then free to attack or move.
Short Guard - a guard where the hilt is at your hip and the sword is pointing up and forward.
Slope - moving diagonally backwards back and left.
Stance - the position your body is in to be ready for an attack or defense.
Step Across - Rotating 180 degrees by crossing the front foot across the back foot and then turning in place.f
Tail Guard - a guard where the hilt is at your hip and the sword is pointing behind you.
Tip - the pointy end of the blade.
True Edge - the front / leading edge of the sword, usually the one you intend to cut with.
Two Horn Guard - a guard where the sword pommel is at your chest with the sword pointing out.
Window Guard - a guard where the hilt is at your ear and the sword points forwards.
Medieval Swords and Swordfighting
Academy of Knightly Arts - Live Sword Training School in New England
Medieval Bows and Arrows
Medieval Keeps and Castles
Life in Medieval Days
Lisa's Medieval Romances
Seeking the Truth
A Sense of Duty
Online Literary Magazines
Lisa Shea's Homepage