What is a Federschwert? The Longsword Trainer for HEMA

Posted by Carey Martell on

Our store name is 'Federschwert' so you may be curious to know what exactly a Federschwert is, especially if you are new to Historical European martial arts (also commonly abbreviated as HEMA), also called 'Western Martial Arts' sometimes.

The simplest answer is that a Federschwert is a style of longsword training tool designed to allow for safer drilling and sword fighting than if a student used a blunt longsword with a rigid blade. This style of longsword practice weapon was developed during the Renaissance when longswords were most popularly used as a weapon for warfare and self-defense. The Federschwert has been revived by the present day HEMA sporting community as a tool for longsword fencing. 

An excellent example of a Federschwert is the Kingston Arms Sport Feder, which we sell as part of our store catalog for $159.99

Historically, these types of swords were called various things, such as Fechtfeder. They are also known commonly by the shortened nickname of a 'feder', similar to a foil used in Modern Olympic fencing. Unlike the foil, a feder is designed to replicate some of the properties of a longsword while having blade characteristics that greatly reduce the amount of force that is transferred when striking an opponent. This makes longsword fighting a more safer activity. 

One of the defining characteristics of a Federschwert is the schilt (German: "Shield") on the blade, which is a pronged area just above the crossbar of the sword. The schilt is designed to provide additional protection to the hands, reducing the chance for injury to the hands when correctly used by a student of the longsword martial arts.

Another useful characteristic of a Federschwert is that the blades are tempered in such a way that they are designed to be able to flex when used to thrust against an opponent, which helps reduce the amount of force that is delivered when thrusting. This is also achieved through use of a distal taper that makes the blade easier to flex. This makes the feder similar to a foil, which also bends when used to thrust an opponent during fencing matches. 

Federschwert are excellent tools that help make longsword fencing more safe for sporting activities and are popular among students. I hope this article has helped you learn more about these great training tools. 


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