Cutting Update: Sharpen Your Swords

In 2012, Longpoint held the first HEMA cutting tournament of its kind, one based on a consistently measurable display of comprehensive cutting skills. From that very first tournament, the goal has been to proliferate the practice of cutting throughout the HEMA community in an effort to strengthen the art’s martial focus. Part of that was encouraging people to acquire their own sharp swords.

When planning that first tournament, we knew that few people owned their own sharps, so we approached Albion, who generously provided an extremely expensive longsword not only as a cutting loaner, but as a prize to be given to the winner. They supported Longpoint and other events that followed in our footsteps that held similar tournaments. Their contribution was twofold; first it provided quality weapons for the tournaments, and second, by giving the swords away as prizes, Albion placed swords in the hands of individuals and clubs, giving them a means to practice cutting without the usual cost of entry.

From the start, we knew that this boon would not last forever, and that as the practice of cutting and the desire to compete spread in the community, more and more people would either win their own cutting swords or buy them. For three consecutive Longpoint events, we have provided a loaner sword, but for Longpoint 2015, we will be doing away with that practice. To be clear, there will be no loaner swords provided to anyone. People who do not own their own cutting sword and cannot afford to buy one can still use their club loaner or borrow a sword from a friend. Those concerned about lending a sword should know that the donated Albion longswords have survived multiple cutting tournaments with absolutely no damage. It is our hope that this next step will further encourage people to acquire their own swords.

The standards for swords have not changed from previous years, and are as follows:

1.             Sturdy construction with a tight hilt.

2.            Reasonable degree of historical accuracy (no “fantasy” swords).

3.            Blade length less than 40” from cross (no zweihanders, spadone, etc.).

4.            Double edged European swords only (no messers, etc.).

5.            Weapon must be of hand-and-a-half hilt length (i.e. longswords only).

Swords meeting these basic requirements will be examined by the tournament staff before approval on a case-by-case basis.  That staff’s decision is final. It is recommended that your sword be extremely sharp. Any Albion or Arms & Armor sword that meets the above criteria is a safe choice. Please contact us if you have questions about any other weapons.

~Mike Edelson and the Longpoint Crew