HEMA Practice Sword
(About): A Viking Sword Designed To Take (And Give!) A Beating
Historical European Martial Arts, or ‘HEMA’, is a burgeoning martial discipline that goes far beyond merely dressing as or roleplaying as the warriors of the past. Through studying primary source material like fencing manuals, contemporary art and written documents, it aims to fully reconstruct the style and techniques of fighting at the most granular level. Our HEMA Practice Sword has been designed and smithed by the expert sword-makers at Darksword Armory to cater to the every need of the HEMA practitioner: it is incredibly rugged, safe for combat use, and historically accurate in every aspect.
A Painstakingly Reproduced Viking Blade, with Modern Safety Features
The blade of our HEMA Practice Sword is designed to be the perfect type for use in historical martial-arts combat, stage fighting and re-enactment, combining traditional design and blade geometry with ultra-modern safety features. It is an Oakeshott Type X blade, carefully reproducing all of the characteristics of the Viking Age swords that were dominant from the end of the Migration Period, all the way through to the beginning of the High Middle Ages around the 11th-century CE. These blades were forged flat and wide with a lenticular cross-section; parallel or near-parallel edges for almost all of their length; a very short or rounded (spatulate) tip; and a broad, shallow fuller. Although we often think of these swords as ‘Viking swords’, it would be more accurate to call them ‘Viking Age swords’, or even ‘Carolingian swords’, since very few blades of this type were actually made in Scandinavia. Most were made by Frankish and Germanic smiths who lived along the Upper Rhine, who had access to superior quality iron, plentiful charcoal for their forges and excellent trade networks with the rest of Europe. Viking warriors ‘acquired’ these blades principally from the Frankish kingdoms to their south, either by trading for them – or by taking them in raids, especially after the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne banned the sale of fine weaponry to foreigners. These blades mark the flowering of the early-medieval swordsmith’s art, being finely balanced cutting weapons with innovations such as weight-reducing fullers and distal tapers that would define the rest of medieval sword-craft. Our HEMA Practice Sword carefully replicates this blade geometry, with a precise balance point calibrated to give the exact trade-off between agility and presence.
As well as being a careful historical replica, the blade of our HEMA Practice Sword is carefully forged to be safe to use in contact sport & re-enactment fight settings. It is made from 5160 steel, a high-carbon stainless steel that is the gold-standard for re-enactment & martial-arts weapons. It is dual-tempered to a Rockwell hardness of 60 HRc at the edge, with a core of 48-50 HRc – this means that it is a robust, rugged blade that will stand up to an enormous amount of punishment, and can be used against similarly-hard blades in full contact. It is supplied with a 2mm rebated (blunt) edge and a rounded tip, perfect for a safe blade that looks perfectly real at any distance.
A Rugged Mild-Steel Hilt with Full-Tang, Peened Construction
The hilt of our HEMA Practice Sword is a classic of functional Viking design, dating from the 10th-century CE. Its cross-guard and pommel are made from rugged mild steel, which will withstand a beating in combat. The cross is a short Viking-type, conforming to Type U in Petersen’s typology. It has a slight downward curve toward the blade, as well as a handsomely tapering cross-section, described by sword aficionados as a ‘boat-shaped’ guard. The grip is a secure and functional leather-wrapped grip, ridged and hand stitched for a superior grip surface in gloves, gauntlets or barehanded. The pommel is a Viking ‘triple-lobed’ style – the 10th-century examples that our HEMA Practice Sword is based upon are well on their way to morphing into the solid ‘brazil nut’ style pommels of the Norman arming sword, which was the direct ancestor of all Western European knightly medieval arming swords in Europe.
Our HEMA Practice Sword has been finished with a full-tang, peened construction – where the tang of the blade extends all the way through the guard, grip and pommel, hammered flat at the end to secure all of the hilt pieces firmly and solidly in place. Many other reproduction swords are made with threaded pommels which are bolted into place, or even with half-tangs consisting of a long tail welded onto the base of the blade – these are not safe for use in combat. A full tang is an absolute requirement for a battle-ready sword, as it means that it can be swung and absorb blows without the blade failing and coming away from the hilt. Our HEMA Practice Sword ably fulfills all of the requirements for students of HEMA or HMB, or stage actors looking to re-enact full-contact combat – all within a fantastically authentic Viking design.
Gearing up for HEMA? Then you’ll want to check out these Gauntlets!
Feeling viking? Check out our HEMA Viking Sword!
- Total length: 32 inches
- Blade length: 25 inches
- Blade material: 5160 carbon steel
- Blade hardness: 60 HRc at edge ; 48-50 HRc at core
- Guard & pommel material: Mild steel
- Grip material: Leather
- Weight: 2 lbs.