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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginner's Guide to the Longsword - review...
The book is appropriately titled and therefore, for those indivduals who have no experience in the world of historical fencing and historical martial arts, and who do not wish to delve into the extreme subtleties of any form of historical fighting arts - a "reader's digest" of the art of longsword fencing, this book is for you. For novice practitioners, the book is useful...
Published on September 28, 2009 by David M. Cvet

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorting out the material
Does not fully apply to SCA Heavy List Combat. The use cutting edges, we use percussive hits. Borrow this from a friend if you're in the SCA and looking to learn great sword techniques, and then consider purchase.

May be valuable for SCA fencing combat. I need to hand this to a friend who does SCA great sword in fencing.
Published 7 months ago by James F. Rosse II


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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginner's Guide to the Longsword - review..., September 28, 2009
By 
David M. Cvet (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
The book is appropriately titled and therefore, for those indivduals who have no experience in the world of historical fencing and historical martial arts, and who do not wish to delve into the extreme subtleties of any form of historical fighting arts - a "reader's digest" of the art of longsword fencing, this book is for you. For novice practitioners, the book is useful as a review of the fundamentals, important if one intends to "test" at their particular training school or academy. For instructors of historical fencing, this book may offer some new ideas in the approach to instructing their students and therefore, a useful resource in that regard.

The book does not focus on any one particular style of longsword fencing, but does cover the basics, with an excellent presentation on the longsword, its parts and its characteristics. Important information that all novices must internalize, regardless of fighting style studied. Steaphen then moves into combative foundations of posture and lines of attack. He also delves briefly into concepts of movement, measure, distance and tempo - concepts that both novice and experienced practitioners must know well. Steaphen also makes a point of ensuring the reader understands the importance of footwork, the very foundation of all fighting systems. This concept is explained with a series of intuitive images and illustrations aptly describing the basic of the foundations of footwork.

After detailing the basics, he begins the various guard positions, interestingly sourcing the names and the positions from the Italian style documented by the Italian swordsmaster Fiore dei Liberi in 1410. The treatise used as the source was entitled "Fiore di Battaglia". These guards or "poste" are described with plenty of text accompanied with black & white photos which clearly depict the guards described. This section of the book continues with a presentation on a number of simple drills, each drill focused on some specific attribute, such as a drill designed to highlight distance or tempo or parrying.

The book concludes with a good description of appropriate equipment to acquire should one decide to pursue longsword fencing, regardless of the style considered. Suggestions for hand protection include leather gauntlets or hockey gloves or lacrosse gloves, although, it is the opinion of the reviewer that hockey or lacrosses gloves are too bulky to train with, and may introduce training artifacts. The book closes with a basic glossary of terms, useful for the individual who may be considering beginning their journey into the study and training of historical fencing.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intro course in book form., January 4, 2010
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
The coverage of this book reminds me of my first four class introduction to (German) longsword combat at the Higgins Armory, condensed to book form for the Italian Style. I assume that is what Stephen Fick has done here, and based on his class work. I picked this book up for a less expensive look at some of the basics of the Italian style to complement the studies into the German style that I have participated in at Sword in the Scroll in Connecticut. I got a look at the Italian guards, cutting style, some drills and Italian theory.

There is a good amount of discussion about the theory and underlying basics of longsword, such has time and foot work. This is a good and often forgotten part if introducing the sword. I don't agree with all of his assertions, for example where to look, but nothing came out as horribly bad.

The book is not with out problems. The photos have been mentioned by another reviewer. They seem to be two students or assistant instructors grabbed before or after class for quick shots before a wall (NBA sweats, really?). The wall contrast is good, but the models do not look professional. More importantly, in my 2009 printing the photos of two different guards (posta di donna & posta falcone) are duplicated. Also the posta di donna sinestra photograph is described in the text as incorrect. A reshot even if slightly inconsistent photograph would be preferable. Finally, there is an entire chapter concerning gripping the blade. However the pictures of the demonstrators do not show the same hand grips as the close ups.

The Appendixes, are also problematic. Appendix A Head & Face Protection. "You must wear full head and face protection during any sword drill involving another person." Really? Why do none of the pictures in the entire book have a demonstrator wearing face protection? Nor wearing gorgets nor gloves. Some sort of explanation would have been nice. Appendix B discusses types of practice weapons. It gives the majority of space to steel swords, but I think short shrifts wooden practice swords with only one paragraph. This is the least expensive option and the way most beginners start. A high quality pair starts at $120+ while quality steel swords are several hundred each.

For the established practitioner the book is of interest for how another views the art. I would have liked to see more references to differentiate what comes from Fick's experence and what come form the manuals. However I understand that this is an basic beginners book and is beyond its scope.

If you are a beginner, you best option, which the author also states, is to join an established group. If you cannot find one in your area, then at a $17 MSRP this is not a bad book to get a taste of longsword. You'll need at least one friend, and one of you should read through the entire book before you start. (At 144 pages with pictures it goes fast) While there is a logic to the layout, some important information about cutting does not come until late in the book. If you enjoy these basics then you can explore further some of the more in depth books that are available.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Sharp Book!, June 9, 2009
This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
This is an excellent book for martial artists, sword enthusiasts and everyone else who ever dreamed of wielding a sword. It explains fact from fiction in an entertaining way. It gives practical advice on how to use a sword and what to think about as you learn. Steaphen Fick has a clear, pragmatic teaching style,born from years of experience, that resonates throughout the book. The book also talks about Italian sword master Fiore Dei Liberi's treatise from 1409, plus learning guards and cuts in both Italian and English is awesome. I highly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I simply like this book..., July 4, 2013
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
This book is well written, informative and well organized. I enjoyed it so much that I bought two more to give as gifts to several close friends that share my interest in European Martial Arts.

Looking for a solid introduction the Long Sword?

Then look no further...Stephen Fick has hit the mark.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword, January 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
I got this book for my husband for Christmas, he and I have both read it from cover to cover. It gives interesting background on the history of Eastern Europium martial arts and details instructions and illustrations on how to execute many of the basic moves. This book was very helpful in preparing us for our long sword training coarse and the instructor was impressed by how much we already knew.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Introduction, January 1, 2013
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
I appreciate this book for its useful and interesting presentation of basic long sword practices. It helped get me started after I have studied fencing saber for several years.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good for begginer's, December 13, 2012
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
Easy to read and well explained. I think the only thing missing is a organized set of exercises on the end of the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Book, November 5, 2012
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
A nice book for beginners. Does not goes beyond the basics, but it was supposed to be the scope of the book. The only drawback was the models on the pictures, dressed too casual to make an impression.

I live in Brazil and that was my first purchase from Amazon. The Amazon's service is incredible. Really FIVE STARS!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Basic Introduction, July 19, 2012
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This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
I found this book to be a great introduction and a bit less complicated than Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods And Techniques. If you're serious about knowing this--whether to practice the art or to write intelligently about it-- these two books should be enough to make a respectible swordsperson of you.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Concerning the author, June 12, 2009
By 
J. L. Arnold (Pacific Northwest USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Beginner's Guide to the Long Sword: European Martial Arts Weaponry Techniques (Paperback)
I have known the author Steaphen Fick for nearly two decades as our common passion for historical reenactment caused our paths to cross back in 1991. In that time I have witnessed this sword masters journey through the many realms of European martial combat styles from the dainty small sword to full armored combat. I have been in a privileged position to watch his mastery of the many weapons and styles of the sword masters of old grow steadily over the years. Today his expertise in the use of weapons in both combat and tournament ranges many centuries from the early middle ages to the late renaissance and beyond. I have studied under several teachers and experienced armed combat in many reenactment and tournament circles over the years; I can say without a doubt that the teachings I received from Master Fick have served me better than all others combined.

John Arnold
Sword Scholar, historical enactor, and author
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