Our primary source is Christian Tobler's impressive interpretation of Liechtenauer's (14c.) German Longsword school. In addition, we encourage play and study using techniques from Fiori dei Liberi, Meyer and Talhoffer.
We provide Longsword basics as part of the Basic Swordplay Skills class that runs throughout the indoor season. We also provide individual instruction and free sparring as part of our normal club activity.
We use hickory weapons from Purpleheart Armoury. Some members are experimenting with plastic swords, but we wish to keep these separate, fencing wood vs. wood and plastic vs. plastic until we know more. We find that frequent oiling (linseed) and careful technique in use keeps the wood in pretty good shape.
Aside from clean footwear and legwear of whatever style, our typical uniform for German Longsword is a T-shirt, a pair of leather gloves and a pair of lightweight safety glasses. The lack of serious protective equipment keeps us careful. Some members are wearing heavy gloves to minimize damage to hands.
Manner of play
The theoretical target is the entire person. Although strikes that would obviously end a real fight are the best "score," we cannot dismiss even minor blows to the hands and arms. Generally, no blows are allowed to actually strike the target. Instead, we play for the "checkmate" – when the weapon gets through the defense and demonstrates a real threat to open target, the opponent acknowledges. An exception to the no-touch-blow rule is a soft landing on the belly or other non-bony parts of the body.
The techniques include firmly grasping the opposing blade or hilt to the point of a disarm, wrestling moves from Fiori, like "pushing the elbow," and simulating nasty unarmed combat techniques (just mimed; no contact with fists, elbows or knees). Painful experience, however, keeps us from going too far in this direction. We play on a hardwood floor, therefore any trips or throws must be done carefully. It's considered best to merely demonstrate that the throw would probably succeed.