Bastard sword in SCA Combat



Footwork is just as, if not more, important than bladework for bastard sword.  Basic footwork can be broken down into the following:

Passing step

One foot passes the other while moving, like walking forward or back.

Move the foot that is "passing", then pivot the planted foot to the correct angle-so, assuming a right foot lead, one would step forward with the left,  then the right foot would pivot on the ball of foot to achieve the correct 45-90 degree angle. To pass backward, just reverse the instructions.

Gathering step

Much like a fencing lunge or footwork for a western boxing jab- to gather forward, extend the lead foot, then drag the trailing foot forward until you are back in a balanced stance.

To gather backward, reach back with the rear foot, then drag the lead foot back until you regain your stance.

Offline step

It's very important to not always be directly in front of your opponent.

Always step with the foot in the direction you want to go-start with the right foot to step offline to the right, start with the left foot to step offline to the left.

Stepping across will often put you off balance or present your back to your opponent-usually a bad thing.

Think of these as a sideways gather step.


Think of yourself as a gate-one foot is the hinge, it stays planted while your other foot and body rotates around it.

Drag your rotating foot, it helps you keep your balance, and if you have to stop or get run into, you want to have both feet on the ground.

Practice until you can rotate 180 degrees smoothly, quickly, and always in balance.

* Footwork must be done in combinations, just like bladework.  For example, stepping forward and throwing a blow at an opponent is fine, but if you can gather forward to close distance, then step offline to the right and pivot out while throwing a blow, you have a better chance of hitting and not getting hit.

** On running backwards... It will happen at times, especially against sword and shield fighters. You want to avoid running straight back.  Practice sidestepping, running a "J" pattern where you take a few steps and then veer off to one side or the other.  Practice going in circles.  Picture yourself running from an opponent... your chest is facing them as you run backwards- this means you are running straight back.  Now, turn your body so that your shoulder is facing them.  Now, although you are still running backwards, you are running perpendicular to their motion.  You can now run backwards in a CIRCLE.  Switch sides and run that circle in the other direction.

Don't be afraid to run AT them.  Step forward and 45 degrees offline, this will often cause them to run past you. Feel free to hit them in the back of the head.