The True Two-hander sword, commonly known as the Zweihänder, is separate from the Longsword. The longsword will range from 46”- 54” depending upon height of wielder. Weighing 3 – 4 lbs. Such proportions allow the weapon to be used in a light, extremely alive way. Truly used for unarmoured or lightly armoured combat. A sidearm in war. For when one is wearing harness it will fall to ones grappling abilities with sword or anything, over ones sword abilities, regardless of the use of the swords point, cross and pommel. As war always leads to a press of sorts. The True Twohander will range from 55”- 75+”. War swords must be separated from ones for ceremonial purposes, parade, etc. War swords which will carry better weight, balance and heft. A functional sword will weigh from 4-9lbs. Perhaps slightly more, as one can assume a variation of body types. Bet never variation in the properties of physics attached to an inanimate object. Always remember, when striking: Double the weight of an object, double the energy. Double the speed, quadruple the energy. Always remember: The cut applies in a slightly different way. The Two-hander is an amazing cutter, stop striking if all parties expose flesh.
The function of such a sword is disputed. Yet I believe the answer to this is simple. Never listen to scholars when it comes to such things. Never look at the Hema “community” as such. The quality and standards vary vastly. There is no central authority or standard. Be careful who you associate such martial arts with… The smaller swords measuring around 5’, such as the Scottish claymore, will be used as powerful longswords in war and duel. The same true of the larger swords, yet with increased specialization. It is said in war that such a weapon would often be a compliment to the pike formation, in addition to ballistics. That such men would skirmish slightly ahead, disrupting the enemies formation with chaos amongst the pikes. My understanding is, then choosing to half sword when falling into the “press”. The half-sword an immense strength of this weapon. One could imagine if two fully disciplined unharassed pike formations crashed it would be horrendous, or what the renaissance named “bad war”. When you win, it is best to win quickly.
Many will say this weapon has no place in the duel, or unarmoured combat. I believe it does. Practicing with such a weapon greatly enhances ones power. The Two-hander sword requires great training and understanding. It must be mastered in addition to the Longsword. When training one should focus on becoming powerful of body. Focus upon rooting your stance to the earth, un-pushable. As you step, step deeply, remain low. Do not move up and down as you step. Move slow and fast, remain smooth. Allow the technique to control itself. Strength is in your hips and torso. Extend your arms far, shoulders and hands equally high. Do not drag, it will lead to defeat. Practice large swings in a high repetition fitness way. Embrace body memory while using large proportions, fully extended arms. The heart of the fighting does not lie in swings. And as Hema Longsword fighting truly is: very strange in appearance to what one will call sword fighting. The Two hander takes this to the next extreme. Thus making it extremely capable in a duel. Always find the cut. The cut from bind… Never shy from the bind or cross guard and lugs, this is were the sword shines. The thrust is powerful and carries surprise, yet if a talented cross finds you, beware, step back quickly or bind upon the lugs… Striking and swinging can be justifiably daunting to ones opponent, yet equally dangerous to the wielder. Master your body… When one trains with this constantly, the weapon obviously become lighter. In feel, not in physics: always remember this about weapons and people: measuring strength and weakness properly, without false ego conceived notions of strength within modern society. The weapon becomes light, yet more importantly, the stances balanced, the shoulders stone, the torso and hips a tree trunk, the legs a mountain, the sword moving in absolute stillness. After such mastery, one can apply explosiveness and fire, as one would with a longsword. Only after mastered… In such a way, a masterfully created True Two-hander, wielded by one who is a master of the sword, may be his preference in a duel. A truly misunderstood and extremely capable weapon.
A recommended book would be the “Goliath” fightbook. Which displays fighting with the True Two-hander. The weapon is used as a longsword with some variation, and as such one should focus on Meyer. All Hema books are recommended, for both good and bad, to come to a complete understanding. The illustration in the opening depicting David and Goliath is said to be for unknown reasons. I agree that of course it is a play on words towards swords the height of men. Yet, more importantly. It is a mythological, a very real reminder to have courage in the face of overwhelming odds. Something to keep in your heart as you practice. Something that such a sword excels at. For the blade carries a constant reminder of death, mythology a promise of freedom beyond death.
Pictured is an oak Two hander I created: 75”, 53”blade, 18” cross guard: