Global or non-categorized
The use of the body of one's own weapon to catch or parry the body of an opposing weapon.
There are two basic forms of clash:
- Hard clash: Placing both hands on different points of the weapon, blocking with the weapon body between both. This produces a stronger block, but does not usually permit a wide range of counterattacks and has an additional delay for the blocker to readjust grip and return to readiness.
Soft clash: Keeping both hands on the weapon's normal grip point (as with a sword) and catching with a hook, guard, or other feature. This produces a more delicate block, but may allow the defender to counterattack by swinging the blade around the opposing weapon body.
When using most swords, hard clashing is generally avoided unless it is the only intuitive response to protect one's self, as the weapon body used is usually the delicate blade of the weapon or the guard directly adjacent. In addition to hard clashes requiring the defender to hold the weapon by the blade - which may slide under the force of attack and cut them - this causes grievous damage to the sword itself, whose blade is rapidly blunted and may split right in half. When this occurs, not only is the weapon rendered useless, but the breaking attack will likely continue through and still cause injury, potentially along with the wayward fragments of the shattered weapon.
Larger and blunter swords are better suited for hard clashing than smaller and sharper swords, and many legendary or divine weapons such as the Sword of Dreams
are self-repairing and/or will never break.
However, soft clashing is considerably more viable with a sword, and many swords are even designed specifically to improve the function.
- The swords of fencers are thin and flexible, designed chiefly for stabbing or for scraping with the tip of the blade; as a consequence, two opposing fencers soft clash quite commonly, with special attention given to the decreasing leverage power of a sword that contacts further from its guard.
- Swordfighters of Shirin are fond of and particularly skilled with the soft clash, able to initiate and exploit in an instant. Shirinese swords (strongly resembling katana) are often dulled and reinforced close to the guard specifically to better facilitate soft clashes with less damage to the weapon and less risk to the user.
The use of the blunt side of a single-bladed weapon, most iconically a dirk or dagger, in the hopes of resolving combat non-lethally. This is more commonly done with straight blades, as the blunt side of a curved sword is unintuitive to strike with.
Flatsiding is an extraordinarily difficult and unreliable technique that only a scant few overly talented fighters can consistently apply, as generally the opponent is quite happy to kill oneself and any time spent leaving that opponent alive adds additional risk to one's life. In addition, strikes with the blunt side of a weapon can still apply serious injury, and absolute precision is required to exhaust or debilitate an opponent while also maintaining the desired minimal maiming.
In practice, flatsiding is generally applied only when a vastly superior fighter wishes to quickly dismiss a weak challenger, such as a veteran challenged by an eager youngster. It also sees limited use when a fighter is forced into combat with a possessed friend or loved one.
The holding of a sword by both its handle and by part of its blade, roughly halfway down the weapon.
There are at least three reasons to do this:
- To transform the sword into an improvised spear for precise stabbing
- To improve leverage on large swords for stronger, controlled slashes
- To strike with the hilt as though with a mace or hammer
Naturally, there is a risk that the various forces of combat may cause the blade to slide and thus cut the holding hand. In the case of "poleswords" such as Caladbolg
, part of the blade is often intentionally left blunt (ricasso
) to better allow half-swording without injury.
Despite Shirinese swords often leaving the part of the blade nearest the guard blunt, half-swording is uncommon in their sword styles.