- Feb 2019
- Pennsylvania, US
I've never studied fencing, but it seems like it's more of a gentlemanly sort of fight - more about drawing blood that killing someone... but some of the principals are the same, I'm sure. The guy who teaches this arming sword class I take does fencing, and he constantly reminds everyone that it is technique, tempo and speed (though speed directly can relate to strength) that will cause you to overcome your opponent. I also notice that proprioception and kinesthesia seem to make for better overall performance in class.My sister studied fencing in college and she was pretty good at it. She said that physical strength was of no importance in sword play: in fact, someone flailing about (ala Zorro) would surely be cut to pieces because a sword is kept in a very small "box" to protect the chest. A viking sword weighed 2-4 lbs. (usually on the lighter side) which is not at all too heavy for a woman. S/he would have carried a shield in the other hand to ward off arrows and axes.
In Western fighting styles, there is an advantage to strength and height - in other fighting styles (Krav Maga, Ju Jitsu, Aikido, etc) you can use your opponent's height and weight (muscle mass) to undo them. I don't think there is any reason to believe that Vikings fought any differently that any other Western style... but the truth is that they were taller and better fed then their contemporaries, so what seems short to us would have seemed pretty tall at the time... especially compared to the skeletal remains of people in Britain (just as a reference, where the Great Army mass grave was found with something like 20% of them female bodies).