Worst-Case Wednesday: How to Win a Sword Fight

Posted by Marissa Stern

Just because Game of Thrones finished its fourth season and won’t return to our TVs for only the gods know how long doesn’t mean it’s totally over.

Suppose you’re yearning for that excitement of watching one of the epic sword fights and that suspense of not knowing what’s going to happen, and you decide you want to have a sword fight of your own. Or, someone else is feeling this way and challenges you to a duel (you never know).

Whether you have a tiny poker like Arya Stark’s Needle or a big ol’ slab of Valyrian steel, you also have The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook to lead you to victory. And if all else fails, just remember to stick your opponent with the pointy end. Read on to find out how to win a sword fight:

Always keep your sword in the “ready” position—held in front of you, with both hands, and perpendicular to the ground. With this method, you can move the sword side to side and up and down easily, blocking and landing blows in all directions by moving your arms. Hold the tip of the sword at a bit of an angle, with the tip pointed slightly toward your opponent. Picture a doorway—you should be able to move your sword in any direction and quickly hit any edge of the doorframe.

How to Deflect and Counter a Blow

1. Step up and into the blow, with your arms held against your body. React quickly and against your instincts, which will tell you to move back and away. By moving closer, you can cut off a blow’s power. Avoid extending your arms, which would make your own counterblow less powerful.

2. Push or “punch” at the blow instead of simply trying to absorb it with your own sword. If a blow is aimed at your head, move your sword completely parallel to the ground and above your head. Block with the center of your sword, not the end. Always move out toward your opponent, even if you are defending and not attacking.

How to Attack

1. Move the sword in steady, quick blows up and down and to the left and right. Assuming you must disable your attacker, do not try to stab with your sword. A stabbing motion will put you off balance and will leave your sword far out in front of you, making you vulnerable to a counterblow.

2. Do not raise the sword up behind your head to try a huge blow—you will end up with a sword in your gut.

3. Hold your position, punch out to defend, and strike quickly.

4. Wait for your attacker to make a mistake. Stepping into a blow or deflecting it to the side will put him/her off balance. Once your opponent is off balance, you can take advantage of their moment of weakness by landing a disabling blow, remembering not to jab with your sword but to strike up and down or from side to side.