By now any thinking adult should be able to take a look at a sword fight in a movie or a TV show and divine what’s real and what’s created for cinematic effect, but then that would be assuming that everyone has an interest in swordplay and can tell you the difference between a parry and a thrust. In an era where warfare is considered to revolve around guns and missiles that can be launched from remote locations and used to pinpoint a specific target a sword is considered an archaic weapon that doesn’t have a lot of use. Of course for those of us that still enjoy a bit of realism in our movies and favorite shows, and happen to think that the old ways are still entertaining and useful despite being a little outdated, individuals such was the sword master in this clip are valued when it comes to their input since they can take apart a choreographed scene quite easily and tell us just what doesn’t look right and why it might not be entirely accurate. As he states later on in the video though there are moments when realism needs to take a back seat to cinematic enjoyment since there are elements that don’t exist in this world that make a sword fight that much better simply because they’re there.
Speaking from a more technical aspect however there are certain things that one can notice if they look closely enough, such as in the Witcher series when Geralt is walking about in town and about to engage in a fight with several ruffians. Apparently slinging your sword over your shoulder wasn’t really a thing, which makes sense from a certain point of view considering that if transporting the blade from one place to another, putting it in a scabbard on your back made sense. But if you were expecting to fight then clearing a sword from a full scabbard on your back would be highly impractical and could easily result in a quick death. Keeping it in hand or at the very least at your hip would be ideal if the intent was to use it quickly and efficiently. The comments about using it in a backwards grip though will likely confuse some people since they might think it looks cool and is largely unexpected. The problem with such a grip is covered by the expert as when you think of it, your protection is limited since lifting your arm to use the blade to block a high attack leaves your torso open and could possibly expose your sword arm to grievous harm. For a cinematic effect it definitely works since Geralt is one of the baddest warriors walking the beat, but from a practicality standpoint it’s just not that smart.
Another interesting part of the clip is the Bond fight since you don’t typically see James Bond fighting with ancient weaponry and there’s probably a good reason why. Plus, the fact that longswords being used in such a clumsy fashion makes me wish that they’d used Kingdom of Heaven or a similar movie that shows a much more efficient manner for such a weapon. Longswords are, as the expert states, not the huge and ungainly weapons that are used just to bludgeon or hack people to death, as there more to the weapon than just the wide, ranging swings that can look great in the movies but are highly inefficient otherwise. When you think of it, you’re swinging a weapon that can weigh up to ten pounds or more with as much force as you can at your opponent and hoping to score a hit before you start getting tired, and in the process all you’ve done is wear yourself out while making it easier for your enemy to take you down. J. Clements of Arma can tell you more about the history of these weapons. A longsword has more than one point of attack to it, as it can be used to guard and attack in several different ways, not all of which consist of hacking at an opponent until one breaks through their guard.
Even better is the idea of taking on multiple opponents that the expert groans at since in Kill Bill vol. 1 any rational, thinking person would understand that even if there aren’t 88 individuals after Beatrix she would still fall to half that number due to either fatigue or the fact that going one on one with her opponents she usually gets messed up some how, but going one against a couple dozen or more she should have been skewered quite easily. This is where movie magic kind of breaks down in a big way since it tries to convince people that yes, a single person can strike that much terror into the hearts of their opponents that they’ll easily back them off so they can hack at them one or two at a time. Sorry, not realistic, but definitely good theater.