Swords in modern fencing: hits ratio
How many times during the fight does the sword meet another sword and how many times does it hit the opponent, armor or shield?
In this diagram, I tried to show the percentage ratio of hits on the sword and armored opponent.
I divided into sections according to the type of weapon and armor, combat style used today.
I analyzed several dozen duels from the final HEMA fights, large tournaments and fencing schools.
The results are very interesting and show some dependencies. Let`s see:
Longswords, full armor:
- blade-blade hits 57%
- blade-armor hits 43%
Longswords, protective suit (HEMA):
- blade-blade hits 80%
- blade-armor hits 20%
Sword & buckler, full armor:
- blade-blade hits 26%
- blade-armor/buckler hits 74%
Sword & buckler, protective suit (HEMA):
- blade-blade hits 23%
- blade-armor/buckler hits 77%
Sword & large shield, full armor:
- blade-blade hits 22%
- blade-armor/shield hits 78%
We can see that longswords are most often exposed to contact with other blade. Of course that is mainly due to the lack of a shield, increased range, specialized fencing techniques (incl. defence) and the use of full armor. Therefore, it seems very justified to strengthen the cutting edge, e.g. by using hexagonal blade geometry, as in the Passau blades, later: making the blades thicker, longer and narrower.
In the case of a fight with a shield and armor, when you do not need to cover yourself only with a sword, then it is used more for attacking, which reduces blade to blade contact.
You can also notice that full armor gives us comfort and safety in combat. You can focus on attacking instead of defending with your weapon all the time, although this comes at the cost of some limitations, such as visual range or reduced mobility (of course, well-made and fitted armor restricts movement only to a minimal extent).
We have to take into account that these are just modern calculations and they certainly do not give the full picture of what it looked like in the Middle Ages. However, it allows us to see the approximate proportions of what the sword hits during the fight...