In my day job, I work for a company that sells everything from beginner guitars to the gear you’d need to outfit a professional recording studio or full-scale performance venue, and one of the things I learned early on is that there’s no substitution for the right tool. Sure, you can make due with inadequate gear, but eventually, the compromises become habits, and the results you get just aren’t going to satisfy you.
And with that in mind, my ever-present training companion Marshall and I began our intensive journey into the world of I.33 sword and buckler some time ago, using hacked down rapier blades mounted on makeshift hardware, and full of determination that this was going to work… for now. Actually, in retrospect, I’m surprised how well we made it work, considering the blade geometry, balance, and weight was totally wrong. To combat these shortcomings, we agreed to work slowly, never cresting a speed that couldn’t easily be matched by the other’s.
I’ve handled more than a few arming swords by now, and I’ve certainly done my homework, so when I received my pair of Hanwei Tinker Pearce Single-handed Swords, I objectively knew I was getting the Honda Civic of arming swords (not the BMWs made by Paul Binns or the… Jeeps? made by Darkwood and Castille here in the US), but I needed two and they fit the budget. I say I objectively realized the difference because subjectively, even a Civic feels like a Cadillac when the alternative is a Vespa.
Suffice it to say that my first experience free sparring with these was extremely positive. The feel is great, they handle elegantly, and many of the techniques that should have been easy to pull off finally started to feel natural. The biggest difference was the flat of the blade, which plays an important role in the bind you don’t experience nearly as much with a rapier/side sword. So, while I hope to soon compare these swords to a higher-end model, for now, I’m really quite impressed and feel exactly zero buyer’s remorse.
Note: This was written shortly before receiving my Castille Arming Sword. Full review/comparison coming soon.