Red Dragon Armoury is a UK based designer and manufacturer of affordable HEMA gear. HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) is a growing community of dedicated martial artists recreating the techniques and traditions from the fighting schools of Europe. These disciplines include work with the longsword, single-hand sword and buckler, dagger, wrestling and more. In addition to localized study groups armored and un-armored (blossfechten) tournament fighting is being held in several large annual events all over the world. Red Dragon Armoury is dedicated to bringing these groups affordable and safe gear that is suitable for a wide range of pursuits.
Rawlings Synthetic Sparring Swords
Developed in conjunction with Dave Rawlings, founder of the London Longsword Academy and the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) community, our new line of polymer sparring swords is rapidly finding favour with European broadsword sparring enthusiasts. Made in the UK, the swords are crafted in a special-purpose high-impact polymer and provide a more realistic replacement for the wooden waster for drilling and pell work, at the same time providing a safer alternative for the steel blunt in contact sparring when used with appropriate protection. This range of swords is now standard in three of the largest HEMA competitions in the world and is constantly being adopted for other smaller competitions and tourneys.
The blades are designed to flex in the last one-third of their length towards the tip, allowing for much safer thrusting than with conventional wooden wasters or shinai. The blade/tang joint is reinforced by a high tensile steel rod running along the full length of the handle, so removing the handle flex typically associated with plastic training swords.
The new synthetic swords have been developed by HEMA practitioners for HEMA practitioners, using our experience of the last decade of training and competition. They behave more like original steel swords than other plastic swords, and they handle more like antique swords than many of the steel replicas out there. Being plastic, they offer far greater safety than steel weapons. This increased safety, coupled with realism, should enable us to take our arts to the next level, particularly in competitive bouting. – Matt Easton Schola Gladiatoria -UK
The swords are modelled using dimensions similar to those seen on existing historical pieces and reinforced high-impact polymer is used in the standard guard and pommel construction. The ball shaped quillon finials and rounded pommels of the Longsword and Single-hand sword are designed for sparring safety, as are the pommel and basket of the basket-hilt sword.
The grips are manufactured from a rubber-like thermoplastic elastomer, designed to absorb the impact of strikes and to provide a tight fit on the tangs.
These synthetic swords are about two-thirds of the weight of a steel-bladed sword, heavier than most wooden wasters on the market but still having less impact than a steel sword, thus lowering the impact when sparring. The swords are well-balanced with a slight bias towards the hilt, again reducing the force of impact.
The new sparring range is something we have been waiting and hoping on for many years. The first mass produced, affordable and realistic western martial arts simulators available will allow the Western martial arts to be a lot more accessible, whilst allowing our current members to train to very high intensity levels whilst remaining safe.
This new range of training swords will transform what we do in the club, bringing beginners and advanced students together and allowing us much more flexibility for melee games and scenario based training, as well as full contact tournaments, they really cannot come soon enough!
– Michael and Nick Thomas, Instructors of the Academy of Historical Fencing – UK
As a result of requests for a sword with a weight closer to that of a steel-bladed sword, optional steel guards and pommels are available for the Longsword. These modify the weight and balance without compromising the lower-impact properties of the sword.
A key feature of the swords is their ease of assembly and disassembly which, when combined with the range of color options available for all of the interchangeable components, allows for customization of individual swords. Additionally, this disassembly feature makes for easy transportation. A brass nut is molded into the pommel, providing a tight metal on metal joint to the tang and compressing the slide-on grip against the guard.
These synthetic-bladed swords also provide an excellent option for theatrical use, being inherently safer than steel or aluminum. The variety of interchangeable parts also provides an economical means to create many different styles of sword on a single blade.