Equipment

There are a number of good makers of training tools and a few good makers of swords and training swords on the market.  I endorse these particular makers because their quality is exceptional and you get a lot more for your money.  Second, because they are not substantially more expensive.  Third, Albion Swords in particular uses designs based on detailed hands-on research with historical swords in collections in Europe.  Their researcher’s name is Peter Johnsson.  I wish to support his research and Albion’s business by buying, and advocating that people buy their swords.

Swords- Albion Swords, found at http://www.albion-swords.com.  Any serious practitioner of swordsmanship should own a sword and train with it as much as possible.  Though really expensive, custom swords from Peter Johnsson are even better.  His website is: http://www.peterjohnsson.com/.  There are many other custom makers who make excellent and high quality swords.  Be sure to request a weapon based on a thoroughly researched historical design if you use other makers.

Training Swords

Albion Swords again makes the gold standard in Training Swords, I strongly recommend the Albion Liechtenauer, Meyer and Epee de Guerre from their Maestro line.  These can be found at http://www.albion-swords.com.  Arms and Armor also makes excellent training swords, and they are welcome in class, but I prefer Albion because of the depth and quality of their research and because buying these support’s Mr. Johnsson’s work.  Arms & Armor’s Training Swords can be found at: http://www.armor.com/training.html.  Serious practitioners should acquire one of these.

Wooden

Wasters

New Stirling Arms found at: http://www.newstirlingarms.com/shop/.  I strongly recommend all of their “Hand and a Half” wasters.  The term “hand and a half” is not a historically accurate term.  Their “Two Handed” wasters are also approved as they are of dimensions shown in the Goliath manual, and it is perfectly possible to do all the techniques described in Ringeck’s manual with wasters of that size.  These are strictly inferior to training swords and the Liechtenauer tradition in particular makes excellent use of these distinctions and historical evidence from the Liechtenauer tradition is that they chiefly used steel training swords, perhaps exclusively.

Plastic Wasters- After using these alongside wooden wasters for six years I have come to believe that there is one place in which new plastic wasters available online offer us a truly superior training experience, pell training.  Plastic wasters, unlike wooden or steel training swords, won’t permanently deform or break after very long use, or abuse on a pell.  A good source is the Dwarven Smithy: http://web.emerytelcom.net/users/blhunt/sales.htm, but there are others.  I do not endorse Cold Steel’s plastic training swords, they’re a poor reflection of a European sword.  Some might consider these as an alternative to wooden wasters, but in many ways their excessive flexibility offsets the benefits of their lower friction as training tools.  I don’t believe they are superior to wooden training swords for drills or sparring and they aren’t as historically accurate or nice looking.  Either tool is inferior to a good training sword.

Clothing

Ideally you should acquire or make a good HEMA uniform, gambeson, or training jacket, or a replica of historical garments depending on your club’s standards.  Most makers who claim to offer “historical clothing” or “period garb,” don’t actually offer particularly accurate clothing.  Your best bet for historical clothing is to find a local tailor, and get them a pattern from: www.patternsoftime.com.  Which has patterns made from well researched historical garments.  Though the people I’ve worked with have told me that these patterns are somewhat hard to understand for modern people, and are not always the well written.  In general your uniform should have long sleeves, and a short collar, this not only is historically accurate in 99% of the cases, but it helps indicate where slices can and cannot be applied in the historical context.

Shoes

Any kind of shoe with a thin flat sole is fine.  Ideally a historical shoe with a thin leather sole would be used.  These are readily available online from several vendors.