Bucklers can be found in any shape, but are typically a modest small-medium size. A strong handle in the back is the key to good grip and control of this defensive side. While bulkier than most other equipment, it can provide a large amount of defense when wielded properly. Consider it a big off-hand. You can use it to block, deflect, and even control your opponent’s blade.
Points of safety
While shields are used largely for hiding from long range attacks, bucklers are of more modest size and used for hand to hand combat. This does not mean that they are used for bludgeoning. Do not hit anyone with it or bash swords too hard. They are usually made from dense wood or metal they can hurt someone if used improperly. Their purpose is to simply defend your body against your opponent’s sword.
- Hard Edges: Bucklers are heavy and have hard edges. They may damage equipment if used improperly.
- Watch Your Grip: Hold the buckler firmly. It will be hit and may jerk suddenly.
- You Aren’t Captain America: Don’t throw or use the buckler forcefully. Do not touch your opponent with it.
Held in your off-hand, a buckler’s primary purpose is to block and/or deflect incoming strikes from your opponent’s sword. It is a quick and light-weight defensive tool that can provide a surprisingly large area of defense. It will serve you the best when held firmly outstretched a good distance from your body.
- Shield Areas: Use your buckler to defend an area, not a point.
- Cone of Defense: The further out your buckler is from your body, the larger area it will defend.
- Fighting Against a Buckler: Don’t just strike the buckler; strike around it as well. As with any side, don’t get distracted by the buckler. Remember that their sword is the offensive weapon.
- Learn to Take a Hit: Hold the buckler and have an opponent strike at it. Practice guiding the blade away from you.
- Just a Big Off Hand: The buckler can be used to deflect a blade away, just like your off hand. Practice deflecting and controlling the blade.
- Bypass the Buckler: Have an opponent hold the buckler and strike at the edges – try to push through the buckler to land a valid shot.
What we’re looking for are fencers who can pick up a buckler and really put it to good use. Bucklers are incredibly effective fencing tools and they are easy to start using. Even if you just hold it in front of you, that can make a big difference. We want to see fencers who actively make it a part of their fights and in tandem with their swords. Additionally, we want fencers who can use it with finesse and control. They can be big, heavy, and tough little shields and if wielded with ferocity, can be quite dangerous.