Case is how we describe fighting with a pair of swords. It gets that name because often duelists back in the day would have a “case” with two identical swords inside so that everything was fair when you’d have a duel of honor. Just because you are holding a sword in each hand doesn’t mean much changes when it comes to the technical skills of fencing. It’s learning about how to wield both in concert with one another that is the real challenge.
Points of safety
No matter how good of a multi-tasker you might be, splitting your attention between two swords is asking for trouble if you’re not careful. A safe case fighter is someone who can use both swords effectively without sacrificing their skill and safety as they overwhelm their opponents.
- More to Control: With two swords, you have to control a sword in each hand and that can lead to sloppier actions. Especially with your non-dominant hand.
- Brawling: Case fighting tends towards more chaotic and high-energy fights in close range. Remember we are fencing, not boxing.
- Brain, Not Brawn: It is very tempting to use your strength and extra weapons to win the fight. Instead, use your brain and calculate your victory.
The main goal when using case is to use them together instead of getting in the way of one another. You only need one sword to block a strike and you only need one sword to get a kill. So the more you can use both swords to cover different aspects of the fight the better off you’ll be.
- Different Levels & Depths: It is easy to tangle yourself up while wielding two swords. Take advantage of your two weapons by holding them at different levels and depths to keep them free and defend more area.
- Striker Blocker: A common strategy with case is to always have a striking sword and a blocking sword. That allows you to attack and defend at the same time, plus you can always switch their roles as needed.
- Work In Tandem: You will find yourself forgetting one or the other of your swords. Work to use them in tandem, blocking and attacking simultaneously. Using one to create an opportunity for the other.
- Fighting Against Case: Fighting against a case fighter can be scary, but don’t lose your nerve. Play defensive. Control their blades. Your best chance is to retreat when pressed and strike when they are resetting, or strike through their defense as they move in to attack.
- Blocker Striker: With a partner, practice receiving a strike, blocking it with one sword, and then moving in for the kill with the other sword. Repeat but start the maneuver with the other sword.
- Force Your Hand: Take time to develop your skills with both hands. Fight a few bouts using a sword in your left hand and then switch to your right hand. Fight using both your hands often.
- Find a Caller: Find an observant fencer who can watch you fight and call out when you “forget” about one of your swords. Use their calls to train yourself not to forget that you have access to two swords.
What we’re looking for are fencers who use their two swords in tandem. We want to see fencers that are taking advantage of both swords to block and strike. It can be a challenging endeavor to pick up case and use it effectively so it’s going to take some time and a lot of practice. By being able to wield two blades, you’re giving yourself a huge advantage so be willing to commit yourself if it’s something you’re interested in.