Carl Fryday - 09 Feb 2014
The one I have played with was a bit more flexible in the cut than I prefer. It is very strong in the mezzo and forte. It has good balance and weight. The posts on the hilt are a bit short, but do offer some protection on the outside line. The steel of the hilt, typical of those from Darkwood, is soft enough to take a nick quite easily. I would recommend a higher carbon steel with a good heat treating for the hilt and a round pommel as well. Both of those would increase the cost of the overall sword. The pommel you can get from Darkwood, so that's an easy fix. Over all, I would recommend this sword.
Philipp Selman - 11 Feb 2014
After spending a couple of days putting this rig through its paces, I have to say that this isn't just a marvelous Destreza trainer, it's a fantastic all-around sword. You can tell by looking at it that the forte isn't going anywhere, but the overall geometry of the blade doesn't become apparent until the first time your opponent connects with the mezzo and feels its rebar-like unyieldingness. And yet there's just enough flex in the foible that it's a safe weapon to use at speed. The balance is also a thing of beauty, both allowing the sword to float effortlessly in the hand yet providing enough natural momentum to make executing movements of conclusion and other cuts smooth and controllable. And your opponents will thank you for the rounded edges of the blade, which take the sting out of even the occasional heavy-handed cut. The guard offers sufficient hand protection against incidental contact, yet it encourages defense to be an active part of your fencing so you don't grow complacentósomething few swordsmen I know can honestly say they don't need to practice regularly. And for the money, you really can't beat complain about a sword like this.
Dmitry Korovkin - 18 Dec 2014
After about a year of using Destreza, I'd like to say this: - Sword is well balanced and feels very well in hand. - Blade itself is quite robust and while it can be nicked, the nicks at not deep and can be easily fixed. It is flexible enough to be safe and stiff enough to be well handled. - Plastic grip is durable and works well. - The guard I found softer than I would like and it was accidentally deformed in a sparring.
Connor Chamberlain - 16 Feb 2017
After having this blade for over half a year now and having gone to competition with it twice I have to say this is overall a very good blade for practicing and fighting side sword. I do however have a few complaints that have shown up over use. First off the plastic handle was really uncomfortable until I sewed a leather wrap onto it. The plastic would become very hard to hold very quickly if you were working without gloves and made using the blade hard. The other issue I found was the softness of the guard. While the blade has held up really well to heavy cuts even from longswords, the guard has taken some heavy pitting and the knuckle bow was bent onto the pommel the first day of heavy sparring. On the good side the blade feels great in the hand and is nimble enough to deal with and even train rapier (though it is a bit short for that). Even with the soft steel of the guard it protects your hand very well and hasn't distorted past that small bend of the knuckle bow. One last thing is my blade came with a slight S shaped set in the blade, it is minor and doesn't show during sparring. The set hasn't gotten worse over the half year of heavy use (8 hours minimum fighting other blades a week) so I assume it was probably just a slight off on my blade.
Ryan May - 01 Dec 2017
Iíve been using a DA Destreza for the last two years and overall Iím impressed with its performance, but I do have a few minor criticisms. My issues with the sword is that if youíre wearing Red Dragon or similar gloves, the size of the knuckle bow is restrictive. Given that the furniture is also made out of mild steel, it only took a few bouts for it to be bent towards the pommel and made it slightly more restrictive. When I purchased mine the edges of the blade werenít rounded and I had to spend 45min with a rough file rounding them off. Besides those criticisms, the sword is amazing. Itís very flexible in the foible which makes it safer for thrusting and nice and stiff in the forte for parrying. It feels nice in the hand and the heavy pommel brings the balance nice and close to the hand for good point control.
Chase Driskell - 03 Dec 2017
I am a HEMA practitioner out of a group that studies Joachim Meyer and is experimenting with Bolognese sidesword and I.33 sword and buckler. Accordingly, I was looking for something of an all-purpose sidesword or one handed trainer that could handle something of each of those styles and mixed weapon bouts against longswords in particular. I found it in this trainer. About the sword proper - The blade is about 37" long, with a point of balance at approximately 5" above the cross. The photos on the page do not do the blade itself justice - it is heavier and more durable than it looks from what you see here, so take note accordingly. The blade is 3/16 inch thick at the thickest point on the strong, tapering down to 1/8 inch at the tip to give you an idea of the dimensions. We tested this against Regenyei longswords in freeplay and it has enough blade presence to achieve an overbind easily on those longswords even against some pressure. If you do buy it, it will be heavier than expected from the photos, and feels like a great cutter and thruster. Be prepared for a forearm exercise, as the blade presence can work against a fencer who isn't accustomed to a heavier single handed blade. Pros: Good blade presence, POB 5" helps with cutting. Enough room to use fairly large lacrosse gloves (if you finger the ricasso as in Bolognese sidesword). Thick rounded off edges on the strong and the weak of the blade. Cons: the metal on the upper part of the cross is rough, so if you finger the ricasso, wear gloves or file it down. Doesn't come with a protective cap for the tip, and tip is not spatulated, so invest in a cap in order to protect your training partners before taking it into anything but solo training. I gave this a 4/5 for a rating because it was somewhat rough on the top part of the cross, immediately adjacent to the blade and it does not come with a cap for the tip, but this is something that I had members of my study group practice with and nearly all of them (Meyerites) liked it. This is one we would invest in as a beginner sidesword trainer and for mixed weapon bouts, as it seems to handle medium intensity sparring well!