• Philipp Selman - 30 Apr 2014

    Having previously purchased a Destreza Training Sword, I already knew I was going to love the blade itself. The balance and distribution of mass are exceptional, and the distal taper both reinforces the forte and puts the flex in the foible where it belongs. These are qualities you're not likely to find in even an expensive trainer, let alone such an affordable model. So, lets move on to the guard. While the Bilbo guard itself may lack the aesthetic appeal of Darkwood's pierced plates, there's something reassuringly solid about the feel of this design. Mine has already taken a few healthy beatings and is holding up admirably, and I can tell it's going to be in my collection for many years. The spacing is delightfully broad, especially for guys with big hands, but the coverage is more than adequate, offering plenty of protection when wielded off hand. At the same time, for as substantial as it is, the Bilbo guard doesn't offset the balance of the rig very much maintaining the versatility of the Destreza Training sword for both thrusting and cutting. And when you're doing moderate to full-speed cutting, that extra hand protection sure pays off. So, if you're on the fence between this or the standard Destreza Trainer rig, and you plan to do fast-paced cut and thrust combat, I'd suggest spending the small amount of extra cash—your hands are worth it!