18thC Highland Broadsword and Targe

targe

Brief Summary

In the 18th century the broadsword and targe were the signature battlefield weapons of the Scottish Highlander.

The broadsword is a weapon that is held in one hand with a protective basket covering the hand. The blade is usually 30 inches long and double-edged (so that strikes can be made with both the front and back edges), with a sharp point to enable thrusts. Broadswords were not particularly heavy, with most weighing between 2-3 lbs, and were balanced to allow skillful use in both the cut and thrust.

The targe was a small round shield between 18-21 inches in diameter, with both arm straps and handles. It was made from several layers of wood and leather, sometimes with a woolen padding on the back.

There are only a few sources that describe this system, making it more difficult for us to reconstruct it as a modern martial art today. We make some educated guesses and we practice with modern safety gear and training equipment. Safety of participants is a high priority, as is authentic interpretation of this historical system.


Main Sources

- McBane, Donald. The Expert Swordsman's Companion, 1728.
- Page, Thomas. The Use of the Broad Sword, 1746.
- Anonymous, Pennicuik Sketches, 1747.


Equipment

To begin practicing this discipline in the Academy of Historical Arts, you will need the following items:

- synthetic broadsword
- fencing mask
- thin gloves - targe

The links will take you to the appropriate pages on the Corsair's Wares website, where you may purchase the necessary equipment. Buying through Corsair's Wares puts money back into the Academy of Historical Arts so that we can further our educational activities.


Protective Gear Minimum Requirements

According to the AHA Health and Safety Policy, these are the current minimum requirements to engage in activities safely for this discipline. Items marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory, items marked in italics are recommended. Most of these items are available through Corsair's Wares; buying through Corsair's Wares puts money back into the Academy of Historical Arts so that we can further our educational activities.

- drilling with wooden/synthetic swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Hands: thin or preferably well padded gloves (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- sparring with wooden/synthetic swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
* Hands: well padded gloves
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- drilling with steel swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Head: back of head protection (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: padded jacket or gambeson (recommended)
Torso: 350N or preferably 800N rated underplastron (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)
Hands: thin or preferably well padded gloves (recommended)
Legs: knee & shin guards (recommended)

- sparring with steel swords
* Head: CEN level 1 mask
* Head: back of head protection
* Torso: padded jacket or gambeson
* Hands: well padded gloves
* Legs: knee & shin guards
Head: CEN level 2 mask (recommended)
Head: padded mask overlay (recommended)
Neck: rigid throat protector (recommended)
Torso: rigid chest protector (recommended)
Torso: 350N or preferably 800N rated underplastron (recommended)
Torso: groin guard (recommended)
Arms: forearm & elbow protection (recommended)


We have gone to great lengths to ensure that we do not mandate and price people out of the activity. It should always be possible to participate in training, even if only to a lesser degree of intensity. Obviously the more intense and less safe the activity becomes, the more protective gear is necessary to mitigate the risk of harm. You are always welcome to wear more protective gear than the minimum requirements, we will never tell you to remove protective gear (unless it poses a risk to yourself or other participants, for whatever reason).


Useful Resources

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Farrell, Keith. Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926735-1-2.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Roworth, Charles; Ben Kerr and Keith Farrell (eds.). The Art of Defence on Foot, 1798. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926735-2-9.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Angelo, Henry; Ben Kerr and Keith Farrell (eds.). The Guards and Lessons of the Highland Broadsword, 1799. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926735-3-6.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
McBane, Donald; Ben Kerr (ed.). The Expert Sword-Man's Companion, 1728. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, January 2015. ISBN 978-0-9926735-5-0.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Grant, James; Keith Farrell (ed.). Legends of the Black Watch. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, April 2015. ISBN 978-0-9926735-7-4.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Chambers, Robert; Keith Farrell (ed.). History of the Rebellion of 1745-6. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, January 2016. ISBN 978-0-9926735-9-8.

For a comprehensive list of treatises, transcriptions and translations, there is no better resource than the Wiktenauer: http://www.wiktenauer.com/