I've trained HEMA for a while (mostly Lichtenauer, some Fiore) and am comfortable with synthetic and steel feders. I'm looking to buy my own steel (blunted of course) and I've found that sites like Kult Of Athena have a category of "stage combat" swords, which it says have slightly thicker-than-average blades (so as to be more durable when taking a beating). I've also noticed that these stage combat swords are often priced a bit lower than feders or other tournament steel.

I'm considering buying a one of these stage combat blades (this one, if you're curious) to train HEMA. It's a few inches shorter and a few ounces heavier than the feders I've used, but otherwise seems decent (EN45 is acceptable steel, right?) I would mostly use it for solo drills and possibly some light partner drills, but I would NOT be doing full bouting or tournaments with it.

People who have done HEMA longer than me, is this a decent sword, or should I really stick to feders?

  • 1
    I can't speak to the particular sword, but my experience with most weapons built for stage combat is that they are not designed for the unpredictable nature of actual sparring, and are therefore more likely to break, splinter, or shatter. Commented May 7, 2020 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


The reason steel feders are so widely used in HEMA is due to them being able to be used safely in partner drills, especially at higher intensity .

Stage combat swords miss the rolled tip and bending in the thrust, instead many of them have rather pointy tips. This makes them really unsafe for partner drills and there have been a number of accidents where people ended up with stage combat swords penetrating their body in very unpleasent ways.

To be totally frank there have been instances of even feders stabbing through hands with open palm gloves, but considering their widespread use and the oftentimes higher level of force when used, those instances are much much rarer.

Also stage combat swords are balanced for stage combat and not for fencing and while some of them have decent balance and handling qualities, many of them don't. Add to this that most people like to use the same sword for solo drilling that they use for partner drills or don't want to buy a second sword for the same purpose / weapon system, it becomes clear why feder use is so widespread.

tl;dr As long as you're only doing solo drill its okay to use a stage combat sword if you like it's handling and you have the money to spare for the luxury of having two swords filling a similar niche.


Stage Weapons Should Not Be Used In Sparring.

Their construction and materials are generally less damage tolerant than their "battle ready" equivalents. This runs the risk of several bad things:

  • The stage sword breaking, possibly harming you or your sparring partner.
  • Lack some safety features (rolled tips, increased flexibility, etc.)

Additionally, they lack veracity. They are too light, have an odd center of balance, and only look the part. Don't use these for sparring!

  • I appreciate the emphasis. Most modern practice swords use a screw design tang, usually extremely narrow even before the screw. Such swords are not suitable for sparring b/c of the weakness of this design vs. traditional tangs.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Dec 10, 2020 at 1:05
  • @DukeZhou I've not heard this particular critique before- I want to investigate it. It is true that threads and quickly narrowing metal can act as weak points, as fracture mechanics is something I know more than the average bear. As far as the "stage" vs "battle-ready" discussion goes, I think this is secondary to the other safety concerns.
    – PipperChip
    Commented Jan 4, 2021 at 15:54

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