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How to Use LARP Swords: 6 Tips


LARP stands for Live Action Role Play. Anyone familiar with this fun pastime knows that LARPing is a great way to get away from the monotony of a dull schedule and enjoy adventures that are larger than life. LARPing takes great deal of imagination, quick wit, fast reflexes, knowledge of techniques, and (most importantly) a quality LARP sword. LARPing consists of engaging in a “pretend” combat using swords and other weapons that are not meant to seriously injure opponents. Role players typically act out adventure-filled and action-packed scenarios and have their own fantastical character and fictional name. The charm of LARPing is the magical way in which an “average” person can morph into a variety of colorful characters: clever magicians, lethal warriors, ruthless assassins, and noble royalty are only a handful of the interesting character options available. In LARP, you can be anything you want to be and enjoy martial arts without worrying about accidentally injuring a teammate or opponent. If you are new to LARPing and want to learn more about how to use a LARP sword, try reviewing the information below. You may be surprised at how quickly you can become a LARP expert by simply taking the time to learn a few of the techniques, tips, and tricks associated with wielding a LARP sword. Grab your weapon and get ready to enhance your LARP skills.


Tip One: Do A Little Planning Before You Start Slicing Things

Before you begin your LARP match (and before you even pick up your LARP sword), it is very important that you have a detailed plan concerning the kind of character you will play, which universe you will be in, and what sort of scenarios may occur. Without a decent idea for a LARP setting, you’ll struggle to enjoy yourself—even if you’re the best LARP sword expert in all the land.


Many LARP games are inspired by famous works of fantasy fiction, such as the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Game of Thrones, etc. If you and your comrades are having a difficult time coming up with a “backdrop” for your LARPing endeavors, try picking up some of your favorite movies, books, or video games to help spur your imagination. If that doesn’t work for you, you may even want to try setting your role-play up in present day or even future civilizations. It doesn’t matter if your ideas are cheesy or overdone; all that matters is that you and your fellow LARP swordsmen have a good time. Use your imagination and enjoy the freedom of choosing who you want to be and where you want to exist; your developing character has limitless opportunities.


One more pointer: be sure to include a healthy dose of conflict in your LARP backdrop. A peaceful adventure is hardly an exciting one. Make sure there are plenty of “good guys” and “bad guys” to fend off or you might end up beyond bored. And remember, if your first try at a LARP setting seems to fall flat, try not to let yourself get too discouraged. After a few more rounds of practicing, you’ll be a pro at spinning off storyline and character ideas.


Tip Two: Choose Your Weapon Wisely

When it comes to choosing a LARP weapon, there are a great many options out there. You can make your own weapons, buy a weapon made of boffer, or buy a weapon made of latex. Generally, you get what you pay for. Latex weapons are at the high-end of the LARP weaponry price range, but they are more weighty, balanced, and ornamented. In order to get a resilient LARP sword that doesn’t fall apart over time, you may want to visit a reputable supplier of online martial arts weaponry and research which items are made of sturdy materials. Who do you think is going to win? Someone with a taped up foam sword or someone with a sleek professional LARP sword? The answer is pretty clear.


Tip Three: Choose a Sword “Style”

Not only do you have to choose the right material, you also have to choose which style of sword best fits your character and gameplay strategy. There are several different kinds of LARP swords; the most popular swords are broadswords, daggers, and scimitars. While broadswords may be difficult to manage for quick slashes, you can bet that the advantages are worth it: strong thrusts and a formidable block. Daggers are not recommended for beginning LARPers, but with a little practice anyone can become an intimidating dagger-user. They are difficult to use because they are not as long-range as the other LARP swords available, which means that you have to get much closer to your opponent in order to strike a blow. Obviously, if you consider your enemy more advanced than yourself, you may want to avoid getting that close to him or her and choose a different weapon with long-range capabilities. Scimitars are in the middle, boasting a decent blocking record and a light weight appropriate for quick slashes and jabs. Blocking with a scimitar is easier than blocking with a dagger; however, a scimitar is not considered a strong blocking weapon.


Practice using each kind of sword listed to get a feel for what you personally enjoy using the most. Take a little time with each weapon to get an accurate “read” on the effectiveness of the weapon in relation to your style of combat (attack/defense). If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, borrow the different swords from friends and decide which one you want to buy so you do not have to spend money on all three.


Tip Four: Practice

Practice, practice, practice! If you want to be good at LARPing, you will not get better by sitting on the couch. Get up, grab your LARP sword, and begin practicing. The best move to master first is that of lunging. Practice a quick lunge into the strike position and make a graceful return to the “en garde” position. Practice developing a LARP mindset as you practice. Be ready for the next “attack” even if you are just standing in your living room lunging at thin air. After learning the moves listed in the next tips, try practicing them over and over again until you feel totally confident with the new moves.


Tip Five: Learn to Block

Blocking may be the most important move in LARPing. If you can’t defend yourself with your LARP sword, you are not going to last very long during a tournament. There are several different kind of blocks you can pull when you are in the middle of a LARP combat. While any kind of LARP sword can perform these blocks, remember that some swords are more effective than others. Three blocks to keep in mind are:

      The hard block. Place the largest part of your LARP sword (the blade forte) directly in the way of the enemy’s strike. The idea is to use the strongest part of your sword to deflect the opponent’s lunge.

      The parry. Parrying involves repeated strikes from your sword to the opponent’s sword. Parrying should be done by striking the midsection of your sword against the opponent’s mid-sword. This can be tricky if your opponent knows a lot of “fancy” footwork. You may want to ask a friend to show you some of their favorite moves when engaging in parrying.

      The beat. This block is what it sounds like: you simply beat the enemy’s sword as heavily as you can when they lunge for a strike. If you get good at doing this, you may throw your enemy’s LARP sword right out of his or her grasp.


Tip Six: Learn to Strike

Now for the fun part. There are many ways to lash out at your opponent successfully. Some of the most basic strikes are listed here:

      The thrust. This move is pretty straight-forward (literally). Simply hold your sword firmly, level it toward your opponent, and make a quick lunge forward. This is one of the easiest moves to perform, but it delivers a “lethal” blow when done correctly.

      The slash. To perform a slash, swing your sword to one side or over the top of your head. This shouldn’t look as haphazard as it sounds. Use a little strategy and figure out how you can best slash at your enemy without making yourself vulnerable to further attack.

If you have a heavier weapon, make sure you practice using it before trying these moves. The weight of your LARP sword can dramatically change how you move on the field.


As you get ready for your first LARP match, try keeping these tips in mind. You’ll see a significant increase in your skill, which means more fun for both you and your teammates. The greater the competition, the easier it is to “get into” the gameplay. With one of your trusty LARP swords in hand, get started on some of the drills and tricks listed above. You’ll be ready for your first match in no time.