Ever since visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City nearly ten years ago and laying my eyes on the most beautiful two-handed sword ever created1, I have needed to have something like it. And I've had extra long feders, I've had extra long blunt longswords and I've had bidenhändschwerter – but none of them stayed with me.
Needless to say, when I first learned of the Caino Swords project and had the honour of handling some of their early prototypes I was really excited and signed up for a pre-order of the Doiman model immediately when possible. From what I had seen so far, I knew this would probably be the sword I had been looking for.
Features of the sword
The Doiman feels extremely light and nimble in hand with a very agreeable balance. The sword tracks movement extremely well and overall feels more like a high-end feder than most montanti and larger two-handed swords I'm used to encountering.
The overall quality of the sword seems good and all details seem to be very well thought out. It is obvious that effort has gone into the design of the sword – I don't know too much of the details but their website as well as the information leaflet that came with the sword provide more background on the process.
I know the designers have access to historical swords of similar type but the design is not a copy of any existing sword as far as I can tell. It features the elzetti, the parrying hooks characteristic to the Bolognese two-handed sword, but in a stylised and safely rounded form. The ricasso is wider at the base and tapers slightly towards the elzetti, which I believe is a modern invention, but I like the unique shape it creates. In a way it reminds me of some of the almost futuristic-looking original two-handed swords with a triangular construction around the ricasso, with bars joining the crossguard and the blade under the elzetti.
Even if the MET sword did have small side-rings, I typically hate them and am happy that Caino Swords decided to go with a simpler design leaving them out altogether. ❤
This simplicity provides for a greater variety of ways in which the sword can – and has to be – moved to keep the hands safe. It provides more manoeuvrability and makes the sword lighter. The aim for practicality can perhaps also be witnessed in the relatively narrow crossguard, which is wide enough, but won't get in your way.
Purpose of the sword
I don't see this type of sword becoming a popular tournament sword, but I think the Doiman does have the capacity for it without being too dangerous. The blade has a very good flex and the steel feels good quality, though I haven't really put the sword through any pair practice or free fencing yet.
I see no problem using these for free fencing or sparring, without having to hold back too much, as long as the fencers have some level of training, control and mutual understanding of what they are doing.
Where these swords absolutely shine will be practising Marozzo's assalti. Gone are the days when a feder simply felt too small and light for the techniques, or simply just wrong. Likewise, no more is there need to muscle through an assalto with an overly heavy two-handed sword, all the time knowing that the instructions were clearly written for a sword of a different type.
The Doiman exists for this purpose, and at least for me it opens up a completely new world of lively techniques within Marozzo's Opera Nova and the Anonimo Bolognese.
Once we get to properly use the sword there'll be more updates. You can expect videos and other material dealing with the two-handed sword.
Next weekend we are filming a new sidesword course, something little different from the Fundamentals of Bolognese Fencing course, but more on that as we progress with the shoot and post-production. And if you are not already subscribed to marozzo.com, please consider doing so. By subscribing you will have access to both the existing and all the upcoming courses and you will greatly help us in creating more content.
Some other people have said it already, and I'll second them: the Doiman, and swords like it (should other makers follow suit) are not montantes, and they are not zweihänders or bihänders. You can call them two-handed swords or use the Italian spada da due mane. I'm okay with spadone as well, meaning a great sword, even though as far as I can tell the Bolognese masters never used the term.
If you are serious about studying Marozzo's two-handed sword or the Anonimo, right now I believe the Doiman to be the best tool available. If you have the possibility, I strongly recommend getting one.
Currently Caino Swords also offer a federschwert, but I don't have so can't really review it at this point. I do like the look of it though. Now I can only hope they'll add a sidesword to their offering next. 🤩
You can find Caino Swords at cainoswords.com.
Specifications (from their site):
- Overall length: 148cm
- Blade length: 111cm
- Guard width: 28cm
- Weight: 1.6kg
PS. Given the reputation of original Caino steel, I think the new swords are well worthy of continuing the tradition. If you're curious as to what Caino stands for, there is a book about the history of steel manufacturing in Caino, and the blades they have created there in the past. If you don't read Italian, the book is worth the price just for its pictures alone.
1) Of course this is my subjective opinion, and unfortunately I have never handled this particular sword, nor do I have its specifications. Or even a good picture. Who knows, it might be horrible to wield. 😂 If you have a better picture or the specifications, and are willing to share, please send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to add them and give you credit. I think this sword used to be featured in the online catalogue, but it doesn't seem to be there anymore.