The Cold Steel synthetic rondel dagger is a good training tool if you want to practise 15th century dagger fencing according to the source material from that period. It is a cheap and cheerful tool and it looks the part while being acceptably safe for training purposes.
This review: motivation and transparency
I have used this dagger simulator at a number of events and lessons, and I wanted to make a formal review of my experience with it.
The dimensions are as follows:
- total length: 43 cm
- blade length: 29 cm
- grip length: 11 cm
- weight: around 160 g
The dagger looks very much like the rondel daggers we see in the artwork in 15th century fencing treatises.
Weight & Handling
The dagger simulator is light, but maybe not much lighter than a steel dagger might be. It handles perfectly well for training the 15th century rondel dagger fencing techniques.
The blade is not very flexible. By measuring the dynamic flexibility using the method outlined in this article, the measurement is 10.7 kg, which surprised me a little – I was expecting a stiffer reading.
The point is thickened into a reasonably large and round ball. Due to the rigidity of the blade and how close the point is to the hand during a thrust, thrusts are not very comfortable. Control is definitely needed if you are practising in a t-shirt, and you really should be wearing a fencing mask or at least some protective goggles – don’t give in to the temptation to train without any face protection because it is “just a plastic dagger”.
These training rondel simulators can usually be found for around £20 to £30 in the UK, although stock is often limited.
The Cold Steel synthetic rondel dagger is a good training tool for HEMA people who work with the 15th century German dagger treatises. It is rigid enough to be functional in the defences, and it makes a number of concessions for safety in the thrust. It is not a perfectly safe training tool, and you do need to wear face protection and to go at a measured and controlled intensity unless you gear up completely.
This is my preferred training tool when teaching lessons on dagger fencing.
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Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.