One of my go-to tournament arming swords is the Full-Contact I.33 Sword by Regenyei Armory. I first purchased this sword back in 2018, and unfortunately, it finally broke while sparring at the end of 2023. This sword has been a workhorse for me through the years, and I am excited to review it for you today!
Below is a table including the measurements I took of my sword I purchased in 2018 and my 2023-purchased sword. I also included the reported measurements from Purpleheart Armory and HEMA supplies converted from cm to in. Note that the measurements of the 2018 sword were taken after years of use and after the sword was broken.
This sword has been one of the most durable swords used in my class and proved to be low maintenance. One of the advantageous of this sword and why I suspect it gets the “full-contact” label by Regenyei is the blade construction which lacks a fuller and has well-rounded edges. The lack of fuller makes cleaning the blade simple because it is a flat surface. The rounded edge reduces the chance of chips and burs forming. After nearly 5 years of use, I have never had to file the edge of the blade for safety purposes. The 2018 blade is still generally smooth after years of use as seen in the following image.
However, the sword is not invulnerable. The first issue that occurred was the crossguard becoming loose. This happened because the handle's wood core was compressed and chipped enough to free the crossguard. I tried to extend the handle with leather spacers and attempted to use washers to secure the crossguard, but eventually, it would come loose again. However, this has occurred with most of my arming swords from various makers given enough time.
Another issue was that the wrap on the handle eventually had to be replaced. This is a common issue for cord wraps because they begin to unravel once they are struck and the cord is cut. Brittany Saint Leafy has an excellent video on re-wrapping a cord wrap on a sword that one of my students has used. I opted to use a leather wrap to replace the cord wrap, which did not have to be replaced after being applied.
The sword ultimately broke from a strike against the pommel from a Regenyei messer that sheared the pommel from the blade. Since the sword is peened, repairing it was not possible without serious blacksmithing. This was not the first strike against the pommel the sword had received, so it was likely just multiple strikes against the pommel that eventually led to the failure.
At the time of writing this review, in the United States, the sword can be found at Purpleheart Armoury for $240.00 plus shipping and handling. Alternatively, the sword can be found for $300.00 plus shipping and handling at HEMA Supplies.
The Full-Contact I.33 Sword by Regenyei Armory is about as simple as a sword can get in HEMA. Without a fuller and with the blade being flat, the sword loses a great deal of aesthetic value. While the sword is balanced well and feels like other swords I have, the Full-Contact I.33 Sword lacks the look of a sword to a certain degree especially when compared to Regenyei’s other I.33 swords available.
Feel and Handling
While this sword lacks some features that make it look more like a sword, the handling of the full-contact I.33 sword certainly feels like a sword. This sword handles like the Standard I.33 Arming Sword I by Regenyei, which features a diamond profile on the blade. The sword has a great binding presence while effectively being weighted for cutting and thrusting actions. With the tapering of the blade, the sword is well balanced while still having enough weight and feeling to feel present in the hand. While using this sword, you can feel how it is moving and the responses in the bind, making it very effective for executing I.33 techniques.
The blade also has some flexibility to protect fencers when receiving a thrust. However, like many arming swords, the flex is not as much as seen in the longer feder blades of longsword in HEMA.
Commentary on it being a “I.33 Sword”
This sword is excellent in binding and can execute cuts and thrusts. The crossguard is a great size for keeping the sword hand safe while not getting in the way of buckler actions when the hands are kept together. I have had no problem executing I.33 techniques with this sword and have chosen to use this sword over others in HEMA tournaments.
However, One of my bigger pet peeves in HEMA gear is advertising a sword for a specific system. Regenyei advertising this sword as an “I.33” sword is like Albion advertising their “I.33” sword or other companies making “Fiore” swords.
For new fencers, it can be helpful to be directed to a specific sword for their study source. However, this type of marketing can also give the wrong impression of what swords can and cannot be used for I.33. it also can present the wrong impression that this sword can only be used for I.33 techniques instead of other sword and buckler techniques like Paulus Kal.
From a historical perspective, the art in the manuscript is not consistent enough to pinpoint a specific Oakeshott sword typology. Furthermore, the late 13th century to the early 14th century, when the manuscript was likely written, was a period of quite a large amount of variation in the traditional arming swords that are available. David Rawlings has an excellent video discussing this topic that I recommend for more information.
Can this sword be used to execute I.33 techniques? Yes. Is this THE sword shown in the I.33 manuscript? Even if the full-contact I.33 sword had a diamond profile like the standard I.33 sword I by Regenyei, the answer would be inconclusive based on the art and the swords available at the time.
Who I recommend it to
When compared to the $225.00 Type XVI sword by VB currently available at Purpleheart Armoury, the Full-Contact I.33 Sword is a great arming sword at any fencing experience level. I would recommend this sword slightly over a Type XVI sword by VB because of the variability discussed in the product review for that sword. However, this sword may not be for everyone due to the lack of fuller and simple aesthetics. That being said, do not make the mistake of assuming the lack of aesthetics translates to not feeling like a real sword. This is a great training arming sword.
For tournaments, I have been switching between my standard I.33 sword I by Regenyei and the full-contact I.33 sword by Regenyei. While I like the look of the standard I.33 sword more, the blade has a habit of getting chips and burs that I need to file out before and after use.
This highlights the main advantage of the full-contact I.33 sword for HEMA tournaments: the durability. In tournaments, various swords of different steels and weights are used, and this sword has proven to take a beating while still not damaging the blade. The sword has kept its shape with minimal damage, even against strong cuts aimed at breaking through my defense. The sword’s weight and handling allow me to execute the techniques I study, which makes it an easy recommendation for all HEMA practitioners at all levels.