Shields come in many different sizes and shapes to accomodate all sorts of preferences. How many of us have quickly thrown together a shield, then to discover in battle that it is of little benefit? When considering shield design, take a minute and consider a few things first. A poorly matched shield to a fighter's style may be the deciding factor in a battle.
Foremost, let's discuss size. Yeah, let's laugh about it first. But now, really stop and think it over. "It's not the size of the boat, but the motion of the ocean". Can this hold true concerning shields? Again, let's think about fighting styles.
A larger fighter may opt for a large shield. This would enable him to stand his ground and easily deflect incoming blows. Movement would be of little concern, as the heavy fighter can stand his ground and absorb hard impacts, waiting for the precise moment to launch his attack. Because of the large protection area, his shield can basically remain in one position most of the time, protecting the entire front of the body and sometimes the head as well. This allows the fighter to concentrate more on attacking. Energy is conserved somewhat since movement is not as necessary, however bearing the weight of the shield alone can be exhausting.
For the swordsman that has a more agile fighting style, perhaps a smaller shield design would be appropriate. A smaller shield may make one feel vulnerable at first, especially if one is accustomed to a larger shield design. The fact is, you are vulnerable! It is movement that will bring balance to the smaller shield. By employing a smaller shield, one will be blessed with less weight to wield. The fighter will be able to move the shield quickly to whatever quadrant is in need. Natural instincts of protecting the body help tremendously here and should not be underestimated. The agile fighter must also use good legwork to possibly avoid incoming blows, as well as to achieving a more advantageous position in which to perform a quick strike. A smaller shield is also less likely to get in the fighter's own way, thus allowing for a wider range of attacks from unpredictable angles. However, it should be noted that all of this movement will require 3 things, energy, energy and energy. Low energy means slow movement. Slow movement equates to a sword in the face. Ouch!
So, in closing, think of the style you wish to employ to help in determining the shield size that is right for you. An established knight may have several shields of different sizes. Each one especially suited for his particular mood, energy reserve, or tactics against a particular opponent.
*** Be kind to your opponent and pad your shield edging. ***
-Sir Victor Rodrigue