Pardon my ignorance, since I have little knowledge of the Western traditions of sword arts. I train in Filipino arts however, which were influenced by 16th -19th Century Spanish fencing as well as a blending of earlier Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese and native traditions. At any rate I have a colleague at work who practices rapier fencing. He swords are long and his technique emphasizes thrusting, although there is some slashing and blade work. By contrast, most of the Filipino sword work I've seen uses shorter, broader blades, emphasizing cutting more than stabbing, although there is plenty of that too. I get the impression that the blades I've been exposed to may be more akin to a Western cutlass. That would make sense since the majority of Spaniards arriving in the Philippines would have been sailors, and I've heard that the cutlass was used aboard ships for close-quarters fighting. I don't know what sidearms were used by soldiers of that period, or how these various different weapons would fare in combat against each other? Generally, I've always felt that the longer weapon has an advantage if there is room to use it, but then again I've seen the Wing Tsun Bart Cham Dao or short "Butterfly Swords" defeat a nine-foot "long pole", so clearly other factors come into play. Any input would be appreciated!