Time to liven things up by talking about one of my favorite things: how to kill people.
Or more precisely, the tools used to do so.
This week we have the Rapier.
The Rapier is a single handed (meaning you only hold it with one hand) blade used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. It is a long straight blade, which makes it good for thrusting, but it is also double edged and has the blade mass to make a nasty cut. Rapiers can be warn on the hip, normally with a 'frog' to give the sword the right angle (you need the sword at an angle so your not tripping over it all the time.
The proper way to tell how long of a rapier you need is to put the tip on the ground between your feet and the cross piece (the part where the blade ends and the handle begins) should be right at your belly button. That being said, I wouldn't want a blade much longer then 36 inches. It becomes too awkward and slow.
The rapier is my weapon of choice when it comes to single handed swords. It's not all that heavy, my steel waster (practice blade) is only 2lbs. Though after an hour of practicing it feels much heavier. My sword has a swept hilt (similar to the one in the picture). I prefer the swept hilts. They are not only beautiful, but actually protect the hand quite well. You can find a good number of pictures here.
Of all the smaller swords I think the rapier is the most versatile when it comes to fighting against other weapons and styles. If the balance point is set in the right spot (I like mine 1-2 inches above the cross) then it's fast, but it also has enough power to cut to the bone (and through it if your cut is lined up right). And if it is used with a a dagger in the off hand (the non sword holding hand), then it's quite a force to be reckoned with.