It is possible to spend thousands of pounds on training gear. Possible, but unnecessary. There are sword-like-objects everywhere, and all sorts of conditioning opportunities that do not require expensive equipment. I’ve shot a short video discussing some of the options as part of the Solo Training course. (Which you can get for 4% of the original price for the duration of the pandemic. And if you need it but can’t afford it, email me and I’ll give it to you for free.)
The key points as I see them are:
1) Swords are labour saving devices- they make it easier to hit more effectively from further away. Fitness equipment is labour intensifying- it makes any give action more difficult by loading the motion.
2) You need to be able to do the following three things with a sword: Thrust, Cut, and Parry. Thrusting is all about point control, cutting is all about edge alignment. Parries are the hardest thing to practice alone and without an actual sword. For thrusting, use a point-control target; for cutting, actually cut stuff; and for parrying, forms are the closest you can get alone.
3) Conditioning: you make a motion harder by either loading it with weight, increasing the range of motion, or slowing it down.
4) Any old stick can stand in for a sword. Wine bottles make dandy indian clubs. Body-weight exercises can be modified and adapted to train almost anything. A broomstick in a chair makes a fine pell. Cutting vegetables in the kitchen can be useful sword practice. The dangling thread? You’ll need to watch the video for that one….