In Sherwood being able to defend is of critical importance. Always using a full-out offensive is a strategy doomed to failure. The character and monster animations in Sherwood are not just for show. Use them to time your blocks with the opponent's attacks. If you successfully block an attack, you earn double damage on your next attack. It's also important to note that you do not heal while attacking, but you do heal while blocking. This allows for a player losing a fight to play defense to get back to even terms. Just like in boxing or martial arts, Sherwod combat is designed to always leave open the possibility of a last minute comeback. Combat alternates between attacking and blocking, trying to time your attacks to when your opponent is open and blocking your opponent's attacks to earn double damage on the next round.
Blocking is done by pressing CTRL and SHIFT at the same time.