Clash of sexes

On one side of the dance hall, twenty five men with swords. On the other side, twenty five women with swords. Whispered talk slowed to a halt, the few spectators moved safely up on the stage, out of harms way. Both sides were tense, waiting for the signal to begin. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a lot of work to get our numbers up. The thursday fencing class had faded over time, down to a low of only four regular students. The only reason we were able to make rent was that those of us with good jobs were kicking in big chunks of cash, way over the $5 drop in fee. I was making good money, so it was a habit to just drop a handful of twenties in the cash box. But it was no way to run a practice. We needed to pick the numbers back…

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Ochone, ochone

the voice of my childhood is gone With each hour that passes since the news arrived, my night grows heavier You were the chieftan of our little clan You smelled of the sea even when it was decades away from you You made old leather books my heaven, my hidden kingdom you taught me the power of words and the love of story You were a broken and hurt little boy who grew up into an angry man who taught me about love, family, and being a man a husband and a father When things slipped away from me and I could be nothing the strength you taught me helped me to hold on and endure it’s raining now in the space between my mind and my hands it’s a blur and in a silent moment my heart is broken Rest in peace Poppa you were a greater treasure than…

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De Officiis

I’ve about worn out my fourth pair of boots. My work uniform includes eight inch tactical duty boots and they last about a year. In the four years I’ve been working this job I figure I’ve probably walked about ten thousand kilometres. I’ve walked those kilometres in hot, humid summer nights. I’ve walked through brutal snow, sleet, and brutal cold. More rain and wind than I ever care to think about ever again. I’ve walked with heartbreak, anger, excitement, depression, and insight. A lot of that walking was done with sword in hand, cutting and stepping in endless repetition. I’ve walked when I’ve been broken, sick, and completely exhausted. I’ve walked because it was my job, and I had pride in doing my job as well as anyone could ever do it. And not one step of it was ever easy. At some point you have to get up from…

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Timor Mortis Conturbat Me

Fear. Fear is the companion of every martial artist, whether admit it or not. I put my fencing mask on, working with a new fighter, and the fear kicks in. I don’t know anything about this person. They could really hurt me. Today it’s rapiers, but I’m aware of the damage they can do. I’ve had two solid concussions, and a shot to the throat so hard I was on liquids for a week. I’ve demonstrated the importance of safety equipment by punching an untipped rapier through a failed mask. Ten inches through the mesh, no resistance felt at all. I know that even in a playful bout, there is no room for lack of care. Accidents happen, even with the best trained and most thoughtful fencers. I’ve never understood how some people can intentionally throw shots as hard and fast as they can. Some people don’t think they do,…

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Kaja Sadowski: Turning Expectations

Today we’ve got a treat, a guest post from the talented and dangerous Kaja Sadowski! Enjoy! -David R. Packer Not long ago, Randy approached me with a request for a guest post “either on being a female fighter or on being a left-handed fighter — whichever one you’re more comfortable writing about.” As I tried to sort out which of the two had had a greater impact on my experiences as a fencer, I realized that they were simply two sides of the same coin. Instead of focusing on one aspect of what makes me unusual, I’d like to use this space instead to talk about the importance of integrating the things that make me different from other fighters into my practice. I’ve been very fortunate not to be on the receiving end of much overt sexism within the WMA community, but what I have noticed is that my fighting…

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Late summer sunny sunday

Slowly getting back into the swing of things. Two weeks off wasn’t a bad thing at all, but there is a certain truth to writing…it does require solitude and a quiet brain to work. Being back at work provides me with an abundance of that. My reservoir of silence is building, so the restless writer brain is getting back to work. I’ve got a treat for all of you tomorrow: My first guest post! It’s a good one. Your morning coffee break or breakfast read will be enjoyable. I’m hoping we can get her to write a few more in the future. I’m also going to be hitting up some other people for posts as well. There are a lot of voices out there in community that don’t get heard, or maybe feel restricted on their own blogs to a certain format. I’ll see if I can get them to…

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