Double Death Decisions

I hate double kills. It annoys me to no end when I see students do it, I hate it when it happens to me, and I find it inexcusable when I see it happen in tournaments.  And yet somehow despite my hate, they continue to happen. Back in my SCA days, we tried a number of methods to get rid of them. We mucked about with the rules and training. We tried making double kills destructive, removing both participants from a tourney. The bad result of this, especially in single-elim tourneys (one received hit and you are out of the tournament,) was that the “good” fighters were getting knocked out by less experienced fighters…and by each other. It was not a satisfying method of determining who was the best fighter. Made tournament wins seem too much like luck and not enough like skill. We also tried to change up training.…

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Sword and Dagger

Picked my dagger up last night. I’ve been fighting single sword exclusively for maybe three or four years now. I made the decision to stick to sword alone because I wasn’t happy with my fighting habits. I had come to depend exclusively on a baiting and tricking game. Add to that some very poor initial instruction in swordplay, and I was hitting a solid plateau I couldn’t get past. Plus, getting older means you don’t get better without taking a serious look at your own building blocks. You either do a complete rebuild and shore up the foundation, or get content with slowly fading away and reminiscing about how you used to be able to do so much more. I did learn some interesting things over the last while. Off-hand weapons do offer an increased challenge against single sword, but not as much as you’d think. I fought lots of…

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Leaving the Past Behind

I don’t know why Achille Marozzo wrote his New Work on swordplay. I know the result of it, but I don’t know what made him sit down and put that first mark on the page. I know what it’s like to teach martial arts. I know what it’s like to write, and what it’s like to try and organize the things you think are important. I’m old enough that I can imagine beyond the romance of writing. Marozzo didn’t write in a montage, he wrote while living a life. A life that we can never really know. We don’t know the quiet intimacies of his daily life. We don’t know what he fretted about, whether his breakfast was a peaceful moment of contemplation or a noisy mess at the start of a busy day. We don’t know his friends or his pleasures. Did he write locked in a dark room,…

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Overlooked

Despite the lack of time, I’ve really been missing my blog posts here. I’m going to find a way to carve out a little bit of time so I can post more. To get myself warmed up, I started to re-read old entries. I checked in on my site stats as well. The blog has been wildly popular, but checking out the overall top posts inspired me. Lots of posts have been read over a thousand times, which is great…but I felt like some of the bottom posts were more interesting than there numbers indicated. For some reason some posts just faded away and were never really seen. Most of them were just filler, but some of them where ones I feel are very good. I think you’ll enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed re-reading them again. Hopefully they will add some value to your practice.   Entropy…

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Cut and Thrust and Step

Cutting was next up in our basics rotation last class. The idea was to spend the first five minutes or so of the rapier portion of class just doing a simple review drill, and then moving on to the lesson for the night. I had a more rigid technical practice planned for a follow-up, but after our Stretching/Prana-bindu (yes, we are going to call it that now. We’re geeks. Deal.) class, there was no way anyone had the juice for finicky point work. So I dredged up some older cutting drills, and we kept on. Cutting is an excellent way to follow up an intense and draining session of re-alignment. In the Prana-bindu session, we learned just how strong each muscle was in relation to it’s opposite member. Our bodies were pulled apart and put together, and we re-learned how to sit, stand and walk all over again when we…

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The Wolf Lord of Blades

Capo Ferro sounds so much better when you make him all “Game of Thrones,” doesn’t he? Sounds a lot more badass. Would you rather learn the sword art of some guy named “Lichtenauer” or learn the style taught by the Wolf Lord of Blades? I think I need to make up some new business cards. Or at least some new t-shirts. Translation is so much more fun when you throw accuracy away and focus on romanticism…or even orientalism. Building up on the rapier portion of class for the next few months, I’ve got a series of progressive exercises to work through. I know what I want from students at the end of the process, and I know what steps they should need to get there. Some might need more steps, some might need less. I have to be prepared for all those eventualities. I’m preparing the way I always do,…

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