From the archives: Ruminations on a Duel

Dug up from the archives, originally posted on another blog a few years ago. Part One It’s been about two years, so I think a retrospect is in order. Mostly to clear up some misunderstandings, but also to share what I learned from the experience. I’ll add conclusions at the end. It started with Justin Ring and I, probably drinking, talking about fencing. Big surprise, eh? We decided that life was short, and the one thing we both wanted to experience was a duel. A real one. So we decided to do it. We picked a date three months in advance, at the first Garibaldi Peak Accolade Tournament. We announced it so we’d commit to it. We decided the best option was first blood, with sabres. Seemed like the safest alternative. We got a pair of the Hanwei Pecarroro sabres, as they seemed light enough not to hack a limb…

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First lesson of swordplay…

What you learn in your first few classes is what you fall back on. I always keep this in mind when teaching new students. Nothing will ever define a students style more than what they learn in those crucial first lessons. My crucial lessons came from Sean Irwin. The local SCA practice used a system of eight classes to introduce the rapier to students. The eight classes were developed by F. Braun McAsh way back when. New students were assigned to an experienced fighter, and put at the back of the hall for separate classes. I still have vivid memories of those lessons. They were in Kennedy Hall in Surrey, which was predominantly a dance hall. Killer wooden floor…you can’t beat those. The hum of the fluorescent lights, the smell of sweat-soaked steel and athletic tape. And duct tape and fibreglass. So much damned duct tape. Back in those days…

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Gonna take my sword and fix hollywood…eventually

I’ve always loved movies. One of my earliest memories is going to a drive-in double feature of “Enter the Dragon” and “Three Musketeers.” My dad was a theatre projectionist for many years. Every moment I could I spent hanging out in the projection booth, watching the magic happen. I love movies, but I hate what they do to swordplay. It drives me just nuts. Swordplay is such a visually dynamic art and sport, but the moment it gets on screen it turns into mush. The public perception of swordplay is completely skewed as a result. Why does Hollywood do this? Who is to blame? You are. At least partially. The Hollywood movie engine is an incredible thing, and it’s all focused on making you happy. A happy you makes money for a film, and that’s important. There is a simple rule that drives the movie business: If your movie makes…

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From the Archives: A Walk Through Marozzo, concluded.

Good morning! Here we go again. This was a project I meant to finish, but never got permission from the sources. I figured I was stretching fair use to its limits with what I had done, so I let the project die. C’est la vie. In the last year William Wilson published the excellent “16th Century Sword Combat: Bolognese Fencing and the Italian Sidesword Era.” as an Amazon Ebook. It’s $2.99. Buy it. Even if you don’t read it, think of it as buying a pioneer of WMA’s a cup of coffee. So here we go: Part 4 This week we finally move past chapter one, and go all the way to chapter five! Exciting times ahead, it seems…Just a little bit more of the essential ground work and we start to get into actual swordplay! Chapter 2 And I tell you again that you must never attack without defending,…

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From the Archives: A Walk Through Marozzo

Wrote this series of posts about a year ago. Some of my thinking has changed, but I think it’s worth sharing again. First chunk today, the last bit Sunday morning. If this post inspires you, and you want to learn more about Bolognese Swordplay, check out the Scherma-Bolognese website. It’s interesting for me to read through it. I’m so glad I’ve put more work into grammar. Oh well. Enjoy! See you again Sunday morning. Introduction Marozzo is a vastly misunderstood martial artist. There are some notable people doing good work with the manual but most people I’ve run across either ignore Marozzo for being too complex, or else only have the most superficial knowledge, and try to make it seem like more than it is. In an effort to strip away some of the illusions and misconceptions, we are going to work through Marozzo’s manual, one little step at a…

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One day in the desert

I was in the desert when I first heard the name “Marozzo.” It was about the third day of fighting in the dust. I was making the rounds of all the name fighters, getting in a few bouts with all of them. I did a few enjoyable passes with a guy from Saskatchewan, and asked for some feedback when we stopped. He said “I see you are using Marozzo. Where did you learn that?” As far as I knew, I hadn’t. The local group of fighters taught two styles of fighting: Presented was fighting with the sword-side foot forward, Refused was fighting with the opposite foot forward. Most people were fighting in refused at the time. It had the advantage of offering a strong defense, and keeping the sword safe from attempts to control the blade. One of the local bigwigs had shown me a trick where I could take…

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