Longsword and Imagination Collide Unexpectedly

I’ve been studying 14th century German longsword for over a year now. It’s a wonderful martial art which has help me recover some (and make gains in other areas) of my physical prowess that’s rather fallen apart with middle age and parenthood.

Recently, I learned a new guard in which you hold the sword low and in front of you, pointed off to the side. This guard, in the German tradition, is called Schrankhut (the barrier guard). See some photos here of real longsword practitioners demonstrating the guard.

My quick sketch of Schrankhut

My quick sketch of Schrankhut

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Tales of The Finger – The Truth Hurts

I could also call this post, “I Miss My Swords.”

I was reading this article today about how writing can help people overcome emotional and physical pain. It resonated with me, because I was cursing at myself this morning as I drove to the office about the pain in my finger because of my stupid injury (which I exacerbated last night trying of all things to scoop the litter boxes).

It’s not just the physical pain that bugs me so much about this injury, it’s very much the completely stupid and avoidable way in which it happened. I did it to myself. Continue reading

Reflections on the Second Borealis Swordplay Symposium

Last year I attended the first-ever Borealis Swordplay Symposium in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. It was my first multi-day, immersive experience in the Western Martial Arts. Then, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had about a year’s worth of sporatic classical fencing lessons already under my belt, and I knew I enjoyed it. When I left the symposium, I knew WMA was something I wanted to be a part of, but I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I wrote about the experience here.

Borealis 2014

Swords everywhere!

2014’s Borealis was extended from a two-day to a three-day experience, with two days devoted to classes in the western martial arts and the third day devoted to a tournament, the Pas du Solstice Continue reading

Remembering Your Goals

So this morning this video was posted on Facebook. The instructor here, my friend Maestro Sean Hayes, invited two of his students to spar with him.

I loved watching this. It reminded me of something important to me – a long-term goal I have, that while seems so remote, distant, and impossible, has kept me working toward improving my physical health. Continue reading

Unexpected Exhaustion

Today’s been one of those days. All told, it was a good day. But I’m completely whipped.

About every-other Saturday (probably a little less frequent than that), I drive to Ithaca, NY for a fencing lesson (or two or three). It’s about a two hour drive one way, and uses up at least six hours of my Saturday, so I don’t do it every week, but whenever time, energy, and weather permits.

Today was one of those Saturdays when I decided that I’d make the trip. Continue reading

What Do You Wish To Reach For?

For giggles I’m responding to a prompt from Jamie Ridler Studios. It’s called Wishcasting Wednesday and the question is ‘What do you wish to reach for?

It’s kind of a strange question to me. It’s not the same as ‘What do you reach for?’ but ‘What do you want to reach for?’ (It is possible I’m over thinking this a bit. I’m a scientist after all.) Continue reading

Deep End First, or Baby Steps?

It’s a conundrum. How do you teach someone something that’s very complicated? That requires a lot of skill and finesse? How do you teach this in a way that gets the job done and keeps the student engaged and interested?

I’ve learned a lot of difficult things over the years. I’ve had different instructors teaching me the same thing, but in radically different ways. And there are merits to the various ways that I’ve been taught. I suppose, in the end, what works is as much dependent upon the instructor as it is upon the student. Continue reading