Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Monday, April 04, 2011

It is also my way to be awesome

I'm not even going to apologize for not posting since January. You read this blog, you know full well that I'm going to disappear for months at a time. It is my way.

I have been busy. I present this, not as an excuse for my absence, but merely as a note to mark the time. Our office moved, I finished Dead of Veridon, I did a lot of pondering about my writing career. These things have taken a lot of my attention. And I've begun a new writing project, about which I am alternately thrilled and terrified. I really don't know what to think about it yet; I just know how to do it. Anyway.

I'm reading a very curious book right now, about sword fighting. Medieval sword fighting, specifically, or at least the recreation of same. I will tell you one thing about this subject: It is *contentious*. The first half of the book is essentially a vitriolic screed against various other factions in the HEMA (Historic European Martial Arts) community, and their clearly uninformed opinions on such matters as the validity of parrying, the effect of a sword cut on the human leg, and the proper value of "cut training". Cut training is the practice of using high quality medieval reproduction swords to slice open various objects. The purpose is to learn the proper way to strike a limb, or jab a torso, or hack a skull. It's interesting. He even goes into some detail about how to set up mail clad targets, and the proper way to strike with a sword to sunder the mail.

There are two thoughts that come to mind. It seems to me that most of the people in this community like to play at swords, and to them gently tapping your biceps with a length of foam wrapped plastic pipe is sufficient. To the author of this book, the goal is to learn the martial art of Medieval Europe. I can understand his frustration with the former group. Completely. And they are two entirely different mindsets, so different, in fact, that proponents of one group are probably incapable of understanding the reasoning behind the other group's belief structure.

For example, some sparring groups disallow leg strikes. Others require that you go to your knees when struck in the leg. There are established teams whose fighting style actually improves once they've acquired the "ground position". Please, for one second, consider the idiocy of this. Even a glancing blow to, say, your calf with the kind of weapons we're talking about is going to nick bone. Imagine the meat damage of that. Now, imagine that you're an actual knight whose livelihood and, for that matter, life is dependent on being able to "hew" various things in "twain". I imagine actual knights performed a bit of cut training, don't you think? And, when called upon, would be more than capable of putting steel through meat, bone and mail. Now. Get on your knees and keep fighting.

You see the kind of vitriol this book contains. I like it, because I'm trying to get at the legitimate feel of medieval combat. A lot of the demonstrations I've seen have revolved around points and tapping. And you can't write about that.


At 12:43 AM , Blogger Efreak said...

does it have a title? I'm off to buy The Horns of Ruin, which I enjoyed a lot. :-)


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