CSI Raglan

Aug. 26th, 2016 09:40 pm
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
Oh, now I remember what the other thing I meant to post about Raglan was - CSI Raglan.

There was this dead pig, to be cooked, and it had been arranged that it would be part of a live weapons test to see just what the historical weapons we re-enact would actually do to an organic human-analogue. It was very educational, scary in implication, and I'd urge HEMAists and re-enactors to look into this: I'd brought along my live rapier (17th Century Deschaux pattern, a French type) and used this to determine stuff like how much force does it take to run someone through, what happens when you twist the blade, and so forth.

Nowadays we have our puncture-tested clothing, and debate the calibration of how hard we make a touch with the point of the blade - are we doing it too hard or too lightly?

Long story short, the force required to reach out and press the light switch... put the blade clean through the carcass and our the other side. Think about that for a minute. Now think about this: the force we'd think of a good thrust in SCA fencing - say twice as the light switch - put the blade six inches into the carcass... through mail. Or chainmail as most people call it.

What this means is when you see a movie where they put the tip in and then give it a dramatic shove... In real life it'd already be through the guy. Puncture proofed clothing? With pointy blades it'd make no difference. This is why we have rubber blunts on the points, folks. Twisting the blade left a nice pencil-diameter tube through which any internal fluids would just pour out nicely.

A variety of other weapons were tried - an axe blade didn't cleave, but smashed ribs, a warhammer's spike left a diamond-shaped gusher both with and without mail... A scimitar didn't cleave, but worked well on the thrust. I'm focused on the rapier simply because that was my part. I did take the matching parrying dagger also, but didn't bother use it - I suspect the mail would have stopped it because the wider blade would give the material more surface to push against.

So, yeah, fascinating stuff, lovely bit of experimental learning.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)

I've included some pictures in a particular order, so I'm just going to post a link to my ramble about the Game Of thrones dual-wielding instead of copying the text here.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
So, I got to thinking, for various reasons, about combatant intent. I mean, quite simply, taking psycholofy and intentions into account when thinking about fighters in a fight, regardless of what type of combat it is, or what the context is.

It's something I usually talk about when I do”Fight choreography for writers” workshops, and boils down to this: Everybody has different thoughts and intents when they're fighting, and this will have an effect on what they do and how they fight. In terms of writing (putting on my novelist's hat), all your characters are individuals, and whether you're a novelist, comics writer, screenwriter, or whatever, you should keep in mind for action scenes that they'll all fight differently. This applies whether we're talking about gunfights, sword fights, kung fu, X Wings, or anything else: Individuals and groups will all have their own motivations, strategies, preferences.

For example, the assassin trying to quietly kill a target without being noticed is going to fight differently than the chainsaw-wielding maniac. The by-the-book cop trying to subdue the suspect to bring him in for a fair trial is going to fight differently than the soldier trying to break through to an enemy target, or the person just trying to break free and run away unharmed.

It's the same in real life, when we choose what martial arts or sports we do. So now I'm taking off the writer's hat and putting on the martial artist's/fencer's one.

You're probably thinking, but what does this have to do with fencing or martial arts, or whatever combat or sport? Well.... Look around when you go to whichever class or club you go to. Watch what all the different people of different levels of experience and skill do.

Done that? Right. You'll probably have noticed some variations in what people do, especially during solo forms or sparring, rather than in drilling, but you probably didn't wonder why – other than beyond a basic “well, that person does it better than this one.”

Not necessarily.

Why do you do whatever it is you do? Does the person opposite you do it for the same reason? A very similar one, probably, but not likely the exact same. And I think this is something that needs to be remembered: We all fight for different reasons, and these inform our way of fighting. Our styles, if you like.

Think about this: If you're in it to, say, win tournaments, you're going to fight in a way that will do that – power, accuracy, economy of movement, precision... If you're in it to learn what the students of history's great masters learned, then you're going to fight the way the manuals show, or as close to it as possible, with poise. If you're in itto put on a good show for the audience, you're going to be less economical and more flourished. If you're doing it for a workout, to burn off the carbs, you're going to jump around a lot more. If you're trying to get the hang of a new technique or weapon, you're going to experiment with weird moves or stances.

Just because most of these arts and studies have developed into competitive sports doesn't mean everybody is trying to win. If you fight in a competition or tournament then you probably are, but in sparring... Maybe you're just trying to get that move right, or the feel for that new weapon. Unlike in the alleyways and battlefields of history, we're not (at least barring astronomically bad luck from equipment failure) going to actually get killed, so there's – IMO – no shame in not “winning” if it means you're learning and progressing.

A lot of people out there – and this is certainly the case in tradtional Eastern martial arts – are out there not to beat you, but to improve themselves, by beating their own previous best/skill/ability/whatever.

The reason I'm rambling about this today is twofold. 1) Partly because I know I do some of these things – let people poke me with their swords while I try out a new thing, or use a lot more energy to burn off some glucose being the main ones - and 2) Because we all – myself included – judge others who do these things, without knowing why they do it, because we're not telepaths. Admit it, you've all seen somebody do something you don't like at your club or class and thought “they don't get it, they're mad/foolish/saw that on Game Of Thrones.” And we shouldn't do that. We should encourage, chat, and make sure we all enjoy ourselves, whether we view our sparring as study, hobby, or stress relief.

The best thing, I've found – from both sides of the question – is just to chat about “why do it that way?” If there's a reason, no matter what it is, then that's an informed choice, and either the things they do will work or they won't. The things we all do. That way everybody has fun, everybody thinks, and, I think, everybody learns something a little bit too.

And, well, I dunno about you, bu that's why I do this historical, swordy and martial arts stuff...t
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
The title is potentially misleading- it means without full *armour* armour, not without protective and safety gear. Otherwise, though, a good intro to the various things that us swordy types get up to, and how to join in...

lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Well whatever demon was gunning for me last year can’t take a hint - spinach in the cheese tart… (the cook running over going “go easy on the cheese tart, it’s got spinach i- Oh fuck.”

Fortunately an immediate massive antihistamine shot from a fellow allergic at the table stopped the cramps and pains just as they were starting to burn, brought down the heart rate (no, I don’t like arrhythmia at 180 bpm), and so far prevented any swellings beyond a bit round the right eye, which has since gone down. (the nearest hospital was 20 minutes away, which, a doctor on site told us, was too long if the antihistamine overdose hadn’t worked and I went into full anaphylactic shock.)…

The paint smell thing has started though. I guess from here on in i'm carrying a fuckload of the strongest antihistamines i can find whenever i'm going to be eating out

And, making properly sure that the first full week of 2016 ends in the same vein as my 2015 was, we got home to find an appointment for an Endo surgery next saturday morning. whoop de fucking do.

Otherwise, the weekend was Coronation - Too many Courts, which isn’t my thing, but there was fencing. I sucked at the tournament, but killed Baron Antonio repeatedly in his prize play (which is what I went to Coronation for - the torunament was just warm up sparring and I wasn’t really in the mood after the week I’d had), and was amused by the irony that the first thing he said to me was “it’s nice to see you vertical” and the last thing in his all-comers prize play section was me killing him with a dagger while horizontal… So I guess he’ll still prefer me vertical!
lonemagpie: gojira patronus (gojira)
Last night's fencing practice was fun - but sadly the last of the year. My reaction times are still a bit slower than normal, (our top guy, Jeff, says "it takes a while, remember your condition," but I did get a couple of really screen-worthy kills. Lesly caught my sleeve under the armpit, but not me, and got the flat of her blade against my arm and, because her point was caught in cloth so far behind me, I could run the katana edge nicely against her throat. I even had time to turn us around so everyone could see that she had cloth and not me...

The other one was on Jeff, actually, - bound his sword high and to my right, and since he tends to set up with his dagger there, caughtit between our blades - cue his darting backwards, me forwards until we reached a wall and my dagger got his throat. (Ironically I'd been telling our students off earlier for thrusting an arm straight out and then walking or running forward with that arm out. And at this point had to say "this is the exception to that rule!")

Obviously I got killed a lot as well, but was really happy with those two, and wished somebody had filmed them... Anyway, yeah, last of the year, oh well. But I guess we'll still be practicing at home...
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Hm, interesting way to test my level of health - my dual katanas vs case of rapier. And vs multiple opponents (which actually went better for me than against single opponents!) Overall, not fully powered, but better than recently, and a good sign of recovery.
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
Another thing I've been thinking about (well, had nothing else to do while on my back for a fortnight) is how much I want to do more martial arts/sword stuff teaching. I do workshops a few timnes a year, and teach in the Academy of Defence, but when it comes to the SCA we don't actually do most of what are actually my specialities (disarms, etc). I must find some way of doing more teaching geared to a variety of things - stuff that can be used in SCA, HEMA, choreography...
lonemagpie: Craig icon (007)
I’ve been living in a tent in a Welsh castle, historical fencing at the SCA’s annual Raglan Fair, and then doing a couple of panels/workshops at the Nine Worlds Geekfest….
lonemagpie: gojira patronus (gojira)
Back from Melee In A Manor, where Lesley ran the fencing tournament (and came second) and I was authorised for rapier. I don't fight competition, but I joined in for fun and practice, accepting no points. (I may be the first person to score nil points in a tournament by deliberate stated intent....) I was also last man standing after the feast (i.e. last to bed) and last man still in armour at night. Which is nice...


Oct. 23rd, 2014 04:12 pm
lonemagpie: b7 finale (b7)
Hm, not everything aches, but I do seem to have pulled something in my right shoulder. Didn't take any hits there (my sleeve got caught a couple of times when fencing) and it's definitely a pull from doing something either incorrectly or over-enthusiastically while in armour...
lonemagpie: gojira patronus (gojira)
Ah, that was a fun night, but I expect everything will ache tomorrow- fencing, combat in armour (apparently I look like someone who enjoys that, and I did), a spot of rapier teaching, and disarms. (Apparently my individual specialist secret move is "I have the advantage of you, my Lord - you are encumbered by a sword.") Anyway, yes fun - rapier fencing is fun and so is bashing each other in the head while wearing armour... But my muscles will all ache tomorrow!
lonemagpie: gojira patronus (gojira)
On the upside, new shiny has arrived! Matching French 17th century repro live rapier and main gauche. I have a weird dreamy orgasmic feel... Sadly no pictures today as none of the stuff with cameras are charged up.

I have to say, though, that fucker has a point literally like a regular sewing needle - it's sharper than, say, the point of a panel pin, I swear... (no, I won't be sparring with it! I have safer blades for that, and it is too shiny for me to be OK with it getting dinged.)

Lesley, meanwhile, has a new button-tipped practical rapier, and the main gauche that's closest to the one Riario has in Da Vinci's Demons, so that it, at least, will go with the costume at conventions.


Apr. 4th, 2014 12:11 am
lonemagpie: 10Doc whats (wtf)
Somehow I've managed to get a hole in the inside of the base of my index finger from a sword-point, *without* getting a corresponding hole in the glove I was wearing at the time. WTF? How did *that* work?


Also this makes typing a bit of an awkward and stinging business...


lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)

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