lonemagpie: Jaffar (deep thought)
David A McIntee
3 hrs ·

So... tournaments and competition fighting.

Not my thing, traditionally. I'm not interested in playing for ranks or titles because to me the martial arts are about self-improvement. Can I get more kills on you today than I did last time I fought you? That kind of thing. It's not, for me, a sport, or about winning. That's why I'm in it for the sparring. (Well, and coaching and stuff that I do.) However...

I was talking to Mike Prendergast on Saturday night, who, understanding all of this, and understanding why I haven't fought competition for, er, nearly 20 years, recommended that I do enter tournaments. He said that what I get out of it is something that I would get better out of tournaments, because everyone (self included) is doing their best there, not playing per se, which means my sense of how well I'm doing will be more accurate feedback than from normal and relaxed sparring. And, thinking about this, he's totally right, of course. Sometimes I've found in sparring (be it SCA, HEMA, or traditional martial arts like Taekwondo) that you sometimes find both yourself and your opponent laughing too much to do it properly. And that's fun, and I love it, cos this is a hobby, but it does affect the feedback.

He also reassured me that the judging and suchlike has changed a lot in the past 20 years (Look, I'm 47, I started before the name HEMA really existed!) And some stuff that happened back then was the main reason I stopped fighting competition, so... Even the SCA tournament I went in at Yule, after getting out of the hospital, has reassured me on that ... issue.

So I guess I'm saying that, while I still have no aim to win tournaments, nor acquire prizes, I will go back to entering tounaments, to test myself. For the most part we were talking HEMA here, but it will be a while for the reason that I need to get up to speed, train myself back out of SCA style, and fund new gear (cos anything I have left from back in the day no longer fits – I'm a lot slimmer now than then.), but, yeah. I'm not looking to win, because let's face it, my aim is internal, and I'm 47 now (and competition fighting is a youngster's game), but I will fight tournament again.

In the meantime, I guess I'll do more SCA fencing tournaments, for the same reason: Testing myself when we're being more serious. So, I have Master Cernac to thank or blame.

As for SCA Heavy... Watching Lesley do Coronet, I'm thinking every fighter should fight Coronet at least once. More importantly... How can I put this? Over the past year almost everything I give a shit about has been been being taken away from me, and after that bleeding to death thing, I just... I just can't think of a more appropirate “fuck you” and finger-flip to the Reaper, or whatever powers that be which have tried to get me so many times lately. That which does not kill me makes me very pissed off with it. So, yeah, I will do that, as and when appropriate, depending on getting authed and feeling confident that I have what it takes to do so. Which will not be until at least November 2017, whatever happens, because I'd also need to get some bits of armour sorted, and even if I was miraculously up for it in February, I have other commitments next February. But yes, I will get authed, get good, and fight Coronet sometime after Autumn 2017, if nobody minds...

No, I won't be taking up Taekwondo competitive fighting though! Everybody will think I'm an idiot about to be slaughtered everywhere anyway, so one has to draw a line somewhere....
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


Mar. 19th, 2016 10:49 am
lonemagpie: gojira patronus (gojira)
Nice little vid about how everything you think you know about Ninjas is wrong, and now historians are just starting to really study the matter.

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: 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...


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: 10Doc whats (wtf)

Day 14 - A question you’ve always wanted to ask about a horror trope:

Well, what I had in mind actually started out as a specifically Buffy trope, but, post-Buffy, has become pretty commonplace in a lot of films and shows. And that is, how, why, and when do the dead miraculously get martial arts training? Especially vampires. I mean, I can understand them being able to put in the 10k hours over the centuries, with the whole immortality thing, but what gets me is the freshly-resurrected ones who have instantly got it, no matter what they did in life.

So, where does it fit in- brain death, rigor mortis, first dan...?
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.

Ow 2

Apr. 5th, 2014 12:28 pm
lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)
So, as of last night I now have a hole in the glove at the first knuckle of the index finger, but not a new hole in the finger. Unfortunately the impact was pretty much right next to the hole from yesterday, and the pressure therefore enough to pop that one back open so now it's a bigger, leaking, blood blister...


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: b7 finale (b7)
Music Monday- My knee having acquired a lump the size of a pingpong ball on the very top of the shinbone from inconvenient contact with a very solid steel pommel, this seems appropriate....

lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)

Oh the irony of the governing body's initials being WTF...

Urgh. You can tell a guy thought this crap up. Just... no. I mean, really. Sure there are girls doing the art who'll look hot in it, and that's clearly what the designer has in mind, rather than tradition or practicality - else why is there only a new female uniform, rather than keeping the equality of unisex as before -and everyone who doesn't look hot in it will look like a complete pillock.


And notice how they want to trial the new uniforms at the Under-21s competition. Is Jimmy Saville judging? I have to agree with the commenter on the site that these guys would have the uniform look like the "costumes" in Dead Or Alive if they could.

This feels appropriate:


lonemagpie: guy from the cover of sanctuary (Default)

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