Thanks for the link- I will watch it fully later. It's true what she says, everybody likes a good sword. At least everyone worth hanging around with. The first time I held the Japanese sword my father brought home from the Pacific, I wanted to cut something. Just picking it up inspired the thought. It spoke a different language , totally unlike the ceremonial swords and semi-dull cavalry swords I had seen- it was designed and constructed to cut deep and true- a 30" gently curved razor edge backed by 1/4" thick steel, with a two handed grip of ray skin wrapped with silk braid in a contoured, knotted design so as to ensure, no matter how bloodsoaked it became,the grip of the swordsman would not be compromised. What a weapon!
We do this at the Scottish Highland games every year. People love to watch it, and to talk about swords. Swords and weapons and armor fascinate. You can readily trick teenagers into discussing physics with great interest if the discussion is built around a practical demonstration of swordfighting.
Is HEMA a good outfit?
It's not an outfit. It's an acronym: Historic(al) European Martial Arts. It's not the only one that applies. Some call it MARE: Martial Arts of Renaissance Europe. There are lots of outfits that do MARE/HEMA. A good one is ARMA, the Association of Renaissance Martial Arts, if you happen to have a good study group in your area.
The Europeans have begun to revitalize their national and historic pride with such organizations. Although with the Invasion of Islam as it stands, they will need the martial knowledge for a lot more than merely hobby interest soon enough, if not already.Just look at the stabbings in Israel. Martial H2H arts are obsolete? Armor is obsolete? Au contraire. H2H warrior virtues and what comes from such training, was never obsolete to the barbarians, and the barbarians are always out there. Especially when the traitors open the gates for a pot of gold.Raven, another use for the knot design is that it precisely allows sense contact from the hands to inform the user which grip style is in current use, without looking at the hilt or hands at all. A grip closer to the guard, allows more agility and acceleration when deflecting, like a rapier user would have with the basket hilt and balance of a rapier. A grip closer to the pommel, would allow higher acceleration from above strikes and gravity assisted strikes, creating more power to cut through or remove out of, obstacles. A one handed sword normally never changes the grip positioning, except in specific strikes and techniques. A two handed sword user, though, will often switch the grip.Japan was normally a very metal and resource poor country, so learning knotwork and growing plant fibers for rope, was more economical. Skill over natural resources.I've noticed the same thing with the blade, on public side streets. People walking along notice the exotic, and often want to talk about it or witness demonstrations. The kids, though, they get these big saucer eyes when they see the sword drawn, given the length. In most circumstances, I use blunt edged practice steel and that is the only thing I hand over to other people. A sharp sword, I would put in the saya and pull the saya back around so people coming up to me would be able to disarm me through it. Nor would I be in a position to draw an iai slash, diminishing the force of my body language. The fit on the iaito saya is actually much better for the iai draw than the fit on the sharp sword, other than the shorter blade.
Tom, meet up dot com is a good place to search for local study groups in your area, if you are interested.They are mostly citizen organized small teams, which are different from the paid instruction most people are familiar with.
I just read a short book about the filming of "The Princess Bride," written by Cary Elwes (the Westley character). All of them got caught up in the charming fairy tale, but none more than Elwes and Mandy Patinkin, who trained like crazy in order to give a reasonably convincing (though of course absurdly romanticized) cinematic imitation of an epic swordfight. They were trying to be respectful of a long film history of swordfights in the Errol Flynn tradition, knowing that it's near and dear to moviegoers' hearts. They were trying to be respectful of real swordfighting, too, but of course that was beyond what they could realistically achieve even with months of hard training with experts.It was amusing to read that Wallace Shawn (the Sicilian) was convinced that they'd really wanted to hire Danny DeVito and were going to fire him at any moment. Not that DeVito wouldn't have been great, too, but Shawn really had no idea how classic his performance would be. Actually none of them guessed they were producing a cult classic, especially since the movie made little impression on first release and didn't gather much steam until it came out in video.
That is a great movie. :)The fighters they mentioned in the dialogue during the swordfight are real HEMA figures. "I see you have studied your Agrippa!"
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