Saturday, February 25, 2012

newsletter 25 02 12

South Tower Newsletter 25 02 12


It was an epiphany. The photograph of Jeff being smacked by Andrew at the Osgoode Medieval Festival.
The sword was a steel Hanwei blade that was bending nearly a quarter of the way around Jeff's head.
I looked at Jeff's helmet, and there were three small dents, scratches that would have had no effect,
and in fact, Jeff barely noticed the hit.
I think I know a bit about swords, and armour, and yet... it was a revelation.
Doesn't sound like much, but it took me 22 years to realize this demonstrable fact:
"A hit to the head with a sword has no effect on the person being hit, but will likey destroy the sword".

What this led to was the greatest single adjustment to my curricula I have ever made.

Okay, I overstate the case a little. It is not that great a change.
Just treat the sword like it was made from glass, and don't break it.
This is what you do with the Japanese katana after all. And I always taught draw cuts.
So what happened?

What had happened was the use of padded sword like sticks.
I thought of the padding as a safety thing.
The result was that people had to hit harder in order to be noticed.
They turned the surgical sword into a club.
And habits developed when we switched out to steel which were very bad habits indeed.

The huge group of highly trained warriors I face every day "at work" have been forced by circumstances
into some very bad habits in order to satisfy the conditions for victory.

So I changed the conditions of victory to reflect reality.

After long thought, and a lot of advice, I implimented the glass sword technique.
The results have been stunning! The quality of the fighting has gone through the roof!
It looks better, it feels better, it is safer, and it requires very active marshalling.

Along with this, we are bringing in more and better armour.

Even though the head is no longer a primary target, we still want heavy steel protection.
14 gauge please.
Eye slots must not be "slots" any more, but rows of holes which will not allow a sword to enter.
Everything is a target still, but the neck seems to be particularly favored. So gorgets are required.

Saturdays are still open to anybody who wants to drop in and make armour.
I is a long and difficult process.
I think it is worth it.

Debate of the week....

The fight classes are not a club in any way...
we don't have a president, or a treasurer, constituition or rules guide.
I feel that these things result in office politics, a great down side in my opinion.
So I am not too keen about calling it a "fight club".
That being said, we seem to have created a loose affiliation of interested individuals.
And we have made many items which belong to "the club". The chain mail shirts, and helmets.
So perhaps we do need a more formal "club" or "dojo" or "salon".
So does it make sense that when you make a helmet, or fix a shirt, you are not doing it just for me, but for "the club"? People like Shayne and Jeff have poured countless hours into something they believe in. Would a "club" be the lightning rod to attract more?

Can I start a debate on this?
email me at
or leave a comment on the blog.

A loose affiliation of interested individuals. Yes...I think we have that.
This is the first newsletter of many I will be sending out by direct mail.
I am totally new to this direct mail stuff... if there is a problem, let me know.

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