Monday, August 24, 2015

Weekend swordies

Over the weekend, my five-minutes-a-day consisted of reading swordy blogs and browsing the SESH syllabus wiki. The wiki is out of date, different parts of it different amounts out of date, so, uh, not awfully useful, except to set the mood!
This morning I did the crane exercise (can't find a descriptive link; I think it's a t'ai chi form) that Guy used to teach for core strength and stability. I didn't fall down, which was a bit surprising.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Boob armour

I hope to do freeplay one day again, so although breast protection isn't really topical for me right now (can't do pair drills with my knee anyway, and I've never needed breast protection for just longsword drills--rapier, yes, but not longsword) I'd like to get started on thinking about it. Because it's a problem.

I used to have a plastic chest protector (an older model of this), and I suppose it's still lying around in the salle somewhere, free for use. It fits okay, which is a miracle, but it's so wide that I can't properly move my arms and especially low guards are affected. It puts a damper on one's freeplay not to be able to take posta breve or porta di ferro, so maybe something different is needed.

(Now, if you didn't know this already, the moulded breastplate with boob bulges is out, even in a modern, plastic incarnation, as it directs swords towards the breastbone, and the less said about chainmail bikinis the better.)

There's this QP Sports one, and then this fencing one. This padded one probably won't do for swords, although I've done longsword freeplay in just my well-padded gambeson with no ill effects. Unfortunately, I'll never be able to afford full plate armour.

Any ideas? Experiences to share? Anyone out there who's my shape (70 (32) J)?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Wibbly wobbly

I did it again - 8 minutes of footwork, guards and dagger in the morning. I must be doing something right, because now I started to notice how bad my balance is and how much my arm wobbles in the dagger strikes.

Passing it on

Here, have a picture of my daughter from quite a few years ago.



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

She's back

I had a long, long talk with Guy, my teacher and my friend, yesterday about getting back into the sword scene. To sum up the discussion in a tl;dr spirit, his practical suggestion was to do just five minutes every day--and so I will, and also revive this blog. I probably won't post daily about my footwork and guard position exercises or meditations or whatever, but will try to write something at least weekly.

We had agreed to meet because I asked for his help in making up mental hacks to get me to train. I'm lazy by nature and will take any excuse not to move my body, so I've had to develop quite a few mantras, or hacks, to talk myself into training. This isn't to say I don't love swords and fencing, it's because I have ADHD and attendant motivational issues and this is my way of coping.

My training has very sadly fallen by the wayside in recent years. After my first two very active years, my daughter arrived (this was in 2004), which cut into my training time and made me feel guilty whether I was training or at home. Then another daughter arrived. I went back to work and it was just too much to juggle two small children and a job while also maintaining sword skills at a school 40 mins drive away from home, so I went there less and less, and the less I went the harder it got. I tried to train at a school closer to home, but it just wasn't the same, and I'm a longsword gal anyway and the Espoo school mostly did Bolognese (they've added German longsword since then). I was plagued by injuries--every time I tried to start actively training again I'd hurt myself, and the latest medical issue, from which I'm still recovering, is knee surgery for an injury I received during the second or third class of yet another New Life With Swords campaign years ago.

Yet through all this, I've never stopped thinking of myself as a swordsman, and whenever anyone asks me about my hobbies, my answer starts with "Historical European martial arts".

This is the beginning of one more New Life With Swords campaign. (Can't wait to see which bit of myself I break this time.) The reason why I'm starting with five minutes a day is because I have a ridiculous amount of competing time sinks (in the nicest sense of the word, of course): children and family life in general, Uni studies, Popcult Helsinki, ailing mother, creative writing etc. The idea is to start with so little that no one can possibly begrudge me that amount of time, and see where that goes. If I want to do more, I know I'll find a way. Kind of like a mental shoehorn.

So today I woke up at 6. I started with footwork exercises (and why, may I ask, haven't I seen footwork exercises done in class for years, even though I've occasionally watched from the sidelines?) and the four guards exercise (posta longa, dente di chingiale, frontale, porta di ferro), followed by the four blows of the dagger. By the time I got to the dagger I wanted to dig out my sword and do cutting exercises, but although this household is now devoid of randomly airborn felines, the ceiling is still too low and there's the small matter of furniture to consider. Now my whole body burns with wanting more.

There's a mob at the gates!

Hi everyone, it's been a while. In fact, I'm utterly surprised there's an "everyone" here to greet! I just came to revive an ancient, neglected blog (you'll see why in the next post) and the first thing I see on the blog's page in Blogger is the stats telling me there's been hundreds of pageviews in the last month.

Who are you guys? How did you find me? Or are you just robots? Well, as long as you're robots learning swordsmanship, I don't mind.