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Re-watching Rome—the knife-edge of history

“But let us turn to the different, but equally grave, plight of the modern historian… knowing more and more about less and less, sunk without trace in an ocean of facts.” A little while ago I made a post about appreciating the layman when it comes to history. I basically said they’re great at getting … Continue reading Re-watching Rome—the knife-edge of history

“But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

So I was re-watching Game of Thrones these last few weeks, you know, as you do, and I saw an interesting fight scene. It reminded me of something I’d learned from studying primary sources in history from a lot to of different cultures and times. Basically, fighting in reality doesn’t play by nice rules where … Continue reading “But I blocked it!”—when your defence fails you

Mulan—what a great film

You know, it’s kinda funny talking about the Disney film Mulan. To anyone older than say thirty-five, it’s a kid’s film so why would you watch it? To anyone in their teens now, you’ve grown up with 3D animation so spectacular, what’s the point of cartoons? But to those of us in between, those of … Continue reading Mulan—what a great film

How to fight multiple opponents

Get a longer weapon. That’s for starters. I’ll explain more in a second but, seriously, if you could pick one thing before going into a fight like this, that’d be it. If you’re fighting solo against more than one opponent, you need every little trick and twist to get the odds even slightly back in … Continue reading How to fight multiple opponents

Machiavelli—Long may he REIGN!

"It is much safer to be feared than loved" Perhaps his most famous line. Why stop there though? "for a man who wishes to act entirely upon his professions of virtue soon meets with what destroys him among so much that is evil."   "It is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares … Continue reading Machiavelli—Long may he REIGN!

A hidden benefit of disarms…

You would have thought that disarms were fairly straightforward; find some tricky way to take their sword off them, they lose the sword, end of story. Sometimes disarming someone is that simple but there are times when being disarmed is the least of their worries. Let's start off with what a disarm is and when … Continue reading A hidden benefit of disarms…

History: if you want the crux of it, ask a layman

I like studying history, I really do. I'm one of those people who thinks an hour long lecture on the finer points of Roman politics sounds interesting, at least most of the time. But there's something I learned from being saturated with all these details and conflicting academic perspectives: the key issues are often pretty … Continue reading History: if you want the crux of it, ask a layman

Baudolino—when good writers lose the plot

Have you ever heard of Baudolino? Probably not. How about Umberto Eco—you know, the guy who wrote The Name of the Rose? Baudolino is another of his books though less well-known, and for good reason, it sucks. But The Name of the Rose was such a good book—it even became a movie (the sign of … Continue reading Baudolino—when good writers lose the plot

Charge!—The best guards for running into battle

This might not be something you think of immediately when you start any kind of historical fencing. Most sparring takes place in duels between two people. You start off at a nice, safe distance from each other and then step into measure when you're ready. Group combat is fundamentally different. If you don't reach the … Continue reading Charge!—The best guards for running into battle