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Shillelagh Bataireacht—some thoughts

So, over the last few months I’ve been getting into Irish Bataireacht—that’s shillelagh stick-fighting for the non-initiated. It’s like no martial art I’ve seen before. Trust my ancestors to come up with something so profoundly strange. That’s the Irish for you, aisteach ach alainn mar sin fein! What’s it all about then? Basically, it’s about … Continue reading Shillelagh Bataireacht—some thoughts

How Braveheart and Dead Poets Society tell the same story

They couldn’t be more different if they tried, right? Pikes and kilts and killing the English who invade their land, what could that have that’s similar to sitting around a posh boarding school and wanting to be in a play? And yet, when we get down to it, they tell essentially the same story. Rather … Continue reading How Braveheart and Dead Poets Society tell the same story

Hereward—Bourne Again

How have I not heard of this guy until well into my twenties? I’d like to think after a history degree and a lifetime’s interest in all things historical, I’d know all the key players in the time periods I was interested in. Apparently not. Que James Wilde, and his desire to bring Hereward to … Continue reading Hereward—Bourne Again

Spear and shield—some thoughts

I had the opportunity a while back to experiment with combining spear and shield both in single duels and in larger skirmishes. I wouldn’t say I’ve solved it definitively but I think I’ve got a few points worth adding to the discussion. Let’s start with one-on-one duels. This is where I think the biggest disagreement … Continue reading Spear and shield—some thoughts

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!