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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

Studying history is like learning a new language

The two biggest mistakes you can make learning a new language or studying history are thinking, "They're exactly like me," and, "They're nothing like me." It's so natural to drift between these two extremes in both scenarios and yet I think that the more we're conscious of our tendency to think in this way, the … Continue reading Studying history is like learning a new language

Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

No. Well that was easy. The answer's still no but I'd like to explore why that's the case. I'd also like to explore why, if you're so unlikely to succeed, we have sections on this in historical manuals. If you are so likely to fail, what's the point in trying at all? So let's back … Continue reading Knife vs sword—do you have a hope?

Give up and sleep in… or not—Marcus Aurelius

"At break of day, when you are reluctant to get up, have this thought  ready to mind: 'I am getting up for a man's work'... Or was I created to wrap myself in blankets and keep warm? But this is more pleasant. Were you born then for pleasure—all for feeling, not for action?...But one needs … Continue reading Give up and sleep in… or not—Marcus Aurelius

Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?

I hear so many instructors telling people off for trying to block a cut by swinging wildly into it. Is that really a problem though? And if it is, does that mean counter-cutting is useless or is there a way to do it properly? So yeah, it probably won't surprise you to learn that swinging … Continue reading Counter-cutting—newb error or legit technique?

Feint high, strike low—the oldest trick in the book

The four-move checkmate of the fighting world—if you don't know it yet, you should and if you do already, it's worth discussing in depth. Who knows? There might be ways you can improve it. What is it though? At its heart, it's the most basic feint you can do. What's a feint? A feint is … Continue reading Feint high, strike low—the oldest trick in the book