“So at Christmas in this court I lay down a challenge: / If a person here present, within these premises, / Is big or bold or red-blooded enough / To strike me one stroke and be struck in return, / I shall give him a gift of this gigantic cleaver / and the axe shall be his to handle how he likes. / I'll kneel, bare my neck and take the first knock. / So who has the gall? The gumption? The guts? / Who’ll spring from his seat and snatch this weapon? / I offer the axe — who’ll have it as his own? / I’ll afford one free hit from which I won't flinch, / and promised that 12 months will pass in peace, / then claim / the duty I deserve in one year and one day. / Does no one have the nerve to wager in this way?” [more inside]
A props and armor designer for film, Samantha Swords takes her work seriously. Very seriously. In February of 2013 she won the Harcourt Park World Invitational Longsword Competition . There appears to be a growing interest in competitive european sword fighting in the US.
Melee combat enthusiasts rejoice! Cold Steel (previously) are back with a whole bunch of new videos showing off their newest armaments. The more exotic selections include the Battle Star, the Boomerang, the Viking Axe, the Grosse Messer, the Sergeant's Halberd, the War Hammer, the War Club, the Sword Cane, and a brand new video for the beloved Two Handed Great Sword. (WARNING: Pig carcass butchery and tactical dummies full of blood ahead.) [more inside]
The diverse range of misconceptions and erroneous beliefs within historical fencing studies today is considerable. But there are perhaps some myths that are more common, and more pervasive, than others. This webpage presents an ongoing project that will continually try in an informal and condensed manner to help address some of these mistaken beliefs.
Blood, Sweat, and Steel: My Afternoon with the Ace of Swords. “When I got this sword, it was completely covered in blood rust.” Sword maker Francis Boyd is showing me yet another weapon pulled from yet another safe in the heavily fortified workshop behind his northern California home. “You can tell it’s blood,” he says matter-of-factly, “because ordinary rust turns the grinding water brown. If it’s blood rust it bleeds, it looks like blood in the water. Even 2,000 years old, it bleeds. And it smells like a steak cooking, like cooked meat. I’ve encountered this before with Japanese swords from World War II. If there’s blood on the sword and you start polishing it, the sword bleeds. It comes with the territory.” [Via]
They were the finest European swords the day, superior to almost any other on the battlefields of the Viking Age. Made from steel no one in Europe would know how to make until the Industrial Revolution. Stronger, more flexible, almost magical in combat, engraved with the mysterious name "+ULFBERH+T" by unknown makers, these swords were the both fearsome weapons and incredibly expensive prestige possessions. Only 171 have every been identified. And no one had made one from start to finish, using only hand tools, for over 900 years. [more inside]
Neal Stephenson has been working with the free online culinary school ChefSteps, including aiding in the design and construction of something called a Gaggle Roaster, and filming this video slicing fruit (and a water bottle) in slow motion with a sword.
Wiktenauer is a catalog of fighting manuals and other primary sources related to historical European martial arts.
Coyote Man, Mr. President & the Gunfighters. A prose poem, written by Gary Snyder, that should be required reading for whoever is in the White House on January 20.
Today's I09 has a guest column by John Clements titled "Swordfighting: Not What You Think It Is." And it isn't. [more inside]
The Vikings Of Bjornstad a "a living history and educational group, concentrating on the Viking age " reviews every viking movie ever made for its authenticity in depicting Vikings and Viking Culture. Every. single. one. [more inside]
Craftsmen and women, some of them the last of their breed, making their art by hand and profiled in beautiful short-form videos: Knifemaker. Ornamental glass artist (previously). Master printer . Swordguard maker (previously). Beekeeper and honey maker. Stone lettercarvers. Carmaker. More, and related, at This Is Made By Hand, FolkStreams.net and (less related, but still wonderful) eGarage.
Wielder of Darth Vader's lightsaber at 60 years of age (while wearing 6" platform shoes under the black cloak to match the character's height); swordplay instructor to Errol Flynn and the cast of Lord of the Rings; swordmaster on dozens of films, including The Princess Bride, Highlander, the modern Zorro franchise and Alatriste: Bob Anderson died today. A highlight reel of some of his work: part 1 and 2.
Portrait of a Handmade Artisan: Korehira Watanabe The Sword Maker (one of a number of films by Etsy) [more inside]
One August morning in 1826, two men went for a walk in the Scottish countryside. Only one of them came back alive. Timewatch tells the story of two men who fought to the death with pistols: one a respected merchant, reluctantly provoked into an unwanted duel; the other a professional soldier, steeped in military tradition. The soldier also happened to be the merchant’s bank manager. It would end with the death of one man and mark the demise of a 600-year-old ritual. [more inside]
Cold Steel is a company that produces and sells weapons to the mass market. This is a revealing promotional video focusing on its founder, Lynn Thompson, who describes the philosophy behind his business..
From the opening frames of this mesmerizing video: "A crazy idea was born. Early sunday on Swordfish 2010 we got a crazy idea of duck-tape our GoPro Hero camera on the tip of a sword and do some swings to see how it looked. We started slow just to see if the camera was holding together, then stepping it up. All recording are done in real speed." The music really makes the video. (via)
Every Anime Opening Ever Made (an admittedly exaggerated title) is a SLYT romp through the repeating themes in 93 different opening sequences, compiled by Derek Lieu (via Neatorama) [more inside]
Looking to indulge your interests in both cartomancy and science? Check out the Science Tarot Deck. (FB link) [Previous decks] Via [more inside]
Is your sword having difficulty cutting through boots filled with meat? Then perhaps you need the Cold Steel Two Handed Great Sword. [via] Trouble getting through your opponent's cleverly designed chainmail (and some cardboard boxes)? What you need is the Cold Steel War Hammer. Pesky eggs hanging from strings hanging from a wooden frame got you down? There's a solution: the Cold Steel Indian War Club. More Cold Steel products/videos here. (All meats utilized in these videos carefully preserved and donated to the Ventura County Rescue Mission.)
Soon there will be a sword for every man, woman, and child in the city. But come on, it's not like they're dangerous. OR ARE THEY? In six episodes of Cautionary Tales of Swords, Trip Fisk makes the case for the danger of nature's hell sticks and while they'll fucking slice a baby in half.
This year's winners of the Ig Nobel prizes are a bumper crop of wild and crazy SCIENCE!, featuring sword-swallowing, knuckle-cracking, benefits of cow-naming, pregnant women NOT tipping over, a household use for giant panda poop (take that, Packham), diamonds made from tequila, a brassiere that can be used as TWO gas masks, "Ireland's Worst Driver", Icelandic banks, Zimbabwean currency, and a 'Peace Prize' earned by hitting people over the heads with beer bottles (and comparing the effects of empty vs. full bottles) (related inquiry)
Haven't you always secretly wondered what would happen if a ninja accidentally stumbled into, say, Bill and Ted's time traveling Phone Booth and ended up somewhere around 7th century BC, only to come face-to-face with a feisty Spartan? Have you not pondered what would happen if you locked up an Apache with a Gladiator inside some sort of 21st century battle dome? Are you frustrated because you feel like there's nobody doing proper scientific studies to see what would happen when you pit two historically violent warriors that could have never actually met in real life? Worry no more people - I present to you Spike TV's newest offering - Deadliest Warrior! [more inside]
Pick A Lock, Any Lock: Why do Selfdefenseproducts.com's products seem so ill-related to self-defense and so suited to, er, crime and violence? Got your PayPal ready? File under "Only in America". (Via Bifurcated Rivets.)
No, seriously, they score by touching the opponent in the Valid Target Area. The touches are monitored electronically via wires coming out of the fencers' backs, similar to the technology used to control Dan Rather.
-from Dave Barry on Fencing in the humor section of Fencing Sucks.
-from Dave Barry on Fencing in the humor section of Fencing Sucks.
The Armarium. Online Historical Fencing Manuals & Texts at the Association for the Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA).
Swallowing A sword may feel unconfortable and leave "a taste of stomach acids and metal" in your mouth, but it's a hell of a party trick.
Eight Sword Myths by Glenn Pettit is a relaxing unobtrustive and straight-forward read for those who like to collect, brandish, or just stare in awe at c-c-c-cutlery. And who doesn't? This document dispells certain modern misunderstandings but also tips a hat to timeless legend itself.