Month: April 2019

Month: April 2019

Life as a Play

A flyer for a business in Innsbruck: "NABU RECORDS: Schallplattn An- und Verkauf.  Exotica - Reggae - Dub - Hiphop - Austro Funk - Soul - Jazz - Rock - Metal - Pop - African - Arabic - Electro - Turntables - Poster"
Deliberate allusion or accidental choice of a name? Just like the river shrine to a certain Lady, parallels with ancient motifs are all around you in Innsbruck!

Epictetus, Enchiridion 17 tr. Manning

Remember that you are an actor in a play, in whatever kind the producer chooses: if short, then short, if long, then long. If he wants you to play a pauper, or a cripple, or a ruler, or a private citizen, you should play it the best that you can. For this is your job, to play the part that is given to you well, but to chose it belongs to another.

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Oh, The Scholar and the Swordsman Should Be Friends

Two books with a wooden rondel dagger in a leather scabbard with a brass chape between them, laying on top of a hand-sewn linen shirt
Three historical fencing projects: a review of Jeffrey Forgeng’s “The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship” (2018) and a review of Guy Windsor’s “The Theory and Practice of Historical Martial Arts” (2018)

The historical fencing world had 20 glorious years. Between 1992 and 2012, people around the world came together, pooled their different skills and interests, and turned a jungle of confusing manuals and manuscripts into working martial arts. At first, everyone was so excited to find someone else interested in swords that they were willing to overlook some other differences and tolerate each other’s flamboyant eccentricity. In the twilight of this period, Tom Leoni wrote that “I look forward to the fruits of the next generation of researchers- of both the swordsman-historian and historian-swordsman types.” But as it got harder and harder to fit everyone in a single gymnasium, and as it became less necessary to learn things from books by academics rather than buddies in the salle, cracks emerged. The jocks stopped being polite to the nerds, the people whose passion was for medieval dagger fighting stopped attending workshops on 18th century smallsword play, and the people who thought a background in say Japanese sword arts was essential stopped having any time for the people who thought it was corrupting. This week, I would like to talk about three projects which show the state of the movement in 2019, as best as I can see it from the outside.*

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