zebee: (Default)
This really needs to go on a community somewhere to get answers, but damfino where.

I seem to be gunshy about bofhnet, dunno why that is either.

anyway... reading http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20070917 and was surprised (this must be what they mean by "consciousness raising") about how my first reaction to the cat joke was "funny" but it was immediately followed by "that's nasty really if you have a friend who is an then humiliating them by poking a reflex they can't help is Seriously Ugly.

And then I wondered what the human version is. If your cat-construct can't resist string, what is dangled in front of humans that they can't resist and is unique to them?
zebee: (Default)
It's true that when I am reading fiction and I see something that is important to me done badly, I really notice it, out of all proportion I suppose.

I noticed in in HP fanfic, all those Americans writing about Graduation and Proms annoyed me (not that such things are important to me, but it was suprisingly annoying), it ruined a perfectly good Dr Who fic for me when the writer had the 8thDoc riding a motorcycle with a foot accelerator.

I see [personal profile] musesfool feels the same way about sports.

I haven't read much commercial or fanfic lately that does much swordfighting. I have come across ones where the hero has a crowbar weight sword either because that means he's so manly [1] or because the writer has some idea that all swords are like that.

I swallowed The Incompleat Enchanter's idea that an epee fencer might outdo a Viking swordsman because a) the Norseman's sword would be really heavy and slow, and b) the big muscly guy had no idea, but that was a long time ago, and I don't think it washes now.[2] I still see the meme in fantasy books though (not to mention a certain iconic movie) that some untrained but Pure peasant can get a little training and in his first fight completely outfight people who have been killing other people with swords for years.

Doesn't mean novice can't beat experienced, I've been taken out by new fighters often enough to know that even Homer nods. Still, that's in play and I feel uncomfortable monstering new fighters so I don't tend to unleash on them. If it was lethal fight then experience in "real" can trump a lot of skill - ask Aldo Nadi who at the time he fought his one and only duel in 1922 was generally considered one of the best if not the best sport fencers in the world. He was terrified when that sharp sword was heading in his general direction, and was touched by it several times.

[personal profile] joyful_molly has a list of resources for [community profile] age_of_sail that includes a link to The Association for Historical Fencing, but I suspect that they'd get something more useful from fight directors who could help with having a reasonably realistic fight which also advances the plot. (artpfcombat.org seems to be down at the moment...)

I learned a lot about theatrical fencing from my fencing master who has directed plays and even commercials. How to use technique to advance the plot. The obvious movie example is The Court Jester, Dave Luckett did a reasonable job in his Tenebrae trilogy, anyone got any examples where the swordfight was clearly a useful part of the book rather than "swordfight cliches #2 and #6, check"?

Any that really struck you as "you are *joking*"?

[1]Cornwall's Sharpe has sort of an excuse as the heavy cavalry sabre is at least only marginally bigger than an infantry one but the Sharp's Sword movie made me throw things at the screen.)

[2] for one thing, your average modern epee fencer doesn't get off line by more than a few inches due to spending all their time on a piste, so they are really relying on a stop-thrust stopping that broadsword from blowing right through their 500gm needle on its way to slicing them up. And they had better get that needle into a bone or an artery or some very vital organ because that sword is still coming even if the bod is dying next day from a puncture wound gone septic. See Frank Lurz's "Dubious Quick Kill essays on http://www.classicalfencing.com/articles.php


Jun. 2nd, 2009 02:59 pm
zebee: (Default)
You know there are times that I wish perspective in art had been discovered a little earlier.

Or maybe the artists had spent a little more time working out how to get the 3d positioning onto 2d paper.

Why? Because of this:

Ok, you look at that, where do you think the tip of the sword is? back over the guy's right shoulder? Level with it? Pointing forward?

Is the weapon held level in front of him or angling back with the hilt further forward than the middle of the blade?

Where do you think his left and right hands are in relation to his left and right knees?

He does not, of course, describe it. He doesn't for sword and buckler either...

Tip back over your shoulder makes no sense, but what does?

Have to have someone hit me a couple of times while I adjust the blade until it makes a decent head guard.

Be nice if the bod who drew the left side pic had indulged his liking of shadows to give one to the sword....
zebee: (Default)
I can drive. No problem. OK, I maybe get in a car twice a year, but the basics of managing a gearstick and clutch and accelerator are pretty much muscle memory, and the meat of it - the reading of traffic, the position in the lane, the anticipation and actions... Those are the same as you do on a motorcycle.



Once, a very long time ago, I passed a test that included reversing into a parking spot, and so gained the licence I have used ever since.

I'm rather glad they don't retest your parking skills!
zebee: (Default)
Was reading Simon Cozen's blog, and commented on http://www.simon-cozens.org/content/about-general-revelation-thing

I was trying to remember just what I had been taught about Christianity.

I was brought up in an atheist household, but in those days in Western Australia you had to do Religious Education at school and you had to specify a religion.

We were nominally C of E, so I went to C of E classes. Unbelievebly drippy and boring... I can't recall if, in my exposure to bible stories (you didn't think they did anything more with 6-12 year olds?) I thought there was a God, I think I just tuned out. 5 years[1] of classes once a week and all I can remmember is the middle aged (so ancient to a primary school kid) woman saying that Holman Hunt's "Light of the World" was the idea at the heart of Christianity and me thinking "what is she on about? A boring picture of some bloke in a dressing gown?"

I also remember listening to the Methodists next door (who became the Uniting Church somewhere in the middle of all this) and really wanting to be one because they were having fun - singing fun songs and doing plays and things. So I tried to change my religion but apparently you can't do that...

I did get to go on their Easter camps a couple of times, which were lots of fun. We went canoeing one year, and bushwalking another. Sort of like the scouts with different songs and more prayers, but I was quite open about not doing religion and they were fine with that. I usually got the part of the skeptic or other baddy in the plays :)

Whenever I hear people howling about schools "indoctrinating" children about some moral evil I think of those RE classes and those camps. I think indoctrination is a lot more work than that!

[1] My parents tried to have me excused, but the school said no, as it was compulsory and anyway they didn't have anyone to supervise kids out of normal classes. Then a lad named Pradeep Jayasuria turned up who couldn't be put in any Christian RE class and spent that time in the library. By the end of the year there were quite a few of us in the library....
zebee: (Default)
I've been reading "Smart Bitches Trashy Books" http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ for a while now. Funny posts on many things to do with the Romance genre even if sometimes only tenuously.

Recently there's been a lot of posts about their book "Beyond Heaving Bosoms" and I finally got a copy from bookdepository.co.uk

Haven't got into it yet, but the first couple of pages have the narrative voice of the blog for sure. Funny, racy, and many mentions of wangs...

Aside from Georgette Heyer who is both old enough and famous enough to be respectable I haven't read anything labelled Romance. Until I started reading SBTB. They recommended a few and I tried some.

Definitely fun mind candy. Charlaine Harris's Sooky Stackhouse vampire ones which got made into a series "Trublood" (and her other series too), Joanna Bourne's "Spymaster" pair (Which I really did enjoy for the heroine and the pacing, although a couple of anachronisms annoyed my inner history nerd), and a few others.

Yes, it's genre fiction in that there are tropes and requirements. But then so is most of the stuff I read - it's what an author does with it that matters. I can read and re-read Dorothy Sayers or Laurie King or Lois McMaster Bujold or Patrick O'Brian. Because the writing hooks me. A good ROmance has that, plus the comfort of a happy ending. Which is not fashionable, but dammit reading isn't work for me, it is escapism. And looking at the top-of-head list up there... there's romance and happy endings there too.

Biggest hassle with Romance books is the damn covers! SBTB "cover snark" series is hilarious, and gives a good idea why you don't want to be seen reading these damn things on the train! I suppose this is how 50s SF readers felt with halfnekkid women in spacesuits consisting of fishbowl helmets splashed across the cover.

Anyway... Beyond Heaving Bosoms is looking like a good read, an investigation into the categories and plots and classifications of a very stratified and classified genre. I presume someone has done the SFnal equivalent...
zebee: (Default)
Being a 2nd generation geek, and a seriously verbal person....

Is it allowed to realise that you have to actually *do* it to understand something, and not just think about it?

(or does it just mean you aren't an Arisian adopted at birth?)

So I'm still ploughing through Marozzo. He's a very bright lad, as what he's doing - describing physical movements in writing - was a new idea at the time he was doing it, and he doesn't do too bad a job. I do suspect that he got sloppy towards the end though! And when he gets more into theory, such as timing, then he's floundering a bit.

(I'm still amazed at how much theory and understanding as shown in the 16thC Italian fencing schools was taught to me by my fencing master in damn near the same words. There really is nothing new under the sun.)

Anyway, I'm getting past the "assaults" which are really just teasers for "this is what you need to learn to do" and into some theory.

The first thing you have to accept in the 2nd half of the Spadone section is that as it's not a longsword but a great sword, if you get to what he calls "medig spada" which seems to mean what the Germans call "the cross" where you have struck blades edge to edge and are close enough to reach out and touch someone....

Once you get that close, forget about using the blade. You start the wrestling and the pommel strikes and the fisticuffs. Ugly stuff.

I'm skipping that though, won't be usable in the SCA and it's dangerous.

But then I get to something like " that is if he casts a manditto tondo or
his mandritto fendente or his mandritto redoppio, you can raise in guardia alta in the time of his unleashing; but in his casting of the said mandritto, and be the one he wants, so you throw yourself in that way that you know and cast and unleash him a mandritto for his left temple or in his said mandritto, casting and immediately
entering and giving him a roverso to his right side or in his unleashing, lifting in guardia alta, in the casting of his mandritto, you will put yourself below them & consent and cast him a roverso redoppio;"


No way can I work that out just reading it.

So I tried standing in the living room with my sword, messing about with it, but I think I'll have to grab a fencing dummy and say "stand there while I attempt to kill you please"....

But it would be nice if he'd mentioned Guardia Alta a bit earlier. In sword and buckler Alta is where you stand with your sword vertical above your head like a well dressed lighting rod, I really can't see how it translates to you being false edge to false edge and you are going to try and eggshell him at the temple, break his elbow, or smash his teeth out with your pommel...

Lovely hobby for a lady eh?


May. 23rd, 2009 06:01 pm
zebee: (Default)
Someone on internettablettalk.com was gushing about notecase, so I gave it a try.

It's doing the job, in that I can use it to break up each assault section and then make notes as I try them, plus I can add diagrams and pictures.

It exports to text and to html, so that's useful as a backup.

So now I'm enthused about Spadone again.

It's a very geeky thing really, complete with jargon:

"So having arrived nearby your enemy, you will put yourself in guardia di testa to go for the said enemy; but watch well if that he is in porta di ferro alta it is necessary that you do a falso inpontato outside of his sword to his right side, passing with the your left leg, & right forward, casting simultaneously in such passing a mandritto for the head with a tramazzone, in a way that your sword
will settle in porta di ferro larga."
zebee: (Default)
So I'm trying to get back to analysing Marozzo's great sword text, with a view to using it with longsword. (Being short, there's not a lot of difference...)

How Marozzo explains his system is via a series of "assaults" which are vaguely like kata in the Eastern systems. He describes your reaction to your opponent making some attack.

Usually there's 3 or 4 parts to each assault, with each part showing the move from one guard to another, and what happens on the way.

So from this, I want to deduce the principles behind it. If someone attacks with a fendente - a straight down blow - what do you do? And does that apply to all high attacks? What is the timing, what are the usual targets, what footwork is usually used with each move, are there things you don't do?

THe way I've seen this done is using index cards. You write each segment onto a card and note the guard you are in, the one you move to, and what it is in response to.

Then you look them all over, looking for patterns. Is there a "move this direction in response to this" pattern? A pattern in the timing, in that are some things usually attacked in preparation rather than counter attacked or deflected?

What is the usual method of attack, how is the opponent set up for your blow?

The geek in me wonders if these patterns could be easier with a database.

"Opponent in porto di ferro, responses are these" or "Only steps to the right in these circumstances".

I did try, but none of the quickly available cheap and easy ones seemed to have enough flexibility.

Back to index cards.


zebee: (Default)

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