|We have an embarrassment of riches this week, albeit most are stale-dated by about a month. We get a look at some of the teams that participated in the recently concluded Battle of the Nations (BOTN), we find two new ‘old’ swords and we get a look at what it is like to approach WMA/HEMA as a novice.
BOTN World-wide Wrap
RZECZPOSPOLITEJ (Warsaw, Poland) 02 May 12 A oni nadal polerują zbroje (Natalia Banasiewicz)
From the host country, we get a snapshot of the battle preparations of 38-year old (this will be important later) Sławomir Zys, fighting (and riding) for the home team.
He emphasises the usual – that your kit has to be in flawless condition, and physical fitness is critical.
Of note, there is a charming nod to the difficulties of participating in any fighting discipline … when your significant other does not agree with your involvement! (Quick, show of hands? Girls too … get’em up there.)
The Polish paper also mentions the efforts of 52-year-old Daniel Stool from BOTN Team USA – starting with how he came to the love of the art – and ends on his equipment concerns.
You can find some quality photography of the BOTN at: DZIENNIK (Warsaw, Poland) 04 May 12 Wielka bitwa w Warszawie. Triumfowali Rosjanie
COURRIER SUD (Nicolet, Quebec) 19 April 12 Un Bécancourois participe à Battle of Nations
Closer to home, local celebrity Marc-André Dubois is interviewed by his home town paper has to his preparations for joining the 19 members Quebec team for their flight east to BOTN. Again, we read a common theme with physical conditioning and proper armour (at a cost of $1K to 10K a set) being to primary concerns.
This report however, does dwell on the potential for injury within this ‘extreme sport’; with past Quebec participants suffering a split forehead, dislocated shoulder or broken ribs.
WOCHENANZEIGER MÜNCHEN (Germany) 26 April 12 München · Ritter-Sport, der nicht weh tut
Much the same as above, but featuring a three-man team from Germany. The obligatory comments as to the requirement for endurance and strength training … and armour protection (are we detecting a theme yet?) make their appearance early on. But this interview is unique in that it highlighted the German team’s preoccupation with practicing combination attacks, offensive and defensive techniques- this is the only time in any BOTN press that We’ve seen mention of ‘technique’.
“This sword fighting is the only martial art in which one can measure use full force against each other.”
We also learn a bit about the German system of selection of teams for BOTN in preliminary, national bouts.
THE ADVERTISER (Adelaide, Australia) 06 May 12 Knight of knights for Fair Players (Samela Harris)
Dayne Lawrence started out ‘down under’ doing staged sword-combat demos during medieval fair, but then connected with a local Historical Fencing Group and is now training flat-out like a lizard drinking with the intent to attend a future BOTN as a competitor.
Xena: The Early Years?
LONDON EVENING STANDARD (UK) 20 April 12 Tall tales: Fighting fit - Dipal Acharya lives by the sword
In an effort to mimic her television hero, our ‘intrepid reporter’ undertakes a WMA sword-class at London’s Longsword Academy.
Like here at home, movies and TV’s Game of Thrones have resulted in more people walking off the street into British salles wanting to try their hand at wielding steel.
“Through the mesh of the mask I watched as the other four pairs of fighters locked swords, pirouetting around one another like choreographed dancers. Somewhere mid-duel, the weirdness of the situation hit me. I hadn’t just learned a new way to tone my arms, I was practising moves designed to kill people”.
Swords making History relevant
SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS (Georgia) 13 April 12 In search of artefacts at Fort Pulaski (Rich Wittish)
The 150th anniversary of a USA Civil War event features the swords of two Confederate army officers who were defending Fort Pulaski during its siege April 10-11, 1862.
US MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA (Arizona) 26 April 12 Pappy's sword reunites with Black Sheep (Cpl. Aaron Diamant)
The battered but painstakingly restored parade sword of WWII flying ace Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington's is now on display in an appropriate and respectful venue.
Swords making Popular Culture irreverent
THE EXAMINER (Detroit, Michigan) 18 April 12 Martial artists prepare for Velociraptor Awareness Day, April 18 (Donald Alley)
Last October, we explored the concept of ‘ Targets and Zombies ’
Zombies? Zombies, bah, humbug!
Today, We consider the ‘real’ threat to Life as We know it!
Be prepared. Be alert! (WMA needs more lerts)