Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Contrary to Hollywood belief, a 3-kg sword made of solid wood striking someone's ribs at practically full-force does not in fact make a sound. Not unless the sword broke said ribs.

That day, I could have sworn I heard a loud resounding "WHACK!"

We were at swordfighting practice. A couple of seniors were taking turns with the instructor at free sparring. I was up next so I was watching intently. It was brutal and elegant. Twice I saw my instructor, Greg, let a blow or two slip by to strike his fencing mask. Most of the time, though, Greg dominated. The seniors were getting seriously owned.

Right up to the point where one of the attacks went awry.

It was a chest level blow. Greg moved to trap the blade under his arm - a legitimate move under the system we use, considering that the ribs would normally be protected by chain mail, plate and padding. One of the seniors mistimed his swing. Greg mistimed his shift. The result - bruised ribs.

Greg was left breathless for a while. I've never actually seen him in so much pain. I offered twice to drive Greg to get his ribs checked out, but he said he was okay. He was. That incident didn't take any edge off him when I sparred with him.

The incident reinforced in me how dangerous this activity can actually be. Tough as Greg is, we were all worried that a rib might have been broken.

It hasn't dissuaded me. Neither did the five thrusts in the face, the two swings to the head, the locked arm, the circular body shove that nearly sent me sprawling.

I'll get better. I must.


Here's another project I'm working on. I'll leave the picture to do the talking.



Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Do you have a photo of your sword?

What kind of a sword is that?

Anthony said...

Shyue Chou,

It's a hand-and-a-half. I'll wait till I get my steel sword then take a picture of it okay?

Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Sure thing.

That will be great.

How heavy is the sword? The length of the blade? Is it a Toledo blade? The length of the pommel?

Have you used it one-handed?

Do you wear armour?

Anthony said...

The hilt is about a foot long, combined with a blade of about 3.5 to 4 feet long. I'm bad with estimating measurements, but I'm about 5 foot 9 and it reaches from tip to tip to just above my tummy.

My current practice sword about 3.5 lbs of wood. The steels I am told weigh somewhat more than that, but feel less because of superior balance.

I've used the sword one-handed. It is possible, but it's definitely more awkward. The cuts are clumsier.

I don't wear armor yet. The swords we use for training are blunts. We are currently making our armor for sharps - don't expect to be at that stage of training until much much later.