The feel for weapons

I read Scientists Have Recreated Ancient Battles to Solve Debate Over Ancient Bronze Swords and was annoyed. Not because the study wasn’t worth doing for its own sake – I applaud archeologists with the good sense to use historical reenactors to learn more about how combat in bygone times must have worked. But it seems… Continue reading The feel for weapons

A martial artist looks at swordfighting in the movies

I was reminded, earlier today, that one of the interesting side effects of knowing something about hand-to-hand and contact-weapons-based martial arts makes a big difference in how you see movies. Most people don’t have that knowledge. So today I’m going to write about the quality of sword choreography in movies, and how that has changed… Continue reading A martial artist looks at swordfighting in the movies

Respect can be hard

I had a good sword class today. There was much sparring with many different weapons. At one point, Sensei Varady and I faced off, him with paired shortsword simulants, me with a longsword simulant. It went pretty well for me; sensei is bigger, faster, at least 20 years younger, and more skilled than I am… Continue reading Respect can be hard

Hacker Archetypes

There’s a book about martial arts called On the Warrior’s Path that tries to understand the differing psychologies of martial artists through the lens of half a dozen archetypes – Seeker, Ronin, Tribal Warrior, and others. I have not yet read the book, but my friend and regular A&D commenter Susan Sons reports having found… Continue reading Hacker Archetypes

Big fish, small pond?

As of tonight, I have a new challenge in my life. Sifu Dale announced tonight that next year he plans to send a team to next year’s Quoshu, a national-level martial-arts competition held every year in northern Maryland in late summer. I told Sifu I want to go and compete in weapons, at least. He… Continue reading Big fish, small pond?

On having good form

Sometimes, the best encouragement you can get in a martial-arts class is silence. Once a month my school, which normally teaches a combination of wing chun kung fu and Philippine blade/stick fighting, gets a visit from Sifu Jerry Devone, who teaches pure traditional Wing Chun at a level a bit higher than our Sifu Dale… Continue reading On having good form

Halfway up the mountain

Last night, my wife Cathy and I passed our level 5 test in kuntao. That’s a halfway point to level 10, which is the first “guro” level, roughly equivalent to black belt in a Japanese or Korean art. Ranks aren’t the big deal in kuntao that they are in most Americanized martial arts, but this… Continue reading Halfway up the mountain

Reality is viciously sexist

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female insists an article at It’s complete bullshit. What you find when you read the linked article is an obvious, though as it turns out a superficial problem. The linked research doesn’t say what the article claims. What it establishes is that a… Continue reading Reality is viciously sexist

Come train with me

This is a shout-out to all martial artists and would-be martial artists in the western Philadelphia exurbs, especially: Phoenixville, Spring City, Collegeville, Mont Clare, Upper Providence, Lower Schuylkill, Valley Forge, Charlestown/Malvern, Kimberton, Audubon, and Lower Perkiomen. I train under Sifu Dale Yeager at the Kuntao Martial Arts Club in Phoenxville, and my school has a… Continue reading Come train with me

Summer vacation 2013

The last couple of weeks have been my vacation, and full of incident.This explains the absence of blogging. First, World Boardgaming Championships. I did respectably, making quarter- and semi-finals in a couple of events, but failed in my goal to make the Power Grid finals again this year and place higher than fifth. I did… Continue reading Summer vacation 2013

Heavy weapons

I should have known it. I really should have expected what happened. So it’s about week 7 at kuntao training, the tasty exotic mix of south Chinese kung fu and Philippine weapons techniques my wife and I are now studying, and we’re doing fine. The drills are challenging, but we’re up to the challenge. Our… Continue reading Heavy weapons

Adventures in kuntao

My regulars will be aware that, since the Mixed Martial Arts program we were in folded up, my wife Cathy and I have been having an interesting learning adventure checking out various schools in our area as possibilities for our next style. We’ve had some more adventures since.

Shopping for a martial-arts school: the adventure continues

A few days ago I posted “A martial-arts trilemma” about Cathy’s and my search for a new school to train with following the demise of our MMA program. We’ve since gotten one nice surprise and struck two alternatives off our list. And thereby hangs a tale.

A martial-arts trilemma

So, nine days ago the Mixed Martial Arts program my wife and I had been training in was canceled, and we’ve been shopping for a new school in our area. We’re serious students, twenty years deep in empty-hand and weapons, so the general run of strip-mall karate and TKD joints just isn’t going to do… Continue reading A martial-arts trilemma

Facing your inner alpha

There’s been some discussion in response to my post on A natural contemplates game on the meaning of the term “alpha male” as it applies to humans. In comments, I had this to say as a definition: As I use “alpha”, it simply means someone who is equipped for leadership roles by psychology and temperament.… Continue reading Facing your inner alpha