Posted on Sep 25, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

IMG_20816269110188IMG_337182228507IMG_933575245325IMG_14407348126320mid life crisis or past life fascination, I decided with fellow likeminded friends to actually learn how to use a sword, medival style. we found a club teaching it called The Grange , and we set about learning the Italian 14th century fighting style. after the first couple of weeks , the moves began to make sense , especially when you put them together with a little sparring.

it certainly wasn`t easy and relied on muscle memory and building some stamina, but we stuck with it, enjoying the thrill of being  grown men allowed to play with swords…after about 7 weeks we were ready for a free for all, anything goes sparring match with random partners. this sounds great until you realise you`re going to be fighting someone probably bigger than you with several years experience…as it was with me.

put your padded shirt and masks on…again this sounded comforting until you felt the woefully thin padded shirt , and the fencing mask would indeed protect your face but not the side of your head , which I found later after a stinging blow…. “remember ” Jim, the teacher said ,” I`m more interested in seeing if you can remember technique rather than winning ”

….I looked at Phil , who was fastening my padded shirt strap and he looked back at me saying ” can you remember any moves ? ”

” not a thing “, I worriedly confessed.. ” my mind`s gone blank ”

” what are you going to do ? ” , a troubled Phil asked…

” just go for it “, I confidently replied..

it was not long after this confident proclamation that I received the stinging blow to the side of the head  , I mentioned earlier… after which  something clicked in my mind and I went for it, apparently ( according to Jim and Phil ) doing some great sword work, which I honestly have no idea about, I just went into fight/survival mode….I could expand on this and comment on Phils bout ( which was also impressive…but he is from Coventry , where fighting is a pre requisite to survival ) but that might stray into the realms of bragging and glorification of violence so instead I`ll head to the point of this piece…

Just prior to the sparring , we were practising some techniques. I was paired with a chap from Portugal who was fairly skilled having 18 months solid experience. we were learning up close combat where the sword is gripped half way down the blade to be used as a short stabbing sword…this particular move was aimed towards the eyes , so we had to wear the wire mesh fencing masks. my Portugese  partner was far too enthusiastic for my liking and was jabbing away at my face , striking the wire mesh several times through my inadequate defence.

for the first time in seven weeks, I stopped enjoying the session. something changed. it wasn`t  just fun and larking about anymore. this blade heading for my eyes seemed suddenly serious. then as I gazed through the wire mesh as I fended off the attack  the mask changed. Instead of looking through a round mesh face mask , I was looking through a slit  . I was still seeing the chap from Portugal but it was through a narrow slit. it all seemed very real and then my full face wire mesh was back.

perhaps my sword partner was an old foe from a battlefield back in time. perhaps we`d sparred somewhere before on a grimy battlefield, all I knew was that something changed for me and I was fully aware of the harsh reality of real war. A past life glimpse ? A reminder of what it was I was really learning….I`d explained away the sword classes as a way of getting fitter and thinly disguised glee at being able to play with swords but perhaps the reality was hitting home. I`d learnt what I needed to know about myself… I could face someone and fight , if I needed and perhaps enjoying it was taking me a little too far away from the path I was walking this lifetime. perhaps it was time to leave the sword fighting to those past lives…I still love my sword though….

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.