Swords, and intermittency

Yeah, it’s been like, forever. But I’m still alive, and around, and still writing and editing and swording and translating. I hope all of you are well and feeling reasonably successful in your endeavors. I’m still plugging away, feeling like it’s three steps forward and two steps back, but at least I’m making some small headway. While I’m here — I have yet to receive my copy due to logistical kerfuffles, but I’m eagerly awaiting Tim Rivera’s translation of Godinho’s Art of Fencing! Not only has he translated the text, but he’s also included a lot of additional material, extracting and collecting key points in easily findable ways. In other news, I presented a taster course workshop on Godinho at Swordplay 2017 which was well-received, and learned a ton from other presenters (including Skye Hilton and Steaphen Fick), and had a lot of (never enough) bouts with fantastic friends old … Read on!

It’s been a while

People reinvent themselves all the time, sometimes willingly, and sometimes not. I try to improve, you know, refine myself as best I can. Some of it’s for selfish reasons — I want more attention, adulation, admiration, but other reasons are more sensible. I want to lessen cognitive load. I want to be more efficient about the things I do and how I do them. I’m coming to the end of my fortieth year on this earth, and it hasn’t been so much of a reckoning as it’s been a deliberate slowing down. It’s not perfect by any means. I still commit when maybe I shouldn’t, but I’m no longer drowning. I still get angry with myself, but I find more spaces for kindness and forgiveness than I once did, however hard that may be. I want to come to see this blog as a thing I look forward to. Right … Read on!

Organization! Or, how I learn to cobble myself a system.

I have alway been terrible at organizing. I used to think it was a deep character flaw, some horrible persistent weakness of will and manifestation of laziness until my ADHD diagnosis. Now I know it’s neurological. That does not stop me from wanting to be organized, though. So here’s the thing: what strategies and tools are out there for folks like me who go into brain static lock at the idea of putting things all in a row? Truth be told, there’s not much, at least not that I’ve found. A lot of suggestions involve post-its or catastrophic decluttering or getting an org-buddy or fancy containers. If you’re like me, though, none of this works — it’s just inert stuff or unrealistic divestiture of goods or more clutter. But there are some things that have drawn my attention; their concepts are appealing, or there’s a subsonic hum of logic that … Read on!

High contrast weekend

I participated in my first HEMA event (held at History Alive at Fort Lytton) as a competitor on Saturday, which was loads of fun, despite the cold that was sinking into my sinuses just the night before. I only competed in rapier, and lost far, far more than I won. It was easy to ignore the mild sting of defeat, though, because all the people I fought were smart and friendly and lovely and it was all a very good time. And it was easy to ignore the mild sting of defeat because I learned A LOT. Like, way a lot, like the kind of a lot that makes me regret not having a notebook to hand at the event because I’m worried I might have forgotten some insights between then and now. As for that cold: I paid for it today. I feel like I’ve taken a sledgehammer to … Read on!

Destreza: A little more on the sword and cape in Oplosophia

Today I’m writing with one fewer teeth in my mouth. I mean, I can’t complain; I had something that in technical terms is called a congenitally missing tooth. In other words, I had a baby tooth that never had a grown-up tooth to take its place. So this poor tooth that should have retired when I was like 11 or something totally stepped up to the plate and did its job for another thirty years. I’m thinking of giving it a Viking funeral. Anyway, now that the numbness has subsided and the re-emerging pain is back under control, I wanted to bring you just a wee bit more on the sword and cape. When I completed the translations, I had a few important points that stood out in my mind, and perhaps as a form of study I wrote them down in a fairly modern and faintly impertinent variety of modern … Read on!

Destreza: Sword and Cape, in Oplosophia

Hello, everyone! It’s translation time again! Today’s offer is a longer one, a translation of the section in Oplosophia* that discusses the use of the sword and cape. For those unfamiliar with historical uses of garments as off-hand implements in armed defense, this is totally a thing. Honest. Like this:Like Loading…

Being sick

I mean, sure, it happens to all of us. For me, though, I feel like it happens in flurries. Long stretches of nothing really worrying and then a series of days where things just sort of keep going wrong. Am I having a whinge? Yeah, sure. But humor me. When I was a kid, sick days were about not doing anything, mainly because I didn’t want to do something. Or anything. When I became a grown-up, that sort of still held true for jobs that made me utterly miserable (and we have all had them at one time or another). On those days that I really was unwell, I was kind of happy to take on feverish, barfy hours of unpleasantness to have the privilege of not being in the office. Except now I work in a place where I like what I do and I like the people who … Read on!

Destreza: On the meaning of Oplosophia

So in my vast stretches of spare time (ha), one of the things I do when I’m not actually trying to stab willing practice partners with rapiers is read primary sources. Under various advisements, I’ve chosen to take a look at Oplosophia e verdadeira destreza das armas by Diogo Gomes de Figueireido. You may have noticed that it’s in Portuguese, and that I have not mentioned speaking or reading Portuguese (I am, however, fluent in Spanish and have worked as an editor in that language). Yeah. Apparently I like a challenge. Anyway, one of the first things I wanted to sort out was what the heck oplosophia meant. So I went poking around the interwebs, and all that came up for me was either references to the book itself, or mentions of the term being a hapax legomenon — a word that only appears once in any given context within a language. So … Read on!

Some (not so) brief thoughts on the Sock Puppet of Self Doubt

Below is an episode of Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project, where Adam talks about overcoming self doubt — he describes a week in which he questioned whether he should be doing builds at all, after a particularly rough build, and talks about how he got himself out of that funk. The relevant bit starts at 4:30 and goes on for about 15 minutes. It’s important to know that someone with as much experience as Adam Savage gets impostor syndrome about the thing that he does best. It’s a thing. We all get it. And it hammered him for a whole week. It happens in different phases of creation, too. His initial trigger was feeling like he just couldn’t get a series of precise machinings right, that he kept screwing up in the workshop. That’s impostor syndrome that strikes during the creative process. You hit a hard part, you come up … Read on!

And I’d been on a decent roll, too

I’ve talked a bunch about time management, but these days I know it’s as much a neurological issue as it is a quirk. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, which is a really nice change of pace, but that the things I want to say are important enough to me to want to spend a reasonable amount of time to get them written with full attention and now you can see this temporal ouroboros starting to turn, can’t you? I found the parenting article that I wanted to edge into self-care; I hit my 40th birthday and received so much love an esteem from friends and family all over the world I trip over myself to say thank you in a way that I feel is commensurate to the wonder that came my way; I ran out of my prescription and went a few days without it … Read on!