I don’t normally use my blog to spread other people’s work or ideas; that’s not what it’s for. But every now and then I come across some things that are too cool, interesting, or important, to keep to myself.
Treatises available free online:
My friend Jaakko Tahkokallio is head of the special collection at the Helsinki National Library, and they have recently digitised their small but important collection of fencing treatises. You can find them here:
Yes, the site is in Finnish (doh! it’s a Finnish site!) but you should have no trouble clicking on images.
Sharpness and sharpening:
Secondly, I have been fascinated by sharpness and sharpening my whole life. Shiny sharp steel… oh my. If you don’t know much about sharpening, the best book by far (though aimed at woodworkers) is Ron Hock’s fabulous ‘The Perfect Edge‘. One of the things I love about the book is that he includes magnified images of the edges produced by various sharpening processes. If that sounds like your kind of thing, then you should also check out this blog: The Science of Sharp (from which I borrowed the image above).
Seriously geeky sharpening fun, which dispels many sharpening myths.
This article, Benevolent Sexism & Chivalry: Tales From A Modern Medieval Warrior Woman, by Marie Vibbert tells the fascinating but awful story of how she got into armoured fighting in the SCA, and why she eventually quit.
It’s not my place to tell the SCA what to do, but I think that every HMA instructor ought to read this, because it details the pitfalls of treating all fighters the same. It seems like a good and fair approach, but the results are anything but. Kaja Sadowski discusses the same problem from a different perspective in her fantabulous book Fear is the Mind Killer, which you must buy and read if you haven’t already.