Cutting concepts

So I have had some ideas about cutting rumbling about in the back of my head lately. I have observed that a lot of people have difficulty cutting and I believe it is because they are approaching it the wrong way mentally. I’m trying to create a rough order of priority of component parts in “a good cut” so that I can coach the more reluctant individuals in a stepwise process to help them improve their technique. Of course the sum of all components is important to achieve, prioritising just one component over the rest will not result in a good cut, I acknowledge this and am fully aware of it. What I am trying to achieve is to work out for myself and for people who ask me to assist them in improving their technique (hereafter referred to as my students for the sake of making writing this article an easier task!) the order by which I should coach them to improve their technique if they are having consistent difficulty with cutting.

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Principles and the Book of Martial Power

Recently, I acquired the Book of Martial Power by Steven J. Pearlman. This is a brilliant and very thought provoking book. I don’t agree with all of it, but it is by far the most comprehensive discussion on principles I have ever read. I had thought to do a straight review of it, and I will review it, but I thought it would be more interesting if I also discussed some of the thoughts that reading this book has sparked.

The book concerns itself with principles that are inherent in every single martial art, regardless of whether it is a “soft” or a “hard” martial art, regardless of whether it concerns itself with striking, or grappling, or both. At first when I read that, I was quite sceptical. How could he possibly write about principles inherent in all martial arts in any meaningful way? Further, how many principles could be shared by all the disparate martial arts across the globe? Read more

How Influential was Queen Matilda to the History of the Reign of King Stephen?

The term ‘influential’ can be both positive and negative, meaning that some definite influences may not be beneficial ones. In history this is exceptionally true as influences, particularly indirect influences, which we see clearly may have been totally unremarkable to contemporaries. For the purposes of this essay, ‘influential’ shall be considered largely as a positive action and shall refer to acts of Queen Matilda which can be seen to aid Stephen. Further complications can be seen in the fact that Queen Matilda can be one of two people when discussing Stephen’s reign: Matilda, Queen of Henry I or Stephen’s own Queen. The controversy surrounding Henry Is marriage to his Queen gave Stephen a basis to claim that the Empress Matilda was illegitimate. These claims were determinedly denied by Bishop Ulgar and the Archbishop of Canterbury himself investigated the claim before declaring the argument untrue. This Queen Matilda also arranged the marriage between Stephen and Matilda of Bologne, and since her contribution to Stephen’s reign was by far the more significant it is this Matilda who shall be the focus.

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Liechtenauer or a Derivative?

Alex and Keith working with longswords
Alex and Keith working with longswords

Do I teach Liechtenauer’s longsword, or do I teach a derivative style of Farrell’s longsword?

The answer to the above question is simple: I purport to be teaching longsword as written by Johannes Liechtenauer, I have not made up my own style of swordplay that I teach to people instead. But the question is interesting, because after all, Liechtenauer probably taught his students in a different way to how I teach mine, and he likely emphasised different things than what I emphasise.

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