sugoll (sugoll) wrote,

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Proving one's point

An interesting lunch-time today: nipped along to the local museum, where they've currently got a big exhibition on the 100-year anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, an agreement (it sez) between Scotland and France. And this is relevant because my fencing instructor is part of it, by giving demos of Scottish Backsword vs French Smallsword.

The thing about fencing demos is, it's like Tango: takes two. Of the four days' worth of demos, I'm helping with the two later on this month, so I was quite interested to see how the first day's demos went, with L helping the instructor out.

The structure of the day is: three 30-min demos, at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, which are free, and then a two-hour workshop from 2-4pm, which is two quid and limited to ten people each.

S and I got to the museum just before the 12:30 demo, and M informed us that things had gone well so far, with the national papers turning up for photos, numerous people watching the earlier demos, and things being, um, convincing.

See, the backsword's a big, heavy cleaver. Good for huge, circular cuts. The Smallsword's a wee nippy pointy thing, only good for thrusts, but very good at those. So one of the backsword techniques is to try to disarm one's opponent with a sharp blow to the blade. Or, better yet, through it.

Guess what happened?

Right at the very end of the first demo, M caught the side of the smallsword with a solid blow, the tang snapped, and the smallsword dissolved into its component parts in L's hand. "Bloody hell!" she said, as 8 pieces of shrapnel bounced on the floor.

So, the next two demos were done with a foil rather than a smallsword, while the remnants of the smallsword itself were used as a show'n'tell prop.

The demo I saw, there were upwards of thirty people watching, which was great. M had completely forgotten to take any fliers along (thwack!), but apparently all four workshops were already fully booked. A text message from L after the workshop reported that it was a lot of fun, and there were numerous people expressing interest in joining the academy next year. Hurrah!

I hope I'll make it along to see how it goes tomorrow morning, as well. And after xmas, I'll report how it goes when I'm giving the demo, instead of just watching it...

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