I have been very, very bad about posting this year.
One of the reasons I have been so bad about posting is that I haven’t been taking as many photos this year.
One of the reasons I haven’t been taking as many photos is in the picture at the top of this post. What follows is by way of explanation …
The last couple of years, I have been studying Armizare – the martial art associated with knights and men-at-arms in the 14th and 15th centuries. Yes, I have been learning how to use a sword, just like a knight in shining armour and all that. It’s a lot of work, and it’s a lot of fun, and so I have less time for photography, and so I have been very bad about posting.
The photo above was taken at the first ever Deed of Alms hosted by my sword school. The idea was that we would hold a medieval tournament – a “deed of arms” – in support of a local charity (“Arms/Alms” right? Sorry. Or rather, not sorry …), and invite people from other schools to participate, and that people would sponsor their friends for fights. In the finest tradition of the Middle Ages, there would be no winner declared; we would fight for honour, and the only winner would be the charitable organization we were supporting. There were sections of combat in armour, unarmed combat, longswords, arming swords, even some 18th century smallswords – sometimes paired against the same weapon, sometimes against a different weapon. It was a lot of fun!
This particular photo shows my friends (and instructors) Aurora Simmons (left) and Christian Cameron (right) during the armoured combat portion of the tournament. They are both excellent and highly-skilled sword-fighters (not to mention that they organized the event), and their bouts are always worth recording. Serendipitously, I hit the shutter in the middle of a particularly fine exchange of blows, just as the other photographer present triggered his flash, and the result was magical.
The event was a wild success: we raised almost $3000.00, which will be divided between West Neighbourhood House, which provides services to refugees, the underhoused, and battered women, and the Pia Bouman School for Ballet, which hosted us, and which has a program to provide financial aid to children who want to dance but can’t afford to.
It was also a new experience. A couple of people who came to participate noted that it was the first time they had fought for something other than fun and it was giving them something to think about. At least one departed having been inspired to organize something similar back home.
In fact, the whole thing was such a success that we are planning to do it again next year. Chivalry, after all, should be Strength in the service of Need.
Honi soit qui mal y pense