Sunday, September 04, 2005

Martial Arts from the Past

Saturday Robbie and I went to the Renaissance Faire that's held every Labor Day in a nearby town park. It's a pretty big one, with a joust, archery pavillion, several camps, shows, and battles. We'd made plans to go before Eli's accident, and since he was recovering nicely by that time (and didn't want to go anyway), we decided to stick with our plans.

I'm glad we had plans with Bonnie and Jacob. Bonnie was with me during the scariest part of the accident on Thursday, so we had a special bond through that experience. Plus, I knew she loves Renaissance Faires like I do!

Anyway, we had a great time, and a lot of what we did was watch people fighting! So here are a whole bunch of pictures of medieval European "martial arts" (and some from Japan, as you'll see).

This first picture is of all four of us. Of COURSE we went in costume!

Here is Robbie, early on, having a sword fight with his friend Eric, whom we saw there. Can you tell he's ready for Kum Do class?

There were several demonstrations of medieval fighting. Here is a swordfighting demonstration.

And this is Robbie's favorite part this year, something called a "siege." The leader, pictured here, explained that their fighting was "not choreographed."

"In other words, people in the movies, who choreograph their fights, send their friends to the hospital when they do something wrong. We send our friends to the hospital when we do something right."

Here's one group lined up, ready to charge on the other group. It was basically a free-for-all, with people hacking at each other, and occasionally using "treachery" (like when one guy ran at his opponent and did a two-footed side kick to the shield to knock the opponent down!

Robbie loved it. "Yeah! More blood" Whose child is that, anyway?

After we watched their show a second time, we stopped to chat with them. They make their "swords" out of PVC pipe, which they cover in foam padding and duct tape.
"What are some of the injuries your group has gotten?" I asked.
"Oh, well, there was a broken knee, and some cracked ribs, and at one Faire there were three broken noses," said one of the fighters, who'd earlier suffered a split lip.

There was also a trebuchet like ones that would have been used in sieges. I could have watched this thing for hours!

We made sure to watch a group from a dojo in a nearby town. They're called Jade Tiger Dojo, and they teach "Samurai arts."

I saw them both times I went to the RenFaire in the past, and I think watching them do Aikido forms planted the seed of interest in martial arts. It's quite different from TKD, with circular, avoidance moves, and I am sure I would not want to have to fall down all the time like they do, but it is really cool.

Here they are doing work with "sticks"

And here's the sensei doing what's known as a "test cut." He uses a VERY sharp sword to cut a bamboo roll very quickly and carefully at precise angles.

Jason S. from the dojang was there with his family, and was watching the samurai people when I was.

I really had hoped to talk with the sensei after the show. I wanted to tell him about how his show inspired me. I also wanted to ask him about how his height affected the way he did martial arts--he said he was 6'7"! I'm sure that must be both an advantage and a disadvantage

Robbie and I also enjoyed doing some archery--here's Robbie.

I'll be getting a photo of myself sometime from Bonnie.

Robbie loved it so much, he bought a cute bow and arrow set there. The bow's made of PVC pipe, and the arrows are sponge-tipped, which was good, as he spent the rest of the Faire shooting me with it!

We were at the Faire for about 6 hours! There was plenty to do, and good food. Robbie and I love to go talk to the people at the encampments. Robbie tried on chain mail, as he did in years past. The chain main guy said "Didn't I make a sample piece for you last year?"

I don't know why I love the Renaissance Faire so much. Bonnie and I were talking about it, because she's crazy about it too. I think it's indulging my inner child--getting to dress up and pretend, and live in ancient times. You can tell that the other people there enjoy that, too!

And here's something cool. We got home, and Eli was outside with Bruce. He wasn't running around, but he was up and dressed and feeling better. At that moment, just returning from a great day out, and seeing Eli mostly recovered from such trauma, I thought life is good.

No comments: