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Jean Thibodeau




Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct, 2007 5:50 pm    Post subject: Jousting and other injuries.         Reply with quote

In another Topic dealing with a sad jousting related death I suggested making a new Topic dealing with some of these safety issues. I would add general safety issues as well a injuries and recovery from these; This could include general sports injuries and how as we get older simple overtraining starts becoming easier to do.

Now since this is an arms & armour site sword related training stress and most importantly recovery from injury could be interesting and useful discussions. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Quote:
Lloyd Clark:
Jousting is dangerous. Even "show jousts" which are highly choreographed and have "break-away" lances is dangerous. A few years ago, after a joust my squire was removing my armour when a 2 foot long piece of lance fell out and hit him on the foot. This piece has been wedged between my back and my backplate and had entered through the space under my arm. This could just as easily gone into me. I was lucky.

In my history of a jouster I have had over 42 broken bones, 12 concussions, a dislocated hip, three separated shoulders and one dislocated shoulder. I have had a lance get between my armour plates and literally shred my left rotator cuff and tearing it clear from the bone (shoulder surgery is one of the most painful surgeries that I have ever experienced). I have also had a horse go down on me, breaking a 2" piece off of my collar bone and ripping a 4" alvusion of muscle off of the bone.


Now my only persistent injury is a slight persistent " twinge " in the left shoulder which is next to nothing compared to your list of injuries: I'm really curious about how long it took to recover from most of these and how they impact on your mobility and getting back on the horse as one might say ?

Oh, I hope my questions are not too personal ? If yes, general comments about injury recoverie(s) are good enough for me.

Also I'm using Lloyd's " quote " to get things started as it does seem like Lloyd would know what it takes to get back into shape after an injury.

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Torsten F.H. Wilke




Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean, I believe that the body naturally recovers from devastating injuries quite well by itself. Probably depends heavily upon age of course, and on genetics and nourishment. Gradual increase in movement tends to be very important in the mid to later stages of healing. And, one can also never forget the all important factor of rest. I believe that doctors only tend to slightly help the healing body along in the vast majority of cases, barring possibly fatal or extremely serious ones.

It might be hard to increase safety in accurate reproductions of armour used in reenactment, since improvements would surely alter the look and functionality for the die-hards. Attachment methods of various harness parts would probably be obvious safety culprits. They might allow for too much movement under certain conditions. And then again, what role does the padded garment itself play?

I have racked up an impressive list of battle scars and serious injuries in my many travels in life, though they have affected me little. Maybe I was just bred to get through being hurt easily. Without discussing circumstances, they include but are not limited to numerous broken/fractured bones including skull and back vertebrae, completely separated hips, crushed hip joint slated for replacement (miraculously healed), fairly horrendous muscular rip/shred/tear/impact injuries (ever have to hold your leg together with both hands?), bullet wounds, arrow wounds clean through (well almost lol, ever had to pull an arrow through your hand?), shrapnel wounds, burns, and good ol' plain pain. The only time I had an incident somewhat relating to armour was when as a child I found out why cod pieces were probably good to stave off errant flails. And yes, I was wearing a homemade cuirass at the time...
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 24 Oct, 2007 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Torsten;

Well I guess I'm lucky or I have a quieter life style as I only broke an ankle once, sprained both of them numerous times over the years and most of my cuts have been shallow and small in size. Big Grin

So your post is useful in giving some perspective about what can be recovered completely from.

Mostly I'm just getting muscle strains or overuse injuries that are mostly annoying.

The Topic intent is somewhat about sports medicine and rehabilitation from injuries related to WMA but people with any martial arts or high impact sport should have the same experiences.

Rest is or rather not resting long enough before going back to training is probably the biggest mistake I makes: One gets very impatient if one's training must be stopped or the level of effort ratcheted down for many weeks or months to fully recover. With me it's mostly having to lift lighter weights and not progressing that is frustrating.

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Rod Walker




Location: NSW, Australia.
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 8:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The problem with this is describing ones injuries and not sounding like a macho jerk Razz

Jousting: Broken a lot of bones in my right hand, won a world jousting championships with a broken right hand, it was agony, like punching a brick wall with a broken hand every pass.
I have disclocated both shoulders numerous times.
Concussions, one so bad I went blind in my right eye for a while.
Lots of bruising.
42 stitches in my crotch to re-attach a partially severed penis, I was back in the saddle jousting 14days after this injury.

Sword combat: Numerous cuts, stabs and bruising. I have some wonderful scars on my face from zigging when I should have zagged. Big Grin

Motocross: Numerous bad injuries of the type you get crashing a motorbike at speed.

The last 3 months have been very quite as regards jousts and shows so I have had time to have a bit of a rest and recover from a very busy last 4 years. Mind you, I am an underground coal miner so I am always working my body hard.

I am 36, I creak and crack when I move and cold weather plays havoc with my joints, I have some problems with nerve damage and arthritis and some mornings I can barely move when I get out of bed. I feel pretty good though and wouldn't change a thing. Most of the injuries I have received have been in the pursuit of deeds.

Cheers

Rod
Jouster
www.jousting.com.au

"Come! Let us lay a lance in rest,
And tilt at windmills under a wild sky!
For who would live so petty and unblessed
That dare not tilt at something, ere he die?"
--Errantry, John Galsworthy
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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 8:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A point with regard to recovery times. Fortunately I've managed to escape serious accidental injury despite playing rugby for many years along with other injury prone sports but I have undergone major surgical intervention and medical thinking has changed over the years with regard to the rest versus activity question. Four years ago I required cardiac bypass surgery apart from the harvesting of veinous and arterial tissue which has left me with 8 inch wounds in an arm and a leg my breastbone was sawn up the middle cranked open closed again after surgery with steel wires wrapped around the length the bone. The reason I'm being so graphic is that 30 years ago when this type of surgery was relatively new patients were confined to bed for six weeks after the operation to recover. Unfortunately the mortality rate was rather high and it was discovered that bed rest was the major culprit. 48 hours after my surgery with a nurse at each arm I was walked around the ward, 72 hours and I was expected to manage on my own 6 days and I was home 12 weeks after surgery and I was doing 1 1/2 hours aerobics and circuit training 3 times a week and briskly walking 6-7 miles the other days, I'm 53. Other patients much older than me were expected to follow the same regime. My daughter is a Doctor of Medicine and apart from obvious exceptions and only where it is medically safe to do so patients with a multitude of varying injuries are positively encouraged to "get mobile" as early as possible as a positive aid to recovery, too much rest in many cases can greatly extend the recovery time and in some cases can be permanently detrimental. The above is my experience and not intended to be professional medical advice.
Regards,
Norman.
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Dan P




Location: Massachusetts, USA
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 9:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think I'm ever going to try to get into jousting, not after reading some of this.
So, injuries. I studied SOMBO self-defense constantly for about eight years starting in high school, and got the usual sprains, hits in the face, and bumps from getting tossed off the wrestling mats we used and landing on hardwood gym floors. Once I woke up the morning after a class and I couldn't bend my left wrist backward at all, which was scary, because it didn't hurt and I didn't remember any specific trauma. So I wrapped it up, went to school, and when I got home it worked again.
I saw other people get hurt a lot worse when I was there. Since it was a self-defense class, not a sport or competition type deal, there was a very broad range of ages and physical abilities. Usually it was because people overestimated their own strength or flexibility.

The worst thing that ever happened to me is unrelated to any of this. I was playing "ultimate frisbee" in high school, jumped to catch a throw, and landed sideways on my left foot. Six hours later it was twice the normal size and I couldn't walk on it. The doc says I was lucky not to have actually broken it. I got kind of a splint type thing to wear, and a pair of crutches, but it got better real fast.
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Bryce Felperin




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 10:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Injuries happen in any sport. All you can do is practice safety and try to mitigate against injuries happening, but they happen anyway sadly.

In my case I have had several. However in keeping with not coming off as a macho jerk myself, I figure I can list the injury and also the lessons I learned from getting it so that I don't repeat the mistake that led to it.

First off the Army gave me bad knees from running on concrete and ice, 4 miles a day, 5 days a week. Very common problem with running on hard surfaces for extended times. I now prefer more gym exercies, but when I do run I do it on grass or dirt now.

Also broke metatarsals in both feet on a road march. Walked nine miles on two broken feet and would of done more if not for the fact that I couldn't get my boots back on after changing my socks at the half-way point. I learned then that proper arch supports and foot beds on long hikes/marches are a requirement...especially when carrying 70 pound loads on your back.

In sword fights I have had a broken pinky finger. You need to learn how to cut and block with your hands DOWN, not high. The instinct is to raise the hands hight to block, but you need to know where the cut is coming from and use the sword and guard to block it...not your hands. ;-)

I have also had my AC ligament severed in grappling. Don't go into a full grapple or action unless both you and your opponent know what you are doing and can play it safe. I'm now more cautious going into a grapple, and I only do it with those I trust now. Also study and practice slow, so you know when you're going to your limits and have time to back off. Train slow, go slow and you learn better.

Lastly I cut my calf above my ankle with a Katana because I was tired and not concentrating on my cutting exercise like I should of been. So I dropped it and it cut me deep. My foot is still numb to this day from that injury. Listen to that inner voice when it tells you that you have performed to your limit mentally or physically. Don't do things when you're tired or fatigued that can potentially kill or badly injure you.

I won't even count the times I've cut fingers with knives by accident (know proper knife handling). Also there are the times I've sprained a knee or stressed a joint because I didn't stretch well previous to activity.

Basically if you hurt yourself you made a mistake and had an accident. If you fail to learn what you can do to prevent that same thing from happening again to you or others, then you're a fool.
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Ed Toton




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 10:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan P wrote:
I don't think I'm ever going to try to get into jousting, not after reading some of this.


To be fair, there are many different jousting groups out there that do things very differently. For instance, the Freelancers at the MD renfest do full-contact jousting, but with break-away lances. Some of the other renfaire jousting groups appear to do non-contact "jousts" (catching rings, throwing javelins into targets, sword cuts against watermelons, etc).

It's probably possible to find a group that fits with your level of acceptable risk, if you really wanted to.

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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't joust, but suppose I'm pretty lucky in my tournament fighting and WMA experiences...the things that have scared me are a couple of close calls regarding the eyes.

I've cracked a couple of ribs in spear fighting (moral: don't wear just a gambeson when fighting full-contact with padded spears), had a couple of fingers broken through a gauntlet, and sustained the non-life threatening cut or two (though, these were the scary eye close calls). I also had a blow reach around behind my mask that likely hairline-fractured the portion of my skull just behind the mastoid process.

All in all, I think I've been pretty fortunate, and most of what's happened could have been avoided with just a little more common sense on my part.

Two questions for other posters - a) Rod, how'd you get the groin injury, if it's not too personal a question to ask. I'm curious because I figured the high saddle would obviate such injuries, normally. b) Torsten - what line of work and recreation do you participate in such that you've had bullet and arrow wounds? You two guys, and Lloyd, are some tough customers!

All the best,

Christian

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George Davidson




Location: Glasgow Scotland
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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 2:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

lets see .... in a 30 yr career:

Rugby - tore the muscle/tendons/ligaments away from the bone in both knees, at least one concussion

(American) Football - 4 concussions in 4 years including (allegedly) 2 in the same afternoon - never hold on field goals!, fractured ribs, dislocated every finger, chipped a nickel(?) sized piece of bone off my right elbow thats still lose in there 20 yrs on, severely bruised kidneys to the point I was urinating blood but the best is my spine (cervical) is 25 years older than the rest of me due to the wear and tear from tackling people much bigger than I was.

Skiing - dislocated right shoulder in scotland and re-tore my right knee in france

Karate - fractured fingers, fractured cheekbone

Parachuting - remember that right knee ........ made an arrse of it again (when I landed badly in a turnip field) ... and got turnip up the bottom (and yes, that HURT! Eek! )

German Longsword - hit in the back of the head with a zwerchhau, went down and concussed when I hit the floor face first. Following day I was a key person in a 1 million UK pound software implementation ... but no one noticed I was totally out of it. Implementation still went well.

when the weather gets cold its not fun and every morning its a 5 minute crawl to the edge of the bed until I can get things moving again.

Reading some of the above (much respect guys) ... but we dont seem to learn do we?
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Gavin Kisebach




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll keep it just to martial injuries, or we'll be here all day.

Kenpo, broken pinky, five cracked ribs, 2 concussions.
SCA, Broken thumb, multiple mild concussions. I gotta stop blocking with my head. WTF?!

While we're on the topic of fighting with limitations, if I reacall correctly, John I of Bohemia and Zizka were blind and half-blind, respectively. John was lead onto the charge by two other knights, and Jan wasn't slowed down one bit, judging by his reputed prowess.

I have two friends who are 50ish in the SCA; one has bad knees, on bad shoulders. The chap with the bad knees has learned to fight with a spear and sword. He leans on the spear to ease his knees, but occasionally will pop it up and stab to the face or use it to displace his opponent's shield. The lad with the bad shoulders simply sticks to two-handed weapons. He says that this keeps him from overextending and limits impact on both shoulders. Myself I have bad feet, so my mobility is limited, and I am learning to fight laterally, whereas before I made more use of front and back movement.

I can only assume that anyone who fights long enough will pick up some naggin injuries, how do you work around it?

Secondly, does anyone have more examples of historic figures that managed to "fight around" disability or injuries? I'd love to hear about them.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 7:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rod Walker wrote:
The problem with this is describing ones injuries and not sounding like a macho jerk Razz



I think there is some justified pride in having survived a whole bunch of injuries and still not have let it stop you from doing what you love. Cool

As to the macho jerk part: The fact that you don't want it to sound that way sort of proves that you're NOT. Wink Laughing Out Loud

Oh, and a little bragging is O.K. as long as it's accurate bragging. I'm also very impressed !

Thanks everyone for the input: One thing I do see as a pattern is that many if not most of these injuries can be recovered from and one can still continue with one's activities but on the other hand cumulative damage still has a price in aches and pains and accelerated aging.

There are some cases where too much damage may force one to quit though. Sad

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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Thu 25 Oct, 2007 7:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gavin Kisebach wrote:
Secondly, does anyone have more examples of historic figures that managed to "fight around" disability or injuries? I'd love to hear about them.


Well here is one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gtz_von_Berlichingen

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Lloyd Clark




Location: Beaver Dam, WI
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi All,

Christian, I can answer that one for Rod - we were jousting at a Ren Faire in Michigan. Both of us had broken right hands from the Dragon's Lair Jousting Tournament that we participated in a couple of weeks before. Still, we had a contract to joust and went ahead and did so. As happens, our lances hit tip-to-tip and both of them headed south. Rod's skimmed off of my maille brayette, but mine went straight into Rod's crotch, as he was wearing period 16th century pumpkin pants, no brayette. Yes, less than 2 weeks later, he was back up on a horse and jousting. Rod is the toughest man I have ever met and I worked with the Navy SEALS.

As for "safe jousting" there really isn't such a thing. The act of riding a horse is dangerous (Christopher Reeve). When you add being encumbered by either lance/sword/shield/armour or a combination of all, it becomes even more so. The vast majority of my joust related injuries came when I worked as a knight at Medieval Times in Chicago. This is a fully choreographed show with super-breakable lances. I blew out my shoulder (twice), dislocated my hip, and had the end of my finger cut off with a sword. Jousting for real is actually safer.

Not all of my long list of injuries was from jousting/WMA. I was in two car accidents that gave me concussions. I played American Football all the way to college (which accounts for two more concussions and a lot of broken bones); and Rugby for three years while in the Navy (which accounted for more of the broken bones). In all of these endeavors, injury is a very real part of the "game" and you take the hit, heal up and get on with it.

Cheers,

Lloyd Clark
2000 World Jousting Champion
2004 World Jousting Bronze Medalist
Swordmaster
Super Proud Husband and Father!
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 7:27 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Lloyd!

Wow, what a story...were you using period construction (ie., built up at the pommel and cantle) saddles? If not, might this have prevented both, or either, blow from landing?

I ask because the myriad, albeit relatively minor, mishaps I've had usually related to choice of gear.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Ed Toton




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 7:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Clark wrote:
The vast majority of my joust related injuries came when I worked as a knight at Medieval Times in Chicago. This is a fully choreographed show with super-breakable lances. I blew out my shoulder (twice), dislocated my hip, and had the end of my finger cut off with a sword. Jousting for real is actually safer.


I've heard on many occasions what you're saying here-- that it's safer to joust for real. I believe the Freelancers at MDRF stopped doing choreographed jousting many years ago for this reason. I can certainly see this, but I'm surprised that the "safer" lances are still resulting in severe shoulder dislocations.

The lances that the Freelancers use appear to have a break-point about 12 to 18 inches from the tip (based on my humble observations). I'm curious how much that improves, or worsens, their safety.

I suppose realistically it's not that surprising, but still. Happy

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Lloyd Clark




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 8:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Christian,

No, we were both riding in regular Aussie saddles. Saddle steels would have definitely made a big difference (hell, a portugese or spanish saddle would have!).

Ed, Roy and his group use what are called "heavy armour" lances. It is basically a 10' 1 1/4" dowel and a 1' section of balsa. They aren't prepped to break, and actually the wood breaks easier than the balsa (it is also a heck of a lot more expensive to replace!). Most of the breaks happen when the balsa tip "shears" at the point where it is shoved into the ferrule attaching it to the body of the lance.

Why is balsa used if it really doesn't break easy? Because balsa doesn't tend to "splinter" and you have a lesser possibility of getting a sliver in through the occular (even if the wood breaks, it is usually much further down the lance), between this and the copper cap, it makes for a safer lance this way. Now, that being said, heavy armour jousting takes a tremendous toll on the body as it is usually done with the target (grande gard or mantou d'armes) bolted onto the breastplate. This way, the entire force of the hit is taking you in the chest every single time. You will also note that a large tilting bevor is the norm in this style of jousting, just another way of keeping those nasty pieces of lance out of your eyes and throat.

One other thing about balsa - period English lances were made from basswood. It is a wood that is very similar to balsa in composition (just a bit harder and it does have the tendency to splinter) - it was pretty much just a fluke that we went to using a similar wood to make our jousts safer.

Cheers,

Lloyd Clark
2000 World Jousting Champion
2004 World Jousting Bronze Medalist
Swordmaster
Super Proud Husband and Father!


Last edited by Lloyd Clark on Fri 26 Oct, 2007 9:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Peter Bosman




Location: Andalucia
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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lloyd Clark wrote:
The act of riding a horse is dangerous.


Well, only to the extend that riding a bicycle or roller skating is and even thn one still needs to take into account that a horse can be an inherently safe vehicle (or riky on the flip side of that same coin) as it has its own agenda of survival.
I have raced just about anyhing on wheels and without wings adn find horses safer than ANY brainless vehicle.

Jousting is dangerous by itself and the horse does not dd a specific risk, quite the reverse in my view. Doing the same thing from a motorcyvcle would be fr more dangerous.

I have no opionion wether this is sport or what. I tend to see it slighly compairative to bullfighting the way the portugese bullstoppers do. It requires great skill, great courage but apart from being a spectacle on itself it has nothing to offer me.
I cannot grasp why one would want to do it either but then so neither could my friends when I was motooracing and today some think this way about my riding horses.
From an archeologis point of view I find it HIGHLY valuable.

Quite a different job at that time, being a jousting king, compaired to nowadays. I cannot, in NO WAY, picture my dutch crown prince doing what Lloyd Clark does....
King Duarte, that highly intellectual, warring King must have been one tough guy per example. Not at all a writertype Wink even though his book is a gem.

peter
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Ed Toton




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PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah, thanks for the explanation. I guess they're not really "break-away" lances I've been seeing after all. Just non-splintering. Happy
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Konstantin Tsvetkov




PostPosted: Fri 26 Oct, 2007 4:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen, my respect!

I know why you are keep doing this. I spent fourteen years at sea on a salvage tugboat, have seen a lot, got something myself and now, sitting in the office and waiting for another package from Amazon I miss those scratches, bruises, frostbites and broken bones very much, because once I was happy doing a man's job there.

As for safe fencing, there is a rule in Guy Windsor's school: fifty push-ups for any accidental touch of any person in the salle with your sword. And it does work - six years of training of many people in several branches and never a single ambulance call. Once I scratched my son's finger with the cross guard of my sword in sparring ( for some reason he doesn't like wearing fencing gloves) and I did those fifty push-ups shouting: MY SON!? I CAN'T TOUCH MY SON!? Jured Kirby was there training with us that very day, I believe he had a lot of fun.
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