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Patrick Kelly




Location: Wichita, Kansas
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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2006 7:41 pm    Post subject: Todays highschool program.         Reply with quote

Once again the local highschool is covering Beowulf, King Arthur and The Canterbury Tales and I was called upon to give another presentation. This time around I was fortunate to have Gregs assistance, something I was very grateful for. Throughout the course of another eight hour day in armor, we gave seven one-hour presentations and lectured to over six hundred students. We were also assisted by my wife Dorathea and Gregs lady Linda, both of whom spent the day in period dress. I thought I'd share some photos.











Most of the students were fairly attentive. At least those who weren't kept quiet. Big Grin


A full day in armor was followed by a return home for a shower to scrub off the armor grime and a quick dinner. Then we were off to an evening dance class we're all taking at the local college. Man, I'm ready for bed!
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Gary Venable




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PostPosted: Tue 31 Oct, 2006 8:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick,

That's really great and I see that Greg's Knights Hospitaller of St. John kit is developing nicely as well. Do you (or did you ) have any issues with bringing the swords to the school? I know many have a zero tolerance and what not about weapons.

Gary
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 4:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thats really cool! I'm a School Resource Officer at a high school, and I KNOW that your presentation would be well received here. And while we have a "zero tolerance" policy around the possession of unauthorized weapons in the school, exceptions can be made for educational opportunities.

Now I just need to get you to take your show on the road to Maine Happy
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Allen Andrews




Location: Maine USA
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 4:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmmm, having read my post I guess if we make exceptions, its not really a "zero tolerance" policy is it?
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 8:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you.

Gary, Allen is correct, most schools don't seem to have much hesitation about displaying these types of things in an educational venue. Those particular laws have been relaxed a bit from their rather draconian interpretation when they were first enacted. I stopped doing these presentations around that time due to those very reasons. At the time, as the laws were written, they didn't allow for any flexibility. Back then, when I was asked to do this kind of presentation I would remind the administrations about these new laws. Their reply was usually, "You're a cop, it's okay." Well, not really. The state lets me carry a gun for professional purposes but that doesn't really cover swinging a sword around on school property. Wink I also know the mentality of school administrators, if one child had simply poked themselves on something and engendered a lawsuit, those bottom feeders would have immediately plead ignorance and would have hung me out to dry. No thank you.

Since I've returned to doing this kind of activity I've only run into problems with one school. I was asked to give a presentation at a grammar school. After a lot of communication back and forth about what was expected and what would be presented, the principal decided that displaying the armor would be fine but the kids didn't need to be exposed to any "weapons". Given this administrators bean counting lawyeresque mentality I wasn't surprised at all and wound up cancelling the program rather than deal with her attitude. Other than that they've all been comfortable with the idea and the programs have been well received.

In the end I think it's really about perception. If I was asked to give a presentation on modern warfare there might be a problem with bringing firearms onto school property, or if I intended to give a lecture on the switchblade, etc. People with no interest in the subject seem to have forgotten that things like swords are real weapons, not Hollywood props.
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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks good, shame schools over here rarely do that kind of thing, they'd rather take us to a museum that makes mistakes (like calling a bill a pike... ) that bring in someone who knows what they are talking about.

My only comment is: get those shields hit... they're too perfect and clean...

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 8:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wilkinson wrote:
Looks good, shame schools over here rarely do that kind of thing, they'd rather take us to a museum that makes mistakes (like calling a bill a pike... ) that bring in someone who knows what they are talking about.

My only comment is: get those shields hit... they're too perfect and clean...


Thank you very much Martin. I'm not sure if we know what we're doing but we make it look good! Eek!
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Richard Fay




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!

Martin Wilkinson wrote:

My only comment is: get those shields hit... they're too perfect and clean...


Patrick,
And give a bit of a "lived-in" look to the clothes as well! Big Grin
Greg's kit especially should have a bit of a "lived-in" look to it; the knight's hospitaller were hard living and hard fighting!
You know, some dust and maybe a worn spot and tatter or two. You guys need to look like you've just been on some campaign (of course, covered in the blood of your enemy might be a bit too much, but...) Big Grin

Seriously, though, nice kits! I especially like Patrick's choice of colours! I always enjoy seeing photos of your kit!

One thought, this might be sacrilege, but have you ever considered getting some blunts to take instead of your sharps when you do school presentations? It might be a safer alternative in today's environment. Just a thought!

Stay safe!

"I'm going to do what the warriors of old did! I'm going to recite poetry!"
Prince Andrew of Armar
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Bryce Felperin




Location: San Jose, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 10:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When me and my Ren faire guild do demos at faires and other venues we use only blunt swords like Lutels or Del Tins for the fighting demos (we do it real but at half speed). However sometimes we bring sharps as well. One of the better crowd draws is when we set up a cutting stand and start cutting mats down to size.

Usually if you get "weapon" problems, you can just bring blunts instead and still get the same level of realism. If someone has a problem with blunts I usually pick up a chair and say "it has the same level as lethality as this chair". That usually gets the point across that it's the person and their motivations that is the "weapon" and not the tools used.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 10:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

With the " sharps " I guess you can sort of view the maille, helm and shield as safety equipment and take a few controlled swings at each other without loosing body parts.

Any concern about getting an occasional edge on edge contact: NICKS ! ............ The horror. Eek! Laughing Out Loud

That would be one good reason to get a semi - blunt like squire line swords: Much closer to the real thing than true sparring blunts in look and less likely to nick with light parrying. Just a thought.

Looks great though even if a couple in the audience look as if they need their sleep. Razz ( Too much partying the night before or playing X - Box ??? )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Greg Griggs




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the comments on the kits - a lot of time and effort spent on them of course, and it's always nice to have positive feedback on something you're trying to portray in a historical manner. There are incorrect things yet with the Hospitaller kit which I am going to rectify as the opportunity allows, but all in all I am a very happy camper with the way it has turned out so far. "Lived-in" look ehhh? Ummmmm.....Linda just finished the sewing on the outer tunic and the hooded cloak around 9:00 pm Monday, so it's had very little time to get worn and threadbare, plus I figure with the amount of money and time I have invested it can look nice & new for a little while. Wink Laughing Out Loud

As to the use of sharps vs. blunts - Linda and Dorathea are English teachers and they are in the process of teaching Beowulf, Chaucer's Tales, and Arthur. What we presented (well, what Patrick presented and I merely acted on as a helper and represented a 150 year difference in dress) was a visual and aural representation of what the weapons, armor, and dress really did look like in the middle ages. Not to mention what a knight of the middle ages really was....and wasn't. There was no true re-enactment, no fighting; only slow-motion visual aids showing the fiction of Hollywood and the way we believe it was actually done, especially on how the shield is used. Fully controlled, with little to no chance of injury to either of us. We brought several sharp blades with us to show a bit of the evolution of the sword during the middle ages to follow along with the changing armor and shield types, and though all the blades were shown close-up to the audience, I have to say that when they were told of how sharp and dangerous these blades were, every youth there was respectful and careful. We had talked about doing a cutting demonstration, but decided the liability factor was not worth the effort, plus we were on a limited time schedule.

I have to applaud Patrick on the excellent presentation he made 7 times throughout the day, and I believe that many of those kids came away with a new-found respect for history. At least I hope they did, and if they didn't it was because there is nothing capable of getting through to them. I'm glad I was allowed to help in my small way, and have to admit it was a lot of fun having those teenagers staring up at us on stage wide-eyed and a bit awestruck at times.:} Of course there WERE the one's who slept throughout the whole thing.....sheesh!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA......

Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 1:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for the kind words.

A couple of points of perspective here.

Regarding the "lived in" look: My own personal kit has been worn enough now that it no longer looks pristine. All of the leather is getting that nice broken in look and there are a few nicks and such on the painted items. None of this is readily apparent in those photos though. On the other hand, I'm not about to take a hammer to my helmet or an axe to my shield simply to satisfy the desires of those who seem to feel that medieval kit needs to look bashed and smashed to look "authentic". I'm a military veteran and a current law enforcement professional. As such I've spent the majority of my adult life in professions where your life may very well depend upon the state of your equipment. There is a huge difference between equipment that looks used but well-maintained and equipment that has been abused and neglected. 21st century warriors maintain their equipment and there's no reason to believe 11th century warriors possessed a different outlook. After wearing my armor I check it for rust and clean off the same if it occurs. Last night I oiled the leather bits of my kit before putting them away, etc. These are routine maintenance items that would have been done then just as they are done today to weapons and ancillary equipment. The view that everything should look tattered and worn out is simply wrong, in my opinion. As Greg pointed out, his clothing had only been completed the night before so the really wasn't an opportunity to give it that lived-in look.

Regarding the use of blunt weapons: This is something I feel very strongly about. Yes, if any serious contact exercises were going to be performed, then of course, blunt weapons would be used. In fact, in the only instance where specific sword techniques were demonstrated two wooden wasters were used. However, if you're in a venue where items are being displayed and explained in an attempt to educate, then you need to recreate those items as closely as possible. If you're going to show a sword to an audience with the explanation, "this is what a medieval sword was like" you'd better be displaying a recreation that's as close to true as you can make it, anything else is a disservice. That means using a properly sharp sword as an illustration. A blunt prop will simply not give the same lasting impression as a sharp sword within the context of illustrating the point. As for safety, well, in my opinion this is something we've taken to extremes in our society. The world is a dangerous place and putting a band-aid over the whole thing won't change that. Part of growing up is learning how to responsibly handle lifes challenges. In turn, part of that is learning not to touch a sharp sword when someone says, "don't touch the blade it's sharp." Also, I've never believed in approaching life to the lowest common denominator. I prefer to treat the students as intelligent human beings until they prove otherwise.
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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick, i'm not saying your kit shouldn't look in bad condition, what i'm trying to say is that it should look as if it's seen a few scraps, and been cared for, so a little bit of damage, a tear in the cloak here, a stain there.

I know the difficulty of making kit looked lived in and still useable, being an ECW re-enactor... to me my kit still looks too new.

To my mind, shiny bits like shield bosses, should be slightly subdued, my buckler looks this way because after a wet weekend, it got a little rusty and cleaning it didn't remove all the rust, but to me that makes it look that little bit better.

Still the kit looks good.

Random question: Why is the spear blue and white?

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin Wilkinson wrote:
Patrick, i'm not saying your kit shouldn't look in bad condition, what i'm trying to say is that it should look as if it's seen a few scraps, and been cared for, so a little bit of damage, a tear in the cloak here, a stain there.


Very good points Martin and I agree. Unfortunately I keep running into people who seem to think anything metal needs to be covered in rust and clothing needs to be rotting away. Like everything else this hooby seems to be filled with people who take things to extremes, whereas a more balanced approach is usually the more appropriate one.

Quote:
Random question: Why is the spear blue and white?


Because it looks pretty. Big Grin There's evidence to show that things like spear shafts were painted in pre-medieval cultures so I see no reason why it wouldn't be plausible in an 11th century interpretation. It's just a bit of creative "could be" on my part to help jazz up the kit.
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Martin Wilkinson





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
Martin Wilkinson wrote:
Patrick, i'm not saying your kit shouldn't look in bad condition, what i'm trying to say is that it should look as if it's seen a few scraps, and been cared for, so a little bit of damage, a tear in the cloak here, a stain there.


Very good points Martin and I agree. Unfortunately I keep running into people who seem to think anything metal needs to be covered in rust and clothing needs to be rotting away. Like everything else this hooby seems to be filled with people who take things to extremes, whereas a more balanced approach is usually the more appropriate one.

Quote:
Random question: Why is the spear blue and white?


Because it looks pretty. Big Grin There's evidence to show that things like spear shafts were painted in pre-medieval cultures so I see no reason why it wouldn't be plausible in an 11th century interpretation. It's just a bit of creative "could be" on my part to help jazz up the kit.


It does look good.
I was just curious about the spear because, i don't think i've ever seen one painted before. Lances, yeah, but spears no.

I still wish my school had put something like that on.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 4:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin wrote:
It does look good.
I was just curious about the spear because, i don't think i've ever seen one painted before. Lances, yeah, but spears no.


Thanks. In my opinion far too many Norman interpretations are dull and boring with not much in the way of color or detail. We don't see this in eras before or after the period so I really don't think it's the case with this one. Painting the spear shaft was an easy way of adding color. I really need to get a new spear/lance that's longer than this one. When I do I may paint it as well, or simply make a blue and white pennant for it.
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gary Venable wrote:
Patrick,

That's really great and I see that Greg's Knights Hospitaller of St. John kit is developing nicely as well. Do you (or did you ) have any issues with bringing the swords to the school? I know many have a zero tolerance and what not about weapons.


I was able to bring my sword into my high school on two occasions: once for a Shakespeare Festival and once for my Senior Shrine (a project where you talk about yourself to your english class, and about your hobbies). Given I have a Crecy it wasn't technically Shakespearean, but it was still fun. And in both cases no one touched my sword except myself and it was stored in the Assistant Headmaster's office when not being displayed. I didn't have any trouble whatsoever (except my English teacher expressing his feeling that swords are evil, death-dealing killing instruments Surprised, but never mind about that Wink

Edit:
I completely forgot the second half of my post the first time around...d'oh

Patrick your presentation looks excellent; I really wish that there had been something like that for me when I was in high school. Keep it up!

www.addisondelisle.com


Last edited by Addison C. de Lisle on Wed 01 Nov, 2006 8:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Douglas G.





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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 6:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick,
I would be surprized if a sword was allowed in a school here (Portland Oregon) given the post Columbine
climate here, even if only in the hands of someone like yourself and seperated from the kids by the stage. It's
a sad thing when something as enjoyable for kids as seeing and hearing about all the gear would be
thought to encourage violence. The times I guess.
It wasn't always so, in ' 72 a kid named Steve brought in one of those Spanish "El Cid" looking wall hangers
for a visual aid in a report for our Shakespeare class. Steve must have subjected the sword to extracarricular
use for which it was not meant or designed as when he drew it from it's tooled leather sheath the blade fell
out of the hilt and clattered to the floor leaving poor Steve to face the predictable chuckles red faced and empty
handed.
I hope this wasn't the basis for a zero sword policy!

I think the green leggings are a nice touch,

Doug Gentner
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 7:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Greg Griggs wrote:

As to the use of sharps vs. blunts - Linda and Dorathea are English teachers and they are in the process of teaching Beowulf, Chaucer's Tales, and Arthur. What we presented (well, what Patrick presented and I merely acted on as a helper and represented a 150 year difference in dress) was a visual and aural representation of what the weapons, armor, and dress really did look like in the middle ages. Not to mention what a knight of the middle ages really was....and wasn't. There was no true re-enactment, no fighting; only slow-motion visual aids showing the fiction of Hollywood and the way we believe it was actually done, especially on how the shield is used. Fully controlled, with little to no chance of injury to either of us. We brought several sharp blades with us to show a bit of the evolution of the sword during the middle ages to follow along with the changing armor and shield types, and though all the blades were shown close-up to the audience, I have to say that when they were told of how sharp and dangerous these blades were, every youth there was respectful and careful. We had talked about doing a cutting demonstration, but decided the liability factor was not worth the effort, plus we were on a limited time schedule.


Ah ! Very well explained. Cool Because the pics shown only show relative positions of sword, shield, armour & potentially vulnerable body parts I was mostly concerned about damage to edges that might happen when swords are in close proximity and at some undefined speed. I did assume that it wouldn't have been anywhere near the speed used with blunts or wasters but the fact that things were done in slow motion almost like a series of stills would minimize the odds of equipment damage and safety mostly a non - issue.

Actually, superslow motion demonstrations I think should be more informative than half or full speed moves that are hard to follow with the eye or clearly understand. ( Even more so if the audience is not a group of students of the sword who might learn from faster movement. Again just my opinion and based only on conjecture: I do that a lot. Wink Laughing Out Loud And hopefully based on logical reasoning. Only saying this so that I don't come across as an " expert " on everything. Wink Big Grin )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Wed 01 Nov, 2006 7:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas G. wrote:
Patrick,
I would be surprized if a sword was allowed in a school here (Portland Oregon) given the post Columbine
climate here, even if only in the hands of someone like yourself and seperated from the kids by the stage. It's
a sad thing when something as enjoyable for kids as seeing and hearing about all the gear would be
thought to encourage violence. The times I guess.
It wasn't always so, in ' 72 a kid named Steve brought in one of those Spanish "El Cid" looking wall hangers
for a visual aid in a report for our Shakespeare class. Steve must have subjected the sword to extracarricular
use for which it was not meant or designed as when he drew it from it's tooled leather sheath the blade fell
out of the hilt and clattered to the floor leaving poor Steve to face the predictable chuckles red faced and empty
handed.
I hope this wasn't the basis for a zero sword policy!

I think the green leggings are a nice touch,

Doug Gentner


David,

I'm familiar with your area of the country, which is well known for it's left-wing liberalistic bent, as well as its new age political fringe groups. I'd be surprised if your school officials would let the kiddies have a plastic knife at lunch let alone allow anyone to bring a sword into a school. Unfortunately too few of our politicians and "suits" grasp the fact that Columbine had nothing to do with the weapons involved. But rather was caused by the frustration, confusion and anger our young people feel because of their increasing sense of isolation, something that is caused by an increasing level of technology which disconnects them from their fellow species, as well as a decrease in parental involvement. All of which leaves them feeling isolated and alone during a particularly confusing time in their lives.

Anyway, it's interesting that you bring up El Cid because I use him as an example in my programs. Our town has a very large hispanic/latino population, like most places in this part of the country, as you can see by the group photo in my initial post. I bring up Rodrigo Diaz (El Cid) intentionally to give the kids a sense of connection to their heritage. Like Yesterday: at one point I told them, "I know what you're thinking, what do a bunch of gringos dressed in armor whacking away at each other with swords have to do with me? Well, have you ever heard of...........?" That usually gets their attention. Big Grin


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Wed 01 Nov, 2006 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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