Practice Notes: Flat Ochs vs Angled Ochs

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

I arrived late at practice to find a lesson already in progress. Lessons are rare at my Wednesday night practice, and longsword lessons even rarer, so naturally I accepted the vorfechter’s offer to join in.

The drill was simple enough. I attack with a thrust and he parries by means of a krumphauw at my hands or wrists. The drill worked beautifully with all the other students, but always failed against me. Sometimes he would take a wrist, and a few times he took both, but invariably it ended the point of my sword in his chest. Stepping narrow or wide, left or right, nothing seemed to help.

Switching roles, I didn’t reasonably well using his technique. So what was wrong?

Like the other winkelfechters, I was originally taught that Ochs was flat, with the quillons horizontal and the thumb under the flat of the blade. You can see this…

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By heathenramblings Posted in Personal

My Provost prize


Tom finished editing the video of my provost prize yesterday – watch it below.

The better passes happen when I am facing ibn Jelal – good thing he was there!

An explanation of what playing a prize means.

My strongest form was clearly single sword, it is also the form that has changed the most since then.

Longsword is the form that most needs improvement. In that form I need to do more full cuts and use more fendente and sottani blows.

In Sword & Buckler I needed to use the crossing at the false edge more.

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Death and Belief

Son of Hel

I think, in the afterlife, I would like to be a Reaper.

A Reaper Man.

I just finished reading Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett. I’d found out about it on TVTropes, what with my obsession with Death, thanks to my worship of Hel. And after reading it, I understand why so many people love his books, and why so many have written him about how they hope Death is just like he is in the books.

And it can all be summed up in one easy, simple, line.


It’s a strange line, and just reading it, you might not get all the importance of the line. Really, without the last half of the book, it’s impossible to really convey, but Death, after being fired, spends his time as a mortal, and learns to care about…

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The Ackworth Hoard

Antiquarian's Attic

Yorkshire’s hoard of mysterious silver and gold

There’s a lot going off in Wakefield at the moment, in spite of hard times, with The Hepworth Wakefield doing consistently well, the Trinity Walk shopping centre adding commercial life and now a newly reorganised museum for the city.  This last, along with its sister centre at  Pontefract, is energising local young people – it’s included in the Young Archaeologists’ Club annual pass and has just had its first school group in.
It’s also timely for the sort of appeal which appeals to the youthful of any age: a mysterious hoard of treasure has been found at Ackworth and Wakefield council needs £5,500 to help keep it in the district. Who was the fugitive or thief who took a brown clay pot, made locally in Wrenthorpe , and stashed it with 591 gold and silver coins before burying it, probably at…

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Photo exhibition of the Koguryo murals goes on show in Yokohama

The Heritage Trust

Detail of one of the Koguryo Tombs murals. Pyongyang, North Korea
The Nihon Shinbun Kyokai announces that –
Kyodo News and the Japan Newspaper Museum will jointly hold a press photo exhibition featuring the Koguryo Tombs and their wall paintings. The Complex of Koguryo Tombs, which was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, offers a unique testimony to Koguryo culture, its burial customs, and religious practices as well as daily life and beliefs, especially through the mural paintings. The paintings notably include images of hunting, women in colorful clothes and the Four Deities.
These artworks that flourished in ancient East Asia are believed to have connections to Japan’s Takamatsuzuka Tumulus and Kitora Tumulus. Kyodo News in 2010 and 2011 exclusively covered five tombs in Pyongyang and its vicinity, shooting numerous photographs. On display at the exhibition will be photographs of the ”Four Guardian Deities” murals…

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Three Famous Ships From the Norse Myths

Mark Neumayer

Today we have a bit of a continuation from last week when I posted some artwork of the figurehead of a drekar or dragon-boat. There aren’t that many named ships in the Eddas, but these three are pretty memorable.

We are going to start with this ship because the Elder Eddas tell us it is… “without doubt the best and most artfully constructed of any (ship.)” The ship belongs to the god Frey and was constructed by the sons of Ivaldi – the Dwarven master craftsmen who also created Odin’s spear Gungnir and the golden hair of Sif. The ship is quite large and has enough room to hold all of the Aesir gods and goddesses and their weapons and war supplies as well. As soon as the sail is raised a favorable breeze springs up and leads the ship wherever you wish to go. To top it all…

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The Last King of Wales & First to be Hanged, Drawn and Quartered

Wonderland1981 - The Wonderland Murders

David became the first prominent person in history to have been hanged, drawn and quartered. His sons died in prison and his daughters were sent to convents.

Dafydd ap Gruffydd (or Dafydd ap Gruffudd, angl. David, son of Gruffydd; (11 July (?) 1238 – 3 October 1283) was Prince of Wales from 11 December 1282 until his execution on 3 October 1283 by King Edward I of England. He was the last independent ruler of Wales. He was hanged, drawn and quartered by the same King Edward who had done it to Sir William Wallace. David was approximately 45 years old.

To be hanged, drawn and quartered (less commonly “hung, drawn and quartered”) was from 1351 a penalty in England for men convicted of high treason, although the ritual was first recorded during the reigns of King Henry III (1216–1272) and his successor, Edward I (1272–1307). Convicts were…

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Free Speech and Fascism

Circle Ansuz

There are many who, in the wake of our recent action in San Francisco, have accused Circle Ansuz of being anti-free speech. This is the furthest thing from the truth. As one would expect from a group of anarchists, we LOVE freedom of speech. Many of the great fights to protect and enhance free speech rights in the United States, for example, were spearheaded by anarchists and labor radicals like Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haywood. The freedom to speak one’s mind without fear of official retribution is essential for the creation of a free, just society.


So in light of that, how can any group which claims to love free speech demand the shutdown of a publishing house, a key element in the dissemination of speech and ideas? Some argue this is an act of censorship. By muzzling an organization we disagree with or oppose, they argue, we…

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The First Picture Show — A Collection of the Earliest Wartime Newsreels

Military History Now

When America went to war with Mexico in 1846, correspondents from the nascent American news media, dubbed the penny press at the time for the one-cent dailies they printed, marched off with the army. Embedded with the newsmen was a lone practitioner of the then nearly unheard of art and science of photography. Using his crude and cumbersome camera, this first photo journalist captured everything from portraits of the American commanders and still life shots of ordinary Mexicans, to grainy images of the U.S. cavalry on parade and even conditions in a field hospital. While the name of the photographer in question has been lost to history, his pictures, which were rendered chemically onto glass plates known as daguerreotypes, represent the first ever photographs of an army at war. Later photographers would immortalize moments from subsequent conflicts like the Crimean War, the American Civil War, and the Franco Prussian…

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Some Questions Arise

Last weekend, I attended my first ever Swordfish conference. It was an overwhelming (and overwhelmingly positive) experience, and one about which I am compelled to share my thoughts, however mundane they might be. I am writing, I suspect, primarily for my own benefit, but nonetheless I thought that the wider community might find something worth reading here – a new or different perspective, I hope, and an attempt to put into words the meaning and purpose of an event like Swordfish as seen by a newcomer to this community.

I’ll start with a little background – I moved to London from Brisbane, Australia at the end of 2011. Suffice it to say that, yes, Australia does have an active (and growing) HEMA population, but one that is tiny in comparison to Europe and the US, and one facing the uniquely Australian challenge of trying to community-build across small populations separated…

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