Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Epee de Guerre
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Starting next Friday the 5th I'll be attending weekly (during fall term) one of Cornell's phys. ed. courses, offered by the fencing program:

Epee de Guerre: This course focuses on "the most noble weapon" of the Ideal Knight: the "epee de guerre" ("sword of war") also sometimes called the longsword, the bastarde sword, or, most accurately, "the-hand-and-a-half sword" because the weapon was designed to be wielded with equal effectiveness either with one hand or two. Since the practice of the longsword is inextricably linked with the ideals ans tenets of chivalry, theis beginning level course may include philosophical discussion and reflection as well as techniques, tactics and strategy. THERE WILL BE NO SPARRING AT THIS LEVEL.

I was psyched to find this in the course catalog!

There's also a another new(?) class:

Renaissance Fencing: The rapier and its consort, the dagger, were the gentleman's constant companions from Shakespere to Cyrano, from Francis Drake to d'Artagnan. This introductory class, intended for actors, martial artists and incurable romantics, focuses on the fundamental techniques of 16th-17th century fencing with an emphasis on safety, balance, line, focus and distance. Students will practice a variety of etudes (pre-arranged movement sequences) both alone and with a partner.

It didn't look quite as appealing as the first, but it's great to see both of them being offered as alternatives to traditional fencing classes, which I find unappealing.

Back in Burbank, a local fencing studio offered instruction in these kinds of swordplay (for actors, stuntpeople, movie extras, etc.), which always intrigued me but I found their cost prohibitive. This one won't be such a good workout but it will still get me off the office chair for a couple hours a week.

According to the director of all PE courses, Cornell's mostly interested in providing introductory courses and not too keen on offering another level of this class, because of costs of armor, etc., but apparently the instructor might be keen on running a more advanced version. We'll have to see whether there's enough student interest to push another level where they do offer sparring (and a better workout).

The PE director says that he's trying to find a teacher for kendo (Japanese sword-based martial arts) but hasn't had success yet. He says that when he does, the fencing program will be complete. I wish him luck: that class would interest me too.

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