Monday, September 28, 2015

Martial Arts Ruins Everything

A (mostly) true story.

On Saturdays, I spend most of my day at Hidden Sword Martial Arts.  We have Arnis in the morning, and after that, if I'm not covering classes, I usually have some time to chat with the other parents, read and/or write before Kobudo class in the afternoon.

My oldest daughter was in the process of warming up a tae kwon do class, and my teacher, +Mark Lynn and I were talking to one of the TKD parents.

She's been working through reading the entirety of The Wheel of Time series and often has whichever volume she's on (there are fourteen) to read while her son is in class.  She's now on the last book.

I read all sorts of fantasy and science fiction (surprise), but I gave up on this series somewhere around book 6.  The books are the size of bricks (really, they could easily be weaponized), it has a huge cast of characters that it's hard to keep track of, it has a very complex magic system, a really convoluted world history, and there were pages and pages where nothing actually happened, the plot moves at a glacial pace, and I swear, if there's one more mention of that chick tugging on her braid as if it's significant to anything at all I was gonna have to start punching somebody...



Anyway.

Here's the cover of the book:

Image Found Here.
Mark comments that the artist obviously has never held or used a sword in his life, because if he had, he would not have painted this picture of this guy holding that sword that way.

I look at the image, and agree with Mark.

Mark notes the edge is up against the underside of the arm, and if that's supposed to be a block, that's not only going to not work, but you're going to cut your own arm with your own sword.  Also, that grip sucks because that block is going to pop the sword out of the weakest part of his hand if he holds it that way.

I then say that I hate it when people use long swords in reverse grip - it usually leads to "Conan the Barbarian" style twirling, and you guys know how I feel about that.

STOP.  IT.

Then, after finding out the character lost a hand, I note that holding it in reverse grip is especially dumb, because if you've ever tried to go from reverse to standard grip (there's a reason why it's standard grip, people) one handed, it's really hard to do with a short weapon. It's almost impossible to do it with a long weapon.

Then Mark notes that maybe that's where the XMA-style sword tossing comes into play, as that's the only reasonable way to switch to standard grip - he has to toss it in the air and catch it in proper grip.

And note that dude has more than one weapon hitched at his hip. If dude has to get to that (presumably) magic sword he's holding in a hurry, he's got a lot of risk of grabbing another weapon by mistake.

Yeah, we riffed on all this for about fifteen minutes.  All of this from one silly painting on a fantasy book that neither of us have even read, painted by a guy who made the image the way he did because it looks cool and that's all.

Martial arts ruins everything, man.