How to Win A Swordfight

According to many popular post-apocalyptic movies (Six String
Samurai, for one), someday we’re going to run out of bullets. How are
you going to survive when Hollywood’s not there with Jean-Claude or Mel
Gibson? Read on.

Steps :

1 – Draw your sword before you engage. We’ve all seen samurai movies
where Musashi or his equivalent draws and kills in one slice, but you
aren’t Musashi and he was just showing off. It takes longer to draw a
sword than it does to get hit. On the other hand, if your sword and
scabbard are suitable for a quick draw, and you practice, this can be a
great surprise attack.

2 – Engage slowly. If you run in like the Baron von Munchausen, your
enemy only needs to stick out his sword and wait. By engaging slowly,
you are able to maintain control and focus on key positions – your
feet, your sword, and your opponent’s sword.

3 – Guard yourself at all times. If you don’t protect yourself,
you’ll lose. Keep your sword in position so it runs from the bottom of
your torso to the top of your head.

4 – Keep your sword out in front of your body, called putting your
opponent “on point”. The farther out your sword is extended, the
farther away your opponent will stay and the less chance you have of
getting sliced.

5 – Measure twice, cut once. In the vast majority of cases, medieval
sword fights ended with the first blow struck. If your blow misses,
you’ll open yourself up to attack. Make sure you see a trajectory for
your sword that will result in a positive hit.

6 – Win by not losing. Concentrate on staying alive. Stay on the
defensive. Eventually you’ll get the opportunity to defeat your
opponent with minimal danger to yourself.

7 – Keep distance. If you are out of range of an instant stroke you
can take time to plan and maneuver. If you are in range of an instant
stroke you should have already started your instant stroke or you will
be struck.

8 – Be confident. If you act scared, your opponent will take
advantage of your lack of confidence and will attempt to frighten you
into making a false move. If you are aggressive and display confidence
your opponent may be intimidated by you instead.

Tips :

You must learn proper parrying form or you will be cooked…you can
not possibly dodge all attacks. What is important is that you learn to
parry while exposing as little of the vital targets on your body as

In defence, when it’s enough to only move your wrist, move just the
wrist. When the wrist is not enough, move the elbow. When the elbow is
not enough, move the shoulder. When none of this is enough, retreat.

Retaliate. When your opponent attacks, he leaves some of his body exposed. Parry his blow, then strike back.

Know the length of your sword. If both fighters are correctly
judging length, you’ll only ever have the opportunity to hit with the
top six inches or so. Keep your eye on your sword and that of your
opponent at all times. However, focusing just on the opponent’s sword
is not advisable, since you can be misled. A skilled fighter should be
able to judge the direction of the opponent’s next blow by examining
his posture.

In fencing (fighting with a stabbing only sword), always keep your
sword point directly at your opponent, if you parry (block) exactly to
the end of the side of their body they will not be able to hit you.
Overextending yourself (parrying past that point) will leave your

Maintain your balance. Keep your weight evenly balanced on both your
feet. Never cross your feet as this will throw you off balance; only
the slightest bit of force can knock you over. There is a reason that
almost all martial arts stress balance (there are one or two weird ones
where your constantly falling and recovering.) It gives you more
options to move. But, don’t present your legs as an easy target either.
If your opponent allows you to take advantage of a leg shot, use it. If
your opponent goes down, then the fight is over.

Positioning of the body is important. Keep your body perpendicular
and the shoulder of your sword arm pointed toward your opponent (like
fencers do). This makes your torso a smaller target and will protect
many of your vital organs.

If you’re using both hands to grasp a sword (as with a so-called
“bastard” or a hand-and-a-half sword), keep your strong hand right
under the swordguard and the other hand (the off-hand) right above the
pommel. Keep your arms bent at elbows, with your strong fist in front
of your solar plexus and the sword positioned as described above. When
defending, your strong arm should not move far from this position.

If your sword is properly balanced, it will work as a lever. Use
your off-hand to guide it, and your strong hand to lend the force to
the attack or parry.

Examination of eyewitness accounts show that many sword duels were
won by gashing the opponent’s arms or thighs, then waiting until blood
loss made them faint, at which point they were at their assailant’s
mercy. Hands, feet, arms and legs are legitimate and useful targets,
and will often be easier to strike than the torso or head.

Watch your opponent carefully. Notice where he is looking – this may
be the area where he’s preparing to strike. When your opponent is about
to attack, his fists and shoulders may tense for a second.

Be aware of the terrain around you and use it to your advantage.
Sending an opponent tumbling backwards over an obstacle behind him will
surely help. Same as positioning him in such a way so that he is
fighting with his face towards the sun (you can identify that by
looking at your shadow – it should be pointing in your opponents
direction). Just remember that same tricks can be used against you.

“The best samurai is the one who never draws his sword.”

Warnings :

Never, ever turn around. We’ve all seen the end of The Return of the
Jedi, where Luke does the fancy spin maneuver. In real life that
doesn’t work. Turning around means turning your back to your opponent
with no sword to guard you.

Never, ever let go of your sword. We all appreciate the scene in
Willow where Mad Martigan tosses the sword this way and that with the
greatest of ease, but if you aren’t holding on to your sword, you may
as well not have one. A single blow on an airborne sword will send it
flying and you become defenseless.

If you are in a true sword fight, seriously consider running away.
When Abe Lincoln was challenged to a duel, he skipped it (and became
president years later). Sword fighting is a good way to get killed.
That’s why duels are illegal. A three inch thrust or slice in your
neck/face area is fatal or debilitating, 80% of the time. The most
likely outcome of a true sword fight is that one person dies fast, and
the other dies slow. If you do survive a sword fight but get hurt, get
medical attention immediately.

When using a two-handed blade, keep your arms from crossing. This
usually leaves your blade in a position where you cannot effectively
use it. Use the “lever” grip described above.

Sword twirling is usually reserved only for drum majors leading a
marching band. In combat sword twirling can result in losing the grip
on your sword, as well as leave you exposed to attack. That said, doing
a “windmill” with a two-handed blade can leave a less experienced
fighter intimidated – though it is tiring, and is not advisable against
a more experienced opponent.

When fencing (for fun, like kids with sticks), the #1 mistake most
people make is they try to hit the sword instead of the person. If you
keep that in mind — hitting the person (his hand, body, or head), not
his sword — you can more easily defeat someone who is sword (or stick)
slapping. Plus you find your posture and confidence change, and that
usually spooks an amateur.

Remember, expect the unexpected. There never were any clearly
defined rules of sword fighting other than try to win. Your opponent
could kick at you, throw dirt in your face, or other things to distract
you. These are tactics that you can also employ.

Expect to get wounded. Often duels ended with both participants wounded and/or dying.

The most important thing to remember is that “swordplay is not
play.” It is very serious business to draw a sword. Swords were
designed for killing, no other purpose. Treat a sword with the same
respect as a firearm and others will treat you with respect. In that
way you may win a duel without ever drawing a sword.



Whoa. That was the most incredible sensation.
I stood up, stretched, took two steps and was hit by a wave of dizziness. I dropped immediately to my knees, unable to stand, then I fell to my side, unable to kneel. Then I sat up and blinked curiously.
Anyone with an idea of what just happened?
Meanwhile, I’m at home again. Won’t go into details why, but I desperately need this time to prevent me from failing three different tests. Breaking my internet barrier, I know, but I didn’t really get to go on last night so I guess that’s my excuse. I’ve spent the morning writing stories, and I’ll get off now as soon as I can to start my work. River cruise tomorrow night, won’t be online for then, either.
One interesting point. It happened I think on Tuesday, when we were doing our oral presentations. My group and I were standing at the front of the classroom, ready to go. Mr Watson (Literature teacher) left the room briefly and told Nick to keep everyone under control. They burst into unrestrained conversation as soon as Watto was down the corridor.

"All right fellas, settle down," Nick said meekly holding his arms up. I doubt anyone even saw the repressive gesture. I put a hand on his shoulder with a smile and said,

"I’ll handle it."
"SHUT YOUR PIE HOLES!" I screamed at the very peak of my voice. The class was nullified. I saw a few mouths open, and every single eye on the room was trained on me. There was complete and total silence. After a moment, Binuk said,

I do admit that I enjoyed that thoroughly. I have always, always wanted to shut up an entire classroom by screaming at the top of my lungs, and I finally had the opportunity to do it. I didn’t think I ever would, but I profoundly enjoyed the effects. A cry for attention? Possibly. Attention received? Most definitely. Satisfaction of having the means meet the end?



Dear citizens of this bleak and unfair reality,
The internet is truly more addictive than smoking. Arguably, it is as consequential. So many hours spent doing so many things, whether to pass the time or enjoy it. You’ll never be able to do everything there is to do. There will never be an end to the interminable joy.

But I’ve realised something. The difference between joy and happiness is that, joy passes. Happiness will always leave a trace of it with you so you remember it was there, once. That’s why you can smile to yourself in earnest for no obvious reason, other than you’re happy.

The internet doesn’t make me happy. It provides short term comfort and something like an escape for a few minutes-hours, but when I get off, I usually forget whatever it is I have done. It’s not substantial, it’s not something that makes me happy. I’m almost arrogantly sure this is the case for most people I’ve met.

There are so many things I want to do away from my beloved and dreaded computer. I’ve made this speech so many times before, (when I quit RS for the umpteenth time, for example), and again, I’m going to take charge and do something about it, rather than wasting away. So here goes.

I, John Simon Marshall, will limit myself to using the internet for an hour but thrice a week. From 8-9pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you will have the grace (or curse) of seeing me online. Otherwise, I will not use the internet, unless in case of emergency, or extreme desperation. This is my promise. If you see me online, please hold me to it and remind me to get off.

Thank you.

My faux pas.

[EDIT]  My apologies, truly. Such negative qi. Look up "faux pas" in the dictionary. Meanwhile, my congratulations to Silathwein and her blessed boyfriend. My empathy to Ivy, and my eternal gratitude to Cadbury.
If I had a gun, I’m quite sure I’d be putting it under my chin right now. I feel so God-damn stupid. And I don’t mean, "Oh dear, I’ve made a stupid mistake."
I mean, I’ve made a $105 mistake, which my mother was extremely reluctant to part with. And I think I’m paying for it anyway.
Why couldn’t someone have made it clear what to wear?
Elinor says neat casual. Okay, cool.
Lozareth says something formal. Fine, I’ll wear a suit like she suggested to me. A one-hundred-and-five dollar suit.

[DOUBLE EDIT: The suit was hired. That’s why it was a waste of money. I just realised I hadn’t made that clear earlier.]

After much panicking, and dialectic cross-examination later, we come to the middle ground of semi-formal. And that’s not a two piece suit with a matching waistcoat, tie and hankerchief.

I suppose that last week when all the St Brigids girls were getting excited about their ball gowns for next year, I may have gotten inspired myself, or confused the cruise (because Georgie made something of a show before choosing her dress). You know? This is worst than seeing Georgie at the city when she was withdrawing money, and elated to see me too, forgetting to collect the $40 from the slot.

*sigh* I spent a great deal of time swearing over the past twenty minutes. Okay, so I wasted a hundred bucks. A hundred bucks I had been saving for weeks to buy that set of katanas down at Kenwick Village. I’ll just take it that this is God’s way of saying I’m not meant to be purchasing sharp shiny things, because I’d be a little less-than-responsible with them. By that I mean, I would actually train with them (scabbard and all) rather than leave them on my shelf. Moving back to the topic, what am I going to do with this fricking suit? Fuck.

Mac Daddying

Dear readers,

It is a cold, miserable, and gloomy day. The sky is overcast with ominous stormclouds, and yet, I happen to be wearing sunglasses. Now in the pacifying light of the trains, I can scarecely see at all. Why, you ask? Because I’m an idiot, and I’m publicising it.

Apparently I have damaged retinas that are now ultra-sensitive to light. Or was it prescription glasses that I need to be able to see properly? Something to do with these mysterious "transition lenses" I keep being asked about. Realistically, this pair of glasses skidded across the senior block corridor, and no one picked them up. So I did.

Class by class, I received varying reactions. The most interesting thing is, the majority of people who asked me about my new shades believed I needed them visually. What was funniest was the reactions of the teachers. One of them I was passing on the stairwell actually stopped, and his mouth opened a little as he stared at me. I couldn’t help but smile at that.

Shacko (chem): Is there any particular reason you’re wearing those, John?
"Not particularly, no," I answered, removing them. The class gaped, as I hadn’t taken them off all day.
"Just trying to look cool are you?"
"Oh, I don’t need to try."
SW (H. Bio): "Take those off!"
"Yes miss."
Emmanuel: "John, I know the fluorescent lights are harsh, but lose the sunnies mate."
"But I need them…"

Mr Watson, of English, was the only one that didn’t ask me about them. Good on him- he’s the one teacher I know appreciates some level of individualism. At any rate, I have something of a headache now, but half the people who made comment said that they look cool, and that’s what counts, right?

~Mac Daddy Marshall

Don’t worry, be happy!

Dear readers,

I have taken on a new motto, from one of my (new) favourite songs.

"In life you’re going to find some trouble, when you worry, you’re going to make it double. Don’t worry. Be happy."

Note. I did indeed break my Lenten promise last night, and guzzled forbidden chocolate. It tasted five times sweeter than normal, and I have absolutely no regret in eating them. I slipped a few extra dollars into my Project Compassion box to compensate, but now that the packet’s open, I’m sure that I won’t be able to resist the occassional indulgence.

Life is looking much sweeter (chocolate, get it?) right about now. Sure, I have a few more hours of practice to squeeze in. Sure, I have a debating speech to write, due tomorrow night (7-8 minutes). Sure, I have Economics, I nearly failed my English essay (54%- shouldn’t have written it on my own story) and I’m completely lost in cubic functions, but hey. Don’t worry, be happy!

Oooooooooooo, oo oo oo oo oo-oo-ooo, oo oo oo oo oo-oo-ooo… Don’t worry, be happy.


Dear readers,
It’s now midday of Sunday. If there was anything in the world I could ask for, it would be tranquility. I, being foolish as I am, have done absolutely NO WORK this weekend. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot. There’s plenty I can do, but only a few things I need to. Namely, my debating speech and my piano.
I think Eugene is going to force me to play the keyboard at church tonight. I feel as if I’ve been shoved in the back, and someone’s making me drive a car for the first time, giving me the basic knowledge of how to turn it on and get it moving. I’m going to crash into something sooner or later.
At 2pm, chorale rehearsal begins. Three hours later, it ends, and I go straight to church to start practicing, with about 40 minutes to spare before the mass starts. Then, I get home at about 7:20-7:45 (depending on how long we dawdle) so I can finish off my intro calc and get some shuteye.
I have no regrets spending the largest part of my yesterday shopping with Lauren, Liam, Patrick, Georgie, and a various assortment of other St Brigids girls. I do no regret waking up at 5am to attend a war on RuneScape. I do regret spending spending four hours after I got home from the city, and five hours after the war ended, not using my time productively. Same goes to the six hours that comprised my Friday night.
I’m going to get this done though, because that’s what I do. I’m going to get off the computer, as soon as I’ve sent an to Amnesty International, and start my work. I feel lonely. Irrational, but true. I will learn to live life as it is, no matter what the circumstances. Nobody likes a whinger. And I’m whinging. *sigh* Getting off.
"The greatest life you can ever live is one without regrets."

Early Bird gets shot first

It is now 4:53AM. My legs are cramped with that early morning ache, the sort I can’t explain where they don’t hurt, but they feel as if they’re permeating a sort of pain or uncomfort that I can’t entirely feel at the moment but definitely exists. I have a wretched cold, sneezing every few seconds (or at least, until I reluctantly gave up my labcoat and scarf and turned to a hooded jacket), and I’m having trouble concentrating at all. I’m hungry, my eyes are sore, my water feels slightly toxic because of my absurdly pathetic condition. Damn man.
Here’s what I have to do. Pardon me, I don’t have to do anything. Here’s what I should do to avoid strife from my teachers today.
-Economics booklet, studying the Elasticity of Demand.
-Intro Calc, Few pages of questions. Grrr!
-Religion, just a few questions. No one takes Religion seriously anyway. Sadly so.
-English, write a one page essay on a poem. It took Dylan Misso, Greg Stockton and I four hours to come up with half a page on Saturday. I can safely say that none of us are any good at groupwork.
-Debating, write a practice speech. That means researching war crimes and the moral and practical arguement of punishing them.
-Piano. I didn’t practice all weekend. [Expletive deleted].
Oh great. Now my nose is making some horrible little squeaking noise, like someone’s in there scrubbing at the cartlidge with a squeegie thing. I don’t know if I can do it.
I hate Mondays.

“Holding On”

For Willow.
Why let go when you can hold on?
What good do you gain from falling?
The pain when you hit the bottom,
And the knowledge you weren’t strong enough.
But you are. It takes more than a blow to fell a tree,
Least of all the Amazonian resident.
The more you have seen darkness,
The brighter the light will seem.
Hold fast and take refuge,
For when have you known a storm to show mercy?
And yet, the sun still shines behind the rain clouds.
A man named Christ bled and died for his beliefs,
And millenia later, we remember him.
He gained nothing in perdition,
But he gave light to others, and he was not forgotten.
People kill for leaders they’ve never met.
They die because they’re told to.
Nothing is ever hopeless until you give up hope.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
The darker it is, the more there are.
So steel yourself against the pain,
It passes over time.
There are few things more values than a friend,
But I promise you’ll always be mine.