Friday, May 2, 2014

Three Against 50

Can three take on overwhelming numbers and win? Here is a video where some fencers did just that.

I've done that on a smaller scale so I feel qualified to comment on it.

Why did the three masters do so well? They did everything right.

First, they never fought all 50 at once. The first thing they did was run. After that they used natural features (the staircase) to break up the attackers. They also flanked the group so that they blocked each other. For the most part, none of the masters faced more than 2 or 3 attackers at once.

All of that takes its toll. By the five minute mark the masters have changed tactics. The attackers' numbers have been reduced and they have broken into smaller groups. The masters start using distraction. One engages a group and a second master attacks from the side. In another case, the master points out one attacker then attacks the man beside him.

The masters also use some defensive tactics. The object is to burst a balloon on each fencer's chest. The attackers face the masters, exposing their balloons but the masters often turn away, shielding their balloons with their bodies.

Eventually exhaustion and sheer luck take their toll on the masters.

The moral here is that a skilled swordsman can take on multiple attackers and win if he uses the right strategy and if he can dispatch them before he runs out of energy.

Friday, March 7, 2014


Tricorns are under attack. Some people who claim to be interested in portraying pirates as accurate as possible say that this style hat should not be used and may not have even been around during the GAoP. On the other end, some pre-1840 events have banned "pirate hats" (tricorns).

Someone call Colonial Williamsburg and tell them to stop selling all of those pirate hats.

So, what did pirates wear on their heads?

There are plenty of contemporary woodcuts to use as reference and it's easy to find ones with tricorns.

There are some excceptions
And it's hard to tell quite what Blackbeard is wearing here

Granted that these are mainly captains and might be dressed better Certainly the ones with the whigs were. I looked over a lot more woodcuts and found the most common headgear was either a tricorn, a high, round-crowned hat with an small brim or a cap.

An interesting point here is that the fact that the artists probably never saw the real pirates is a point in favor of them wearing tricorns. The artists were creating images based on descriptions and typical sailors.

Bottom line, pirates wore tricorns.