ARN - Bruising (was Double wide vs. Schlager)

Michael Tucker michaelt at
Thu Apr 15 08:00:13 PDT 1999

Hello, everyone:

Lord Elyas MacCrae wrote:
> > I've been bruised and injured worse with a #5 epee than I ever have with
> > schlager. However, it's not the weapon that is generally revealed to be
> > unsafe so much as the fighter that wields it. That is not to say, however,
> > that minor bruising is an indication of overly hard calibration or an
> > unsafe fighter. In the end, what we do _is_ combat and a few minor bruises
> > come with the territory.
> >
> > I'd suggest you check the fighters that are dishing the bruises. How do
> > they hit with a #5? A foil? I'd also consider the source of the complaints.
> > Just how fragile are they? Some of our fighters bruise if you look at them
> > too hard others you couldn't mark if you used a 2x4. Take things on a case
> > by case basis and use your best judgment.
> >

To which I responded with a discussion of the different attention given to
bruises in the rapier and "heavy" communities. I said (in part):
> ... after practice we proudly show off our
> foot long, 6 inch wide, technicolor creations in some kind of primitive bonding.
> "There!" we seem to say, pointing to our bruises. "There is *proof* of my non-wimpiness!"

I would add that there is another level of regard for one's bruises *beyond*
this among "stick jocks". There are those who feel that when you reach the point
where your skin is slow to bruise (presumably because the surface capilaries
have been destroyed by repeated beatings), then *that* is *true* "non-wimpiness".

Now, I can *see* being proud of reaching a point in your training where you
seldom get hit, or where you learn to give with the blow. When I was studying
marshal arts years ago, we were a "lightly funded" (shall we say) dojo and could
not afford floor mats. So, I learned to tumble and roll on hardwood floors.
Needless to say, at first I had rather *spectacular* bruises on the points of my
shoulders, hips, and the outside of my knees. When I rolled, it made a nice
"thump-thump-thump" sound as each of these points struck the floor. Over time, I
watched in fascination as the bruises shrank to the size of my palm, then the
size of a silver dollar, then a dime, then vanished completely. This wasn't
because I had become more resistant to bruising; it was because my I was
becoming more adept at rolling. My rolls got correspondingly quieter; when they
were absolutely silent except for the swish of my gi, there were no more bruises.

However, I'm not sure I understand being either proud of having humongous
bruises, or being proud that you have destroyed your body's ability to bruise.

Hmmm... I feel like I'm swimming in dark waters here. I think I might be close
to a revelation regarding the cultural difference about the regard for bruises
between the rapier and "heavy" crowds. But I *also* have the sneaking suspicion
that I'm dangerously close to somebody's sacred cow. :-)

If you're proud of having bruises, then obviously there is no sin in giving
them. On the other hand, if you're concerned about giving them, then having them
indicates a problem. Hmmm...

Elyas, my friend, I implore you! Save me from this dangerous and heretical line
of reasoning! ;-)

Michael Silverhands (Baron of Stargate, and newbie fencer)
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