IN THE BEGINNING … NO MAN WAS HIGHER IN BIRTH THAN ANY OTHER, FOR ALL MEN WERE DESCENDED FROM A SINGLE FATHER AND MOTHER. BUT WHEN ENVY AND COVETOUSNESS CAME INTO THE WORLD, AND MIGHT TRIUMPHED OVER RIGHT . . . CERTAIN MEN WERE APPOINTED AS GUARANTORS AND DEFENDERS OF THE WEAK AND THE HUMBLE.
—The Book of Lancelot of the Lake
I came across this quote while reading a book on the history of knighthood. I’ve always had an interest in knights and the medieval period, and now that I’m delving into the world of HEMA, I find myself looking more deeply at that era, which is how I came across this quote.
Little of that matters, though, because this spoke to me. It spoke to me on a deep, deep level.
You see, in my life, I’ve found there are people who are wired just a little bit differently. They’re the people who train for violence, who live for it, not because they’re violent people, but because they’re the poor bastards who can’t step away from it.
By most measures, I’m a successful father at this point in my kids’ lives. They’re fairly well adjusted, smart, independent, and so on. They have little trouble making friends and, at least with my almost 18-year-old son, doing so without betraying who they truly are.
But I still feel a bit like a failure.
You see, while most parents probably feel that way to some degree, for me, it’s about my kids and their health. My son is badly obese, though he’s lost about 25 pounds in the last few months.
My daughter, however, at 7-years-old, isn’t. And I aim to keep it that way, which is why I got her a kettlebell of her own. My hope, to help her never get to where I was or where her brother is.
When I first started losing weight, I set two goals. One was a short-term goal of losing 20 pounds. The other was loftier. I wanted to get down to 185. Based on what I suspected my lean body mass was, this would have put me at a pretty healthy weight, but I had 185 fixated in my head.
But as I started losing weight, I realized that 185 was still fine as a goal, but it wasn’t the endpoint I really needed.
Talking with a friend yesterday, I brought this up and he suggested I write about what to do when goals need to change. After all, it applies to not just weight loss.
My reverse diet was born out of necessity. Mostly because I was stupid.
Now, however, it’s an interesting experience for me and provides me with some useful information on my own weight loss. You see, while I was maintaining ridiculously low calories, I wasn’t losing much in the way of weight. Not really.
I went into what I discovered about my eating previously. While I said I wasn’t worried about the scale, that wasn’t completely true. I’m trying to lose weight, after all, so of course, I’m worried about it.
I’d like to introduce my friend, Dave Pascoe. Dave is a fiction writer and a good friend. He’s responsible for a fair bit of what you see here at By Spear and Axe, to be honest. While he didn’t write it, discussions with him do wonders to inspire posts.
Now, I’m giving him a weekly column. After all, he’s following the Way of the Barbarian. Plus, since he’s been part of the discussions for so much, he understands it very well and also knows how to not take himself far too seriously, as you’ll see below.
By Crom, and all the gods of the north, it is good to see you, Brothers. Aye, and you shieldmaidens, too, Sister. Please but the spear down: there’s already a beast a’roasting, and besides, I’d like as disagree with you all, as I’ve done before. Before we fall to brawling, however, I’d like to introduce myself to my fellow barbs who haven’t yet had the pleasure of my acquaintance. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: Introduction”
When you talk about physical training for HEMA, I can see some people start to roll their eyes. After all, HEMA isn’t real life, right? I mean, it’s not like people are going to jump you with longswords and rondel daggers any time soon.
But HEMA has its roots in manuals of sword fighting that was used by the aristocracy, the knightly class and above. While longsword and spear may not be applicable today, the physical training of the knights of long ago, the typical HEMA practitioner, and the modern Barbarian aren’t all that different.
After all, it’s all about being ready for a combat sport.
As I’ve noted before, I don’t think the swordplay aspects of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) has much real-world applicability. But it’s also cool as hell.
With that in mind, I see myself using it as a pretty important part of my training going forward.
While looking into groups, I found that my closest group–a couple within reasonable driving range for the occasional class–does things a little different than most. They place an emphasis on the historical nature of things, including fighting in armor.
That led me to ask, “Do I want to fool with armored fighting?”
Sometimes, food and diet is a weird and tricky thing. A great example is eggs. We keep getting conflicting information as to whether eggs are good for us or bad for us. People are confused about them and it’s hard to blame folks.
But it also seems that chocolate cake, something often maligned as bad for us may actually turn out to be healthy. Let’s talk about why.