Dave Goes Barbarian: I Pulled The Trigger

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Or rather, I drew the sword. After all, the metaphor is specifically HEMA-related, and that’s what I’m talking abo- Oh, never mind. I’ll come in again, shall I?

Yesterday, I joined Schola Saint George. I quickly received an email from Dr. Brian Price, one of the co-founders of SSG, and I’m ready to begin my journey into the martial instruction of Fiore dei Liberi. Now to recruit some sparring partners…

For now, I’ll be continuing my work on body-weight calisthenics and basic gymnastic practice, and integrate some free weight barbell training into that.

I’ll be honest, here, though: I kinda feel like I’ve just enrolled in an advanced degree program. The more I dig into HEMA, the more I’m going to have to learn just to keep my head above water. No twice a week sessions at the local dojo. This is going to need to be something every day. And a lot of it is going to be book work, at least to start with. For one, there’s an entire glossary of terms I’m going to be learning. Some of which I recognize. Posta di fenestre, for example, is the Window Guard, or as the Germans refer to it, Ochs – the Ox Guard. The sword is raised to the side of the head in both hands, with the point aimed at the opponent. I suddenly wish I’d taken Latin, y’know, ever.

Fortunately, there are a number of things upon which I can work while getting up to speed on the theory. I’ve found several videos on the Tubes of You that show exercises one can perform with a sword to limber up the joints and get the muscles ready for practice. I spent a few minutes performing these, and already feel a difference. Which is a good thing, as an old impingement issue in my right shoulder has been cropping up again. Basically, my neck is too tight, and pulls the ball of my humerus deeper into the joint than it should be, where it rubs against one of the tendons, generating annoying inflammation. It genuinely sucks, but there are a number of things I can do to alleviate the problem. Squatting heavy, for one. Indian club and mace swings, for another. And (trumpet fanfare) swinging a sword around! I’m debating an indoor sword trainer, as well, which is a nifty device that looks like somebody melted a sword blade down until it was all of a foot and a half long past the crossguard. It’s the same weight as a sword, has the same balance, but I’m not going to lop the blades off the ceiling fan, or accidentally vivisect one of the kids. I’m sure Mrs. Dave will appreciate that.

The big thing going on right now isn’t the HEMA. It isn’t the resumption of physical training. It isn’t even picking out a new handgun (I’ll fill y’all in on that, when it happens). No, Dave is coming to grips with his limitations, and I’ll be frank: it [REDACTED] sucks. I believe I mentioned that Mrs. Dave travels fairly regularly on Uncle Sam’s dime. That leaves me to do the hands-on raising of Wee Dave and Wee-er Dave (not their real names) more or less by my lonesome. I went into this with eyes wide open, or so I thought. Those of you who are also parents will nod when I say: I had not clue the first. I had zero idea of the levels of frustration small children engender on a daily basis. I had no idea how exhausting just getting the basics accomplished could be. I really had no way to know. If you haven’t been a parent, there’s almost always a sunset clause built into any childcare you’ve provided. (Okay, realistically, that’s likely true here, as well. It’s just that I’ve got fifteen more years, and that’s if we don’t increase the clan, again.) I signed the check sight unseen, and now it’s coming due. And I’m tired. I’m flat exhausted most of the time. And it’s not a lot of fun. It’s fun sometimes, and it’s usually good (what’s that line about not being tame, but being good?), but it’s not easy. So my efforts as self-improvement and professional development are, while not outright frozen, at least slowed by a good bit. I suppose I’m increasing my WIS (and maybe my CHA), but I’ve never before found that to be a particularly pleasant endeavor.

So the littles are running me more or less ragged (and I’ll talk about that more in columns to come: You, too, can act as a pseudo group therapy for Dave!) and I’m not getting done the things I want. I have novels to finish, y’all, and it’s just not happening. I have skills to develop and projects to finish. And I have to let that be okay. It’s not my natural disposition, let me tell you. But that’s not a choice I get to make. Or rather, it’s a choice I made long before Wee Dave arrived on the scene.

Next week, I’ll be going into my further exploration of Fiore and his work, as well as treat you to a thrilling discussion of PT methods. I’m sure you’re waiting with baited breath (old chum). Until then, get supple and try not to rage on the effete city-dwellers around you, you furious barbarians.

Pink Kettlebells And Training The Next Generation

(Photo by Tom Knighton)

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.

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Dave Goes Barbarian: Training Philosophy

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This is the second post by Dave Pascoe where he talks about his own journey down the Barbarian rabbit hole.

Fellow Barbarians! Hearken now to tales of High Adve-

Y’know, I really need to shelve that sckaldic declamation stuff for a while. It’s actually hard to think in. Still, pull up a chunk of sod or log bench, hoist a tankard, and get comfy by the fire. We got some talkin’ to do. Continue reading “Dave Goes Barbarian: Training Philosophy”

Dave Goes Barbarian: Introduction

Photo by torbakhopper

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”

Building A Training Philosophy

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If you had to tell someone what your training philosophy was, could you?

I had the question pop up a couple of days ago and I kind of had to think about it. The reason? Because I haven’t really thought about it.

You see, I have an overall philosophy for how I think people should face the world, but that’s different. When it comes to training, I wasn’t sure I even had a training philosophy.

Hell, I wasn’t even sure what they were asking me. Once I did, I realized I needed to build one.

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Are Fitness Classes Better Than Individual Training?

 

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I kind of hate fitness classes. I’m not sure why, either. I’ve done them before and I genuinely hate the blasted things. Even when the training modalities are things I like, I find that I get sick of the methodologies behind these classes very quickly.

However, I ran across a study that claims classes are more effective in multiple ways than individual training.

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When Anecdote And Science Collide

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What do we do when science and anecdote collide?

I ask because I love exercise science. I find the subject fascinating. I’ve written several posts in recent weeks looking at studies.

But I also recognize there are limits to what science has to teach us about exercise. What do we do when the two run smack into one another?

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Training Scars

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Yesterday, I looked down at my palms and looked at the start of my training scars.

At least, that’s how I opted to look at the blister trying to form on the top of my palm. Calling them “training scars” makes me feel a bit better about what they actually are. Continue reading “Training Scars”

Train Like An Athlete? Or A Warrior?

 

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In troubled times like this, people who decide to train tend to make one mistake; they training like athletes and not warriors.

To be fair, it’s difficult to know the difference. Look around the internet. There’s a ton of information out there on how to train for any number of sports. Believe me, I know. I’ve looked.

So when someone decides it’s time to start lifting, they go to the internet and plug in a search. What they get, though, is solid advice on how to train for general strength or for sports in general, which is fine.

But Barbarians? We demand more.

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Is ‘Greasing The Groove’ The Secret To ‘Farmboy Strong’?

Once again, I’m reading Pavel Tsatsouline. I can’t help it. I like the Mad Russian.

Right now, I’m reading The Naked Warrior, his book on calisthenics. Mostly, it focuses on just two exercises, which doesn’t do much for me, but it does talk a great deal about the concept of “greasing the groove.”

I’m sure Tsatsouline isn’t the originator of the idea, and I know I’ve heard it for years, but the basic idea is that you do a submaximal lift with a lowish number of reps and before you realize it, you’re stronger than you realized.

It’s made me wonder if it’s the key to being “farmboy strong.”

Continue reading “Is ‘Greasing The Groove’ The Secret To ‘Farmboy Strong’?”