Anonymous said: Do you know what would be an appropriate sort of sword for a smallish teenage girl? She hasn't used a sword before (she will be taught) and she doesn't have any sword specific strength built up, but she's grown up doing farm work and can shoot a fairly heavy bow. For that matter, do you know anything about bow weights? (sorry if these are stupid questions)


Well, here’s the thing about swords (and all weapons, really), wielding them isn’t about strength. It’s a fallacy perpetrated by games like D&D, where the combat stats are governed by strength and some historians confusing the gilded twenty pound parade swords for actual combat weapons. But don’t take just my word for it, here’s the awesome Scholagladitoria talking about misconceptions and stereotypes regarding both bow and the sword in fiction. (Also the difference between a war bow and the hunting bow, plus some talk about draw weight.)

The average longsword will weigh between four and six pounds. So, saying your character has to worry about sword weight is like you saying you can’t pick up a chair or your laptop. A backpack laden with binders and books can run up to around around 15 to 20 pounds, what you carry/carried to school every day on your back is heavier than a sword. It really doesn’t take much strength to lift them. (Yes, even a Claymore.)

Now, what gets most people in trouble when they have no experience and try to lift a blade is balance issues. Swords are awkward. A major part of the training is molding the body to compensate for the different balance. This is learning the positions, grips, footwork, stances, and striking patterns; developing muscular endurance and flexibility in the core, the upper, and lower body, along with strengthening the hands, wrists, and ankles.

Remember, the point of training is developing the muscles and building endurance. As you can see in this lovely chart, the way those muscles are developed through different kinds of activity will change the physical appearance of the body. As scholagladitoria says in his video above, your farm girl is used to wielding a hunting bow, not a war bow so it’s unlikely she’ll have large, strong muscles in the back and shoulders necessary to handle the 50 to 60 pounds of draw weight and wield it effectively (never mind aiming). You do need heavier arrows with larger metal tips to take on armored opponents and a stronger bow than a hunting bow to get the speed/momentum necessary to puncture and penetrate the armor.

Fighting with a sword isn’t about swinging it as hard as you can. Using a any sword requires precision and control, the ability to generate, balance, and control your momentum. The longsword in particular because is usually used with two hands is a good example of this. The second hand handles the rotation of the blade, creating more power, while the other hand guides it. What she’s going to need to build (and what her training master will require from her) is endurance. Beyond just learning how to wield the sword, she’ll also learn how to stand, how to breathe, exercises to develop balance, mental exercises to develop hand and eye coordination, and others in a similar vein. If she has the option, she’ll train on multiple different kinds of terrain. Not just fighting, but running, exercising, and practicing her footwork. Fighting on sand, in water, on mud are useful for teaching her all the different ways she’ll have to adjust herself and how different surfaces can tire you faster.

So, which sword should she use?

The one which is most common and makes the most sense for her social class, aka the one she has easiest access to. If you’re basing your setting somewhere similar to Medieval Europe or using characters who are European influenced, I suggest sticking with European weapons. You can’t really drop a katana into the Middle Ages and expect it to make sense (or be automatically awesome).

The arming sword, the sword and buckler were common self-defense weapons of the peasantry or the Non-Nobility but, really, pick a period in history and research both it and the weapon before making your decision. Not all swords make sense in all periods (though the longsword was a staple in Europe for hundreds of years). The kind of opponents your character is facing will do more to decide what she carries than personal preference. It’s important to assess what your options are, so you can choose what you like and what fits her best while also staying true and respecting the weapon’s history (both cultural and martial).

Links! (A jumping off point for your research needs.)

Scholagladitoria on bullshit perceptions of “manliness” and “unmanliness” of the longsword and the rapier (aka why you shouldn’t just go with the rapier/smallsword, because general perceptions says it’s “more feminine/girly”/lighter/easier), this video, where he discusses the evolution of the sword and different kinds of swords in European history, this video where he talks about the historical position of arming sword/sword and buckler versus the longsword. Actually, just go through his YouTube portfolio if you’re doing anything regarding European/Medieval weaponry and want to better understand it’s historical applications connotations and how some of it has been reflected in media. His breakdowns of different movie fight scenes is interesting and worth looking at for comparing the difference between Hollywood presentation and Historical accuracy.

ARMA instructor John Clements demos engages and disarms, here is the ARMA website with tons of videos talking about the historical ways of wielding Medieval and Renaissance weapons. It’s mostly the long sword, but there’s a lot of good stuff there.

This training montage with Anthony Hopkins and Antonio Banderes from the Mask of Zorro might help when figuring out training sequences. However, be warned, the movie switches between the foil and the sabre at random. (The sabre is generally regarded as the most visually entertaining of the three European fencing blades (foil, epee, sabre) because of the larger movements and circular patterns.)

Wikitenaur is a great place to go to look at different historical fighting manuals. However, I don’t recommend it as a starting entry point until you familiarize yourself with the time period. I really suggest starting with Scholagladitoria’s videos and working your way down. When you’re ready to start going in depth, here’s where you can go to read translations of instruction manuals written by the historical Masters.



you are not fat
you have fat 
you also have fingernails 
you are not fingernail 

(via ablogfortwolovers)


Tonya Ingram - “I Am Twenty-Two” (NPS 2014)

"All I want in life is to rap under the alias Tonya-saurus Rex"

Our first poem from the 2014 National Poetry Slam! Tonya Ingram, performing at the Button Poetry showcase.


Dominique Christina - “Crushes Suck and Everybody Knows It” (WoWPS 2014)

"I dealt in the deficits for years until I learned to love the girl he left behind."

Performing during prelims at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam. Dominique went on to win the tournament for the second time in three years.

Asking For It by Anna Binkovitz

(Source: fuckyeaslampoetry, via poetry-central)


When your girlfriend tries to hold your hand before marriage


(Source: theproblematicblogger, via nakedidol)


“Where are my friends? I could fall asleep on this sidewalk I only wanted a second to breathe Where are my friends? Claustrophobic clubs clawing At my anxiety But it’s dark out here And I’m fucking lonely”

and Brando

She picked him out of their high school year book, because she had the name of a Hollywood star—and he, that of the star’s other light. He picked her number off the grungy lunch table and tore the napkin to fit more comfortably between stray pieces of wrapped bubble gum in his pocket. At fifteen, he was short and riddled with red polka dots, as was she. She was surprised he called. She was surprised he made her laugh.

At seventeen, he was still short with a few less polka dots, and she was tall with a few more. Into the limousine to Prom, she wore the self-conscious, scuffed flats she wore every day, and she tucked her too-short bob behind her ear. Out of the limousine to Prom, she wore the glorious, patent leather, lipstick red, gold-soled, six-inch hooker heels that won her heart in the window as surely as she won his in the hall, for they were waiting on his lap the moment she entered the car. They won no awards, but choreographing  a kiss beneath the flash bulbs, between their laughter, beyond the snickers, was enough. That was the spring their innocence ended without them truly knowing.

At eighteen, they skipped Prom for a night in his uncle’s mountain cabin, where he told her how far he was going away. She told him to concentrate on the s’mores they made in the fireplace, cross-legged and barefoot, and, their eyes finally level in the yellow light, they did not look at each other.

He boarded the train to Ohio and forgot everything dreaming home away, everything but these three stories. He woke in the middle of the night, the snores of the passengers in the dark competing with the bloody rattles of tracks, windows closed with black curtains. He considered her crooked teeth and crooked knees and more crooked smile and her totally misaligned scars. Though they were never together again, they had never been so close. This moment on the train tracks away from good-bye was the first moment he wondered if he loved her.

Thinking of You

Roses are red.

Violets are purple.

Chocolate is brown,

Unless chocolate’s white

Or mint green, red velvet—

Chocolate is red

Sometimes. I like it—

Oh, this was about you…

Nothing rhymes with purple…

I like chocolate a lot.


To my daughter who is beautiful
And sincere in every way
And always opens her heart to me
When I’ve had an awful day.

To my daughter who has more faith in me
Than any person that I know
And would always follow me
Where ever I may choose to go.

To my daughter who has a precious heart
Big enough to heal us all
And though at times she is moken
You will never see her fall.

She holds more inner courage
Than any little girl should
And if asked to move a mountain
I have no doubt she could.

At times I know she’s troubled
But to this she won’t confess
She tries to be the strong one
And settles for nothing less.

Sometimes I feel she’s hardened
Her tiny soul has seen enough
And I fear sometimes she might feel lonely
In her great efforts to be tough.

I just want to tell her
That it’s okay to be afraid
And crying isn’t a bad thing
That’s why tears were made.


— My mom wrote this for me when I was in 3rd grade. She’s been a meth addict my whole life and when I found this poem i knew she loved and understood me and I can’t explain how important this poem is to me (via ablogfortwolovers)