Archive for May 2008

Why do I need sword fighting?


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Originally uploaded by gilbertdeschamps

Last week I was asked by one of my students, why do I need to sword fight? The question was asked with the implication: as a Christian, why should I spend my time on this.
The short answer was of course ‘You don’t!’ but as with everything, there is more to it than that. So Why do I need to sword fight?
I like it, it makes me a better person.

Physically, it keeps me fit. It helps me to develop and keep a healthy posture (Crucial for me as I have a bad back). I get to movce and work out, but since it is so much fun I forget that I am exercising.

Mentally, It is my outlet, my two hours a week where I do not have to think about essays and theological reflections.

Spiritually, the schola is the training ground and the testing ground for chivalric virtue. It functions as the crucible where impurities are forced to the surface and cleaned away. It is the mirror where I truly get to see if my life reflects truth, grace and justice in the microcosm of the martial art.

Intergalactic towel day 2008

It’s that time of year again, to don our towels and march out proudly and celebrate Intergalactic towel day!

The [[Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy]] makes the following statement about towels

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have. Partly it has great practical
value – you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you – daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitch hiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

The bible has the following to say about towels:

“Stay dressed for action1 and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12.35)

compare to

“He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13.4-5)

So my challenge to anyone that aspires to be Christian or Chivalrous is to celebrate intergalactic towel day. Get a towel, wrap it around your waist or hang it over your arm like a waiter ready to serve and go out and serve others. Here are some ideas.

  • Polish some ones shoes
  • Dry some ones tears
  • Wrap the towel around some one to keep them warm
  • Put it under some ones head to make them rest comfortably
  • Give it to a homeless person
  • Clear out some ones spilled mess
  • Wave it about in celebration and worship like a flag
  1. Keep your loins girded, ie. wrap a towel around your waist []
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