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Free Goodies for the Commonly Aching Joints of the Historical Fencer

by Meg Floyd

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I hope everyone has limped into the holiday season with health and only moderate to severe belly grumbles from excellent Thanksgiving Day feasts. (My condolences to our European counterparts who lack such bounty in their lives this time of year.) Today I wanted to share a few videos that I’ve found helpful for relieving my own joint pain, since lately it seems to be a question of which joints are hurting moreso than if I’m in pain or not. (This may not be universal–I’m dealing with weight problems, which certainly don’t help, and I may just have a predilection for bad joints.) However, I think my issues of common joint pain are far from rare. Chief complaints tend to be elbow pain (tennis elbow), knee pain (of every variety), and foot pain (be it a grappling injury, plantar fasciitis, or what have you.)

So! Here are a few videos, mainly of self massage, that have often served me to get range of motion back in the middle of class when a joint has decided no, it’s not going to work anymore today.

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor or physical therapist of any kind. I cannot vouch for the medical expertise of the people in these videos. All I know is loosening up/stretching/self-massaging in these ways makes my joints hurt less and improves my function. If you’re actually injured, GO SEE A DOCTOR. Employ self massage of any type at your own risk, and don’t be an  idiot. If something hurts you, then stop. 

#1) Guy Windsor’s Free Footwork Course — his videos are about 40 minutes total and include a gentle warmup, some balancing exercises, and a 20 min self massage routine for the knees. I completed it today and my legs feel lovely, so I highly recommend you check it out.

#2) Self Massage for Tennis Elbow

#3) Self Massage for Plantar Fasciitis

#4) Self Massage for Ankle Pain/Shin Splints

#5) Self Massage for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Tingling and Numb Fingers

 


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Save Eric’s House

by Meg Floyd

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I usually don’t share these things, even though invariably they are for a good and noble cause. However, this time is different. Eric Wiggins is a really old friend of mine. He’s one of the people I met at my very first HEMA event, Dixie Krieg back in 2009. He’s been around the community for all these years, training new fighters, facing people in the ring, staffing events, generally just being a stand-up guy.

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And, as we all know, Mother Nature can be an asshole. Especially in Louisiana. Eric just closed on his house less than two weeks ago, and as of today the first floor was underwater in a historic flood that’s swept the state. I pray to God he has good flood insurance, but I don’t know. So if you can, if you have anything to spare, throw a few bucks into Eric’s GoFundMe page. It’s hard to imagine how many thousands of dollars of damage have been done to his family’s house and property. Let’s do what we can to help them get resettled once the flood waters recede.

You can donate here at his GoFundMe. 


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The Brahilda Tutorial: DIY Minimalist Chest Protection

by Meg Floyd

As my dear readers know, I’ve written before on the subject of chest protection. For many women, all you need to purchase is a cheap plastic chest protector from your local fencing supply vendor. For any athlete sporting something higher than a D-cup who doesn’t want to suffer from the fearful Battleship Breast Syndrome, caused by rigid plastic chest plates or lumpy foam, the situation is a little more bleak.

Read on for a tutorial on how I fabricated my own minimalist chest protection. (Warning, NSFW because it has pictures of a sports bra.)

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How to Fence If You’re Hungover: A Useful Guide for Historical Fencers

by Meg Floyd

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It’s Sunday morning, and you made elims, you poor bastard. Caught up in the revelry of Saturday night, you drank more than was wise and vaguely remember stripping down to your skivvies and wrestling a 100 kg Nord who you think was named Olaf, but you’re not sure. Either way, your eyes are bloodshot, your mouth is like cotton, and your head feels like someone’s driven a railroad spike into the base of your skull. And your stomach certainly isn’t certain about anything right now. What’s a fencer to do?

1. Go through the grieving process. Deny that you’re so hungover, plead with yourself as to why you drank so much, be angry that you ruined your chance at elims by getting drunk, and finally accept that this the most natural perfect state of fencing on a Sunday morning, and that you walk the path of your ancestors.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Slowly. Puking water’s an unpleasant sensation. But if you can get some fluids into your system, you’ll start to feel corpse-like rather than actually dead.

3. Eat something, but not too much. Avoid hot food and protein. Cereal bars are good here. Something with a little sugar in it to perk you up and bread to calm your stomach down.

4. And behold, there was caffeine, and it was good. Ingest caffeine in whatever form you find it most palatable, and it’ll wake you up some. You may be feeling sharp-edged and wary in your corner of the ring, but at least your eyes will be open.

5. Accept that you are so tired you don’t want to move, but move anyway.

6. Enjoy the sensation of feeling every bump and bruise in slightly more clarified detail. Miss the sensation of everything feeling fuzzy and warm last night.

7. Warm up gently and stretch out. You’re going to feel like you’re fifty years old, while at the same time deeply resenting the chipper-looking fifty-year-olds bouncing around you because they were smart enough not to get toasted when they’re competing. It’s okay to hate them. Just know you’ll be them one day. Maybe. If being this hungover doesn’t kill you first.

8. Avoid the lead female organizer. The one with the mother-like attention and overly loud voice who’s trying to shimmy everyone into order so the event starts on time. Her voice is going to feel like a razor sawing inside your head.

8. Parry hits to your head. You’ve already got a headache. No need to make it worse.

9. When fencing, discover that there’s an upside–you’re so tired you can’t get adrenaline-drunk like you did in pools, so you fight with a surprisingly clear, if aching, head and do better than you thought you would.

10. Promise yourself you’ll never do this to yourself again. Then book tickets to the next event knowing you will.