Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z: Moulinet

This awesome challenge is hosted by founder Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out, Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Tina Downey at Life is Good, DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0, Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie, Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse, Matthew MacNish at The QQQE, Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small, Stephen Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs, Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia, L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick, and Nicole at The Madlab Post

My A to Z theme is fencing and swordplay, focusing mainly on fencing terminology, but with a few favorite movie fencing moments thrown into the mix too.

Moulinet: a whirling cut, executed from the wrist or elbow.

Ok, when I re-read this term (remember it's been a number of years since I fenced), I got really excited. I thought, hey, that's the move that I injured myself with! I know, it's a strange thing to get excited about, but I decided to research the term more fully because of that "personal" connection.

After doing a great deal of searching, and reading, I decided that actually the move that I injured myself with couldn't be a moulinet. Moulinets start with a whirling cut that exposes the arm and elbow to the opponent. Most modern saber fencers would take a quick cut at the exposed arm and elbow and get a point before the fancy whirling move finished. However, small moulinet type moves are still used, executed from the wrist and fingers.

Basically all that big circling stuff we see in movies is the stuff that makes most fencers say, "I could have hit them five times by the time they got their blade around!"

I couldn't find a good saber fencing video of a moulinet, so I searched around and found this one from a two handed long-sword coach. This video is long, but it shows both the move, and the determination of dedicated practice. And remember, he's going practice speed, so he's probably not going full out.

Other "M" fencing terms:

  • Mal-parry: also mal-pare'; a parry that fails to prevent the attack from landing.
  • Manipulators: the thumb and index finger of the sword hand.
  • Maraging: a special steel used for making blades; said to be stronger and break more cleanly than conventional steels.
  • Marker Points: an old method of detecting hits using inked points. (old, never used anymore)
  • Martingale: a strap that binds the grip to the wrist/forearm. (I've never seen one used)
  • Match: the aggregate of bouts between two fencing teams.
  • Measure: the distance between the fencers.
  • Middle: the middle third of the blade, between foible and forte.

  • On a personal note (the injury lowdown):
    The move that I injured myself was a diagonal saber cut from shoulder to waist, circling around back into various parry/guard positions. It's a great saber move, as long as the fencer doesn't get their elbow involved in the circling. Most modern fencing is executed from the wrist and fingers. Elbows don't take to certain types of circular motions.
    I practiced the move wrong repeatedly over several hours (at a coaches camp at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs) and even though I kept feeling a painful twinge, I kept going. I'm not talking about muscle fatigue or soreness, I mean that "wrong" odd twinge feeling that often is a part of actual injury. My body warned me, my coaches told me I could take a break, and I didn't listen. I nearly lost the use of my left hand entirely from the injury I gave myself. I ended up having the worst surgery and post-op recovery of my life because I was too stubborn to stop when something was wrong.

    So, for anyone who has wondered about injuries and modern fencing, I can say from my experience that fencers who get injured are often fencers who have over-extended themselves. It's actually a pretty safe sport. (Yes, I did collect bruises at aggressive fencing matches, but that's usually the worst thing. and I felt oddly proud of those bruises, especially ones I got from the top competitors. "Look, that stripe on the back of my arm there, it was from _!")

    So, have you ever over-extended yourself doing something you love? Become obsessed with learning a particular move and wanted to get it perfect? Or am I the only one that's become a bit obsessive-compulsive over a sport/athletic move? And what did you think of the video?

    Oh, and in book marketing news . . . not a single book has sold at Smashwords, Kobo, or Nook since I went for the 99 cent spring sale. I decided to do something totally crazy and go for Kindle Select status and put it on 99 cent sale there. So, if you've been waiting for a sale price for Kindle, it's here.

    I don't like changing things up midstream, but I want to get books into the hands of readers.


    Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

    Sorry, I purchased your book long before the sale!
    Glad you didn't lose the use of your hand. I guess part of that comes from feeling invincible when we are young.

    Shell Flower said...

    I have definitely hurt my wrists typing for too long on a story. It's kind of the same stubborn "I'm going to get this right" thing. I hope your arm is better now. Interesting to hear about the different markets and sales for your book.

    L. Diane Wolfe said...

    All that fancy twirling is just for show?

    I once popped a tendon so hard when stretching out that I heard it. Doctor said it would just take time, and it took almost four months to heal.

    Al Diaz said...

    I'm obsessive with many things and yeah, I have also experienced the consequences of that. Good you still have your hand working. :)

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Alex- Thanks Alex!

    Shell - My arm is definitely better now. That was a long time ago.

    Diane - generally it is just for show, although I think with a two handed long sword things are a bit different.
    That's a hard stretch!

    Al - Yes, it is good!

    Unknown said...

    OK that was really cool to watch!

    Kathe W. said...

    my goodness- this is a fascinating theme for A-Z...bravissimo! and thanks for your nice comments on my blog. Have a great day!

    Julie Flanders said...

    I agree with Julie, very cool to watch. And I love this word for some reason, it just sounds cool.

    Best of luck with the Kindle sale, fingers crossed your sales go through the roof. :)

    Rebecca M. Douglass said...

    First, I have to say I love the Doig quote at the top of the page. Ivan Doig is one of my favorite authors.

    Have I injured myself being athletic? I don't think I can count the times. I almost ALWAYS push on too long after something goes wrong, determined to finish the workout. At my age you'd think I'd have learned, but. . . we'll see.

    Fun A to Z topic!

    Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

    Natalie Aguirre said...

    I almost can't believe you're so passionate about fencing after your horrible injury. But it shows through these posts.

    Mark Means said...

    A shame you were injured, but I can tell you're still very passionate about fencing.

    Loving these posts! :)

    M Pax said...

    Neat that you used to partake in the sport. And that is an eye-catching move.

    Tyrean Martinson said...

    Julie - glad you liked it!

    Kathe - You're welcome! Have a great day!

    Julie - Glad you liked the video! And Thanks!

    Rebecca - It's one of my favorite writing quotes. Someday we'll either learn about the sport injuries, or we'll just find a way to keep going.

    Natalie - Good to know it shows.

    Mark - It's my favorite sport of all time.

    M Pax - yes it is!