Lessons I Learned from a Sword

by DeAnna Browne, guest blogger

As an author, I write about what I know, and when I don’t know something, thank heavens for the internet. But Wikipedia and google can only take me so far. While I may never know what it feels like to truly have magic or engage in battle, I can push myself out of my comfort zone and try new things. One opportunity that arrived for research was lessons on sword fighting. I began a European longsword class and fell in love at first strike.

They didn’t let me hit people right away—disappointing, I know. Instead, I first learned the positions, cuts, and countermoves for given cuts with a Shinai Bamboo Practice Sword (you can get them on Amazon). Then I moved up to a synthetic sword and went to work on a dummy. By the time I worked up to fighting with steel, I learned a lot about swords and myself. Here are a few lessons that I learned from sword fighting:

  • Fights are a lot shorter in real life. The long drawn out fights in movies are just that, for the movies. You practice for hundreds of hours to be competent at sword fighting and the average sword fight lasts about two minutes.
  • It was hard for me to take the first strike and mean it. Like anything in life, you may have to push yourself to try something new. To really hit someone with harmful intention, challenged me more than I thought.
  • It takes a lot of work to make something look easy. My arms ached from practice, and I still haven’t gotten to this point. But like writing, fighting or even a relationship, nothing is as easy as it seems.
  • Try something new. The older I get the more I find myself saying “yes” to new opportunities. Whether it is a hobby or a new offensive strategy, I more often regret the times I said “no”.

While I’m nowhere close to competing in the European longsword, I have enjoyed the mental and physical challenge that the sport offers. And after learning the basics of the longsword, much of the technique transfers over to other weapons, like the staff, the Messer, and dagger. I wear every bruise as a badge of honor, and hope readers can feel the authenticity this sport brings to my writing. Now while, my main character in DEMON RISING, Becca, prefers a shorter blade, I still enjoy writing her fight scenes and the tension it brings to the page.

DeAnna Browne graduated from Arizona State University with her BS in Psychology. She finds it helps to corral those voices in her mind and put them to paper. Her debut novel, DEMON RISING, came out in August 2017 in digital and paperback with Black Opal Books and book two in the series, UNHOLY SUNDERING, is due out 2018. You can find her at www.deannabrowne.com or on her Amazon or Facebook page. Her books can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.