Sunday, February 8, 2015
Knights in shining armor! Seriously, what could be cooler? The Knights of Veritas are a Washington based martial arts school that does educational presentations. They come to the Portland area a few times a year, and their shows are amazing! Their director, Eric Styler, is very passionate about getting all the details right, with as much historical accuracy as possible. We caught one of their recent shows, where he meticulously explained the basics of the German Longsword, including the four basic stances: 'roof', 'ox', 'plow' and 'fool'. He went into detail about the practicality and physics of swordplay. He showed the kids each component of a suit of armor and explained that at 55 pounds, it actually weighed much less than the 85 pound backpacks that modern soldiers carry, or the 95 pounds of gear for modern firefighters. Another interesting fact we learned was that when knights fought, their goal was often not to slaughter their opponents but to get them to surrender. Knights generally came from wealthy families or they would not have been able to afford to be knights, so holding them for ransom was an excellent idea. Boys who had this career path would traditionally go to other families for training because it was thought that their own families would be too soft on them for their own good. At age 7 they could be pages, and at age 14 they could be squires. After the show, kids got a chance to hold a sword and try on a helmet. Awesome!