Fencing (part 1) - Thursday, December 10, 2015

So many fantastic things on display in the American Treasure Tour, never enough time to describe them all.  Well, maybe by the next millennium we can get through everything - and we have not even begun to talk about the recently-completed Omrod Collection, on display in the Music Room.  (Stay Tuned!)  Today, we are all about fencing.  We had a young visitor here last week who is training to become a fencing champion whose knowledge of the swords we have on display impressed us such that today has officially become fencing day here at the blog!

School of Fencing.jpg

It may shock many of you to learn that people a long time ago actually used violence against one another to resolve conflicts instead of the modern method of peaceful discussion.  It's true.  In fact, in some cultures all but forgotten now, people were known to manufacture actual weapons to use against their enemies - guns, missiles, and swords to name only three.  Of them, the sword is the oldest, made first of iron, then of steel, people would actually try to stab one another.  It required training and skill to  use these swords, and eventually people saw swordplay as an art to be appreciated, rather than an act of warfare.   Called "contemporary fencing," "modern fencing," or "olympic fencing," the recreational sport of swordplay became a structured form of contemplation during the mid-18th century.  The first fencing academy opened in London, England in 1763.  A man named Domenico d'Angelo opened a School of Arms in the Soho district, where he trained aristocrats in the art, style and posture of fencing. For nearly a century, three generations of d'Angelo's laid down the foundations of modern fencing that remain familiar to many to this day.

There are different techniques used dependent upon which of the three primary styles of sword is used by the competitors - two of which are on display in the Toy Box here at the American Treasure Tour.  We will talk about those tomorrow.
QUESTION:  Where did the word "fencing," as related to swordplay, get its start?
A)  The resemblance of a fencing sword to a fence post to partition land
B)  When people require weapons in the process of "fencing" stolen goods
C)  An abbreviated description of the act of defending yourself.
D)  A guideline, either when dealing with opponents or with equipment.

A CLASSIC IS PUBLISHED!  On this day in 1884, Samuel Clemens first published the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn under the pseudonym Mark Twain.  Twain, one of the most beloved and famous American authors of all time, including his own.  Although written long after the end of the Civil War, Huck Finn addressed the racism that remained deeply embedded in Southern society.  Some of the language Twain used in the book remains controversial today, but it is still quite relevant reading, not only as a window into an America well over a century ago but as an opportunity to see where there is room for our country to improve today. 

NIA NIA NIA!!!!  Turning 62 today is Virenia Gwendolyn Peebles, known by her friends and fans as Nia.  Talent ran in her family - her mom was a flamenco dancer - and as a student at UCLA she performed as an opening act to Liberace in Las Vegas.  We've actually talked about Nia before - because her framed picture is on display on tram tour in the Toy Box here at the American Treasure Tour.  She deserves another call-out.  Happy Birthday, Nia!

QUOTE:  Life is a moving, breathing thing.  We have to be willing to constantly evolve.  Perfection is constant transformation. - Nia Peebles

ANSWER:  C)  An abbreviated description of the act of defending yourself.  Rather than using your sword for "defence," you simply "fence."  Who'd'a thunk it?