Trophies at Seni08. I didn't win one. Based on what I saw, it might have been because I wasn't being silly enough.
This weekend Seni, the UK's big martial arts expo, was held in London. Exploding Pen didn't have a stand this year and the event was, of course, poorer as a result.
I did attend though, to have a look round and to see the staff on the MAI stand, especially Moira. She's the one who continues to put Fudebakudo into the magazine despite the awkard suspicion that the other regular cartoon in there, Surviving the Martial Arts, is funnier, uses full colour, and is drawn in considerably more detail by Chris Perry (the man is a cartoonist and, according to his own website, an O Sensei too — some people have all the luck). Meanwhile, back at Seni, the MAI staff treated me to what can only be described as lavish corporate hospitality by Huddersfield standards until eventually my minder returned and I had to go away.
This year's Seni had the usual inverted-iceberg of public martial arts events — a large number of disturbing people doing some preposterous things for uncertain reasons, with a considerably smaller number of people doing some quality stuff if you take the trouble look hard and deep enough under the surface. Still, no Fudebakudo tattoos on display, again.
Browse the Exploding Pen Seni reports from previous shows to see days of former glory.
There's a new illustration in the gallery on the topic of Women Fighting Men. You won't find this one in the book — it was drawn for the May issue of MAI magazine (the one with Shannon Lee on the cover).
Working on this one reminded me of something that I didn't have enough information to include, although it fitted the theme perfectly. Years ago a friend told me that he had come across some amazing rules for conducting fights to settle disputes between men and women in medieval Germany. I remember him showing me copies of the illustrations that accompanied the detailed descriptions. At the time I understood that the book from which they originated was illustrated by Dürer and my friend was working on a collaborative translation; but now I suspect that I may be combining two different works because Dürer's fechtbuch is rather well-known and I don't think it includes such things. I've never seen the finished result, if indeed it ever was finished (the person concerned has since died). But I should chase it up because the rules were very odd indeed — for example, very specific about the different (and unequal) types of weapon each could have, and that one of the combatants (I forget which, but I think it was the man) was obliged to stand in a pit. I'm not making this up. If I can find the details there may well be a second illustration, a part ii to this topic.