If you watch no other documentaries this year
Guys. GUYS. I sat down and watched Reclaiming the Blade. I was planning to live-tweet it, but honestly, I was just too engrossed in it. It's EXCELLENT.
Well... mostly excellent. The voice-over by John Rhys-Davies was completely superfluous. I wanted much more of Bob Anderson talking about movie fighting and fencing. But so much of it is just really, really good! It's a fantastic introduction to historical European martial arts, and it really shows off that Europe's martial traditions were just as sophisticated as those from Asia.
I talked once about being a swordfighter. (For the record, I still haven't gotten my Blue Cord.) When you've been training a while, you get a feeling, in the back of your mind, of things starting to click. You hold the sword with a greater sense of perception, an awareness of its weight and movement, and you understand. The Art becomes a rock under your feet, an anchor to centuries of history. It grounds you and empowers you.
It's hard to explain that to someone. How do you tell a friend who might be interested in learning how to fence with a rapier, for example, that the very act of studying the weapon will change their life?
I think Reclaiming the Blade is so important and wonderful because it gets close to that. It tells someone who doesn't know anything about HEMA why they should want to get into it. It's a love letter to the HEMA community and to the Art, and a celebration of swordplay.
The movie stuff was hella cool. Very Lord-of-the-Rings heavy. Very enjoyable.
I just so happy I watched this and I'm going to re-watch it a few times more. I need to get my hands on the box set.