Musing: Fighting for your Life.


Fighting is an art, but it can get ugly real quick.


I really enjoy writing fights.   Conflict Is a key element of human nature and fighting is something that can speak volumes about what makes a character tick.  Mind you some fights are just arguments but it’s the same boat.   I like to argue too.

I’m going to focus on the clashing of swords type of fighting today though.   Fisticuffs, guns, or weapons while deadly and not exactly sociably acceptable on a day to day basis, are fun to unleash in fiction.   Some of my early works focused on developing combat involving superheroes.   If you look at it in a certain light, superheroes are closer associated to magicians across the board.

It wasn’t until I started to dig back into fantasy that I found true appreciation for martial combat.  Swords and shields make for a potent dance that paints a clear picture of how a character faces conflict.   This is why I decided to scale back the use of magic in Dimanagul.

That doesn’t mean fighting has to be boring though.   I consider myself someone that embraces quirks.   Weapons can have quirks too.   I can always appreciate the reveal of a character’s weapon when it has some bell or whistle that makes the weapon perfect for them.

I like milling over not just what makes the weapon interesting when it’s being fought with, but how it is carried and what options the user has for drawing it.   As an example, Naida’s sword sheath is worn on her lower back.   If you have held a sword and pulled one from a scabbard, that is a very bad place to keep one.

I remember looking at some game characters and wondering how the hell they got their swords free.   Many games don’t even bother rendering out where the weapons are stored.   The one thing I’ll give to Halo is that the weapons showed up and there was no magic hammer-space for the clips and rocket launchers in their pants.


If he looks confused, it’s because he’s trying to figure out how he pulled the sword from a sheath super-glued to his butt.

Wearing a sword across your lower back is a bad idea.   You will have a difficult time drawing it from the sheath, however, as I explored option I realized I could combat that issue very simply:  adding a notch to the mouth of the sheath.  By adding a two and a half inch notch, the sword can ‘fall’ free before being fully drawn.   This small adjustment makes wearing the sword on the back actually viable.

Naida wields a blade about the length of a rapier but width and girth of a short sword.   One of the blades are intentionally dulled, she typically places her sword so the dull side is up.  As I explain the nitty gritty of this feel free to grab a ruler or something long and thin to see how I worked this out.   (Or if you’re a nerd like me, your trusty sword you have in case of a Zombie Apocalypse.)

Naida has options when drawing this blade.   She’s a lefty but feel free to invert the directions if you’re a righty.  Despite being left handed Naida wears her sword at her left hip.   This is important:

  •  Naida grabs the sword with a standard grip, thumb inward, Naida can simple draw her sword to a readied position.   Sword is drawn, dropped out the ‘notch’ and raised.  The blade is pointed at her opponent.
  • Naida grabs the sword with an inverted grip, thumb outward, the sword can be swung immediately with a quick motion across her body.
  • Naida grabs the sword with an inverted grip and flips the sword in her palm, it takes the ‘teeth’ out of her sword and can be used to pacify rather than kill.
  • Naida grabs the sword with a standard grip and flips the sword it provides a quick, non-lethal option to incapacitate someone.

A weapon tells a great deal about the person that wields it, thus my fascination with them.  I’ve made some pretty zany weapons for characters from just neat to ridiculous.   In a way, that weapon is a sign of who the person turns to when things turn to the worst case scenario.

I try not to leave the reader waiting too long to be introduced Naida’s sword arts but for those interested they are highlighted in both Chapters 1 and Chapter 2.


2 thoughts on “Musing: Fighting for your Life.

  1. “A weapon tells a great deal about the person that wields it”

    Agreed. As I’ve recently discovered, there’s a difference between a guy who uses a sword and a guy who uses a shield and sword. To say nothing of sword styles, fighting styles, battle strategies (if applicable), whether or not they can keep their composure, whether they’ll stay quiet during a fight or harass/taunt an opponent…there are just so many possibilities to explore in a story that are opened up by combat.

    Even so, I’m a guy who likes a character that’s not afraid to punch down any and all takers. A real man speaks with his fists! (Or a halberd. Those are also cool.)

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