Martial artists are always trying to increase training realism without hurting their training partners. If you're a hardcore iron shirt practitioner, you could do things the Dog Brothers way, where you use regular weapons and just wear gloves and fencing masks (and maybe a cup) to protect the important bits. But the resulting doctor bills (and gallons of dit da jow) get pretty expensive.
So a Google ad for "LARP Latex Weaponry" caught my eye. Wasn't sure if it was a NSFW "fetish" link, but turns out these companies make realistic-looking weapons for people who play Live Action Role Playing (LARP) games. I guess this is the whole Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) crowd all grown up.
Images from Knighthawk Armoury
These products are a few generations ahead of the old PVC pipe-and-duct tape contraptions that the SCA folks used to fight with back in the old days. Priced accordingly, too, at about $100 a pop.
The realistic look of the latex weapons give them a little extra realism than, say, the "air-soft" chucks, swords, and bo staffs of chanbara. With the chanbara "tools" you know you're using a padded object, and there are no defined "edges". Thus, you don't bother to use cutting strokes after impact (or even pay attention to where the cutting edge is).
Dull-edged "trainers" are now very commonplace these days--just about any "tactical" knife is also available as an OEM trainer, with dulled edges and tip and skeletonized blade. Such versions of my favorite Spyderco Delica have a red handle, mimicking the ASP RedGuns, to denote its training function:
Probably the ultimate in training weaponry is the Shocknife, which gives your opponent a little zap if you make contact. How much? Up to 7,500 volts but less than 1 milliamp. Think flea-market stungun. The company's tagline, "The only training knife capable of inducing fear!" makes sense, although I don't like getting tagged with a Spyderco or Benchmade trainer either.
The ultimate would be just for all of us martial artists to get mutant regenerative powers like Wolverine, so we could go all out and just snap right back. I'm lucky if I can haul my ass out of bed the morning after a tough workout.
The recent story about a woman who was found in the New Mexico wilderness after five weeks alone in the wild (well after searches for her were called off) had a funny twist, as the newspaper reporter mentioned this tidbit:
The brothers said they realized Dorn was too weak to go with them. They gave her food - Tang, almonds, dried apples, an energy bar, some hot soup and a little cheese - scavenged firewood for her from the other side of the river, filled her water bottles and left her a book - suspense author Michael Connelly's "Chasing the Dime."
Ugh. I mentioned Chasing the Dime here in a previous blog post, and didn't think much of the story. Maybe she just wanted more tinder for firestarting?
Just came across this nifty freeware utility called TreeLine. TreeLine stores text in a tree structure, so if you're a compulsive list maker, you can expand and collapse your lists without the overhead of using a word processor (like MS Word's Outline View).
The cool thing about this gizmo is that it can import and export XML, and you can configure the data types of each node's fields. So even though it's got a GNU GPL license, meaning if I had some semblance of Qt/Python skillz I could hack the source directly, I might be able to get a ditamap out of it without any coding.